Monday, October 17, 2011

Beat Down Reading

It's just been one of those weeks! We survived the transition from one academic term to the next and things are in full swing. Y'all know this happens every 10 weeks or so that I get tired, frustrated, and generally beat down, only to spring back 'round week 2 or 3 of the term. Same goes this time around.

Outside of reading, things have been a bit of a personal beat-down lately. There's much a-brewing in my home life, and while it's utter suckage right now, it will ultimately work out and be OK. I just have to believe that!!!

But anywho, with the suckage and whatnot, I have not been reading. Not a lick. For a week. I started a couple of deliciously creepy books only to find that I can't concentrate on much for long. The unfortunate victims of my moodiness:

I told you! Two deliciously creepy books that TOTALLY deserve my attention are not getting it.

The Small Hand, by Susan HillReturning home from a visit to a client late one summer's evening, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow takes a wrong turning and stumbles across the derelict old White House. Compelled by curiosity, he approaches the door, and, standing before the entrance feels the unmistakeable sensation of a small hand creeping into his own, 'as if a child had taken hold of it'. Intrigued by the encounter, he determines to learn more, and discovers that the owner's grandson had drowned tragically many years before. At first unperturbed by the odd experience, Snow begins to be plagued by haunting dreams, panic attacks, and more frequent visits from the small hand which become increasingly threatening and sinister..

Andi says: This one is really Gothic creepy. It's The Little Stranger creepy, or The Woman in White creepy. And did you know that Dan Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame is going to star in the film adaptation of Susan Hill's The Woman in Black?!  Watch the trailer, if you haven't seen it already.

The Night Strangers by Chris BohjalianIn a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts.
The home's new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters. Together they hope to rebuild their lives there after Chip, an airline pilot, has to ditch his 70-seat regional jet in Lake Champlain after double engine failure. Unlike the Miracle on the Hudson, however, most of the passengers aboard Flight 1611 die on impact or drown. The body count? Thirty-nine – a coincidence not lost on Chip when he discovers the number of bolts in that basement door. Meanwhile, Emily finds herself wondering about the women in this sparsely populated White Mountain village – self-proclaimed herbalists – and their interest in her fifth-grade daughters. Are the women mad? Or is it her husband, in the wake of the tragedy, whose grip on sanity has become desperately tenuous?  

Andi says: This one is just OH SHIT creepy! I do love a door locked with carriage bolts. Who doesn't?!

In light of not really getting into these two, I think I'm going to change directions.

I'm thinking of pairing When She Woke with The Scarlet Letter in my next Early American Lit online class. Students get a little bogged down and I think an injection of contemporary lit, paired with the classic, could really liven things up. We'll see how it plays. 

Hannah Payne's life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she awakens to a nightmare: she is lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes — criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime — is a new and sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, according to the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she's shared a fierce and forbidden love.

Now I'm off to catch up on my bloggy reading. Have a great Monday, everyone!


  1. I know how you feel about being beat down during the school term. I haven't read much at all in the past several weeks and have been in the middle of the same book for what feels like AGES. Hopefully things will start turning this week and I can actually finish a book :-)

  2. I am sorry you're not really getting into The Night Strangers. It took me awhile to get into it too, but it had more to do with my skepticism towards Bohjalian after a mediocre experience with the last book of his I read.

  3. I am sorry you're not really getting into The Night Strangers. It took me awhile to get into it too, but it had more to do with my skepticism towards Bohjalian after a mediocre experience with the last book of his I read.

  4. I'm sorry you've got so much crap going on and hope things settle down soon.

  5. Saw your comment on Allie's blog re: shying away from Melville due to Moby Dick excerpts and wanted to stop by...

    I've read Moby Dick and loved it (though it took me months to get through it) BUT I'm actually here to recommend something else... if you dare.

    One of my favorite books of all time is The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade. It is by Melville, but it's so far removed (and better) than what one might expect, when thinking about his many "man of the sea" type books.

    It's sort of a modern (at the time) reimagining of Milton's Paradise Lost.

    Anyway, I found it to be brilliant and even wrote a graduate article on it - hope you'll consider giving it, and Melville, a shot!

  6. I really like creepy - both sorts described above - so I'll have to check out those books.

    Keep your head up! (total cliche, I know, but a real wish for you) :)

  7. I hope things calm down for you soon!

  8. I haven't read anything in two whole days. Gasp! Hope things improve for you, soon. I have been through much suckage, myself, and came out the other side. The reading does tend to suffer.

  9. I'm so sorry that there's so much going on right now. I hope things get better. I hope When She Awoke is the book that gets you through.

  10. I hope things begin to improve for you, both on the reading and home fronts. I have been stuck on the same book for a few weeks now and it's really nothing too heavy (Anita Shreve's Off Season). Just busy with house guests, work, biking, blog-hopping, keeping my email in-box empty, etc., etc. Rod's back to teaching Monday and Wednesday nights, so I feel like I can catch up on some projects while he's gone on those nights (and prepping Sunday and Tuesday). Now that it's getting cold outside (possibly 25 tonight!! Yikes!), I'm feeling the urge to curl up on the couch, under a heavy blanket, with a good book and my Annie-Dog. Need to get my reading mojo back!

    Hang in there, Andi. Hope the suckage dissipates quickly.

  11. Hope everything settles down for you soon!


Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogger has been a beast lately, so I hope you do not have any troubles leaving your thoughts.

Images by Freepik