R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI

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Image: Abigail Larson

R.I.P. XI takes place from September 1st, 2016 through October 31st, 2016.

I’m a day late in signing up for this, and I blame my old day planner and myself for forgetting to write all the important reading events for the year down in my new planner.

There are multiple levels of participation.  I’m only going to give a summary of them here, so for the full details, click on the image above.

Peril the First – Read four books, of any length, from the very broad categories of Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Gothic, Horror, and/or Dark Fantasy.

Peril the Second – Read two books that fit the R.I.P. categories.

Peril the Third – Read one book.

Peril of the Short Story – Read one or more short stories.

Peril of the Screen – Watch one or more movies.

Peril in Play – Play one or more video, electronic, board or table top games.

I’ll be doing Peril the First and, since I’ll also be participating in Castle Macabre’s Gothic September and Season of the Witch, Peril of the Short Story.  Though I’m sure to watch several movies in October that would count towards Peril of the Screen, I won’t be writing any movie reviews.  However, I might list the ones I watch in my Monday’s Minutes posts, especially if they are based on books.

Are you participating in R.I.P XI?  Which Peril(s) are you going to do?

Review: The Paris Winter

Paris Winter

  • Author: Imogen Robertson
  • ISBN: 9781250051837
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Pages: 360

The above ISBN is for the hardcover edition, but I listened to the audiobook I purchased.

Maud Heighton came to Lafond’s famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris eats money. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling joys of the Belle Époque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, Maud takes a job as companion to young, beautiful Sylvie Morel. But Sylvie has a secret: an addiction to opium. As Maud is drawn into the Morels’ world of elegant luxury, their secrets become hers. Before the New Year arrives, a greater deception will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light. – Goodreads synopsis

I’m glad I listened to the audiobook instead of reading the book.  Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have finished it.  I would have quit reading after fifty pages.  While the story was good, the first half of the book was like watching a turtle.  For that reason, I had difficulty paying attention to the story, and I probably missed a few details as it unfolded.

Once things picked up a bit, I enjoyed it, but because the first half was so dull, I wasn’t very invested in the main character, Maud.  If there were any book to compare this one to, it would be Villette by Charlotte Brontë, at least in style.  However, Villette was better, and I cared more about Lucy than I did Maud, despite Maud’s involvement in a more interesting plot (at least in the second half).

If the plot hadn’t taken so long to build, I would probably give The Paris Winter four stars.  However, because the first half was on the edge of completely boring, I can only give it three.  If you loved Villette, or you enjoy a modern take on the classic Gothic novel, I would recommend borrowing this one instead of buying.  If you insist on purchasing a copy, you might want to go with the audiobook, but regardless of the edition, just know that the story plods along for well over a hundred pages before it gets anywhere interesting.

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The Classics Club: Frankenstein

Frankenstein

  • Author: Mary Shelley

I’ve meant to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for years, and I’ve had the Barnes and Noble’s Classics ebook edition for nearly as long as I’ve owned my Nook.  The story is also included in a horror classics anthology I own, titled Penny Dreadfuls: Sensational Tales of Terror.  Since the Boyfriend and I are currently sharing my Nook, I shifted back and forth between the two editions.

My reason for finally getting around to reading Frankenstein was my recent introduction to the show “Penny Dreadful.”  It’s full of characters and references from Gothic and Victorian Horror stories.  While it’s not necessary to enjoy the show, I wanted to be able to recognize and get a better understanding of all those seemingly minor but very important details as well as know where the original stories differ from how they’re portrayed in the show.  Since, the first season includes Dr. Frankenstein and his monster as part of the storyline, I thought it was about time to read one of the most well-known classic Gothic tales.  I’m glad I did.

As with much of Gothic Horror, Frankenstein is more about what it means to be human in a world where Science seems to be constantly redefining humanity.  While Shelley doesn’t go quite as far into the realm of Existentialism as Robert Louis Stevenson does in his story, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (written more than half a century later) the beginnings of the philosophy can be seen in her work.  It’s also obvious that Shelley was heavily influenced by the Romantics, my other favorite literary period, and concerned with the route that Science and Industry were taking in the name of “Progress.”  We’re still dealing with these questions and concerns today, almost 200 years later.  Just how relevant Frankenstein still is can be seen in the long list of adaptations and re-tellings of the story that exist, and I highly recommend reading it.

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X

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               Image: Abigail Larson

Andi and Heather, of the Estella Society, are taking over as hosts for RIP X, and this is the 1st year that I’m participating!

It officially started yesterday, September 1st, but things have been so crazy busy since the Fall semester started that I feel like I’m I always running just a little bit behind and forgetting to do things.  The challenge is for two months (ending on Halloween), and this is the time of year when I love to read Horror and Gothic literature, and there is a reading “Peril” for everyone.  Perhaps it will help me feel a bit more grounded and get me into the spirit of Autumn.

I will be doing Peril the First: Read four books, any length, which fit the definition of RIP literature.

I don’t know what other books I’ll be reading, but the 1st one will be Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice.  I’ve been itching to re-read the series for years, and now I’m finally going to do it.  I also want to read some Classic Horror like Edgar Allen Poe or H.P. Lovecraft, but I’m not going to lock myself down to anything specific right now.

I may also participate in the group read of The Quick by Lauren Owen, but I haven’t decided yet since it overlaps with my read-along of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

Are you participating in RIP X?  Are you reading any Horror or Gothic titles that you think I should add to my TBR?  Let me know in the comments!