Monday, 14 September 2015

Spooky book challenge: R.I.P. X

I have decided it is time to overcome my technological ignorance and really tackle writing something on my blog. Avoidance has lasted 8 months already, and enough is enough . Somehow, I hope, I have signed up for a really exciting book challenge that I have admired and coveted taking part in, for several years: R.I.P. X. This year it is being hosted by the Estella Society. The idea is to select a level (one, two, three or four- or perhaps even the short story or screen versions of the challenge) and then read or watch your selected texts, between the 1st of September and 31st October 2015. Knowing that  I get so excited about the lead up to Halloween, that I selected it for my sons' birth date will go some way towards communicating the relevant level of glee that this prospect imbues me with! I urge any fellow lovers of all texts that go bump in the night to sign up too ( just not in the style of Bradley Cooper's window smashing book-flinger in Silver Linings Playbook).

While my enthusiasm may eclipse me and render it overly-ambitious, I am keen to sign up for R.I.P.X one, R.I.P. X short story AND  R.I.P. X screen. Forgive me now if I don't manage all three, as my blog attests, I have good intentions, but......

So what to read? I am part way through the brilliant Scarlett Thomas' 'The Seed Collectors'. I've waited years for her latest after being blown away by 'The End of Mr Y' and loving 'Our Tragic Universe' so I can't quit now. And I'm reading 'Brideshead Revisited' for book club, which needs to be finished pronto. The rest of the teetering and excessive to-read pile can go hang.

First choice will have to be: 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' by Ray Bradbury. Having used the opening paragraph with students, to explore setting a spooky scene I have been tempted ever since but not got round to it. It looks right up my street and the perfect halloween-esque read.

Next up: 'Bellman and Black' by Diane Setterfield. Sounds like the perfect mix of gothic and intriguing. I loved 'The Thirteenth Tale' and hope this one follows suit. Will I regret including this in my time-strapped schedule? Or will I be blown away?

Now this is getting hard, my to-read pile is beckoning me. Wilkie Collins' 'The Woman in White', 'Westwood' by Stella Gibbons... Talking of Stella, you must give 'Starlight' a try, it brilliantly creepy and beholds you despite depicting a less than salubrious way of life amongst poverty-stricken elderly tenants in a ramshackle 1950s urban cottage. A real unexpected gem!

I am going to have to sneak a cheeky Susan Hill in here, despite still feeling disturbed post 'Printers Devil Court'. She is the Queen of atmosphere and the best person to unsettle me at this time of year. I'm a bit worried that I have nearly exhausted her back catalogue, but needs must 'The Man in the Picture' it will have to be. 

Number four, will have to be David Mitchell's' upcoming offering 'Slade House'. I pray they don't push release back as I will be cutting it fine (out October 27th). Being a relative newcomer to the Mitchell altar, after being blown away by 'The Bone Clocks' I cannot wait to get my mitts on his latest, supernaturally slanted offering. It sounds like my perfect book- which I thought I'd found in 'Bone Clocks'. His site has the following to say 'Down the road from a working-class pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you'll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won't want to leave. Later, you'll find that you can't....'  It sounds like it will follow the same tight structure with a vast cast, that he is famed for- but with the right element of malice.  Any book that is referred to as 'a Dracula for the new millenium, a Hansel and Gretel for grown ups' was always always going to jump to the front of my to-read mountain. Thank you Anthony Doerr!

R.I.P Short story, will have to take in some of the Robert Aickman I still haven't found time for, despite really enjoying the stories in 'Dark Entry'. It blends Hammer Horror with a sort of black humour that befits it surprisingly well. Perhaps I will dip into Mary Elizabeth Braddon, too.

R.I.P screen, will have to take in 'Housebound' a quirky Kiwi horror that has caught my eye. I recorded 'An Inspector Calls' yesterday, too and I am interested to see how well it has been adapted...

Wish me luck, I think I will need it!

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