Saturday, 4 September 2010
Now that September is here the weather has suddenly improved a little. It’s been a pretty miserable summer in the north of England, although my view might be slightly jaded whenever there has been a nice day, it seemed that I had to work. So I’m sorry it’s nearly over, and that we suddenly find ourselves shutting the chickens up straight after the washing up in the evening.
There’s one consolation, though – it’s R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril time again! Anyone who has read my blog for a while will know that there are two challenges each year which seem to have been made for me, and this is one of them. The other, of course, is the Once Upon a Time Challenge. They are both run by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings, who does a fantastic job every year of marshalling readers and organising giveaways and prizes, and he gets a tremendously enthusiastic response for each challenge. We, the readers, get the enormous pleasure of sharing books we love, reading what others have to say about them, and discovering huge piles of new books, generally to the detriment of our bank balances.
So one of my resolutions, this year, is to get at least two of my four books for Peril the First from the library. The first of them I have already, requested last month when I knew the challenge was coming up, and judiciously renewed so that I could wait until after the official start date to begin it. It is Thursbitch by Alan Garner –given his power to scare me when I first read his books, and his comments on writing it, this one will be really creepy. I’m going to start it this week.
One other book is already decided upon, the most recent (I think) of Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series. They are usually pretty creepy too, and I don’t think I shall want to be reading it when Hallowe’en comes round. He’s one of those writers who can persuade me that supernatural events might just be going on in the real world!
Alongside my reading for the challenge I’ve got two relevant non-fiction books on the bedside table at the moment. The first is Explore Green Men by Mercia McDermott. I’ve long been fascinated by this topic, and she is the first writer I’ve come across to talk about the influence of the East on religious carving in Europe, and specifically to tie it in to a common image in Devon, that of three hares in a ring, which I first came across referred to as “the Tinners’ rabbits”. More on this anon. I’m also reading Worlds of Arthur, a study of the historical evidence for Arthur and the sites connected with him across Britain. The Arthurian legends, and their Celtic origins, are almost as much of a preoccupation as Green Men, and last night I began wading through the wreckage of the Roman Empire in quest of the once and future king.
So the reading list looks like this:
Alan Garner, Thursbitch (library)
Phil Rickman, To Dream of the Dead
Two books from a “pool” of titles which might include:
Ariana Franklin, The Death Maze (library)
Kate Ellis, The Blood Pit (library)
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Diana Wynne Jones, The Dark Lord of Derkholm
Amanda Hemingway, The Poisoned Crown
John Fowles, A Maggot
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
John Buchan, Witchwood
Mercia McDermott, Explore Green Men
Fran and Geoff Doel and Terry Lloyd, Worlds of Arthur: King Arthur in History, Legend and Culture (library)
Happy reading to everyone taking part in R.I.P.V!