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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #2141
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    I completely missed the Anne Rivers Siddons mentions a couple of threads back. Not surprising, since I wasn't even aware of her existence until I bought Bag in Bones in paperback, saw her rave review and then came across her name just about everywhere I looked: in Danse Macabre (which, for those of you who haven't read it, is a very thorough and enthusiastic non-fictional book on the horror genre in literature and cinema from the 1950's to the early 80's), in my Amazon recommendations and - apparently, without paying attention - on the FORT. Isn't it funny how things work that way? Anyway, I definitely want to read something else by Siddons since I really enjoyed her writing style and characterization. I understand that The House Next Door is a huge leap from her usual stuff, genre-wise, but I still think I'd enjoy reading something else by her. Since I trust and admire Rattus' taste in books (mainly because we tend to like the same things - let's face it, isn't that how most of us define that fleeting, intensely subjective thing we like to call "good taste"? ), I'm thinking I'll start with Fox's Earth. Why is it that you hated the rest of what you've read by her? Oh, and kattatude: since you're a big Siddons fan, which novel do you reckon I should pick up next? Admittedly, I have a soft spot for anything vaguely supernatural, so my liking The House Next Door so much might have something to do with that. Not entirely, though; I really loved that distinctly Southern feel of her characters and thoroughly enjoyed getting acquainted with their lifestyles. Is there another Siddons novel that, while not exploring similar themes, at least deals with glamorous suburbia and distinctly Southern environments?

    Seeing that I like to read just about everything available within the same genre back to back, I now want to exhaust the "Haunted House" subgenre of horror. I already got Ghost Story by Peter Straub and, of course, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson all lined up on my nightstand. Any other great contemporary(ish) haunted house horror novels out there I should look into while I'm at it? Classics are of course welcome as well, although I think I have most of them - M.R. James, Edith Wharton, Henry James' The Turn of the Shrew and so on - covered. Like I wrote in another thread, I'm thinking about writing my thesis about the horror genre, so I really want to read up on as much as possible over the summer. Any tips are more than welcome.

    While I'm working up the guts to dive into Ghost Story, which is supposed to be one of the scariest books ever written, I am enjoying a piece of easy, breezy, fun British chick lit that I picked up on my trip to the U.K.: Be Careful What You Wish For by Alexandra Potter. Not sure if it's available in the U.S. though, but if you're a fan of well-written, snazzy, and 100% enjoyable mind candy that doesn't insult your intelligence, this is what you're looking for. Ideal for lazy summer days on the beach.

    John, isn't 'Salem's Lot awesome? It will always have a special place in my heart since it was the very first Stephen King novel I picked up at a much-too-tender age, but regardless of the amount of nostalgia that might be involved, it's just a great ol' scary story. Love it. You may be interested in another early SK short story from the Night Shift collection that also, albeit a bit more vaguely, deals with 'Salem's Lot. The story I'm thinking about is called "One For the Road" and reads like a sort of post-script to the events that took place in 'Salem's Lot.

    Note to self: Re-read Night Shift a.s.a.p. Any other fans of that particular short story collection here? To me, it remains just about the strongest short story collection he's compiled, along with Skeleton Crew.

    ETA: Oh, and kattatude? Let me know how you like Digging to America. Anne Tyler is one of my favourite contemporary American novelists, and I bought Digging to America, hardcover and all, during my U.K. stint last week. Can't wait to read it. Right now, though, I'm all about paperbacks since I've been traveling quite a lot recently and like to travel light. Anne Tyler will just have to wait for a week or two.
    Last edited by geek the girl; 06-26-2006 at 02:57 PM.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  2. #2142
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    Geek, if you like Night Shift, you should definitely read Different Seasons. It's 4 of the best short stories King has ever written. It includes the stories that were turned into the movies "Stand By Me", "Shawshank Redemption", "Apt Pupil", and another short story called "The Breathing Method" that's too weird to ever be turned into a movie, but is excellent anyway. The stories are so much better than the movies.

  3. #2143
    Chakos::Linkletter::Epley breezez_air's Avatar
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    I started reading Anthony Kiedis' Autobiography last week. I can't put it down.

  4. #2144
    When I'm 64 William13's Avatar
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    Taking a short break from Trollope (I have 2 more of the Barset books on my "to be read next" shelf), I am currently reading WLT A Radio Romance by Garrison Keillor.
    "The sun rose promptly at dawn."
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  5. #2145
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post
    Geek, if you like Night Shift, you should definitely read Different Seasons. It's 4 of the best short stories King has ever written. It includes the stories that were turned into the movies "Stand By Me", "Shawshank Redemption", "Apt Pupil", and another short story called "The Breathing Method" that's too weird to ever be turned into a movie, but is excellent anyway. The stories are so much better than the movies.
    Different Seasons is yet another Stephen King fave of mine. I especially love "The Body" and - since I'm a sucker for the weird and grotesque - "The Breathing Method". Doesn't one of the characters from "The Breathing Method" (the butler, I think?) show up in another collection of short stories? Can't remember which one, though. It's been ages since I read Different Seasons, so I should definitely re-read it over the summer. Thanks for reminding me!

    Actually, I think that with the exception of Apt Pupil, which was a major disappointment to me, the movies are pretty much on the same (excellent!) level as the stories. Funny, since I usually tend to prefer the book over the movie - in these cases, I just can't decide since they're all fantastic. Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption are two of my all-time favourite movies. I should probably add that I saw Stand By Me before picking up Different Seasons. If I'd read the story before, chances are I'd be disappointed with the movie.

    Man, I feel like re-reading everything I own by Stephen King. It will take me a while, but it will be so much fun. I think I've mentioned this before, but my on-off love affair with Stephen King always blossoms in the summer time. There's something about the warm summer night/scary novels combo that's just unbeatable to me. Weird but true.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  6. #2146
    FORT Fan kattatude's Avatar
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    Geek, the books by Siddons that I most enjoyed were Peachtree Road, Outer Banks, Colony and Up Island. Her books do have a distinctive southern feel, so if you like that, you'll not be disappointed. Up Island was set in Maine, though.

    Ghost Story is a scary book! I read it years ago, and it totally freaked me out. If you like haunted house books, you might like The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson. I'm sure you've heard of that house as they made a movie about it. I read the Hell House book a long time ago, too, and remember that it also gave me shivers a few times.

    I'll be starting the Anne Tyler book soon, but I must warn you that I don't get through books very quickly these days. It seems you devour them in one setting sometimes! LOL I used to read voraciously, but not so much anymore. I'm lucky to get two novels read in a month. You'll probably get the Tyler book read before I do!

    Aren't you the one who likes Joyce Carol Oates? If so, did you read Bellefleur? I remember liking that book quite a bit back when I read it. As I recall, there were moments of creepiness in that book.

    Stephen King's Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales had a couple of stories that scared me. One especially, called The Road Virus Heads North. I don't know if the story was actually all that scary, or if it was just the circumstances while reading it. Sometimes his books don't sit too well with me when I'm in bed reading at night, and that was the last story I read out of that collection before turning off the light that night. Let's just say, I didn't forget it anytime soon.

  7. #2147
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips, kattatude. And yep, I'm the Joyce Carol Oates fan. I actually wrote a 15-page essay on Bellefleur last year and not even that managed to put me off her. Great book, and incredibly ambitious too. I'm amazed at how easily Oates moves from one genre or writing style to the next, all the while remaining that essentially "Oatesian" overall feel. Her supernatural stories are superb, very disturbing and freaky. I know that Stephen King is a big fan, and apparently she enjoys his work as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by kattatude View Post

    I'll be starting the Anne Tyler book soon, but I must warn you that I don't get through books very quickly these days. It seems you devour them in one setting sometimes! LOL I used to read voraciously, but not so much anymore. I'm lucky to get two novels read in a month. You'll probably get the Tyler book read before I do!
    I do tend to read very quickly, and yes, sometimes in one sitting. If I seem unusually voracious right now, it's because uni's out for the semester and I don't have a proper summer job, so I have lots of time on my hands. We'll see who finishes the Anne Tyler novel first. It seems like a great book; she has yet to disappoint me.

    Quote Originally Posted by kattatude View Post

    Stephen King's Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales had a couple of stories that scared me. One especially, called The Road Virus Heads North. I don't know if the story was actually all that scary, or if it was just the circumstances while reading it. Sometimes his books don't sit too well with me when I'm in bed reading at night, and that was the last story I read out of that collection before turning off the light that night. Let's just say, I didn't forget it anytime soon.
    Finally someone who shares my "The Road Virus Heads North" love! Or actually, I'm not sure "love" is the right word, but I like it a lot and as you say, it stays with you long after you've finished it. It's one of my favourites from Everything's Eventual, mainly because it scared the heck out of me. I have this weird fascination with stories about pictures that change shape and form. Did you read Stephen King's preface to the story? Apparently, he owns the painting! How scary is that? I know I couldn't sleep if I had a painting like that in my house. Another thing that really frightens me is the idea of haunted television sets or any other electronical gadgets, so you can imagine that one particular scene in The House Next Door freaked me out big time.
    Click to see Spoiler:
    I'm talking about the scene where Anita wakes up in the middle of that Vietnam movie which was never on TV in the first place. Frightening stuff. When I was younger and still traumatized from It, I sometimes imagined that the TV would be switched on by itself and Pennywise the Clown would be on. The idea of an evil television set that feeds on your fears is so scary - maybe I should write a novel about it?


    Right now, I'm trying to gather enough courage to be able to start Ghost Story later tonight. I'm not sure it's very wise since my boyfriend won't be home until late, but I'm really eager to read it. I'll probably log onto the FORT if Peter Straub freaks me out too bad. I don't mind blood, gore, or serial killers, but hand me a proper ghost story and I'll have trouble sleeping for days. Funny, that.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  8. #2148
    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    Geek, I've been on a kick of re-reading King lately, too, and just finished The Talisman, which I hadn't read in years and which was always one of my favorites. I read somewhere that he and Straub are planning a third and final book of that story (Black House would be the second).
    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever. -- David St. Hubbins

  9. #2149
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy View Post
    Geek, I've been on a kick of re-reading King lately, too, and just finished The Talisman, which I hadn't read in years and which was always one of my favorites. I read somewhere that he and Straub are planning a third and final book of that story (Black House would be the second).
    A trilogy would be amazing! I checked out Black House from the library a couple of weeks ago and since then have been putting it on hold, even though I'm dying to read it. See, I'm saving it for our trip to northern Sweden (that's Sweden's equivalent of Canada, by the way, AJane ) by the end of next week. I intend to get a lot of reading done while my man's out fishing, and I want to bring long, absorbing books - perfect holiday reading material, basically. Seeing how much I loved The Talisman, I have pretty high hopes for Black House. It will be fun trying to work out which chapters were written by King and which ones are Straub's work, especially since I'll by then have an idea of what Peter Straub's writing style is like. I started Ghost Story earlier tonight - nothing like the comfort of two purring cats on your lap to dare dive into a scary book when you're home alone - and while it has yet to become a fully-fledged ghost story, it's already very enjoyable. I'll definitely read more of his work.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  10. #2150
    a jumble of useless facts gracie's Avatar
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    At the moment I seem to be on a nonfiction kick. I'm reading Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid by Joe Klein. I'm just getting into it, but it tells how demographics and polls have become the way of politics.
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