RIP challenge is back

RIP III challenge iconCarl is hosting the 3rd annual RIP challenge again this year. I’m going to take part again. 🙂 Since I had a terrible time getting all the books I wanted read in the time frame, I’m going to take part in Peril the Second, ie. reading 2 books in the scary book category. I think I can manage that this year.

I still want to read Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll. And I want to read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Both of these books were on my list last year, but life intervened and I didn’t get a chance to get to them at all.

I picked up the first of Elizabeth Bear’s Promethean series, Blood and Iron and really enjoyed reading it. So I’ve gone on and purchased Whiskey and Water, Ink and Steel, and Hell and Earth. So if I can work those into the challenge, I’ll try.

I forgot this earlier, but you can check out all the participants and the stories that they have read at

I finished The Rest Falls Away

Its after the challenge, but I finally finished the Colleen Gleason book The Rest Falls Away. I was determined to finish it, since I had started it and wanted to see whether it was or was not congruent with my taste in books. It got better than I had feared when I put it down and stopped. I appreciated that in the end, stupidity had serious consequences.

The biggest things that bothered me were the lack of information given to Victoria about the different things she might be facing, and the much more modern mindset of folks. The anachronism was jarring to my understanding of the time period. But those are my own foibles, so YMMV.

Challenge results, sort of

Well, I’m going to have to call the RIP II challenge finished, I guess. I’m not going to finish Dracula in time. I have been reading lots of short stories, though. I managed just a Little Bit of Peril by finishing Harry Potter. I thought I had asked the local library to pull some books for me, but when I checked my online patron record, there was nothing listed in the request area and I had never been contacted by the branch that was supposed to have the books. So I have gone and requested Dan Simmons The Terror and Jonathan Carroll’s Land of Laughs from the library again. I’m going to read them, just not in the challenge time frame.

I also appreciate Carl introducing me to the artwork of Lisa Snellings-Clark and Poppets! Just in time for Halloween, I have managed to home a poppet. Its an Orange poppet, so it may be in danger here, given the Alabama/Auburn rivalry. I think I need to make a home for a Red Poppet and a Black Poppet now. 🙂

RIP II Short Stories

I’ve managed to read a few short stories for the RIP II challenge. I forgot I have an anthology collection of short stories called Fantastic Worlds, Myths, Tales, and Stories edited by Eric S. Rabkin. It was initially published in 1979. It has stories by genre, including horror and ghost stories.

The three horror stories are The Sandman by E.T.A Hoffmann, The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe, and The Picture in the House by H.P. Lovecraft. The three ghost stories are The Hand by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, The Moonlit Road by Ambrose Bierce and Lost Hearts by M. R. James. I think this may have been a textbook for a course on short stories at one time. The publisher is Oxford University Press and the range of genres represented in the book is pretty wide.

I read all 3 horror stories and 2 of the 3 ghost stories. For the horror stories, Hoffman’s The Sandman starts as a story told in letters. It tells of the troubles of a young man who is convinced all his troubles are caused by the Sandman. His father has been killed. He is currently at the University, but when he becomes besotted with a professor’s daughter, he becomes unhinged and obsessed. It goes down hill from there. I’m reminded of some ideas used in steampunk, but the story was written in 1816, so it isn’t retro, its the original deal.

Poe’s The Black Cat would be banned by PETA these days, with good reason. Poor wife, poor kitty, poor Pluto. Our faithless narrator is in the grip of the demon drink, and everyone around him pays for it. The story is moody in the extreme, and much in the mindset of the challenge.

I haven’t read much, if any Lovecraft before, so I was looking forward to seeing what his writing was like. The story is set in his Miskatonic Valley, but without the appearance of the elder beings. Our narrator has been out doing genealogical research in the valley, and is caught by a nasty storm and must seek shelter in a very old house. He meets the owner of the house and sees some of his books. This isn’t particularly scary in itself, but the descriptions of the house and the owner, not to mention the book the owner asks the narrator to read are very creepy. I think I need to try a few more stories of his.

I read Le Fanu’s The Hand, and it seemed like it was a standard ghost story. Nothing really out of the ordinary, but it was written in 1861, so I think I may be a much more jaded reader of ghost stories than his contemporary audience.

Bierce’s The Moonlit Road is a very familiar story, and is a much more tragic one. The ghost of the murder victim appears by moonlight on the road to her husband and son. Husband cannot handle it and runs. Since he was the killer, he is haunted by her.

Short stories are a nice way to be able to read when life is too full. I need to read more stories out of this anthology now.

RIP II challenge update

I may have to change my books for this, or change to reading short stories. Life is not letting me read the way I want to right now. I’ve started re-reading Dracula and it is good. I haven’t read it in at least 10 years, so most of the details are hazy in my memory. Most of my reading time is now right before bed. And I’m burning the candle at both ends, it seems.

I’ve asked the library to reserve some books for me, Jonathan Carrol’s Land of Laughs, Dan Simmons’s the Terror, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, but they’ll get here probably about the time the challenge ends.

So I’ve been looking for some short story collections and will see what I can come up with. I have several stories by Edgar Allen Poe. He’s always good for a creepy story.

Books read for the trip

I only finished up one book of my previous purchases on my round robin trip last week. It was Robert Rankin’s Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. As promised by the title, it was a bit surreal. Nursery rhyme characters and toys are alive. Vehicles and other items are run with windup clockwork mechanisms. But it isn’t always a nice place, living in Toy City. Murders happen, and they have to be solved. There are winks and nods made in the direction of the audience. I was amused by the book. The story was strong enough to get my attention. I will admit I was ready to read a book that wasn’t serious or particularly scary while I was traveling after the funeral and on to other events.

I did start the next of my RIP II challenge books, the first of the Colleen Gleason Gardella Vampire Chronicles, The Rest Falls Away. I’m about a third to half way through it. I’m not a romance reader, so the romance tropes are annoying me. Its set as a regency romance, so the Buffy the Vampire Slayer attitude is a jarring anachronism at times to my reading. I’m hoping that the book will drop some of those affectations along the way. I’m going to finish the book, but picking it back up it not as attractive as some picking up some other books.