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In Which I Play Catch Up Part Two

November 26, 2010

We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

From the publisher:
Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.

I had wanted to read We Have Always Lived In The Castle ever since I found out that Shirley Jackson also wrote “The Lottery”, one of the few short stories that made a big enough impression on me in high school that I still remember it. When I came across this awesome edition while book shopping a little while ago, I instantly snatched it up. I thought it would make the perfect creepy Fall read.

It turns out Castle wasn’t as creepy as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, very much so. And the family it’s about definitely isn’t your regular, run of the mill group of folks. But I was expecting “The Lottery” levels of unsettledness. Castles is just a different kind of story.

I reread “The Lottery” when I was a couple chapters into Castle, and it never ceases to be thoroughly disconcerting. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend checking it out. A pdf of it is available here.

My rating: 8/10

It Happened One Night by Lisa Dale

From the author’s website:
Lana Biel longs to leave her family’s Vermont wildflower farm so she can travel and see the world. And her sister Karin wants nothing more than to put down roots and conceive the child she and her husband just can’t seem to have. When a lighthearted fling with a mountain biker leaves Lana expecting, she finds herself tumbling headlong into motherhood while her sister Karin can only look on.
For help, Lana turns to Eli Ward, a professional meteorite hunter and her best friend for the last ten years. But Eli’s keeping secrets that could turn their friendship on its head. As the Vermont seasons change and the flowers in the wildflower meadows begin to fade, Lana must make some meaningful decisions about her family, her friendships, her love life, and her dreams.

This is another case where I was expecting one thing and got another. With the winter weather coming on, I was looking forward to reading some wintery books and this looked like just the thing. Unfortunately all the winter scenes are left until the last chapter.

It’s labeled Contemporary Romance, but it is was mostly about Lana becoming vulnerable enough to allow herself to fully fall in love. It Happened One Night was an okay read, predictable but it kept me entertained for a couple days. However, I never really felt invested in the story or any of the characters. Also, {spoiler} graphic birth scenes give me the heebie jeebies which may have soured my reading experience a bit. *shudder* {end spoiler}

My rating: 6/10

To The Nines by Janet Evanovich

Now here’s a book that gave exactly what I was expecting it to. Bounty hunter Stephanie Plums is after Samuel Singh, an illegal immigrant who has disappeared. The search, of course, sets a psychopath after her, which results in shootings, spying, and emergency haircuts.

To The Nines was the first Plum book in a while that actually made me laugh out loud – alone at home, in the middle of a crowded train – there was full out laughter. However, it was also the only one in the series so far I can think of where the culprit was blazingly obvious and Stephanie’s constant “Oh who could it be? It’s definitely, absolutely not this person” kind of drove me nuts. But, the Stephanie Plum series is less about whodunnit as it is look-what-Stephanie-had-to-go-though and how-did-she-survive-that and Ranger-or-Morelli-Ranger-or-Morelli. It that way, it was a very satisfying addition to the Stephanie Plum series.

My rating: 7.5/10

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2010 9:58 am

    you did play catchup! awesome. I vaguely remember The Lottery. Will have to look into that I swear I’ve heard of it before…. :)

  2. November 26, 2010 11:27 am

    I have this Jackson book but just haven’t read it. I’m on book 16 of Evanovich’s series and getting a bit burned out by them! I will probably pass on the middle one.

  3. November 27, 2010 7:34 am

    Oh, yeah, nothing’s as creepy as “The Lottery.” Shirley Jackson outdid herself there. Plus it’s easy to have a smash-bang impact in a short story. But I thought she did a really good job with creating the creepy atmosphere in Castle, anyway.

  4. She permalink
    November 27, 2010 10:36 am

    I would definitely suggest The Haunting of Hill House if you like Jackson but want a little more creepy. It’s another one of hers, but it’s a bit more ‘horror’ than Castle.

  5. November 28, 2010 2:32 pm

    Can’t believe I somehow missed Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived In The Castle and The Lottery. I really liked The Haunting of Hill House and I am definitely in the mood for thise kind of book. Thanks for posting the PDF of the Lottery, I am going to read it right now! Thanks!

  6. November 30, 2010 10:28 pm

    I also really loved the Lottery. I may have to add We Have Always Lived In The Castle to my TBR. Thanks for the review!

    PS. I took your advice and only did a mini-review for one of my catch ups :)

  7. December 3, 2010 3:45 pm

    I got that same vibe when I read the premises of It Happened One Night. Great mini reviews :)

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