Monday, November 1, 2010
babbling to a close...
Pretty darn sure I'm not alone in being surprised and a bit dismayed that RIP the Fifth is already behind us. You know, the way times flies by so damn quickly is not a new phenomenon, yet it still pretty much throws me for a loop several times a year. Seriously--can someone please, please, please tell me how it got to be November already?!!
Anyway, RIP is now behind us. Except that it's not. :) Because I'm not ready to shut down the mysterious, creepy reading train yet. Not to mention the fact that we haven't yet watched The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Shocking as it may be, I actually did read enough books to fulfill Peril the First, which I'd signed up for. I also read a nice handful of short stories and watched a few movies. Where I really dropped the ball was in actually talking about them. :P (I've actually come up with a label--I think I'm what you could call a "haphazard blogger.")
* The Tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann edited by Leonard J. Kent and Elizabeth C. Knight
* Black Hole by Charles Burns
* Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill
* Amphigorey by Edward Gorey
* The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant
* Half-Minute Horrors edited by Susan Rich
***Short Stories Read
* "October in the Chair" by Neil Gaiman
* "Dip in the Pool" by Roald Dahl
* "The Smoking Room" by Shirley Jackson
* "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar A. Poe
* "William Wilson" by Edgar A. Poe
* "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar A. Poe
* "The Black Cat" by Edgar A. Poe
* "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar A. Poe
* "The Purloined Letter" by Edgar A. Poe
* "The Oval Portrait" by Edgar A. Poe
* "Ghost Market" by Greg van Eekhout
* The Birds
I'm glad I don't have to pick favorites, because I'm not sure I could. I read some really great books...and yet every single one of them was so very different from each of the others.
We ended up deciding to save the last two stories in Half-Minute Horrors for last night. So after a somewhat blustery night of trick-or-treating, we gathered round the kitchen table, nibbled on some sweet potato cupcakes, and finished up this positively wonderful book! I have to say--some of the stories in this book just blew me away! While I'm not a writer, I have to imagine that it can't be an easy feat to pull off a truly creepy little tale in so few words. And yet so many of these authors managed to do it so well. Love. This. Book.
This weekend also saw me finishing up The Vanishing of Katharina Linden. I'm sort of at a loss as to how to describe this book. Essentially, it's a mystery, I suppose. Though I had the main gist of the mystery figured out fairly early (I assume it's supposed to be that way), that didn't detract from the book in the slightest. I loved this book for so many reasons: 10-year-old Pia, from whose viewpoint we hear the story, is so very likable in her "ordinariness" (I sort of hate to say that, as I don't believe that any child, or any person for that matter, is truly "ordinary," but I can't quite figure out how to say what I mean)...the setting, a small town in Germany that feels so much as if it lives in the past (there were honestly times when I felt as if I were physically jerked back to the present with a mention of Teletubbies or Spiderman or a Barbie Princess costume--and these reminders left me sort of unsettled, but unsettled in a way that was absolutely perfect for the story)...the old "ghost-like" stories within the story, eerie stories that not only added to the feel of the book, but that also played a part in how the overall story itself unfolded...the humor that felt so very natural despite the fact that this was not a humorous sort of book. (And in case I later want a more coherent version of why I loved this book so much, I'm going to stick in this link to Carl's review--it was his review that led me to read this book in the first place.)
I am so very grateful to Carl for more than just his awesome reviews, however. RIP is simply an experience I can no longer imagine my life without. And I loved having the whole gang participating this year (and we all managed to finish at least four books for the challenge, with the exception of Gray who read 3 RIP-appropriate ones). But most of all, it goes without saying but I want to say it anyway--I'm grateful to Carl for his friendship. Carl, I do hope you realize how truly wonderful you are!!! And thank you so much for another fabulous reading challenge experience!