Friday, September 01, 2006
Autumn Reading Challenge
On the whole, I like to keep my reading list flexible. Required reading brings out the rebel in me, even when I’m the one dictating which reading is required. Thus I’ve not yet been tempted by any of the reading challenges that have circulated round the litblogosphere. Nor do I respond well to scary books. So you wouldn’t think that Carl V.’s R.I.P. Autumn Reading Challenge would be the one to finally lure me in. The challenge he’s set is to read at least five books that fit the “broad criteria of being scary, eerie, moody, dripping with atmosphere, gothic, unsettling, etc.” between now and Halloween.
But thanks to the Slaves of Golconda, I’ve got a head start on this one with The Island of Dr. Moreau. How much creepier does it get than an assortment of mutilated beast-men stalking our hero about an island on which he is trapped in the company of a mad scientist? And while reading it, I began to wonder about the extent to which H.G. Wells was influenced by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a classic that I haven’t yet read. Another in this vein that I’ve been meaning to read is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a copy of which I bought recently while exploring Robert Louis Stevenson’s Edinburgh haunts. Then there’s Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw in which my interest was piqued by one of Litlove’s recent posts. (Incidentally, I think Litlove is tied with Danielle for the title of litblogger whose posts most consistently increase my TBR pile to alarming heights.) And also Marghanita Laski’s The Victorian Chaise Longue, recommended by Emily and Iliana in comments on Litlove’s aforementioned post.
Other possibilities include Coraline by Neil Gaiman which, children’s book or no, sounds terrifying (see what Mrs. Book World had to say about it in a recent post); Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier which I’ve long been meaning to read; and Edgar Allen Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue which I’ve not yet read despite the fact that many assign it a key role in spawning the mystery genre that I love so well.
No doubt many other possibilities will capture my interest as I follow the progress of other participants in the challenge. I’m certainly open to any and all suggestions, especially of more gothic titles. For example, I’d love to know what’s on the reading list of the American Gothic class that BikeProf teaches.
I think that I can manage to read five titles from this myriad of possibilities before Halloween. So, Carl V., count me in. But I’m blaming you if I don’t get much sleep over the next two months with all this scary stuff occupying my imagination!