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Credit: Abigail LarsonWelcome to September! I can’t believe how fast August flew by. I’m excited to join in with RIP X this year, R(eaders) I(mbibing) P(eril)’s tenth anniversary event, this time hosted by the Estella Society. I’ve never participated before, but I did see it for the first time around on other blogs last year.

The guidelines are easy: 1) Enjoy literature or films in the mystery, horror, suspense, thriller, gothic, dark fantasy, supernatural, or other sufficiently creepy genre; 2) Have fun reading and watching; and 3) Share that fun with others. RIP X officially runs September 1 to October 31, but you can join in anytime.

There are several levels of participation in RIP X:

  • Peril the First: Read four books of any length that fit within the broad RIP genres
  • Peril the Second: Read two books
  • Peril the Third: Read one book
  • Peril of the Short Story: Read short stories any time during the challenge
  • Peril on the Screen: Watch \scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare—TV or film
  • Peril of the Group Read: Lauren Owen’s The Quick

I’m certain I’ll watch plenty of TV shows and movies that apply to Peril on the Screen, and I’ve selected some books I’ve had on my shelves for a while that will work well:

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I’m not sure I want to fully commit to Peril the First, but I can manage Peril the Second, and at least one short story from Get in Trouble for Peril of the Short Story. I also remember seeing around the blogosphere that there will be a read-along of Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot coming up and I’d love to get in on that—I will investigate further!

misery

This month, Care at Care’s Online Book Club hosted a readalong of Stephen King’s Misery. Edited from Goodreads:

Paul Sheldon, author of a bestselling series of historical romances, wakes up one winter day in a strange place to unspeakable pain (a dislocated pelvis, a crushed knee, two shattered legs) and to a bizarre greeting from the woman who saved his life: “I’m your number one fan!”

Annie Wilkes is a huge ex-nurse, handy with controlled substances and other instruments of abuse, including an ax and a blowtorch. A dangerous psychotic with a Romper Room sense of good and bad, fair and unfair, Annie Wilkes may be Stephen King’s most terrifying creation.

What a fun, creepy, genuinely scary story! I read a few of King’s books in high school, then two more a couple years ago (Under the Dome11/22/63), and couldn’t resist this readalong when I found it. Somehow I always forget how much I enjoy King’s books and writing. And of my limited experience with King, Misery is probably the freakiest of what I’ve read.

CGXdaIvUkAAZmMbI probably never thought to read this since I’ve seen the movie several times—it’s one of my favorite horror flicks. The cast is absolutely perfect. And while I still love the movie, the book was better (as books tend to be), and goes well beyond the terror found in the movie. I listened to Misery on audio while at work (it was a quiet week at the office) and squirmed and squealed through many parts that were particularly gruesome and sadistic. On audio, though, some of the Misery sections (where we’re reading Paul’s new story about Misery, the character in his romance series) were hard to follow and tiresome. I looked through those parts in my hardcover copy and they made much more sense on paper.

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What makes Misery special of King’s work is that it’s horror but without the supernatural—more of a psychological thriller. You read about dangerous, lethal psychopaths like Annie in the news all the time. King is a master at creating interesting, memorable characters, and Annie and Paul in Misery are no exception. More so, even, being basically the only two people in the entire story. King delves deeply into both of their psyches. Annie must rank right up there as one of the most strange and terrifying cockadoodie villains in literature. Awesome book!

Listened to audiobook from June 9 to 11, 2015.

it’s monday! what are you reading?

It’s Monday, what are you reading?—a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Finished The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, this morning! It was just the right book for me right after such heavy reads (Wave and We Need to Talk About Kevin). Review coming later this week! Over the holiday weekend I also finished Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury for the readalong with my friend Anthony. We’ll meet up this week and discuss it at some point, after which I’ll put up a review post here. Stay tuned!

So, that leaves me with the audiobook for Our Divided Political Heart by E.J. Dionne. Like I said before, I haven’t been in the car much lately, and that’s what works best for me to really get into listening to audiobooks, especially long trips. But I am still really interested in this and the times I’ve been able to squeeze in some listening I’ve enjoyed it. I borrowed a digital copy from the library and renewed it today, and since I’m halfway through already I’m hoping to be able to finish it by/on Wednesday this week.

On Thursday I’m heading up to Wisconsin for the annual family reunion weekend, and we picked up two audiobooks for the trip:

The Good Rat by Jimmy Breslin
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Not sure we’ll get through both (not enough hours in the car!) but I always think it’s good to have a couple choices on the road.

What are you reading this week?

it’s monday! what are you reading?

It’s Monday, what are you reading?—a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s the last day of June, which means we are officially halfway through the year! I plan to do a half-way point post this week to recap what I’ve read so far in 2014. Stay tuned!

I’m still working on The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, which I started last Monday. I thought I’d finish it pretty quickly but ended up busier last week than I expected to be (work during the day, activities each night) so I’m still stuck only about a quarter of the way in. It’s good, though! I’m having a more trouble with Our Divided Political Heart by E.J. Dionne, though, which I also started on audio last week. Audio works best for me in the car, and I haven’t been in the car for long enough to really get into it lately (and won’t this coming week, either). I am interested in the subject and I want to read it, but maybe the timing is bad for audio for me right now. Well, who knows, maybe I can squeeze in an hour here or there this week. ALSO, today, I’m starting Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. My friend Anthony and I bought matching copies at a library sale last summer and neither of us had gotten around to it yet. With his impending move to Canada in a couple months we finally decided now’s the time to have our little readalong! We’re nerds and have made up the following ridiculous Twitter hashtag for it: #anthonyandkristinreadsomethingwickedthisway comesbyraybradburysummer2014 (subject to change!)

We aim be done by the end of the week, and hopefully have time to get together to discuss it. Have you read Something Wicked This Way Comes? The only other Bradbury I’ve read is Fahrenheit 451 (in 2009).

What are you reading this week?

11/22/63

Today is the final day of the #112263Along, reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63! I had a lot of fun with this one and I hope you did, too. From Goodreads:

If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you? Would the consequences be what you hoped?

Jake Epping, 35, teaches high-school English in Lisbon Falls, Maine, and cries reading the brain-damaged janitor’s story of childhood Halloween massacre by their drunken father. On his deathbed, pal Al divulges a secret portal to 1958 in his diner back pantry, and enlists Jake to prevent the 11/22/1963 Dallas assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. Under the alias George Amberson, our hero joins the cigarette-hazed full-flavored world of Elvis rock’n’roll, Negro discrimination, and freeway gas-guzzlers without seat belts. Will Jake lurk in impoverished immigrant slums beside troubled loner Lee Harvey Oswald, or share small-town friendliness with beautiful high school librarian Sadie Dunhill, the love of his life?

There were a lot of things I really enjoyed about 11/22/63. I thought that Jake was very likable, as was most of the other characters. I’m not an expert on King’s catalog (at least, before this and the Under the Dome readalong earlier this year I hadn’t read King in about 15 years), but it’s clear he is a consummate storyteller. I loved the world-building he did for the late 50s and early 60s—the music, the era-specific technology, and the culture were pretty well fleshed out. While perhaps the racism of the times was glossed over, that is forgivable since 11/22/63 isn’t supposed to be about race relations.

When you come down to it, 11/22/63 is a love story… with elements of alternate history and time travel. The love affair between Jake and Sadie is funny, sweet, and heartbreaking (although I thought the sex scenes were kind of awkward…). Jake also falls in love with small-town Jodie, Texas and its people, quickly becoming a favorite teacher and drama coach at the high school (some teacher clichés are in there, though).

The best way to experience 11/22/63 is to suspend your disbelief, and just go along for the ride. There are time travel rules that are a little weird, and I got major Biff (Back to the Future) vibe with Jake’s money-raising tactics. Also I think overall the book is kind of longer than it needs to be. Parts in the middle dragged a bit, and thinking about 11/22/63 after finishing I feel like this is almost two books squished into one.

I think I liked the JFK plot line the best. I was spellbound by Jake’s reconnaissance on Lee Harvey Oswald and his family, and the events leading up to that fateful November day in Dallas. And then, the ending flipped everything on it’s head and I was gripped once again. I do wish it had ended with the “Final Notes” chapter rather than the last one. Just felt more… authentic?? Is that weird to say about a sci-fi alternate history story? 😉 But I may say that and feel that way because I’m not a reader who needs all loose ends tied up for me—I don’t mind unresolved endings.

Anyway, thanks for joining me on the #112263Along if you did! And if you already read the book, I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments. 🙂

Read from October 21 to December 21, 2013.

it’s monday! what are you reading?

It’s Monday, what are you reading?—a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Well it turned out that my parents had a long delay and didn’t end up making it to Kansas City this last weekend 😦 so I spent a lot of Saturday reading more of Stephen King’s 11/22/63 for the 112263Along. I only have about 200 pages left to go now—feeling a lot better about finishing before the last day of the readalong (Dec 22)! I’ve also been continuing with Sudden Sea by R. A. Scotti this week—the book group discussion at the library is this coming Friday night, and I have less than 100 pages to go. No problem! I wish I had new books to report for this post, but I feel good about my progress on these two I’ve been working on.

Next week I’m really hopeful that I’ll find time to read while I’m visiting family, but we’ll see. I don’t seem to have much luck or time to myself on those trips (which is fine! I love hanging out with family). I have a few audiobooks lined up to see about listening to on the drive—maybe between me and my husband we can agree on a couple (luckily we have pretty similar tastes!).

What are you reading this week?