Monday, October 31, 2011

RIP Wrap-up Post

This is one of the saddest days of the year for me -- the end of the RIP Challenge! Not that it ever stops me from continuing to read the books that are so fitting for our gloomy (and extremely short!) Seattle fall and winter days. In fact, I have something special planned for next month that will keep the peril going for a while longer. I'm a bit of a cheat, I guess!

So what did I get through this year? Not as much as I planned but some great books nevertheless!

I started in September with The Mysteries of Udolpho. When the middle of the month rolled around and I was only about 250 pages in, I decided to set it aside. It wasn't bad but it just wasn't grabbing me the way I thought it would. I haven't abandoned it forever, I promise.

Also, as I'm sure you noticed, I spent all of September and October with the prolific Neil Gaiman and a group read of Fragile Things. It was my second time through this collection but the first time that I read every single piece. There were some definite favorites and some that really didn't work for me. But it's a volume that I will keep on my shelves and revisit every so often.

I didn't post my first RIP review until the end of September and it was the thoroughly enjoyable The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. But all through September, Z and I were reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at bedtime and so we posted about that (and about watching the movie together) soon after.

My third RIP post was about the short story collection The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime, edited by Michael Sims. There wasn't a dud in the bunch which made it a quick and fun read! I hope to explore a few of the authors and characters a bit more in the future.

My fourth book was the middle grade new release Sally's Bones by MacKenzie Cadenhead. I started reading it with Z but soon realized that it was meant for an older audience.

When October began, I also started a second group read -- The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson. It was strange to stretch out the reading of a novel to three weeks when I probably would have read it in a day or two if left on my own!

The fifth review we posted was Z's next bedtime story, Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost! by Cornelia Funke. It was a fun spooky read (but not too spooky for bedtime!). When I asked Z about his thoughts on the book, he decided he would like to try writing them down himself and so you got his first full post on the blog. I hope that it wasn't his last!

Then I tried another classic and was much more successful with Wilkie Collins' The Dead Secret. It reminded me how much I enjoy his writing and I plan to pull another of his books off my shelves soon.

And then there was the Read-a-Thon and I got through two middle grade books in a series -- Spellbinder (a re-read) and The Midnight Gate by Helen Stringer. They were the perfect choice!

But, of course, our RIP reading didn't stop there. I'm hoping to finish my current read today, The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum. It's probably going to rank higher for me than The Devil in the White City which is saying a lot! And we are also coming to the end of Z's bedtime book -- The Great Ghost Rescue by Eva Ibbotson. It's scarier than our last read but it doesn't seem to bother Z to read books like that right before bed.

So, I got through two non-fiction titles, one classic (and about a third of another) and a volume of short stories that were in my original RIP stacks. I also read three middle grade books, two group reads and Z's three bedtime books. That's a lot less than I planned but it's been a much busier two months than I anticipated too! But come back tomorrow and see how I plan to keep the chills alive through November. You might even want to join in!

Closing the books on another great RIP challenge,


  1. I just finished The Mysteries of Udolpho! It ended up being a CRAZY good book!! :-)

  2. Sounds like an impressive list to me!

  3. Wow, you read a lot! I especially love the books which you read with your son. I have the fondest memories of reading with my own boy, and we went through Harry Potter as well, with a vengence! I loved Devil in The White City, which I read many years ago, and I'm looking forward to In The Garden of Beasts by the same author whenever the holds dissipate a bit at our local library. I wasn't terribly thrilled with The Lantern, which I did read in a day or two; funny you should say the read along stretched it out to three weeks which strikes me as rather long too. My problem with that book is that although she tried, Lawrenson couldn't come close to Rebecca. Why even try to resemble that extraordinary piece of literature?! At any rate, you did a fantastic job in this challenge! Hats of to you (and Z!).

  4. Jillian - I really do plan on finishing it!

    Tracy - Thanks. :) I just always set such high goals for this challenge.

    Bellezza - I love reading these stories with my son too. I'm glad that we seem to like the same sorts of kid books right now! It wouldn't be half as fun if I was reading a book that I wasn't enjoying.
    And imitating Rebecca will always be an uphill battle!

  5. I am super late in responding to this and as I'm reading it, I have discovered that I have missed some of your reviews that I need to go searching for! Off to do that right now!

    BTW, I will be starting Harry Potter with my son after the first of the year. I can't wait!! :)