Halloween Read: The Haunting of Hill House

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Halloween Read: The Haunting of Hill House

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Sep 30, 2015, 8:34 am

I'm hoping to stir up interest in an impromptu group read for October: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It's short, it fits the October SFFCat, and it's a great read! Also, for National Public Radio listeners (US), Diane Rehm will be discussing the book on her show October 14.

I have already started my reread and given myself the heebie jeebies. I think it has one of the greatest opening paragraphs:

"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 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."

Please join in and post your comments/reactions here!

Sep 30, 2015, 12:00 pm

I'll be starting it soon!

Sep 30, 2015, 4:12 pm

I meant to get to this earlier with the horror group. I will add I to my list for the month.

Oct 4, 2015, 11:28 am

I started this yesterday and it is creepy. I love it!

Oct 4, 2015, 8:33 pm

I'll be starting it tonight or tomorrow. Read it eons ago, so looking forward to a re-read.

Oct 6, 2015, 12:20 pm

Please post once you're finished with your comments and reactions. I'm looking forward to the discussion.

I got a copy of the original movie The Haunting so I may watch that too this month.

Oct 6, 2015, 1:09 pm

I finished it a few moments ago. Understated, creepy, definitely a book steeped in its times. I need to watch the movie again.

Oct 14, 2015, 12:09 pm

Anybody ready to start discussing? What did you think of Eleanor as a character? I keep thinking about her journey to get to Hill House and how the things she sees come into her invention of herself once she's there: the stone lions, the cup of stars.

I also love the use of doors in this book. One thing that creeped me out particularly during this read was the brief scene in the kitchen with all the doors. Nothing happens, but it's imagining what could happen, what could come out of one of those doors just behind you...

Did the book scare you? What got to you especially?

Oct 14, 2015, 12:29 pm

Eleanor is certainly a bland and passive woman at the beginning of the book. Not very likable either, to my way of thinking. Also very susceptible to the house, so it chose the right one to go after.

Yes, the way she imagines things along the way on the trip to the house is very nicely incorporated later on as Eleanor alters under the influence of the house.

The scenes in the garden were kind of creepy too.

It didn't really scare me, but I was delighted to read a horror book without all the superfluous blood everywhere.

Oct 14, 2015, 1:38 pm

She's got a nasty streak, really. Is there anyone in this book you like? Maybe Mrs. Dudley? :-)

I always forget about the scenes in the garden. They aren't as loud as the nighttime bedroom scenes but they are very creepy. I think Shirley Jackson is very good at making things unsettling, just a little off.