Sunday, August 31, 2014

Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) IX

After taking some baby steps along the lines of getting this blog up and running again, rolling through my version of the Deal Me In short story challenge, and successfully completing the Beat the Heat Readathon, I think I am ready to embark on a reading challenge that is one of the longer-running and more entertaining ones out there.  I am speaking, of course, about the Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) challenge, now in its ninth year.  It's hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings, and it's a veritable institution this time of year.  When the days start to grow shorter, and the temperatures start to moderate (I would say "cooler" but I do live in south Mississippi, after all, and we don't really start to get much cooler weather until the end of October or the beginning of November, if even then) -- when autumn starts to make its presence felt, one naturally feels drawn to reading that reflects the season.  In other words, spooky, eerie, unsettling stories and novels become part of the bill of fare.

The R.I.P. challenge runs from September 1 to October 31, and Carl has a number of ways readers can participate.  I've decided to tackle "Peril the First," which involves reading four books.  I plan to include The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson as one of these four (see below) so maybe that won't be too bad, killing four birds with three stones, I guess (?).

So the four books I will be reading for R.I.P. this year are:
1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (review)
2. Joyland by Stephen King (review)
3. Horns by Joe Hill (review)
4. Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon (review)

The Jackson is a two-for-one read, as previously mentioned.  The King and Hill I thought would be interesting as a father-son dual read.  And the Tryon has been on my Kindle for some time and needs to be read -- and what better time than Autumn??

What spoke to me even more strongly, however, given my recent foray into the Deal Me In challenge, was this:

Yes, friends and neighbors, there's a peril just for readers of short stories, and there are no rules or limitations on how many can/should be read.  I definitely plan to do this one, AND I am going to do it in true Deal Me In fashion.  How? you may ask.  LIKE THIS:

These playing cards will fit the bill nicely, and I've already ordered a set (from Amazon -- you can get your own set here).  I'm pretty excited about using these cards to select the short stories I will be reading for R.I.P. IX.  The plan is to read one a week in September (because I will still be doing Deal Me In as well as one of the other Perils), and then two a week in October, as we get close to the big day of Halloween.  The calendar cooperates very nicely as well, because this means I will be reading THIRTEEN stories, a great number for this kind of challenge, plus of course it's the number of cards in a suit.  I want to see what the cards look like when I get them in a few days, but I think I will be using spades as the suit for selecting my stories.  It's usually the suit that Jay at Bibliophilopolis uses for "darker" stories.

No matter which suit I use, here is the list of stories I plan to read, culled from a variety of spooky/creepy/weird anthologies which I have always gravitated towards anyway:

Ace: “The Red Room” by H.G. Wells (review)
2: “How Fear Departed from the Long Gallery” by E.F. Benson (review)
3: “The Canterville Ghost” by Oscar Wilde (review)
4: “Pay the Ghost” by Tim Lebbon (review)
5: “Lusus Naturae” by Margaret Atwood (review)
6: “What You Do Not Know You Want” by David Mitchell (review)
7: “Reports of Certain Events in London” by China Mieville (review)
8: “The Trick” by Ramsey Campbell (review)
9: “Orchestra” by Stephen Mark Rainey (review)
10: “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (review)
J: “Shut a Final Door” by Truman Capote (review)
Q: “A Teacher’s Rewards” by Robert Phillips (review)
K: “Warm” by Robert Sheckley (review)

A couple of these are stories I have read before (such as the Hawthorne) but they all should be interesting.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure I want going to do this too:

Fall is just a great time for reading, and I simply cannot resist stuff like this!

UPDATE: Since I am clearly a glutton for punishment, I am going to make my Peril the First even more perilous, with the addition of this readalong at Castle Macabre:

Yes, #5 on my list of books is going to be The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (review).  It will go well with "Rappaccini's Daughter" on my short story list, and it's another of those books I feel like I should have already read.  Whether I finish all this reading or not, I have a feeling it's going to be an exciting Fall!


  1. Oh, I like those cards! Great plan. Now you have me thinking, "Surely I could fit in another couple short stories each week..."

    1. I don't mean to be a bad influence or anything, but... GO FOR IT! :-)

  2. Glad you are joining us in this and in reading The Haunting of Hill House. I think I'll read it aloud to my wife this time around so that we can be creeped out together.

    Mississippi, eh? Summer will indeed be hanging around there for a while longer, I suspect. I do wish you a rapidly approaching Autumn, however.

    1. Thanks!! This is my first time reading The Haunting of Hill House, and I don't know how I have missed it lo these many years. It's so good and I am racing through it!

  3. Great story selections! I've only read three, but am familiar with many of the authors. Capote wrote some pretty creepy stuff that I wasn't aware of until recent years. His story "Tree of Night" was quite chilling. I love Rapaccini's Daughter as well.

    I look forward to following your progress on these. :-)