RIPX Round Up


rip10300If you remember way back in September I decided to take part in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X hosted this year by the Estella Society. The goal was simple; read books that embody the “halloween” or “fall” spirit. The spooky, the chillers, the thrillers. There were also options for short stories and movies, which I also took part in.

Peril the Second: Read two books of any length that you believe fit within the R.I.P.categories.

The first book read for RIPX was “Daughters of Witching Hill” by Mary Sharratt, a fictional retelling of the events of the Pendle Witch trails that took place in Lancashire, England in 1612. As someone who got pretty hooked on the Salem witch trials (and honestly the interest hasn’t let go, I really want “The Witches by Stacy Schiff, and honestly I wore my Salem, Mass. “It’s a wicked good time” shirt yesterday without shame) it was interesting to read about another witch trial in a different country that had very different causes (this one being old white men threatened by women). I’ve had this book for awhile and never got around to reading it, but I’m very thankful for RIPX for giving me the push to finally read it. I very much enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone interested in anything to do with witches, witch trials, life in the 1600s, ect. You can find my review here.

The second book I read for RIPX was actually a reread of “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire. I can’t really explain the relationship I had with this book. I remember reading it in high school and it felt like my first “grown up” book. It was the first book I read with sex in it, anyways. But it was the bandaid I ripped that got me into reading more “grown up” books. Beyond that I genuinely love this book. You might be more familiar with the Broadway musical by the same name and roughly based on it. This is a very rare occurrence, because even though the musical lightened the themes and basically “disney-fied” it, I still love both versions. Both have a place in my heart and I honestly don’t dislike the completely different adaptation.

Peril On the Screen: This is for those of us that like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare during this time of year. It may be something on the small screen or large. It might be a television show, like Dark Shadows or Midsomer Murders, or your favorite film

For this part of the RIPX challenge I threw myself a mini Johnny Depp marathon, because honestly when you think “scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare” who else are you going to watch? I watched “Sleepy Hollow”, “From Hell”, and finally “Sweeney Todd”. Jokingly, I pointed out that it was like a trilogy, where Johnny Depp goes from investigating murders to eventually having enough of it and becoming the psycho murderer himself.

Of the three I think “Sweeney Todd” is still my favorite. They’re all fantastic, of course, but Sweeney Todd was my first Rated R flick. (What’s with this pattern of my first “grown up” stuff being creepy musicals about murderers?) I have a love-hate relationship with “From Hell”, on one hand it’s a pretty okay movie with Johnny Depp and Robbie Coltrane (not playing a giant). It also has the added bonus of being about my favorite serial killer in history (Jack The Ripper). Sadly, it’s just an okay movie, and it’s even less of an okay adaptation of an amazing graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell.

eddiecampbell2Since I’ve never met Johnny Depp and have in fact met Eddie Campbell, and Eddie Campbell drew me a little Jack the Ripper; novel wins out.

Peril of the Short Story:We are big fans of short stories and the desire for them is perhaps no greater than in Autumn.

I technically read two books that were anthologies of short stories by two authors. The first was “Major Tales and Poems” by Edgar Allan Poe. You can find more about this in my midway recap of the challenge. I fell in love with Poe right around the time I got interested in the Salem witch trials. When you go to read Poe, Poe Delivers. The real surprises were the stories of his detective Dupin, which I found to be some of my favorites of the lot.

Which leads me to the next set of short stories. I finally got around to reading my “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle book. Originally published in 1812, it is a collection of 12 Holmes stories. Each of the Holmes stories has relatively the same structure; Watson describes the mundane happenings without a case, Holmes bursts in with a case, the person coming to them with it shows up rather suddenly, the case it told, Holmes disappears for a bit comes back, drags Watson to go solve it. The police procedurals of the 1800s, and yet each just as interesting as the last. Of the 12 I read, 2 I had already read, and I would have to say my favorites include “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” and “A Case of Identity”

My RIPX reading will be continuing into November as I just got my hands on “The Library at Mount Char” by Scott Hawkins, and fully intend on buying “The Witches” by Stacy Schiff this month as well. I fully enjoyed this challenge. As I said when I signed up, this is my literary weakness. I’ve never been one for the typical Halloween “Thrillers” or “Slashers” but give me a good Gothic novel or psychological chiller and I’m good to go. I love the symbolism in the genre and the history of it. I can’t wait for it to come back around next year.

BONUS SUGGESTION: Spotify has a “Southern Gothic” playlist that pretty much embodies this challenge and is really good to get you in the mood for reading about ghosts, and murders, and boarding up dead wives in brick walls (seriously, Poe, why?).

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon – Mid-Event Survey

12 hours in (well give or take for actual reading time) and here are my stats so far:

Books Finished: 2 (already started pre-readathon)
Mini-challenges entered: 5
Planned books to finish: 3

1. What are you reading right now?: Currently I am actively reading Macbeth by Shakespear
2. How many books have you read so far?: Finished two previously started books and worked on 2 more.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?: I’m looking forward to starting Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer (I’ve been meaning to read more of her) and the second half of Wicked that I need to read.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?: OKAY LETS TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AT STARBUCKS.

SO, I was sitting in Starbucks, having settled myself into a comfortable nest in the corner of the long booth. Perfectly content, working my way through Sherlock Holmes, when this guy sat down. Now, not that big of a deal (beyond those booth seats being awkwardly close, and now I can’t stretch my leg out beside me. I can get over this). No, the big deal is this guy keeps SNUFFING HIS NOSE AND WONT GET UP AND JUST BLOW IT. I attempt to counter act this by sticking my headphones in and cranking up music. NOPE every 30 odd seconds I can hear it.

The worst part is he was really nice when I accidentally knocked a bit of my drink over. But dear lord just BLOW YOUR NOSE STOP MAKING THAT NOISE!

By the time the wailing child joined the chorus about an hour later I gave it up and left.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?: I feel like I’m way more relaxed than I was last time I did this. Last time I was SO concerned with finishing multiple novels (mainly cause I saw so many people’s stacks that had like 5+ novels in them and I was like “THEY’RE GOING TO READ ALL THAT!” found out, people don’t normally end up finishing their stacks.).


Mini-Challenge Book Scavenger Hunt


The hour 9 mini challenge is a scavenger hunt using a book currently reading. I will be using Gregory Maguire’s “Wicked” to find the following:

 Book Scavenger Hunt List
1.  Something hard: “The Tin Woodman was picking nits out of the Lion’s mane, and the Lion was muttering and squirming from the aggravation.” Prologue
2.  Something fast: “Galinda clutched her parcel of clothes to her breast. The old goat who sprawled on the seat across from her was missing the Wittica stop. She was glad that trains made passengers sleepy.” Part 2: Gillikin
3.  Something sweet: “But she woke up just then, and in the moonlight covered herself with a blanket. She smiled at him drowsily and called him “Yero, my hero,” and that melted his heart.”  Part 3: City Of Emeralds
4.  Something high: “A mile above Oz, the Witch balanced on the wind’s forward edge, as if she were a green fleck of the land itself, flung up and sent wheeling away by the turbulent air.” Prologue
5.  Something funny: “”Don’t go to the effort, I’ll let myself out the way I came in.” He looked up at the pear tree. “Poor thing, I’ve splintered some good-size limbs.” “Pity the poor tree. Why would you do that to it?” “Well, I was startled,” he said, “and I had a choice: either flip myself like a wood nymph through the leaves. Or else just climb quietly down on the other side of the stable, into the street, and go back to my life. Which would you choose?” Part 2: Gillikin

Readathon Mini-challenge; Top Ten List

Top Ten thoughts you have when you go too long without a break from reading.

  1. Why does my neck hurt?
  2. My mouth tastes funny…kinda like the Sahara.
  3. I’ll just move my leg…and now I can’t feel my foot, great.
  4. What was that noise? Probably nothing…
  5. Have I read this sentence already?
  6. Okay, that noise was definitely something falling over…not my problem right now.
  7. What time is it?
  8. Where did the sun go?
  9. Definitely just kept rereading that sentence over and over, no big deal. It was a good sentence anyways.
  10. Taking my pants off one handed without looking will be easy…yeah I should have worn a skirt to readathon in.
Review, RIPChallenge

Daughters Of The Witching Hill; mini-review


51+OzuX7CmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I very much enjoyed this book. I’ve had it for awhile, since Borders went out of business and their books were 200% off (okay it wasn’t that much). I was going through a phase around that time; we had just took a trip to Salem and I still looked fondly back on the Crucible. Okay maybe I’m not entirely out of this phrase considering I’m currently wearing my “It’s a Wicked Good Time” Salem, Mass. shirt.

So, I might be biased, but looking at this book objectively I still love it. Historically, it takes place in the late 1500s-early 1600s. There’s references to which monarch is in command when they switch (as they were switching a lot until Bess the First took over) and how that effects the people. From my limited knowledge the book is historically accurate of country living in England during that time. I particularly liked looking at the peasantry of this era, as typically it’s royalty that get the attention.

Additionally, I found the discussion of religion in the book particularly interesting as the main character Bess is old enough to have remembered when Catholicism was the religion of England and lived through Mary the Bloody and finally Elizabeth I. The tension between the old and new religion, and the conflict of the mythology that was seemingly accepted in old Catholicism, sparked my interest early in the novel.

There are a few plots that go unfinished, but I find a few loose ends realistic; you don’t tie up everything before you die in real life after all. But above all the novel gave me what I wanted; a realistic and interesting tale based off a real historic event. The backstories were rich, the characters reasonable, and the explanations clever. I was thankful it was a historic novel written in plain language, it added to the overall tone of the book.

Daughters Of The Witching Hill was the perfect light read (if not also tragic) to start autumn. Cleverly written, with interesting and different characters, and just enough witchy-ness for the season.

Daughters Of The Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt
Added to Reading England 2015
Apart of R.I.P.X Reading Challenge