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Search tags: horror-and-gothic
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review 2018-06-03 05:13
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Laura Miller

Dr. Montague is an occult scholar who believes that he has found in Hill House the perfect place to document and study paranormal activity. He plans to stay there for several months with a few other people, keeping detailed notes about his findings and experiences. He is asked to have Luke, the heir to Hill House, accompany him, and he selects two others, Theodora and Eleanor, as his assistants. Theodora is a vibrant artist who may or may not be psychic - in laboratory tests she was able to identify fifteen or more cards out of twenty without being able to see them. As a child, Eleanor experienced a three-day incident in which stones showered upon her home's roof for no apparent reason.

I read this because I wanted a good "haunted house" story. It started off strong, if a bit slow. I liked the image of Eleanor as some who had broken free, however briefly, from the cage of her home and family. She'd spent a good deal of her life caring for her ailing mother, and after her mother's death she was forced to live under her sister's thumb. Just starting her journey to Hill House was a tremendous ordeal for her.

Eleanor and Theodora's arrivals at Hill House were great, and underscored one thing that came up repeatedly in the book,

the importance of characters' perceptions of their surroundings. When Eleanor arrived at Hill House, it was an inherently monstrous and evil place, and Dudley's antagonism and Mrs. Dudley's creepiness only enhanced that interpretation. When Theodora arrived, however, Hill House immediately became more tolerable, and Mrs. Dudley's recitation might as well have been a recording for all the notice Theodora and Eleanor took of it.

(spoiler show)


While the characters, Hill House's history, and the tour of Hill House were interesting enough, I started to get impatient as the pages went by and still nothing had happened as far as the haunting aspect went. I enjoyed the supernatural activities once they finally started up, but I wish it hadn't taken quite so long,

approximately half the book.

(spoiler show)


It's been several weeks and I'm still not sure how I feel about how things turned out. It wasn't entirely a surprise, but I still ended up looking at the last few pages and thinking "Really? That's it?" I bet it'd be fun to debate what really happened during this group's stay at Hill House, though.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-01-06 02:19
The last story strengthened my resolve to never go on a cruise
Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories by Dahl, Roald (2012) Paperback - Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories was a must-have for me for 2 reasons: 1. Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors and I want to read everything he's ever written and 2. I love ghost stories. I have to admit that going into this one I was very much under the impression that this was going to be a book filled with stories written by Dahl himself. I clearly hadn't read the synopsis or book jacket because that is not what this book is about. This is a collection of some of Dahl's favorite ghost stories written by other people. He compiled this list when he was working on a project for American television and his preparation was extensive. He read 749 tales of the supernatural by different authors and from that large number he whittled it down to 14 of his favorites that he felt were not only excellent examples of writing in this genre but that would make for good television. (He also discovered that women are experts in this field and until the 11th hour he thought they would beat out the men with a hard majority.) Since there are 14 different stories in this collection, I will only talk about 2 that I found particularly chilling (and yes they are written by women). 

 

The first is called 'Harry' and was written by Rosemary Timperley. It bore a striking resemblance to The Imaginary in that its primary focus was on a little girl who had a strong friendship with an imaginary boy. The biggest difference here is that the mom tried very hard to squash this relationship because she had a deep and abiding fear...of the name Harry. Yes, I too found this odd. Nevertheless, while it may seem irrational this fear was quite powerful and instead of ignoring the interactions of her child and her invisible playmate she let it consume her until...well you'll have to read the story.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-12-23 00:52
Fed up and gonna do something about it
Thornhill - Pam Smy,Pam Smy

Just to show how long I've had some of these books on the back burner, today's book was actually read around Halloween of this year. Thornhill by Pam Smy immediately caught my attention because of its stark black and white illustration on the cover (and the black edges of the pages). This is one of those times that the cover was not misleading as to the artistic style found within the graphic novel. Reminiscent of Brian Selznick, the art was done with pen and pencil and was entirely black and white. That definitely helped to lend a creepy vibe to the text (although it didn't need much help). This is the story of Mary, an orphaned girl, who spends her time making dolls and writing diary entries about her miserable existence at Thornhill, an all-girls orphanage. The reader is introduced to Mary through her diary entries which are read by Ella, a lonely girl, who lives with her absentee father next to a desolate, run-down building with Thornhill written above its gate. At first, it's rather confusing as to which point-of-view we are seeing and which time period we are inhabiting but I think that's done on purpose by the author. Both girls are very similar especially in terms of their circumstances i.e. they're both very lonely. As mentioned before, the tone is quite eerie but at the same time I felt that it was very realistically written. Alienation, abandonment, bullying, and emotional and psychological abuse are explored in a very interesting way. If you like Gothic horror with a dash of realistic drama then this is the perfect book for you. I read it at Halloween for the ambiance but you wouldn't be wrong reading this on a dark, stormy night either. 9/10 (with a deduction because creepy dolls are creepy)

 

I mean look at this stunning artwork. [Source: Macmillan]

 

 

What's Up Next: Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History's Most Iconic Extinct Creatures by Ben Mezrich

 

What I'm Currently Reading: it's 3 days til Christmas so I'm all over the place

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-11-14 07:06
The Coven (Beatrice Scarlet) - Graham Masterton

1758,London.Beatrice Scarlet,a widow, works in a refuge for "fallen"women. But then some of these young girls (who,after a rehabilitation period,are sent out to factories )disappear.

Although the title implies witches and witchcraft (so does the cover by the way),this is more of a mystery story with some dark/horror undercurrents. But after a rather slow start it is definitely a thrilling read and mostly well written.This also happens to be the second book in this new series. 

Only comment,perhaps certain scenes (rape scenes mainly)might have been a little less graphic. 

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review 2017-09-16 14:46
The Travelling Bag: And Other Ghostly Stories - Susan Hill

This book is actually a collection of 4 short stories:A Travelling Bag,Boy Twenty-one, Ann  Baker and The Front Room. And although they do not occur in a 19th century setting they do have a very Victorian atmosphere. They are absolutely delightful (if one can speak of a delightful ghost story?)If you like your ghost stories bloody, gory and very frightful, then this is definitely not for you. But if you like a ghostly (and mysterious)twist at the end of a good and captivating story,then this is a perfect read!

 

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