This year, I’m signing up for Carl’s RIP VI challenge. This blog is so old, I can remember the first year it ran, which was probably the last time I joined in. I don’t read so much in the way of Halloween Texts 101. But this year, I seem to have collected together quite a few appropriate books, and I notice that the RIP challenge has grown to be a huge community event – quite probably because Carl is an outstanding host. So, I’m signing up for four books.
The first three are going to be:
Robert Neill – Mist Over Pendle
Seventeenth century England, and a classic tale of witchcraft, this.(From the back cover) ‘Deep in the Forest of Pendle, people have been dying in mysterious circumstances. The locals whisper of witchcraft, but Squire Roger Nowell, in charge of investigating the deaths, dismisses the claims as ridiculous. Until a series of hideous desecrations forces Roger and his cousin, Margery, to look further into the rumours. And what they discover brings them face to face with the horrifying possibility that a coven of witches is assembling, preparing to unleash a campaign of evil and destruction….’
Michelle Paver – Dark Matter
(Back cover) ‘January 1937. 28-year-old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life. So when he’s offered the chance to be a wireless operator on an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the crew reach the uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year, Gruhuken. But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one his companions are forced to leave. He faces a stark choice. Stay or go. Soon he will reach the point of no return – when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible. And Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark.’
John Harding – Florence and Giles
This one is a rewrite of The Turn of the Screw. ‘1891. In a remote and crumbling New England mansion, 12-year-old orphan, Florence is neglected by her guardian uncle and banned from reading. Left to her own devices she devours books in secret and talks to herself – and narrates this, her story – in a language of her own invention. By night she sleepwalks, troubled by a recurrent dream in which a mysterious woman appears to threaten her younger brother, Giles. After the sudden, violent death of the children’s first governess, a second arrives, and Florence becomes convinced she has a powerful supernatural enemy. Without any adult to whom she can turn, Florence must use all her ingenuity to both protect her little brother and preserve her private world.’
So far so good. But I can’t decide on the fourth novel. I could read:
Option A – the ‘book everyone’s read but me’ – The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield.
Option B – the ‘book by everyone else’s favourite author’ – Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Option C – the ‘time-consuming one’ – Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Option D – the ‘recent one everyone’s talking about’ – The Blackhouse by Peter May
Option E – the ‘reliable classic’ – Through A Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu
Tricky decision, no?
In other news, I’ll be posting on Angela Carter’s Wise Children and Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge over the next few days. Mister Litlove has been on holiday this week so my schedule is a tad awry.
And, the completely delightful Jodie from Book Gazing is going to read When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman with me for the end of September. If anyone else wants to readalong, that would be lovely.