Once upon a time we used to have a book-a-month reading group going on here, but my life became to hectic to keep it going and, despite passing the torch on to a member of this community, it kinda fizzled out.
I want to fix this! I really think it would be a good thing for us to read something together, so I want to know: is anyone still interested? If you are, do please add a suggestion in response to this post or pick one of the following which you would like to read =) :
♥ The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
All children mythologize their birth...So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.
The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.
As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.
Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling but remains suspicious of the author's sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.
♥ The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket.
"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book." So cautions Snicket, the exceedingly well-mannered narrator of these two witty mock-gothic novels featuring the misadventures of 14-year-old Violet, 12-year-old Klaus and infant Sunny Baudelaire. From the first, things look unfortunate indeed for the trio: a fire destroys their home, killing their parents along with it; the executor of their parents' estate, the obtuse Mr. Poe (with a son, Edgar), ignores whatever the children have to say; and their new guardian, Count Olaf, is determined to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune. But by using their individual gifts (Violet's for inventing, Klaus's for reading and researching and baby Sunny's for biting) the three enterprising children thwart the Count's plan, for now.
♥ The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.
Before there was Alfred Hitchcock, there was Henry James, and before Psycho, there was The Turn of the Screw. Why is the young governess the only one who can see the ghosts? Are her young charges haunted or evil? Or is the governess herself mad? The book that claims to start out as a Christmas Eve ghost story quickly becomes a tale of psychological horror as the governess struggles-and ultimately fails-to protect the children from the "corruption" that only she can conceive of...but cannot name. Richly wrought in Late-Victorian prose, Henry James' most famous novel is both hauntingly beautiful and a shocking glimpse into the ultimate source of evil...the human mind.
♥ The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter.
This slim volume is packed with familiar tales retold with a dark gothic twist, each tempered with a saucy wit and the ability to impart new meaning onto old standards. Heroines are erotic, independant and canny, and their victories contain a bite, an edge that places these tales outside the traditional happy ending. Stories are beautifully overblown and hyperreal. The Bloody Chamber is stunning in its delicacy and sly, subtle humour that tempers even the darkest tale. This world is very female , where the instigators of action and solvers of perilous events are mothers, daughters, wives and wild girls.