Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson

The readathon happened (a month ago, I know. Get off my back), which means I have books that aren't Harry Potter that I can talk about. Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House was the first book I picked up that Saturday morn', and it was perfect. 

In the book, four people seeking evidence of supernatural manifestations take up in Hill House, hoping to analyse the paranormal events that are rumoured to be common in this sprawling, eery estate. These four people are Dr. Montague, who is running the study; Luke, who will inherit Hill House; Theodora, a light-hearted, narcissistic artist-type; and Eleanor, an isolated, sad woman "with a dark past." 

The story itself feels familiar: it's been remade in various movies, including the unintentionally hilarious 1999 incarnation featuring Lili Taylor as Eleanor.

That is not a scared face. That is a "Here comes the airplane!" face.

I liked the movie for its silliness, but the book, my friends. The book was not silly. It was an exceptionally satisfying horror story, with lots of atmospheric build up that actually led to STUFF-IS-HAPPENING moments. I love atmosphere in a horror story, it's necessary, but you've got to get somewhere terrifying with it. Got to get to the scary pay off.

I want to make this series of faces at least one time.

I had to stop and read scenes aloud to Neil more than a few times, let me tell you.

So, read Hill House if you're looking for an excellently crafted horror book, a quick read, a good ol' time. 

Friday, 17 May 2013

HP Friday: Ron Weasley - Legendary Ladies Man

Harry Potter Friday and whatnot. Thanks to Alice for hosting, and I'm positively verklempt that we're on our last book. 

I have plans to start Philosopher's Stone the second we finish Deathly Hallows

Not a lot of whole thoughts happening this week, which means we're going straight to the bullet points:

  • Narcissa, you are a complicated lady. Her life has got to suck pretty hard right now.
  • The first mention of Harry comes on page 19: "Harry was bleeding."

FFS, Harry.

  • Like Harry, I hadn't even imagined Dumbledore in his youth. I hardly remember any of what's revealed in DH, but it better just enforce the fact that Dumbledore is wonderful and awesome and has never had any faults ever. (That's how this goes, right? RIGHT?)
  • Snape Sectum sempra'd George's ear off! Remember when Harry used sectum sempra on Draco and ripped his whole body right up? Can we take a moment to consider how tricky it would be to cast it targeting the ear and only the ear? Snape is a badass, is what I'm saying.

'Til next week, kindred.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

HP Friday: The Tales of Beedle the Bard

It's Harry Potter Friday, and this week we read The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I'm blogging from my iPad because my computer's out sick with a virus, so please pardon whatever weirdness results.

I'd never read this before, and I LOVED it. That said, this'll be a short one.

First, a question about the symbols on the Fountain of Fair Pleasure:

Pardon the fuzzy. We've got, from top to bottom, a fish-type-looking-thing, Omega, an eye, and the Deathly Hallows symbol. That's all got to be super significant, right? Any guesses? Maybe we need to know more about runes. Maybe we need Hermione.

And then (big fat spoiler for the next book), I might just need to read the book again, but isn't Harry alive at the end of all this because of the resurrection stone? So shouldn't he be a spooky shade of a person? Or no, because he had all three and was actually the Master of Death? (End of big fat spoiler.)

Lots, lots of Aberforth lovin' goats references around these parts.

In conclusion,

Friday, 3 May 2013

HP Friday: Homicidal Author Strike Again

Well, it's happened, and I have no weeps left to weep. It's a sombre Harry Potter Friday, and Alice at Reading Rambo has brought us all together for a good old fashioned group-cry. Spoilers for all.

Bring it in, kids.

That freaking cave, you guys. How horrifying. And Draco, Draco who was almost ready to accept Dumbledore's help. Everything happened and Dumbledore fell and Snape gave away his sad, awful duty with his "DON'T CALL ME A COWARD," and I was fine, I wasn't crying. And then, as Harry walked toward the tower with Hagrid, "Harry heard Hagrid's moan of pain and shock." Then I cried. Then I cried all the way to the bank.

Hey, ho, while we're sad, look at this other sad thing I found:

EVERYBODY DIES AND I QUIT HARRY POTTER. At least in the movie you're distracted by the astounding awful badness that is Harry and Ginny kissing.

What is that? They look like they're both thinking,
"Just get through this. Ewewewewewewewewew."

Alright, this is deteriorating quickly. Leave on a positive Ginny note? Romilda asks her whether it's true that Harry has a hippogriff tattooed on his chest, and Ginny says no. It's a Hungarian Horntail.

One more thing: After Harry's last lesson with Dumbledore, are we any closer to figuring out why Voldemort chose a muggle diary as his first horcrux? 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Readathon: A Fond Look Back

I'm just now recovering from my book/blogging hangover, but it was totally worth it. The next readathon is set for October 12, and I may have already put it in my Google calendar. 

As this was my first readathon, there are things I'll do differently next time. Like what, you ask? I'LL TELL YA!

  • As my kindly father pointed out, I need more snacks with energy-to-the-brain potential. Energy drinks, chocolate covered espresso beans, cocaine strong tea... 
  • Moranthology, a collection of article hilarity by Caitlin Moran, was just the right kind of book for a readathon. My excitement about it waned a bit by the end, though. Could be better to read a couple of pieces from a book like that (sideeyes Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls) between novels.
  • Less spammy. I felt distinctly guilty about posting so much by hour 19, so in October I'll do one post with many updates. Also, probably not as many updates. Maybe multiple posts but fewer updates. Maybe I'm not sure on this one yet.
  • Audio books. I'd like to have an audio book (probably Bossypants by everyone's favourite Tina) on hand to listen to on a walk and while knitting or crocheting in the middle there, just to break things up. (Side note: must learn to knit or crochet by October.)

Whatever I do, I'mma stick to the Humour + Horror + Young Adult formula, because that worked like bangarang.

What about you guys? How'd it go? Have you recovered yet?