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.")

***Books Read
* 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

***Movies Watched
* Psycho
* Frenzy
* The Birds
* Halloween

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!


  1. I'm with you! I am very glad Carl does this challenge..he has set me on a road of gothic mysteries and I can't get enough of them now!
    thanks again for my bookmark and card!!!!

  2. I'm sort of dismayed that it's over as well. I think I might keep my creepy reading going, though I did not read enough books beforehand to fulfill my obligation. Ugg!

  3. I can't believe that it's November either!! Where the HELL did this year go?! You read such awesome books this year Debi!!! And I just have to get my hands on Half Minute Horrors for next year! I'll always think of you guys after getting to read some of them to Ana :) And I couldn't agree with you more about Carl...what a damn great guy!!

  4. haphazard blogger. I like that. I was sad that I didn't participate this year, but I guess in a way I kind of fit the bill with Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

    This just gives you something to look forward to next year. ;)

  5. Well, you can always watch The Nightmare Before Christmas for Christmas :P It counts too!

    I devoured Half-Minute Horrors in two days and then wished I had made it last. The reason why I got it was because I had to take a short story to class and read it, and I wanted something REALLY short as to minimise the agony of speaking in public ;) I picked "Chocolate Cake", which is one of my favourites - but unfortunately I mostly got blank stares and an awkward ten second pause before I pipped up "Er. It's over." That was... interesting :P

  6. I completely failed at reading anything for RIP. I don't think challenges are for me unless they're not *too* challenging, if you see what I mean? For example I'll happily complete my Terry Pratchett challenge because Terry is a solid favourite anyway but I'm not really into spooky stories.

    That being said, you make Half-Minute Horrors sound so good!

    November looks MUCH better for me (personal life-wise) than October, which is a shame as October used to be my favourite month (I think it still is, despite the horror of this year's October).

    Happy November, Debi!

  7. I can't believe it's over either! And so I've decided to just keep reading RIP books until at LEAST December. ;)

  8. What a great RIP you had Debi!!! I am so impressed with all you read. I'm sad it's over too; I felt like I was just getting warmed up! Ah well, I'll just keep going on my own I guess! LOL RIP is so awesome and so is Carl! I don't think I could live without it either!

  9. I am so excited by all that you got to and even more so by your family's group immersion in the process. You guys exemplify the spirit of R.I.P. in such a fantastic way that I makes me want to smile and cry (good tears) all at the same time. Love you all so very much. Thanks once again for your embrace of this challenge, and me and my family. It is always appreciated and cherished for the treasure that it truly is.

  10. Yeah, this challenge went by too fast! I managed to read above and beyond it, but I never did post about it when it was over and I fell way behind on the reviews...

  11. Sigh, I never know quite where to find you... Wishing you a BRIGHT Holiday, good-friend-of-much-enthusiasm-and-cheer! :)