Peace2's tiptoes nervously into Horror!

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Peace2's tiptoes nervously into Horror!

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1Peace2
des. 30, 2014, 4:54pm

I've not been much of one for reading Horror in the past but was surprised to find that some of the books that I've read would actually fall in this category and that it isn't all absolutely terrifying - lol!

I enjoyed the ReadaThing at Hallowe'en and so figured this would be a good time to try this out. I'm going to try reading predominantly from my own collection or books that I can borrow from friends/family or the library. This may mean I don't read something entirely 'appropriate' to each month's theme, but I'm hoping to get through at least one thing a month.

At this point I'm planning on reading The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole in January which was already in my collection. This is a re-read, but it's been 20+ years since I last read it back when I was an English student at university and read it while studying Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy.

2saraslibrary
des. 30, 2014, 10:44pm

Welcome! :) And congrats on already have your January read lined-up. I hope you enjoy reading with us. I think it'll be fun.

3Peace2
gen. 7, 2015, 6:58am

One chapter of The Castle of Otranto down and the melodrama of it is coming back to me. Fortunately this is familiar as I read, but not yet to the point of I remember the rest and don't need/want to read it. Oh Manfred what a piece of work you are!

4Peace2
gen. 7, 2015, 1:48pm

Two chapters of The Castle of Otranto now complete and the one thing that is bugging me is the difference in formatting between the period in which it was written and now. I can now formally say that I really appreciate modern formatting conventions. One paragraph in this chapter was .... nine pages long! But in modern convention it wouldn't have been anywhere near that. It also doesn't use speech marks and allows one person's speech to run straight into another. I was tired after work and thought I would relax with a chapter, but it took an age because I had to concentrate so hard to pick out all these elements that would have been easier with modern conventions.

The change in language doesn't bother me, thankfully and the story itself is not actually too difficult to follow or get into, but yeah, I guess I was just after something a little more relaxing this evening and that I didn't need to work quite so hard to mentally put in the breaks that a modern text would include.

5saraslibrary
Editat: gen. 7, 2015, 3:44pm

>4 Peace2: Eeks. I'm not looking forward to the 9-page long chapter. I think I'm only a couple pages into the ebook. I'm really hoping my audiobook version of it comes in soon, so I can listen to it at work*. Good thoughts on it so far! :) I'll be sure to hide my red pen for formatting revisions. ;)

*ETA: It just arrived, so I'm listening to it now. :)

6Peace2
gen. 9, 2015, 6:16pm

I finished The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. I think this fared better last time I read it, but I think my mood at the moment didn't particular appreciate the melodrama of this work which when combined with the fact that the writing of the time didn't (as mentioned above) use speech marks or line breaks between speakers, that it was fine to have a nine page paragraph and so on and so forth detracted from my ability to just relax and read. I didn't find it a difficult read in terms of comprehension, although I refered to the explanatory notes a few times to be sure I had the right meaning or to tell me the meaning of something I didn't know, I could have followed the story without them, but I found it a struggle to concentrate on separating out the speakers, the sense due to the different formatting to our modern conventions and so had to 'work' to stay on top of it. It was interesting to refer to the tutored read linked in the January Horror Read thread and to see the comments made both by the tutor and by the tutee and the other interested parties.

I'm going to catch up on some of my other reading before starting my horror read for next month which at this point I expect to be The Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, the second in the Night Watch series. I hope everyone else's reads for this month are going well. :D

7saraslibrary
gen. 10, 2015, 4:18pm

>6 Peace2: Congrats on finishing The Castle of Otranto! :) I'm glad you liked it a little better than the last time you read it. I'm listening to the last CD of it, and I've got to say it's turned me off wanting to read any more classic horror. :|

8Peace2
gen. 10, 2015, 4:37pm

>7 saraslibrary: Having read some of the comments in the tutored read linked in the other thread, I'm not sure that this is entirely typical of classic horror. I'd certainly give something else a try at some point (but I wouldn't rush to it!). Maybe The Monk as I know there were comments to suggest that people were enjoying it - Moomin_Mama I think?

9saraslibrary
gen. 10, 2015, 5:24pm

>8 Peace2: Yeah, I think I might try The Monk once I get the taste of The Castle out of my mouth. I think you're right; I think it's Moomin_Mama who likes The Monk. She's usually right-on with books. Thanks for the encouragement, Peace! :) I'll try some classic gothic books sometime down the road.

10Moomin_Mama
gen. 11, 2015, 6:14am

>9 saraslibrary: Hey I'm here you know ;)

What do you mean, 'right-on with books'? Hope it doesn't imply that I know what I'm talking about or have opinions worth taking notice of or anything like that, I wouldn't want people getting the wrong idea - I'm just an ignoramus who likes reading :D

11Peace2
gen. 11, 2015, 6:20am

>10 Moomin_Mama: All opinions are worth taking notice of until proved otherwise!

12ccookie
gen. 11, 2015, 7:24am

>11 Peace2: Hear, hear!

13Moomin_Mama
gen. 11, 2015, 8:11pm

>11 Peace2: Oh I agree but I can only vouch for my own enjoyment or dislike of a book. I'd hate for Sara to dive into The Monk, all 400+ pages, on my recommendation and hate it as much as The Castle of Otranto. I'm not sure she can take any more Gothic right now!

14saraslibrary
gen. 11, 2015, 10:20pm

>10 Moomin_Mama: What? Who said that? :P Of course I knew you were around. :)

Well, you've recommended a few movies and books to me that have been "right-on." But no worries: I won't tell anyone you know what you're talking about or have opinions worth taking notice of. ;) We wouldn't want that to happen.

>13 Moomin_Mama: Even if I did try The Monk and didn't like, believe me, I wouldn't hold you responsible! :D But I think you're right. No more gothic for now. Goth music, sure, but no more old, old gothic books for now. Maybe later.

15Peace2
feb. 20, 2015, 12:28pm

Well I started this month a bit late on the Horror front but am now listening to The Doll and other stories by Daphne du Maurier and am reading The Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko.

For some reason I'm not really getting into the Du Maurier stories, I expected to like them more than I am because of them being by Daphne Du Maurier and I'm sure I enjoyed My Cousin Rachel and Rebecca when I read them years ago, but then maybe it's because I'm not a big fan of short stories.

The Day Watch is going okay, but I'm not sure that I'll finish it by the end of the month. I picked up Century by Sarah Singleton while out today and so I might try and cram that so I've got through and actually finished something - it doesn't look too long and according to the tags I found on LT, it's tagged as both horror and supernatural (mystery and gothic were also thrown in).

16Peace2
feb. 21, 2015, 8:42am

Okay, I'm going to have to give up on The Doll and other stories as I'm through four discs out of six and could tell you nothing worth commenting on about the stories - maybe it's the reader's voice that's just missing my 'pay attention to this' zone. but I've tried doing absolutely nothing while listening to it and still am not picking up enough to make it worth continuing. *sigh*

On the other hand, The Day Watch is going pretty well and if I had more time I might actually get through it, so I'll turn my efforts to that.

17saraslibrary
feb. 22, 2015, 12:22am

>16 Peace2: Sorry to hear The Doll and Other Stories didn't work out for you, but at least it sounds like The Day Watch is much more enjoyable! I agree: stick with the book(s) that hold your attention. Reading should be for fun. :)

18Peace2
feb. 26, 2015, 1:53pm

I finally finished a horror for this month (although The Day Watch is still ongoing).

Century by Sarah Singleton

The story centres around Mercy Verga who lives with her sister, father and two servants in a house called Century, but it's a twilight world where they get up as the sun sets and go to bed as it rises. Waking one morning to find a snowdrop on her pillow, she begins to question their existence. When she then meets Claudius, her uncle, a little of the truth is revealed, just enough to make sure that her questions become more intense and she begins to search for real answers to why they live as they do, why nothing ever changes, what happened to her mother and so on. Her father and governess try to resist her search, prevent her discovering more, but their resistance only fuels her need to find out the truth.

This is according to the cover of the book the debut by the author and it's also the winner of the 'Booktrust Teenage Prize'. As for my enjoyment of it, I was curious to find out the truth about what was really happening now and what had happened in the past to put them in this position but I didn't fully engage with it, some how the characters didn't feel fully formed and there were a few instances where I wanted to say well if that's the case what about this - for example, if all the clothes were gradually rotting away because the house had been isolated for so long, where was the food coming from, particularly at the end when the spell is broken and they promptly have a feast of roast chicken, potatoes, sprouts and parsnips - did they eat the same every day for the 100 years the spell was in place?

Another scene which made me uncomfortable in plot terms was when Thecla emerges from her grave smiling and happy that her daughter was about to release her. Mercy asks her mother for help and then tells her what has happened since her death and what she wants to do. Her mother then tells her almost the same thing in return and tells her to write everyone happy which just seemed somewhat pointless. Was the point really just to say that her mother despite being dead was also trapped by the spell and needed freeing?

So overall, not terrible, but not great either, and for me definitely not a keeper.

19Peace2
feb. 26, 2015, 2:01pm

I shall continue with The Day Watch but probably won't finish until next month now (given the proximity of March at this point) but will also be listening to Wuthering Height by Emily Bronte for the Victorian gothic theme. This is actually a re-read from a long time ago when I studied it - I enjoyed it then but as I'd also been reading Jane Austen who I hadn't enjoyed, I wonder if this may have fared better for that circumstance.

I've requested Dracula from the local library but they've mislaid their copy and are trying to track it down so that I can borrow it which was another incentive in borrowing Wuthering Heights so that I wasn't leaving it until the very end of the month and struggling to finish it in time again (as with Day Watch).

20Moomin_Mama
feb. 26, 2015, 5:48pm

>18 Peace2: You haven't exactly sold Century but then my February reads weren't brilliant either.

21saraslibrary
març 1, 2015, 12:06am

>18 Peace2: Century sounds pretty interesting. I've never heard of the book before, but Sarah Singleton sounds familiar. Btw, good luck finishing up The Day Watch, as well as getting ready for March! :)

22Peace2
març 1, 2015, 2:17am

>21 saraslibrary: I thought the idea behind Century was quite novel, but I wasn't overly impressed by the delivery, but it was YA and perhaps not the older end of that genre and also the author's first work - in which case she may have been just getting into her stride. The being YA is not meant to be a criticism of it at all. Looking at her author's page, she's written a number of books since which may be why she sounds familiar - it's been 10 years since Century came out (which was a surprise as the copy I had looked brand new and had only just been picked up in a charity shop that week!). I'd say if you come across a copy it might be worth a try - it's not overly long, just over 200 pages.

23saraslibrary
març 4, 2015, 1:32am

>22 Peace2: Yeah, if Century was her first book then I'm not surprised it's stellar. Very few first books are. I might look for her books sometime. I wonder if she ever wrote short stories, because I don't recognize her books on the LT page. Oh well. I'll figure it out. :) Thanks for the rec!

24Peace2
maig 23, 2015, 12:49am

So I've not been doing terrible well on the Horror front (or on keeping track here it seems)

I read The Evil Eye : Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong by Joyce Carol Oates for the short story month based on a rec of her work in short stories and it being the only one available that month at the library (not that they have many at all). So although this apparently wasn't actually the right genre and wasn't horror - I actually found it pretty horror-filled. Her writing really wasn't my thing and I struggled to finish it.

I'm still plodding through Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko but can't really give a reason for the struggling because it's fine, I just don't feel inspired to pick it up right now.

I also finished Dracula by Bram Stoker but that also took me a couple of months to get through. I was surprised by how little Dracula actually appears in the book and how much it's based on the threat of him or of what he's done while we were just a few rooms over. It also made the 'final showdown' somewhat anticlimatic I feel.

Nothing else immediately planned - maybe a return to Day Watch with a little more vigour! Then I'll see where my eyes take me.

25saraslibrary
maig 24, 2015, 2:44am

>24 Peace2: Don't sweat it. :) I've only read a handful of Joyce Carol Oates stories and books, but I like her. As you mentioned, she's not out-and-out horror, but her stories can be pretty dark. (I still remember a story where a family kills the father, and to them, it was the most natural thing ever--chilling). I'm sorry to hear The Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong was a struggle, though. :(

I own Day Watch, but I've never started it. Have you seen the movie of it? That one was a lot of fun, as well as its sequel! :)

I've never read Dracula (only seen the movie adaptations), so that's interesting you mention he's hardly in the book. Congrats on actually finishing it! :) It's a big one.

Best of luck with Day Watch and whatever else your eyes wander across!

26Moomin_Mama
maig 24, 2015, 8:32am

>24 Peace2: I'm so sorry you didn't enjoy Joyce Carol Oates, especially as she was one of my suggestions! You are spot on about Dracula - he's not in it much. Like you I also found the ending anti-climatic. I did think the scary scenes were worth it - Jonathan Harker at Dracula's castle (especially Dracula crawling down the wall), the disappearance of the Demeter's crew, Lucy's fate at the hands of both Dracula and the vampire hunters, and all of the scenes featuring Renfield and the asylum. Did you find that there was way too much explaining going on between the vampire hunters once they started comparing notes? I found that boring, I have to admit.

27Peace2
maig 26, 2015, 7:33pm

>26 Moomin_Mama: Please don't worry that you suggested something that I didn't like - what I do like is to try new authors who I've not heard of before - With no familiarity at all I would have continued to never read her work - now I've tried it. I think it's good to branch out a little.

With regard to Dracula, there were sort of scary parts, there were well drawn parts, but as a whole there was too much in between that detracted from the main parts. Hearing all the different parts of the 'action' by the vampire hunters was driving me to distraction :D

28Moomin_Mama
maig 28, 2015, 6:08pm

>27 Peace2: Didn't you wish they'd just shut up and go do some vampire hunting?

29Peace2
maig 29, 2015, 3:49am

>28 Moomin_Mama: It did rather feel like if they'd just got on with it, the book could have been half the size and saved a few trees in the process.

30Peace2
juny 14, 2015, 6:00pm

Not sure which month this would really fit in but I've finished it nonetheless.

Florence and Giles by John Harding

A modern take on the gothic horror style of book. Orphan half-siblings, Florence and Giles live with servants in a rambling great house with an abandoned tower. The story is told by Florence. The 'gothicness' of the setting works fine, the set up of the children in the house with servants and then the governesses similarly is fine. The unreliability of the narrator isn't apparent at first, which gives the story the depth and the 'horror' element. My biggest complaint - and it is a pretty big one - is Florence's speech pattern. She turns nouns and adjectives into verbs constantly - 'he restlessed', 'I up-bannistered', 'he curioused me a glance', 'I long-corridored my way through the house', 'he carelessed'. Over the course of the book, this just became more and more irritating and I was cringing more than enjoying the story.

31Moomin_Mama
juny 15, 2015, 6:42am

>30 Peace2: The weird way of speaking sounds annoying. Was there any reason given for it?