For the second year, Carl is holding his R.I.P. (Readers Imbibing Peril) reading challenge, running from September 1 through October 31. Last year, I skimmed over the post and thought it a great idea, but I never did much more than that. I might have read a few books that qualified for the challenge, but I never read any other reviews or offered my own take on the books I had read.
Now, I find it rather serendipitous that, just yesterday, I picked up Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes and read a few of his short stories. I have been rather smitten with the short story lately, and I’ve been reading Jon Franklin’s book, Writing For Story, and thinking a lot about the history and the craft of writing such short works. Naturally, my thoughts gravitated toward Hemingway, Poe, Hawthorne, and others. The timing of Carl’s challenge is perfect.
So this year, thanks also to Janet and Heather and my new look, I feel quite inspired to take the plunge and participate fully in Carl’s R.I.P. II Challenge. I encourage you strongly to follow the link above to Carl’s post and consider joining the autumnal fun.
Ok. On to my chosen Perils and my list of books.
PERIL THE FIRST:
The challenge here is to read four books in any subgenre of scary stories. I am blending the old with the new (and two of these are “obese” books, which is the requirement of PERIL THE SECOND). It was important for me to not read any books that I’ve read before, simply because there are so, so many books out there that I’ve never read (including many that keep the dust off the bottoms of my bookshelves). With that in mind, I have chosen the following:
1. IT, by Stephen King. I got this book when it first came out, but I never really cracked the spine (an aversion to clowns, maybe?). I didn’t see the TV movie, either. Didn’t talk to IT-heads about the storyline…So I’m in the dark, here (yikes…). IT weighs in at 1,126 pages, thusly qualifying it for a PERIL II book.
2. Black House, by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I’ve never read it, I don’t even know if a movie’s ever been based on it. It has been sitting in my library for six years, though, and it’s time I gave it a whirl. Black House is a measly 564 pages. Piece of ghostly wedding cake.
3. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. Last year, I assigned this book to my seniors, but we never read it because of time constraints. I’ve always wanted to read this book, especially after reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula several years ago. It always seemed like the perfect “companion piece” to Stoker’s book. I’ve never seen the real movie, though I’m a fan of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein! At 336 pages, this is a good Saturday read (of course, that’s sans kids, sans yard work, sans phone calls….er–on second thought, a good three-day read, then!).
4. Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins. This is one of Carl’s recommended books, and I bought it a few years ago with every intention to read it. Our basement flooded out, though, and the book floated downstream and out my basement door, along with a few other recently purchased books. I was driven toward this book after buying and loving the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical soundtrack by the same name (The 2004 original London cast included Michael Crawford of Phantom fame, so I was immediately drawn to it). Woman in White is 720 pages, just fat enough to qualify for a Peril II book, I believe!
PERIL THE THIRD
Carl’s third Peril is to read the shorter books between the monster obese works. Done.
SHORT STORY SUNDAY PERIL
Finally, Carl recommends reading a short story on the weekends and posting reviews. I’m going to dip from my much-loved Edgar Allan Poe: The Complete Tales of Mystery and Imagination anthology. For so many reasons related to Baltimore, Poe is very close to my heart.
So, on with the challenge! Today, I begin reading IT, the slice of Whole Wheat Terror on top of my R.I.P. II Hoagie!