Showing posts with label shirley jackson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shirley jackson. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Book Review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson


Title: The Haunting of Hill House
Author: Shirley Jackson
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: October 16, 1959
Source: borrowed from the good ol' public library

Summary from Goodreads

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.


My Review:

My MOST favorite thing about October reading is the excuse to read spooky, creepy novels.  Each year, I try to make time during this month for at least one Halloween-ish read that's been on my TBR list for a long time.  This year, I'm reading rather slowly this month, so I knew I had to choose just one.  The Haunting of Hill House got the distinction because it's a bit of a supernatural classic, and I've heard nothing but good reviews from my favorite reader friends.  (Plus, I was under the (mistaken) impression that it was the inspiration for the 1959 Vincent Price movie, House on Haunted Hill.  Not the case, but the movie is good anyway--do watch!)

Overall, this book fell into the "good not great" category for me.  I'll admit up front that this could be an issue of spoilers.  The edition that I read had an introduction by Stephen King at the beginning, and since I will read literally anything that that man writes, of course I jumped into it first.  But wouldn't you know...it was full of spoilers.  CHOCK FULL.  Why in the world would you put an introduction on a novel that is full of giveaways about the ending?  Ugh.  As soon as I realized that I was getting too much info, I stopped reading the introduction, but the damage was done.  Therefore, I went into the novel already knowing what would happen to the protagonist (Eleanor), and that made the conclusion lose its edge for me.

Despite the spoilers, I still felt a little underwhelmed by my Haunting of Hill House experience.  The events were spooky, but not necessarily scary.  I often had more fun figuring out the dynamics between the characters (especially Eleanor and Theodora) than I did watching Hill House's ghosts play their nocturnal games.  I guess, after so many reviews telling me that this wasn't a book to read alone in the dark, I was expecting more thrills and chills.

I don't mean to pan the book so much though, honestly.  It was still fun to read, and definitely great for October--grab your fleece blanket and a cup of tea, and this is perfect for a fall afternoon.  Even if it's not particularly scary, it is a "literary" thriller, so it's interesting to see how the characters play off of each other, and how Eleanor in particular manages to change throughout the book.

The Haunting of Hill House was middle-of-the-road for me, but I still think it's worth a read...especially if you don't get the ending ruined for you beforehand, like I did!

Have you ever read the introduction of a book, only to find that it's got spoilers from the novel in it?  This has happened to me before Hill House as well.  What is up with that??

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy Monday! What are YOU reading?

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  What are you reading today?
Our weekend was busy with all sorts of good stuff.  On Saturday, I got a tattoo (my third) of an infinity symbol with my boys' names woven into it.  I LOVE IT.  I wish I could show it to you, but as you know, they go by Small Fry and Tater Tot on the blog, and that is not what the tattoo says (although that would have been pretty fantastic).  So for privacy's sake, you'll just have to imagine it.  But this is the idea photo that I provided to the artist, if you want the gist:

It went on the inner part of my upper arm (bicep area) and it didn't hurt all that much.  Because after childbirth, nothing else hurts all that much.  Anyway, these kids better love me forever, because they are totally stuck to me now!

Sunday we took Small Fry and Tater Tot to one of the local farms that were doing a fall festival.  It was awesome!  Pumpkin patch, train rides, giant slides, playground, sandbox, petting zoo, corn maze, etc.  The weather was gorgeous and we had a great time.  (An even better time when we got home and both kiddos passed out for a nap--woo!!!)

As for what I'm reading these days:

Larger Than Life by Jodi Picoult

From Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and My Sister’s Keeper, comes a gripping and beautifully written novella, now available exclusively as an eBook. Set in the wilds of Africa, Larger Than Life introduces Alice, the unforgettable character at the center of Picoult’s anticipated new novel, Leaving Time
 
A researcher studying memory in elephants, Alice is fascinated by the bonds between mother and calf—the mother’s powerful protective instincts and her newborn’s unwavering loyalty. Living on a game reserve in Botswana, Alice is able to view the animals in their natural habitat—while following an important rule: She must only observe and never interfere. Then she finds an orphaned young elephant in the bush and cannot bear to leave the helpless baby behind. Thinking back on her own childhood, and on her shifting relationship with her mother, Alice risks her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent’s love. (From Goodreads)

Yes, it's that time of year again!  Jodi Picoult's latest release is on the horizon.  (If you are unsure about my level of excitement for this, please educate yourself here.)  Leaving Time will be available October 14, but readers are getting a special treat beforehand--this novella that delves into the past of one of Leaving Time's central characters.  It's only in eBook format, but was offered for free for a short time (score!).

The novella is interesting so far--not full of the twists and turns that you expect from a Picoult book, as it's more of a character study to get your curiosity going for the novel that is to come.  But I love getting this early glimpse at one of the new book's characters, and it's definitely getting me psyched for release day.  Picoult fans should check this out--it's a quick read and a fun way to gear up for her latest work.

What will I read next?
Several options ahead for me!  I have The Hunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson from the library...getting ready for spooky Halloween-ish reads.  I'm also considering a Stephen King novel (as I always do this time of year)...perhaps Bag of Bones.  And I've also got my new pick from the TBR book baggie--Moby Dick by Herman Melville.  EEK!  I have a feeling that one might wait for a while.

What's in your reading plans this week, friends?  Any fun Halloween reads coming up?
 
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