1. I joined Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge for the first time this past spring and enjoyed it immensely. Even more impressive, it's a challenge I started and actually managed to finish.
2. Although I used to save all my supernatural reading for October and November, recently I've begun reading throughout the year, which has made me enjoy it more, somehow. Thus, reading ghost stories when it's 84 degrees and sunny outside doesn't seem as odd as it used to. Besides, this time of year, we still get thunderstorms, and everyone knows ghosts and demons abound when the skies are streaked with lightning and the house shakes with thunderous reverberations.
3. Last weekend, we had a hurricane here on the east coast of the U.S. It knocked out our power for 48 hours. You don't realize how very, very dark it is at night until all the power in your neighborhood is gone, you have to take the dog out before going to bed, and there's a cemetery behind your house. It made me realize why Victorians wrote such good ghost stories. When you have very little light, all kinds of sights (and sounds) could easily be mistaken for ghosts. All these thoughts, of course, made me want to pull out some ghost stories and read them.
Carl always kindly provides us with varying levels for his challenges, and I'm going to take on Peril the First, reading these four books (plus one to grow on, because I couldn't resist):
Dark Fantasy: Murder of Angels by Caitlin R. Kiernan. This is one that's been sitting on my shelves forever, bought on a trip to the Delaware shore the first summer we lived in Pennsylvania. It's actually the second in the Silk series, and I haven't read the first (Silk), but I'm hoping that won't matter, because I'm trying to read from my own shelves rather than buying anything new for this challenge. Thanks to Ms. Musings, I discovered Kiernan's Threshold about four years ago, I think, and I've been meaning to read something else by her ever since.
Gothic: The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. I've read it, but it was so many, many years ago that I don't remember a thing about it, and I've been meaning to reread it, oh, for about five years now. If I'm going to read something Gothic for the challenge, why not read "the earliest and most influential of the Gothic novels." At least, that's what the back cover copy says. I have an old, old copy of this somewhere, but a few years ago, a friend of mine gave me a nice, shiny, new version published by O.U.P., so I'm going to read it.
Mystery: The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes, because not all horror has to be supernatural, and this one promises to be full of human horror. It's a Persephone book that's remained on my shelves unread for ages (Persephone books are so expensive for Americans that when one buys them, she has to save them for special occasions). It's another one that came highly recommended to me by Ms. Musings, so here it is.
Supernatural: The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories: From Elizabeth Gaskell to Ambrose Pierce edited by Michael Newton. My brother-in-law kindly picked this one up for me at Book Expo America back in 2010. I meant to read it last fall but never got around to it.
(One to Grow On) A Little Bit of Everything: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I've been listening to the audiobook version of this one. It's a very, very long audiobook (3 parts at Audible.com), and I've been listening to it for over a month now, because I basically only listen when I'm walking or doing house work, neither of which I've done in abundance since I started it. I'm dying for an excuse to write my thoughts on it, but I didn't want to give up reading other titles for the R.I.P. challenge, and, well, you know, I never get around to writing about the books I read unless I have a reason like the mystery book club or a challenge, so I just decided to tack it onto this challenge. I've got something like five more hours of listening, which means I'll probably be done with it this week.
I will also be joining Carl's group read of Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things, because I've been meaning to read Fragile Things practically since it was published. I don't own it but can easily get it from the library, so I won't have to buy it.
And I'll probably spend a good deal of November reading other spooky fare. It's a month that tends to have superb weather for such reading, and nothing much else to recommend it except my brother's birthday and my second favorite holiday (Halloween, of course, being my favorite) Thanksgiving. I've got tons and tons more on my shelves that I can read. That reminds me that Susan, over at You Can Never Have Too Many Books, recently asked some really interesting questions regarding reading for terror. Since this blog has only just come back to life, I need to keep feeding it, so I plan to address those in my next blog post. Until then, it looks like I've got some reading to do.