I heart Shirley Jackson!

The Haunting of Hill House The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow.  Where have you been all of my life Shirley Jackson?  This book is not necessarily a super scary book, but the writing SO incredible.  The way she writes makes me want to roll around in her words like a blanket.

“Don’t do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again.”

I mean, seriously.  Isn’t that just delicious?

The characters are generally unlikable but the banter between them is terrific.  This entire story is told by an unreliable narrator that becomes even more unreliable as time goes on.  It’s crazy.  And it’s crazy good.

We Have Always Lived in the CastleWe Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this one even more!  I can’t even express in words how much I love Shirley Jackson right now.  What an incredible storyteller.

“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all, I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in our family is dead.”

I love it.  Her writing makes me smile.  And bite my nails.  And stay up too late.  I don’t know how I have lived for the last 36 years and not known about this author.  I’ve never  been a fan of the short story, but I will definitely be picking up some of Shirley Jackson’s.

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This took me forever to read. Maybe I would have had a higher opinion of the book had I read it in fewer sittings. I just couldn’t do it. I don’t know if it was the stilted manner in which Van Helsing spoke or the slow pacing throughout the middle of the book. There were sections of the book that I thought were great, but there were just not enough of them to keep my interest.

The beginning starts out with Jonathan Harker held captive by Count Dracula in his mansion in Transylvania. I thought this was a fantastic beginning and I was totally on board. The epistolary format allowed me to see exactly what was going through Harker’s mind as he fully realizes the situation he’s in. His earliest journal entries are full of superstitions and doubts and those niggling feelings. By the time he finally leaves, he is so out of his mind with fear and crazy thoughts that he’s admitted to a sanitarium. It was awesome. I really enjoy being inside of a crazy person’s head (other than my own).

Afterwards, more characters are introduced and the very slow ramping up to the next bit of scary stuff. I found myself irritated with Van Helsing more than once, as he tends to come off as a pompous, secretive, misogynistic ass. And it seems that he really likes to talk. A lot. About not much of anything that can be understood by anyone in the room.

Overall, I’m glad I read it but I don’t see myself picking it up again.

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