Sep 3, 2010

RIP the Fifth


Part of me can hardly believe that the fifth annual RIP challenge is here, or that this is my fourth time participating already. It feels like it was only some two months ago that I was making my list for RIP IV, and preparing to discover the wonder that is Wilkie Collins for the first time. And only a mere six months before that – surely it can’t have been longer? – I was hurriedly putting together my list for RIP II (Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Book of Lost Things were included) and preparing to leave to study abroad for a semester (kind of like now). Where does time go?

No, it has not escaped my notice that this is not the first time I begin a RIP post with a bout of nostalgia – and this is only one of the many ways in which Carl’s reading challenges are just like Christmas. Unfortunately, this year I won’t actually get to be around* for much of RIP (which, for the newcomers, lasts from September 1st to Halloween), but I shouldn’t let that keep me from the joys of list-making, should I? I’ll hopefully be with you for the final weeks of the challenge, and until then I’ll certainly be thinking about joining this lovely bloggy celebration of all things creepy, Gothic, horrific, mysterious and perilous. Without further ado, here’s my list of potential choices for this year’s RIP:

RIP Reading List
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters – As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been saving this one because I don’t want to run out of unread Sarah Waters novels. But I’m only human, and I can’t resist for much longer.

  • Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenager – Yes, as usual I’m one year behind everyone else.

  • Ghost Stories by Edith Wharton – I don’t know much about these, actually, but I love those Wordsworths Classics of the Supernatural editions, and somehow I have a feeling I’d like Wharton’s short fiction a lot.

  • Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen – I’ve only ever read one of Blixen’s short stories, “The Blank Page”, but I absolutely loved it. Time to read more.

  • East Lynne by Ellen Wood, Aurora Floyd by Mary Elizabeth Braddon and No Name by Wilkie Collins – If I could, I’d happily spend the whole of September and October reading nothing but Victorian sensation novels. I hope to get to at least one of these, but it will depend on what the library at my new location has.

  • The Woman in Black by Susan Hill – Another one I can hardly believe I haven’t read yet.

  • Don’t Look Now by Daphne du Maurier and The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson – because both authors are brilliant, and because I need to read more short stories.

  • Fledgling by Octavia Butler – I absolutely loved Kindred and can hardly wait to read more Butler.

  • The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie – …which will be my first Christie. I’ve been on a mystery kick this year, so it’s about time I make Dame Agatha’s acquaintance.

  • Love Lies Bleeding or The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Wilson Crispin – Another classic mystery author I think I might really enjoy.

  • Whatever I can find by Michael McDowell – I confess hadn’t even heard of McDowell until recently, when a reader of this blog and fellow lover of du Maurier, Shirley Jackson and Angela Carter e-mailed me urging me to read him. How can I resist a recommendation from a fan of those three writers? McDowell specialises in Southern Gothic family sagas, which definitely sounds right up my alley.
There. As always, if you’ve read any of these I’d love to hear your thoughts. Considering how busy I’ll be for all of September and part of October, I doubt I’ll have time for more than three or four books, but listing them is half the fun, right? I can’t wait to hear all about what everyone else will be reading.

In other news, I’m off to spend the weekend in one of my favourite cities in the world, Santiago de Compostela, where I’ll see The Arcade Fire, one of my favourite bands. I hope your weekend is as wonderful as mine promises to be, and I’ll see you next week!

*on which more soon.


  1. Love your list, Ana! Ooh, I absolutely loved The Woman in Black! Very atmospheric and yeah, creepy.

    I'm keeping Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger for the next RIP Challenge, but of course my list always changes, and then there's my mood that has the final say, LOL.

    Hope you've a wonderful weekend!

  2. That is a very inspirational list! I haven't read any of these, but I look forward to 'Her fearful symmetry' and 'Don't look now'. Both are on my bed-side table and you may just have persuaded me to pick them up as soon as I've finished what I am currently reading.

  3. Fabulous list, Ana! I want to read several of these as well.

    But I'm going to miss you! I'm excited for you and your new life, but sad for me!

  4. Out of the ones Ive read the one I really didnt like was Fledgling but I hear that one wasnt the authors best.

    The Little Stranger was a grower, I liked it when I first read it but now when I look back and think about it I realise it was actually really really good.

  5. I pretty much just did the net equivalent of dropping everything and running here when I saw you had your list up. I know how excited you get about RIP and you always pick such fab books. Listing is half the fun, who doesn't love a good aspirational list? I keep adding to mine, must stop now.

    Even if you just read 'The Little Stranger' your RIP is going to rock. Love that book a lot. And The Woman in Black is fantastic, if you get chance you should try to see it performed while you're over (although I know your concert schedule is going to take up lots of free time). And your first Christie is kind of like a detective right of passage - so special.

    Have fun this weekend!

  6. I think I had a copy of Edith Wharton's ghost stories before the move, but I suspect it ended up at a used book store :( I wish I would have hung on to it.

    I'm very jealous of you getting to see The Arcade Fire! The closest I've gotten to seeing them live is seeing them live on TV on an episode of Austin City Limits, and it's still one of the best "live" shows I've seen. I bet you're in for a treat. Have a great time!

  7. Ooh, great list, Ana! I knew it would be. I haven't posted mine yet but that's because I have lots of outstanding posts that haven't been written yet (including a review of Fledgling) ... maybe this weekend.

    I will have The Lottery and Other Stories on it, however, and have read a few from your list (The Little Stranger, Fledgling, The Woman in Black and Her Fearful Symmetry).

    "The Blank Page" is a superb short story - is it in Seven Gothic Tales or another of her collections? I keep meaning to read more Dinesen.

    /off to look up Michael McDowell.

    Enjoy The Arcade Fire! I love their version of Jingle Bells, which I put on my Christmas mix CD every year :p

  8. I hadn't even finished reading this post when I had to come start sorting my comment. :D Too many good books on the list!

    My friend Karen is a huge fan of Edith Wharton and she says her ghost stories are fabulous. I had no idea Isak Dinesen wrote gothic stories! Those sound awesome! If your library doesn't have No Name, Gutenberg certainly does! And probably Librivox too, if you want to listen to it for free. I have The Lottery & Other Stories downloaded in audio right now!

    And now I'll quit before I continue to go on at even more length.

  9. Any list with Wilkie Collins on it is a great one! I do hope you get to some more great Sensation fiction...the other books sound good though. happy reading :)

  10. Great list! I hope you'll be able to find at least one of the sensation novels in your library. I haven't read Aurora Floyd yet but I loved both No Name and East Lynne.

  11. Oh, I became ridiculously envious when I saw Don't Look Now on your list! As I've said a time or twenty, she became my absolute favorite writer of short stories a couple years back during RIP...and well, I just need to get my hands on more! (And overcome the ludicrous fear that I won't like her novels and just read Rebecca.)

    I sure hope you're able to squeeze in a bit of reading here and there throughout these next several crazy weeks. Even if we have to wait a while for the would surely be worth the wait!

  12. That's a great list! Glad you're on a mystery kick! :)Really hope you'll enjoy your first Christie!

  13. The Little Stranger is on my list too! I read Her Fearful Symmetry for last years RIP and I loved it!

  14. Ooooo....lovely, lovely list! I can't believe 5 years have passed either, Ana. The time has vanished, rather than dragged by. It is amazing really. I'm so glad you are going to participate in whatever way you can this year. It would be devastating to not have you as part of the RIP challenge, it really would be.

  15. I'm so excited to see Don't Look Now on your list! I hope you love those short stories.

    I also have Wharton's short stories on my list for this year.

  16. I haven't read any of those books. Good luck with the challenge.

  17. As always, I should have waited to make my list until I saw yours. That's a great list of books, and I hope you have time to join us!

  18. Oh yay, you're finally reading an Agatha Christie! I think I've read The Murder at the Vicarage. It's hard to keep track because I've read so many of her book! I hope you enjoy it, though.

  19. I can't believe you've never read an Agatha Christie novel! That really shocks me... I hope you enjoy her! I don't think Murder at the Vicarage is anywhere near her best (then again, Miss Marple was never my favourite of her sleuths), but chronologically it is certainly the place to start!

  20. Great list of books! I'm now intrigued about Susan Hill. Oh dear, I don't even own Niffeneger's book yet so you're not the only one :P I adored reading Agatha Christie aeons ago too! [PS Will email you in two days :)]

  21. I'm chuckling because I am the same way about Waters. I have two left, and I am carefully planning on when I will allow myself to read them. I loved The Little Stranger. That has serious potential for a re-read with me. I really should do this challenge, as I already have posts planned in September that would fit. Perhaps I will if I can get the lazies out.

  22. Oh, I love your list!! I have read a few of these and you're in for a treat. I am going to do RIP but I will be a bit late, as we are MOVING TO OUR NEW HOUSE AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! :) I might have to indulge in some really trashy Drucula-revival books.

  23. The Little Stranger has received such mixed reviews, but I thought it was one of her best books yet (up there with The Night Watch, my other favorite). Hopefully you agree, since it's the one you haven't read! :-)

    And I keep meaning to check out Wharton's ghost stories, too. Ever since I read the Lee bio on her, I've been very curious about them! (And about her one explicitly erotic story - Wharton + erotica just seems like such a bizarre combo that I want to check it out.)

  24. I've read Wharton's ghost stories, but maybe not the exact same collection as yours.

    I have almost all of Agatha Christie's mysteries, but it's been years since I read any of them (I re-read a non-mystery of hers for the Detective Fiction Classics tour, though).

    And, I had no idea Isak Dinesen wrote anything other than "out of Africa"! Hope you get to this one and share what you think.

    Good luck with everything over the next couple months!

  25. Wharton's short fiction is really good -- I especially liked the ghost stories. I also highly recommend Du Maurier -- thanks for reminding me that I haven't read all her short stories yet!

  26. As usual, a FANTASTIC pool!! I hope you get to Her Fearful Symmetry! I think you'll like that one but I could be totally wrong :p And HAVE FUN SEEING ARCADE FIRE!!! Like you wouldn't :p

  27. I am so excited that you're reading Agatha Christie-- she's fabulous! I hope you love her.

  28. Ooooo lovely picks!! I wonder what you'll think of Her Fearful Symmetry. It was different than I thought. I'm doing an Agatha Christie one too. Yay!

  29. Horray for Dame Agatha! I must confess, I don't remember too much about THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE (I think it was among the first of her books that I read, more than a decade ago), but she's wonderful in general. My favourite is DUMB WITNESS, which features an absolutely delightful dog character.

  30. have fun nymeth! I've been wanting to read The Woman in Black.

  31. Ahhhhhh!!! The Lottery scared the living bejeebus outta me freshman year high school.

  32. I haven't read the whole lot but I have read every single Agatha Christie!!! Just love her writing her wit and sense of intrigue!!! Happy reading and a wonderful weekend to you too.

  33. Oh, I love your list! East Lynne is AMAZING. And I'm dying to get to Edmund Wilson at some point. I'm sad that you don't get to be around for the whole challenge. We'll have to read more on your behalf! :)

  34. I've seen other people announcing they're joining in this challenge, but your post actually inspired me to maybe join in too.

    I've got Her Fearful Symmetry on the TBR shelve as well as a Wilkie Collins book, The Moonstone. Maybe I can find another book or two, and I'll join in!

    Good luck with the challenge. I didn't like The Little Stranger too much (less than I expected) so I'm interested to know what you think.

  35. I have The Little Stranger on my list as well, and also a du Maurier. I love this challenge.

  36. Goody! It will be great to read your reviews of whatever you decide to imbibe for this challenge! Murder at the Vicarage was my very first Agatha, and it still haunts me...
    As for "The Lottery" I truly believe it to be THE perfect short story, and will be eager for your insights.
    Happy, happy weekend--and happy, happy reading!

  37. What a great list! and you're right, compiling our lists is such fun, I really look forward to it.

    I've been reading (and re-reading in some cases) Edmund Crispin lately, and I love him! And I thought Her Fearful Symmetry was tremendous.

    Happy reading!

  38. Nymeth, I just love your list! I too get so behind and just don't get to books that I want to read. There is such an abundance and never enough time. You reminded me of Edmund Crispin (I'm guessing he is the same person as Edmund Wilson? I recognize the title, but have it under the name Crispin.) -- I'd forgotten I have that very novel in my stacks of books. I do so agree with you that a good part of the fun is making the list.

    Have you started library school yet? Sorry if you have mentioned this and I've missed it. I've been overwhelmed by my job (yes, a library job) and haven't been able to get around as much as I'd like.

  39. Her Fearful Symmetry is also on my list, but most of the rest is unfamiliar to me! I did really enjoy The Little Stranger, though, and I hope you feel the same.

  40. I'm participating too, Ana, and I LOVE your list of books! You've just given me a few ideas. I have The Woman in Black, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Little Stranger. I think I might add those into my potential list too. Have fun with this!

  41. Oh the list looks wonderful! I wish I could participate but with the moving and everything- it’s a bit crazy right now but can’t wait to read your reviews Ana :)

  42. Such great choices, Ana! I am going to join this year too, albeit a little late. Good luck and have fun!

  43. Great list, Nymeth. I have to add The Women in Black to my list. Arcade Fire in concert? You lucky girl! Have a wonderful week.

  44. I look forward to reading your thoughts about Her Fearful Symmetry... :-) And to hearing about your 'going abroad' plans too! :-)

  45. Oh, read Woman in Black! Of course, I'm still trying to get Chris to read it too. It is so good and creepy and atmospheric. I have to read The Little Stranger, that might be my book-buy this week, for this challenge. I'm so glad you are going to try to read what you can for this challenge, it wouldn't be the same without you. And do you know, when I heard Arcade Fire were playing in Portugal this weekend, I wondered if you were going!!! lol Off to do my post now for this challenge.....

  46. That is a fabulous list! I've read The Little Stranger. It's great. I've also read some of Wharton's ghost stories. They were great, too. :) And I cannot remember whether I've read that particular Agatha Christie book you mention, but I have read quite a few and all have been very enjoyable reads.

    I'm beginning to think I just have to join one more challenge this autumn... ;)


  47. I think I am going to read The Little Stranger. It is on so many peoples' lists. Too bad we couldn't work something out to make it a group thing... I really should read Her Fearful Symmetry, too... So many books, so little time!

  48. Melody: I remember your review of The Woman in Black - it made me want to read it even more, of course!

    Femke: Let us hope that we both enjoy them :)

    Amy: Aw, I'll miss you all too! But hopefully once I get settled in I'll be able to be around again, even if I don't post as often.

    Jessica: Fledgling seems to divide opinions, but I'm hoping it'll work for me.

    Jodie: Haha, yes. I'm starting to thing there's such a thing as too many concerts :P But I should be able to fit in a play or two :P I'd love to see Shakespeare performed, which I've only ever had the chance to do on film. And of course, there are all those wonderful sounding Discworld stage adaptations...

    Kate: They're amazing live - this was my fourth time seeing them and they never disappoint! And that's too bad about Wharton's ghost stories, though I totally understand having to leave books behind when you move.

    Claire: I think "The Blank Page" is in another collection, but this one sounds great as well. That story is actually the only Dinesen I've read. I need to change that!

    Amanda: I can't believe I didn't think of Gutenberg! They do have No Name, and East Lynne too, so hooray :D

    Rebecca: Thank you! And yes, there's no going wrong with Collins :)

    Helen: I have a feeling I'll love them both too. Amanda reminded me of Gutenberg which does have them, so I'll hopefully be able to read those too :D

    Debi: You probably remember how much I loved The Birds & Other Stories, so I can't believe it's taken me so long to get to her other collection! Also, there's NO WAY you won't like Rebecca, so please read it asap kthxbai :P

    Bina: I hope I will too!

    Stephanie: Her Fearful Symmetry got some pretty mixed reviews last year, but I have a feeling I'll love it too.

    Carl: I hope I'll always be around for RIP, even if I don't post as often. Thank you for hosting again! Your challenges aree always a delight :D

    Chris: I think I will! It's about time I get started on the Du Maurier challenge, so I really need to get to it :P

    Kathy: Thank you!

    Trisha: I will for the last few weeks at least! And before that, I'll be with you in spirit :P

    Emidy: I hope I do too!

    Steph: I know - I can't believe it either :P I've been told Murder at the Vicarage was a good place to start by a few different people. Then again, one of them was Eva, who is a huge Miss Marple fan :P If I'm not too crazy about it, I'll make sure I try Poirot before giving up on her, though!

    Lightheaded: Thank you again for the e-mail :D I can't wait to discover Christie. If you liked that book, there's a good chance I will too :P

    Sandy: We're a bunch of Sarah Waters junkies ;)

    Daphne: yay! I'm SO happy for you and Terri :D Best of luck with the movie!

    Emily: The Night Watch is almost my favourite - Fingersmith will probably always be #1 for me because it was my first and took me by surprise, but I find The Night Watch absolutely brilliant. I hope we do agree on The Little Stranger too!

    Valerie: I'll try to get my hands on the Dinesen! And many thanks for the good wishes :)

  49. I've also not yet read "The Little Stranger," but recently had a chance to hear Simon Vance read at a work event and may go with his narration of the audiobook instead (or at least, first - I'm sure I'll revisit it, as I've done with most of her novels).
    I could never quite get into Miss Marple, but I read several of my mom's Christie novels when I was younger; definitely recommend Poirot next time around! "Peril at End House" is a favorite; lots of twists, and great character development.
    Good luck with your challenge, and enjoy!

  50. Karen: I read Du Maurier's The Birds and Other Stories a few years ago and she immediately became one of my favourite writers of short fiction. I can't believe I haven't read them all either!

    Chris: I'm taking that one with me on Sunday, never fear :D

    She: I hope I do too! And I think I will :P

    Amanda: I hope we both enjoy our Christies :D I noticed that Her Fearful Symmetry divides opinions, but I'm hoping I'll love it.

    Memory: A delightful dog is of course always a plus :P I'll keep Dumb Witness in mind for after this one.

    Naida: Thank you!

    Christina: I know! I've read it before, just not the other stories :P It's amazing, and SO incredibly creepy.

    Mystica: I keep hearing about Christie's wit, and that's one of the reasons why I want to read her. I can't wait to discover it for myself!

    Kristen M: lol, I trust you all to read as much as possible for me ;) I've downloaded East Lynne from Gutenberg thanks to Amanda's nudge, and I can't wait to start it!

    Leeswammes: I hope you do join! RIP is so much fun. And I highly, highly recommend The Moonstone. It's an amazing read!

    Marg: Who doesn't? :D Happy reading!

    ds: I adore "The Lottery"! I should have mentioned that I've read it before; just not the rest of Jackson's short fiction - which I can't wait to discover.

    GeraniumCat: I think I'm going to love Crispin as well!

    Terri B: I have absolutely NO idea where that "Wilson" came from - I'm going to blame the fact that I posted this before my morning coffee :P Thank you for catching that, though! I haven't started school yet - classes proper start on the 27th, but I have an induction session on the 20th and I'm moving next Sunday, the 12th. Eeek!

    Meghan: I really hope I do too! It'd break my heart to find a Sarah Waters novel disappointing :P

    Alice: Do add them to your list! I hope we both enjoy them :)

    Lua: I *shouldn't* participate myself for the very same reasons, but ah well :P I hope the move goes well for you, btw! And that you're feeling a little bit less stressed out and overwhelmed than I am, though I know it's unlikely :P

    Wendy: Thank you! You have fun too :)

    Gavin: The concert was as wonderful as expected :D And thank you for the good wishes!

    Joanna: More on said plans soon :P

    Susan: They didn't come here; I went to Spain to see them. And it was as lovely as expected! Canadian bands are the best :D

    Tiina: Do join! Carl only really requires one book - that's nothing! Seriously, RIP is a lot of fun and you shouldn't miss out on it :P

    Kelly: Maybe we still can after I come back in mid October? Which only gives us two weeks, I know, but it could work.

    Kristen: I keep hearing wonderful things about Vance's narrations! Whichever version you pick, I hope you'll enjoy it! And I promise to also read a Poirot Christie very soon.

  51. I LOVE this challenge. I get loads of ideas of books to read. I'm hoping I will find the time to read some of these once the weather turns colder here in California. There is something about a gloomy day and a scary or suspenseful book that go together for me.

  52. A Murder at the Vicarage was also my first Christie :). I really enjoy her Marple, but never could get into Poirot. A Murder is Announced is one of my favorites... I went through a Christie kick a couple of summers ago.

  53. I read The Little Stranger for last years RIP and it was my first Sarah Waters. I really liked it, spooky and intense throughout. I really want to read Fledgling so will be interested to see what you think of it if youbread it. Hope your gig was fun.

  54. Nice list Nymeth! I'm waiting for my copy of The Woman in Black to arrive^^ And funnily enough, I've got The Moving Toyshop on my shelf as well. The only other book I've read is the Agatha Christie (I love her stories) and maybe a few stories by Isak Denison. Looking forward to seeing what you choose!


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