It took me a long time to join the Sunday Salon. I hesitated because I wasn't sure I'd be able to post so regularly. To tell you the truth, I'm still not.
Ultimately I realized I needed this time to slow down a little, to reflect on my reading more than I do – which is not at all. I don't keep a proper reading journal, though I used to before I went back into the workforce, after having been an at-home mum for twelve years. This Salon may be as close as I get to recording more of a reflective record of what I've been reading. And that's a good thing.
My reading's been all over the place this week. I'm researching professional topics, partly related to graduate school (which starts up again for me next week – my final semester!), reading on matters relating to depression issues, and also books for review. No time to stop and reflect with so much going on.
The only book I finished this week – Kwei Quartey's Wife of the Gods – is a first novel in a detective series written by a brand new writer just out of the starting gate. I'll be reviewing it in full this Tuesday, so I can't even talk about it yet.
Now that was anti-climactic. But if you come back Tuesday you can find out what a fantastic read it is.
A few other things I can talk about, if that's a consolation. An almost librarian, I'm a member of two separate Reader's Advisory organizations headquartered in the Chicago suburban area. I'm brand spankin' new to both of them, having attended a grand total of one meeting each. Last week I attended my first meeting with the library system group – encompassing the whole kit and kaboodle of 450 member libraries. Not every librarian is into Reader's Advisory, so the total number in attendance was only around 20 or 25.
Since I wasn't at their previous meeting I didn't know their format, that they'd decided this particular session would be a discussion on works by Stephen King and Joe Hill (King's son). That left me with little to contribute, save the fact I'd been to Bangor, Maine (King's hometown) and played paparazzi outside King's gate.
The majority of the group were unimpressed with King, but those few who read Hill loved his work. He's more scary, they said, and a better overall writer. He's less wordy in comparison, probably because his father's no longer heavily edited. That happens when a writer gets so popular.
I haven't read King's work since high school, when I got through: Carrie, 'Salem's Lot, The Shining and The Stand. By the time I got to either Firestarter or Cujo my interest was waning. The more he wrote the more he left me cold; I wasn't riveted anymore.
Along with King, I read some Thomas Tryon (Harvest Home), all the "Flowers in the Attic" books (by V.C. Andrews), and a few by Mary Higgins Clark and Peter Straub. I don't remember titles I read. It was a "junk food" stage of reading, quickly forgotten for the most part.
Harvest Home was an exception. I read it annually – around Halloween – for several years. Then it went by the wayside for a couple decades before I picked it up again, sometime in my thirties. I thought it stood up well, still giving me that slight prickling on the back of the neck. It never terrified me; it's too subtle for that. It gives the reader just enough unease without going over the top. Maybe that's why I've always liked it. It reminds me of the writing of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill, both of whom I think do this genre just a little better.
In general I'm not a horror reader. Having three kids I don't need much more material. I enjoy a good ghost story, though. Gothic settings – castles and manor houses and such – are guilty pleasures. But I can't recall the last time a book really scared me; I just don't frighten easily.
So, this is my first attempt at The Sunday Salon. It doesn't quite hit the mark; I had nothing prepared in advance so it's a little rambling. I hope to do better next time.
Until next week, here's something to run a chill up your spine, courtesy of Stephen King's house… Broooo hahahahahaha!