Friday, 31 August 2012

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII



If anything were to console me for the rapid decline of this non-summer into damp autumn, it's the prospect of RIP VII. Every year, Carl's readership eagerly awaits the post that kicks it off - many of us have been planning avidly through the final days of August, hoarding books until it begins. So, although the days dawn damp and dreich, and there was almost a nip of frost in the air last night, I don't care! Let it be autumn (or fall, if you prefer) -- I'm going to welcome it!

Yesterday was an auspicious day for perilous books, too, because it was the publication day for Boneland, Alan Garner's conclusion to the series that began with the Weirdstone of Brisingamen, which celebrated its fiftieth-birthday in 2010. It, and the book which followed, The Moon of Gomrath, have long been amongst my favourites; the 50th-anniversary edition of Weirdstone opens with comments by some of the best-known present-day writers of fantasy, including Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, Susan Cooper and Garth Nix -- with authors like that singing his praises and acknowledging their debt to him, you'd know that Garner must be something special, even if you haven't heard of him.

So, I'm starting RIP this year by reading straight through the three books. I spent last night breathlessly accompanying Colin and Susan through the ancient copper mines beneath Alderley Edge - and it was every bit as intensely claustrophobic and terrifying as I remembered it! Then I plan to move slightly further south to the Welsh borderlands and the second of Phil Rickman's series about exorcist Merrily Watkins, Midwinter of the Spirit. That will fulfil the requirements for Peril the First, but I hope to continue reading for RIP after that, because it fits well with much of what I have planned for my Century of Books, where I have found myself rather focusing on crime and mystery -- largely because I enjoy them so much, but it's interesting to see, in an entirely ad hoc way, how the genre develops over the course of the twentieth century. I'm also hoping to join in the group read again, which this time is Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (you know I can't resist a Gaiman read!)

One of the pleasures of RIP is the wonderful artwork that goes with it, this year by Gothicrow.  If you enjoy gothic images it's well worth following the link for a browse. Meanwhile, I have to see what my fellow Readers are planning, at great risk to personal safety (well, my bank balance's, at any rate)!


12 comments:

  1. I read the first Alan Garner book several years ago because I vividly remember the copper mines bit which I thought was fantastic. I can't remember if I read book 2 though. I'll have to check. Hope you enjoy your reread.

    Midwinter of the spirit is an *excellent* read and I need to continue with that series too.

    Have fun with the challenge! I plan to. :-)

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    1. I like to second book, The Moon of Gomrath, even more - it triggered a lifelong-obsession, in fact :-)

      Phil Rickman is such fun, I'm looking forward to that too.

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  2. frost?!!!! I would love frost!!!!!! lol...hmmmm those copper mines sound interesting..I'll watch for your reviews!

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    1. Wish I could share the frost with you, Pat!

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  3. The only Alan Garner book I've read is The Owl Service, which I enjoyed. I really should read more (I used to live not far from Alderley Edge). I see I have some catching up to do, so I'm looking forward to your posts.

    Nor have I read any of Phil Rickman's series about exorcist Merrily Watkins - more books to read!

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    1. I loved The Owl Service, I was a teenager when I read it, which was perfect. I only know Alderley Edge *very* slightly from when I was small - I'd have loved to go back there after I'd read the books. The Rickman books are very atmospheric!

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  4. I read The Owl Service and at least one of the Colin and Susan books, if not both, though it was so long ago that I have to reread them now. And Merrily Watkins! Oh, what excellent choices for the RIP this year! I've read all the Merrily books, and have December partially started by the same author - I haven't quite decided to include it in my enormous pool of books or not.

    I'm sorry you've had such a non-summer. We have drought and heat over here, and though we finally had some rain in August, it wasn't nearly enough. I'm looking forward to cooler nights just so we can cool down!

    I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Boneland....I'm going to go check and see if it's out here yet or not. I'd love to read this it this fall too :-) Enjoy the challenge, Geranium Cat!

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    1. I don't really mind that much having a non-summer, if I'm honest - I'm not good at heat, and I like autumn better. I'm more aggrieved at not having any holiday, which I had hoped for this year (just at home) but work problems meant that it didn't pan out.

      I'm reading Boneland slowly, it's too good to rush :-)

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  5. I have to laugh, because your description of the misery of autumn sounds so wonderful to me. You can send your damp, chilly weather my way. I'll take it! :)

    One of the things I love about this event is finding out about new to me books/authors and while the name Alan Garner brings a vague familiarity, I really had no idea who he was and had not heard of these books. Yes, I can hear the outrage. :) They certainly sound interesting, even more so given all the praise from others.

    Sounds like you've got some great stuff lined up for R.I.P. and am happy you are joining us for The Graveyard Book. Thanks so much for another year of R.I.P. participation.

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    1. Oh Carl, you've got to try Weirdstone at least - and try to get into a 12-year old mindset when you pick it up. And then read Elidor, which was probably the first ever urban fantasy and just set a whole new standard...I do think you'd like Garner, because you so much get Gaiman.

      We had a warm day yesterday - I spent it oiling the deck - but we're back to normal today, it's just starting to rain. Would love to send a little chill your way :-) For my chills I'm looking forward to The Graveyard Book.

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  6. Referencing your reply to Susan, I could live without summer as well. Love autumn, winter and spring. Tolerate (barely) summer.

    As for the 12 year old mindset. I had to laugh out loud. I don't think that will be a problem. ;)

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  7. I loved the two Colin and Susan books and re-read them countless times so I am really looking forward to re-reading again almost 40 years on while I wait for Boneland to arrive in my library request pile (now hoping that my original copies are still in my daughter's book case rather than in the loft or it may take a while to find them!)
    I loved Elidor but couldn't take to The Owl Service when I read it as an adult as the characters were all so seriously dislikeable that I would have been quite happy for the Wild Hunt to go off with the lot of them!

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