“Horror,” Laura Miller says in the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of The Haunting of Hill House, “turns on the dissolution of boundaries […] between the outside of the body and everything that ought to stay inside.” Maybe the way horror lurks in liminal spaces, only rarely coming right out in the open, has something to do with how much I enjoy the genre. And The Haunting of Hill House serves masterfully as our guide to those cracked and uncertain places.
I’ve resolved to read more classics this year, and that puts me in a bit of a bind. There simply aren’t as many capital-C Classics by women (which does *not* reflect well on our culture), and I’m not that excited to overload on male writers just yet. I know this really means that I need to dig a little deeper and search a little harder to find the good stuff, but in the meantime, I have a few on my shelves, including one that I finally bought off of my wishlist last year: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I suspect I should […]
Buckle up, this one is pretty long. I finished this book a few days ago and the impression it made on me was so visceral, I had to wait to write about it. When I consider what it takes to be a classic, regardless of the medium, my first thought is timelessness. Will this item stand the test of time and all that entails? I believe that the term classic is bandied about too often and too frivolously. We call anything that we like in that moment a classic and I think that is inaccurate at best. I did […]
The year is 1897 and Bram Stoker is a bored businessmen who boosts his income by writing pulpy novels. The most famous of these, simply titled Dracula, was not an immediate hit, but would turn out to define Stoker’s legacy. This isn’t entirely undeserved, but outside of its snug historical pocket the novel doesn’t come across all that well. The story is well-known to nearly everyone, and I was quite surprised at how closely, at first, it follows the 1993 movie. And yet this film, as well as other films before and after it, have chosen to add details or […]
Sneaking in with a bit to spare, on a borrowed computer, and one book behind last year’s pace I’m finally posting my last review of Cannonball Read 10. This was the Read Harder 2018 task I was looking least forward to, and I managed to push it off until the last possible moment, but at least I am completing the challenge this year. Task 24 was to “read an assigned book you hated (or never finished)”. In reality I have very few books that I never completed, and the ones that I hated I don’t really feel emotionally prepared to […]
The Feminine Mystique (1963) by Betty Friedan has been on my radar for years as a classic feminist tome that I should probably read. However, I was always intimidated by the length. I was also afraid that it would be dated and difficult to read. It wasn’t until I saw it on my 50 Books Every Woman Should Read Before She Turns 40 List that I had the motivation I needed to pick it up. It’s easy for me to take the opportunities I have today for granted. Books like The Feminine Mystique remind me of a very different society where the limits and expectations […]
I am so, so behind in my reviews, having read The Demolished Man easily over a month ago, so I’m raiding my increasingly decrepit memory bank for this review. I used to read a lot of science fiction but have tended more towards the historical/fantasy over the past few years. When the sci-fi itch returned I thought I’d head for the man who gave me one of my favourite reads in years…The Demolished Man is good, but doesn’t stand anywhere near equal with The Stars My Destination. In a future where telepathy is common, businesses employ the best they can […]
Bingo Square: This Old Thing I read Jane Eyre in high school for fun when I was trying to read classics because I thought I needed to better myself. I can’t say that was a very successful venture, since I didn’t end up liking that many of them without a teacher’s guidance to point out some of the deeper meaning (although I loved East of Eden and Anna Karenina). Jane Eyre was definitely one I didn’t enjoy that much because it was long and boring. And yet, some of the best literary criticism I have read is about Jane Eyre, […]