Friday, September 01, 2006

R.I.P., Summer Reading Challenge

It's time to admit that I didn't fare too well with the Summer Reading Challenge. While I read 21 books--the number on my summer challenge, as well as the number on my year-long reading priority list--only a third were from the official list. I was sidetracked by my Rebecca West project, the Proust project (which raised the total from my year's priority list to five), and several other items that nudged themselves to the head of the line.

So I thought about resisting Carl V.'s Autumn Challenge--why set myself up for failure once again? About five minutes later I realized that I could manage the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge with ease:

Pick out any 5 books that you want to read. . . that you think meet the very open, broad criteria of being scary, eerie, moody, dripping with atmosphere, gothic, unsettling, etc. and vow to read them. You may have even read one recently and want to count it. That’s it!

Granted, I don't read a lot of books that immediately spring to mind when you think about such criteria, but there are some that I'd already hoped to read this fall that will definitely fit:

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The People's Act of Love--cannibalism, religious wackoism-inspired castration, a remote Siberian village. Peril aplenty right there and it's what I'm reading next.

Harriet Hume--a mysterious fantasy involving mind-reading.

The Turn of the Screw--ghosts.


And for the fifth, I could count the already finished Island of Doctor Moreau, or Wells' Star Begotten, or possibly even Warlock, which is described as having a "diabolical, ethically neutral world view" that brings Cormac McCarthy to mind. Atmosphere for sure.

This is a challenge I can meet.


  1. Susan, Warlock's on my list too, and I think you'll enjoy People's Act of Love. And in terms of its status as a RIP book, it's certainly unsettling.

    Another book that falls into the RIP category is Michael Faber's Under the Skin.

  2. I've read that one! As creepy and unsettling as they come, that's for sure.

  3. Hmmm ... interpreted broadly, a lot of things fit the challenge. Maybe I should rethink. I can count The Island of Dr. Moreau, I want to read Dracula ... three more?

  4. You can do it, Dorothy!

  5. I'm so disappointed in myself. I totally bombed out on the Summer Reading Challenge. I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't make it. I also failed miserably with the War and Peace group. I must get my literary act together!

  6. Yeah, but you've stuck with your banned books project really well. You deserve major props for that!

  7. I wanted the definition to be broad because far be it from me to presume what someone may interpret as creepy or scary or whatever. I'm glad you're joining in!!! You can most certainly count The Island of Dr. Moreau.

  8. Susan--The People's Act of Love is very creepy--especially once you see how it all plays out. I have never heard of Star Begotten--must check that out.

  9. I'm reading A People's Act of Love now. It seems odd to say, at this point, that I'm enjoying it, so I'll simply say it is quite a powerful story.

    (who also bombed on the Summer Reading Challenge)

  10. How far are you, Chrissy? I'm finishing up a biography tonight and I intend to re-start it in the morning. I read about 50 pages in the Meek several months ago, but put it aside because I couldn't find a big enough chunk of time to really focus on it.


"I don't believe in ghosts, but I see them all the time."

Sherman Alexie cancels book tour for memoir about his mother.