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Old Oct 6th, 2023, 10:37 AM
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Shirley Jackson Month

SHIRLEY JACKSON
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If you went to middle/high school in the US, at some point, you were assigned to read this story. My own kid read it in ninth grade, as did I. Shirley has endured. And she is Spoopy. As. Hells.

This month, pick a Shirley, any Shirley, and get to it.

You can find more of her short stories on the web in the public domain. Ambitious enough for a novel?

My personal favorite is WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE

She also, when not making people die of nightmares, invented Mommy Blogging and created room for Erma Bombeck with her amusing (reality-adjacent) memoirs about raising four kids.

If you Netflix, there is a terrible adaptation of HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE which is sort of like --- Hey, let's use this title. And then not include any of the actual book! Okay, well maybe some names. The book is better. There is an excellent adaptation of WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE on Prime. Again, the book is better.

She had a fascinating life, tragic as well---She was an Agoraphobic with a belittling, cheating jerk husband, some substance abuse problems, and she died way too young. Perhaps her addictions and fear of leavign the house were related to the ways her imagination bent? If you want a real biography that explores this, try this one. I also intend to watch this (very fictional, based on a novel and not a biography) film about her. The director, Josephone Decker, said: “Many of the details of Shirley's life are inaccurate, and kind of purposely. We were much more focused on putting the audience into a Shirley Jackson-type story, rather than replicating her life.”

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Last edited by Fillyjonk; Oct 6th, 2023 at 11:00 AM.
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Old Oct 7th, 2023, 06:43 PM
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Hooray! I have read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Haunting of Hill House, and the collection that "The Lottery" and "The Daemon Lover" are in, but my youngest child has become obsessed with the other novels and I have had them pressed into my hands on several occasions in the last year. So, I'm going to start with The Bird's Nest. Might do a rewatch of the Netflix Hill House just because.

SPOOP ON.
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Old Oct 9th, 2023, 07:10 PM
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I think that reading Shirley Jackson is kind of like getting slowly but insistently pinched on the back of the upper arm.
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Old Oct 16th, 2023, 11:29 AM
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Yes. And you LIKE it.
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Old Oct 21st, 2023, 02:58 PM
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One of my favorite Independent Bookstores just posted this:

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”—Shirley Jackson, “The Haunting of Hill House.”

This is what a perfect opening paragraph looks like.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2023, 01:15 AM
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Hi all - I'm going to try following along with the book club. I've been meaning to start reading more, and it looks like a fun list of authors the group has been reading.

Somehow I managed to make it through school without reading The Lottery. I just read it, and it's pretty great. It's all the more disturbing because as you read the story, you think to yourself, "Yep, this is all fairly accurate." And then you finish the story and go straight back to your own life full of its own thoughtless cruelties and veneers of normalcy.

I've just started reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Shirley Jackson does seem to have an acute awareness of "unspoken things beneath the surface" and "all is not right, although it seems to be." I'm only a few pages in, but have already stumbled across a few wonderful passages, like this one:

Quote:
It was a fine April morning when I came out of the library; the sun was shining and the false glorious promises of spring were everywhere, showing oddly through the village grime. I remember that I stood on the library steps holding my books and looking for a minute at the soft hinted green in the the branches against the sky and wishing, as I always did, that I could walk home across the sky instead of through the village.
The false glorious promise of spring (things are not what they seem), the library books and the dream of walking home through the sky (an escape from things as they are), and the village grime as the actual underlying reality (of course, the grime can't be escaped - we can't really walk through the sky or retire into books).

Really great stuff... I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2023, 08:04 AM
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ooof

I went and reread the lottery -- I had forgotten how normal and fine it all is, and how it made my chest squeeze shut because that fine normalness means it can't be fixed or challenged. Green grass, blue sky, ho hum, now we do this...

My country is in a culture war right now, and it is just fruitless as they all are; the young win, eventually, because the old die, but my god how the old fight, and then the young get old and do the same thing. It's hard to be a herd animal with enough gray matter to KNOW we are herd animals but not enough to stop doing dumb herd animal things.

She is great.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2023, 09:03 AM
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Intelligence is knowing that Frankenstein is not the monster. Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein is the monster.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2023, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk
My country is in a culture war right now, and it is just fruitless as they all are
Yes, it was hard to read The Lottery and not think about all the things happening in the world right now. I also liked how reading the story, you know, as the reader, it's not going to end well. And you think to yourself, "hey, maybe you all should just not do this, right?" But of course, as the reader, you're powerless to stop it and can only watch as the horror slowly unfolds. I think a lot of people have that sense right now of "things are not going to turn out well," but like the reader of the story, they feel powerless to do anything but watch things unfold.

"There are few things that Republicans and Democrats agree on. But one area where a significant share of each party finds common ground is a belief that the country is headed toward failure." (link)

So of course the kids are spitting off the edge of the world (gotta love the apocalypse mobile)...

And with that, I'm going to make another cup of coffee (and try not to think of what it took to get the coffee beans to me).
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Old Nov 3rd, 2023, 06:45 PM
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Hey guys… Sorry November is late. As some of you know, cheerio and I are doing nano.

We also didn’t get a lot of suggestions… We’re kind of thinking about children of blood and bone. Anybody read that? excuse my complete lack of punctuation I’m voice to texting!
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