Thursday, 1 September 2011

RIP VI - Horror, ghosts, spookiness, my favourite time of year

It's here!  It's here, it's here, it's here!  RIP VI, the annual horror/ghost story/suspense reading challenge hosted by Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings.  I am, you can tell, so very excited.  Not only that, but it's the angel from 'Blink', only one of my favourite Dr Who episodes, EVER!!!!  *happy sigh from Ottawa*

I do have to apologize, I meant to do at least two posts while waiting for RIP to start, but life got in the way.  It's been one of those years, I think, where I am barely hanging on.  I think about posting quite often!  I've started many in my head, on my way home from work.  Posts on books I've read, books I should have reviewed but didn't get around to, books I got out from the library, super day they will get done. Right now, I'm reading, my way of keeping sane in a year that making me look at who I really am, and where I want to go from here. 

Before I post my list for RIP, I have to add this very short funny story:  I went to Montreal last weekend, a quick family get-away.  Because of my knee, which is still not healed all the way, I can only do short trips right now.  So off we went on the train for a weekend holiday.  Around the corner from our hotel, was a Chapters.  Convenient, you say? Yes.  Planned?  No, I did not know until after we booked it! At this Chapters, I discovered the Ellen Datlow ghost story anthology I have been looking for for almost a year: The Dark.

  A sign?  Yes, I think so.  I snatched it up and held it close to my chest.  It was the only book I bought last weekend, a rare event in my book-buying life.  So I am treating myself to a RIP book-buying binge quick trip at some of my favourite Ottawas bookstores this Friday.  A girl needs some good ghost stories/mysteries to cheer her up, right?

I have picked more mysteries this year, partly because they are all sitting on my shelves, partly because one of my reading goals is to get to 50 mysteries read this year. 

SUSAN'S RIP VI LIST  ***partial only, despite the long list
The World of Charles Addams - collection of Charles Addams illustrations
macabre drawings, creator of the Addams family, black humour that is witty
Kraken - China Mieville - Giant squid!  Just on that alone, I had to read this book. 
The Dark: New Ghost Stories - Ellen Datlow - see prev post.
Blackwater - Kerstin Ekman - a Scandinavian mystery that I keep hearing about, dark and terrifying, that took me several years to find.  I found it during my first visit to Book Bazaar, a second-hand bookstore here in Ottawa, last week. 
Birdman - Mo Hayder - another mystery I have been almost too scared to read.  Grisly is one word I keep coming across.  I will try it, anyway, though graphic descriptions are not what I find scary (and tend to bother me since I am a visual person).  The series is supposed to be very good.
Grendel - John Gardner - I've wanted to read this for a very long time.  From the point of view of the monster in Beowulf. 
The Surgeon - Tess Gerritsen - another creepy mystery thriller.  The first in the Rizzoli and Isles series.
Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror - Chris Priestley  - so many of you bloggers have enjoyed this one!  Specifically Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made of.  The House With the Clock in Its Walls - John Bellair - I read Face in the Frost last year, and really enjoyed it.  This book is for children, and looks deliciously spooky.      
Chill of Fear - Kay Hooper - Just sitting on my shelf.  Spooky Crimes unit special, FBI plus heroine with psi powers. 
A Fine and Private Place - Peter S. Beagle - I have never read this classic ghost story by him. 
Tricks - Ed McBain - I know, this has been on my list for several years.  Now is the time! Set during Hallowe'en, it's perfect for RIP.....
Winter House - Carol O'Connell - a Mallory mystery, this one is called a family gothic.
Mallory is one of the most fascinating main characters in modern fiction.  I can hardly wait to read this one.  I'm two behind in the series, so this will start to catch me up.
Dark Harvest - Norman Partridge - Can't resist a book with a pumpkin on the cover!  Plus, Chris again recommended this one. 
The Keeper - Sarah Langan - her debut horror novel, by all accounts very scary.  The titular figure is also named Susan, so how could I resist?
A Dark Matter - Peter Straub - a horror story par excellence, about a ritual gone badly wrong many years ago and the hero's quest to find out what happened that night.
The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters - a classic ghost story, one I've been meaning to read, and I think it's time has come.  I'm the last person in the world to NOT have read this yet.
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch - he discovers he can talk to ghosts, and he is on the police force.  Recommended by Bride of the Book God. (Yes, the book has a different title over here than in England).
Manitou Blood - Graham Masterton - I wrote in my last post that I didn't know he had a vampire novel out.  I read his The Manitou years ago, and it was so frightening.  It was about the aboriginal spirits called Manitous, and if you can find it, it's worth it.  I'm hoping Manitou Blood will be as frightening.
this one a paranormal mystery complete with an 'entity' who means no good for our heroine.
Angel Cafe - Jill Morrow - another book lurking on my shelves,
Falling Angel - William Hjortsberg - a mystery that features voodoo, black magic, and murder.  Highly recommended when it first came out in 1979. About time I read it, right?
Every Dead Thing - John Connolly.  The first book in his Charlie Parker series, he sees ghosts.  Supposed to be gory too, certainly the description of the first bodies was. I tried to read it a few years ago, and stopped after a few pages.  I'm hoping this time it will go better, as the series does look really interesting.  Intense and terrifying is what I've heard about this book.  Have you read it?
Poltergeist - Kat Richardson - 2nd book in the Harper Blaine, PI, paranormal mysteries. She can see ghosts and spirits and the undead, all that hover between this world and the next.  I enjoyed the first one, Greywalker, very much. 

Have you read any of these?  What are you looking forward to reading this year?
I am going to be doing RIP the first, of course.  I'm also going to do RIP Screen, since I love ghost  and horror movies.  I am not sure yet what I will be watching for this challenge. 


Kerry said...

Have fun!

DesLily said...

that's qite a list Susan! it looks like we are all in for a good RIP season!

Carl V. Anderson said...

Ah, a great list of potential reads. I was just lamenting the fact that I don't have a new Chris Priestly short story collection to read this year. Wish he would right another one, I enjoyed all three Tales of Terror books. Uncle Montague is the best but they are all fun.

Sounds like you have had a rough year and I'm sorry to hear that. Hope things are on the rise and that if you are making changes it is because you want to and it will make things better for you.

Glad you are so excited about the challenge.

Isn't it wonderful when you finally discover a book you've been searching for? I know I get giddy when those rare times happen.

And the Blink episode from Doctor Who is really incredible, isn't it?

Kathleen said...

Enjoy the challenge! This is always one of my favorites of the year for all of the wonderful books that are recommended to me!

Kate said...

I love John Bellairs and am so happy to see him on someone's list! I started reading his books when I was about ten and never stopped. The Johnny Dixon books are my favourite, but The House with a Clock in its Walls ranks pretty high for a lot of fans I know.

You have a great list, I'll look forward to hearing about your reads!

Kailana said...

Glad to see that you are joining in! I really want to read Kraken at some point.

I really should get the library to buy another Chris Priestly. I read one, but only because they bought it. I wish they had bought the rest because they are not even available through ILL.

I hope you have a good end of the year...

Susan said...

Kerry: thank you! I hope you are joining in too?

Deslily: I think we are in for a fun and scary RIP season! I have to come see your list now :-)

Carl: thanks so much! I've heard so much about Chris Priestly that I'm anxious to see just how good this book is.

Things could always be worse, so I'm being realistic. It's just been one of those heavy years, and thanks for asking :-)

Are you watching this season of Dr Who?

Kathleen: so do you have your list up yet? I'll have to come see. You're right, this is one of the best parts of the challenge, is seeing what everyone else is reading and enjoying :-)

Kate: I'm so thrilled to meet someone else who likes John Bellairs too! So you've read all his books?

Kailana: I hope the end of the year is better too! what are you reading for the challenge? I'll be coming to look. I always find something through you!

Carl V. Anderson said...

I haven't watched any of the episodes that just came out on this half season DVD. I don't have cable so I'm always behind the actual air dates of the show.

Susan said...

We DVR them and then watch and with young children, rewatch endlessly....currently our youngest is enraptured with River Song and we have discussions about what happens to her (remember we first see her in Season 4 with Donna). It makes for interesting conversations in public, especially as the youngest is 6!! We all like the angels very much. If I could figure out how to copy from our DVR I would make you a copy until the dvds come out, just so you could catch up! the one last weekend was mind-bending and a blast and a little bit sad, like the best ones are.

Susan said...

Carl: sorry, the prev message was for you! lol

Chrisbookarama said...

I saw Kraken at the library and I almost picked it up, but then I didn't. Maybe I should have. Have fun!

Carl V. Anderson said...

No worries, I just need to go rent the first half of this season to at least catch up with those.

Amanda said...

Ooh, I read Uncle Montegue AND The House with the Clock in its Walls back in RIP for 2009 - both excellent choices!

Daphne said...

Oh good! I have been looking forward to your list! I am making mine this weekend. I've read Birdman (very good, and surprising), and The House With A Clock In Its Walls is one of my all-time favorites. LOVE this book. You will want to go on a Bellairs spree after reading this.

There are many on your list that I want to add to mine. Yay!!

Jodie Robson said...

Ooh! I'd forgotten about China Mieville, I've got 2 to read! I loved The City and the City, one of the best books I've read in ages. And the Peter Beagle book is lovely, you've just got to read that one.

OTOH, I read Grendel when it was published and I *hated* it - I've still got an image stuck in my head from all the years ago and I just don't want to go there. That may, of course, just mean it's very powerful, but it seemed so real and immediate and horrible to me. But I think you've got stronger nerves than me where these things are concerned :-)

The Ellen Datlow cover is just glorious, isn't it. There is no way anyone could have resisted it. Oh yes, and Midnight Riot (Rivers of London here) is splendid, too, and much of it takes place 2 minutes' walk from the office I use when I'm in London. Shall have to send you a pic to go with it! I really enjoyed it and am dying to read the second (oh heavens, another to add to my list).

Anne Simonot said...

Oh, "The Face in the Frost" is one of my (and my son's) favourite books! Lovely to see others reading this classic. I think you will love "The Little Stranger"; not so sure about Mo Hayder as I read one of her books (not the one you have) and I don't think I will read another - disturbing is all I can say. Did you ever finish/read "The Ghost Writer"? This is also a strange, but intriguing, book and I would love to hear what you thought of it.

Emily Barton said...

"I think about posting quite often! I've started many in my head..." Oh, me too, me too! Anyway, I'm hoping the R.I.P. challenge will get me posting again, and my list is now up. I also still plan to write my answers to your questions about terror reading. You've got a fantastic collection here, and the only one I've read is Grendel (LOVED it!). I've also read one of John Connolly's Charlie Parker books, but not that first one yet. He's fantastic.

Gavin said...

I am so happy that it's time for RIP. I've been reading books but am having a horrible time writing about them and hope some scary stuff will change that. You've got a great list here. I haven't really compiled one but have two or three I want to read on hold at the library. Lucky girl, finding that Datlow anthology. Have fun reading!

chrisa511 said...

Oh yay!!!! You have A Fine and Private Place on your list :D :D :D One of my very favorite books!! And I absolutely loved Uncle Montagues Tales of Terror too!! Perfect RIP read!

Susan said...

Chrisbookarama: I know. I've been looking at other lists and bought one because of them! lol I'll come read your list :-)

Amanda: Oh thanks! Did you write about them? I'll come take a look on your blog. :-)

Daphne: LOL! 'there are many on your list that i want to add on mine' - ha! I'm glad cause I know I will do the same once I get to your list! We do find some great book this way, don't we?

I just found another Bellairs - a used copy, so I can go on a tiny reading spree! lol

Geraniumcat: I am excited about Kraken, and I have Un Lun Dun to read in my pile upstairs. have you picked up Embassytown? I've been hearing good things about it.

Please send me the pic of your office, so close to where Midnight Riot takes place! that's so cool :-)

And yes, that Datlow cover is so very RIP.

Susan said...

Anne Simonot: I so enjoyed The Face in the Frost last year. I'm looking forward to reading his others now. Fingers crossed for The LIttle Stranger - I so hope to love this book! - and your warning about Mo Hyder I am keeping in mind. I did pick up The Treatment second-hand on Friday, so we'll see.

No, I haven't read The Ghost Writer yet. I have it out from the library, so have about one week left before it's due back :-) I hope to get to it!

Emily: I like the very different reactions to Grendel, both from bloggers I trust! lol I wonder which one I will end up siding with on this book? i'm glad to know you've read a Charlie Parker book too and it wasn't too gruesome for you. The premise of his stories does sound so good (the Charlie Parker ones I mean). I'll come look at your list now!

Gavin: I'm so glad it's RIP time! I hope it helps you want to blog, since you always write good reviews. Enjoy RIP too!

Chris: I remember you raving about Uncle Montague two years ago, I've been looking for it ever since, believe it or not!! And what's a RIP read without a Peter Beagle, especially one about ghosts and graveyards..... I hope you enjoy RIP too :-)

Becca said...

This RIP challenge seems to be THE thing among Book Bloggers! So many people are writing about it.

I enjoy mysteries, but not grisly ones or horror stories. Thanks for your very comprehensive list offering me some good ideas for reading in this genre.

My son loved all the John Bellairs books, and I have that very edition of The my basement. My son (who is 31!) was quite excited recently to find the entire series in e-books, so he has downloaded them all and is re-reading them :)

Cath said...

No, you're not the last person to read The Little Stranger... that would be me. LOL.

I tried to get hold of Every Dead Thing at the library yesterday but failed. I'll have to use inter-library loans. (my husband adores the series.) I did get one of JC's children's books, The Gates. His short story collection, Nocturnes, is wonderful, btw.

The Surgeon, as I said before, is perfect for RIP... and the book following it, The Apprentice, is connected to that story too.

Am thrilled to hear you're planning to read Uncle Montague. CP has written three books like this and they're all wonderful. An homage to M.R. James I believe and they do read like his work. I think my favourite might be Tales of the Black Ship, but all three are fantastic.

I'm hearing good things about Kraken so that's another one I may have to look for.

Look forward to your thoughts on some of these but know how hard it is sometimes to find the time to write them down.

Susan said...

Becca: I am so glad you are joining us! It's such a fun challenge, and really, you just get to read what you want of ghost stories, etc.

I think a lot of people knew about John Bellairs, I didn't find him until an adult. I am so thrilled that I just came across another book by him, which I am going to post about shortly. So now I have 3!

Cath: LOL! Maybe we could have a contest, who is last to read it? I do want to try this year....but I keep picking up other really good books too.

Thanks for the recommendation for Nocturnes, I will look out for it now. I did enjoy his novel though I haven't blogged about it yet (one of the ones I hope to catch up on). I hope I like Every Dead Thing, I want to!

I will have to look out for The Apprentice now too, thanks for the title! I was hoping to find the book but no luck yet.

Time to blog....amidst life....and's always a pleasure to blog, it's the fitting it in amongst everything that's the challenge, isn't it?