Tag Archives: Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House

Thoughts by Shirley Jackson, Blackstone Audio 2010 (orig 1959), 7 hour 36 minutes

Bernadette Dunne (Narrator)

“It was a house without kindness, never meant to be lived in, not a fit place for people or for love or for hope.”

Challenge: Readers in Peril XV
Genre: Doesn’t Shirley Jackson have her own genre?
Type/Source: Audio
 Why I read this now:  Only a coincidence that my reading this happened to be during RIP, to be honest. I needed an audiobook, this one was available. I’ve always wanted to read it. Because Shirley.F.Jackson.

MOTIVATION for READING: See sentence above.

“Don’t do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again; don’t do it; and the little girl glanced at her, and smiled a little subtle, dimpling, wholly comprehending smile, and shook her head stubbornly at the glass. Brave girl, Eleanor thought; wise, brave girl.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A professor attempting to find a big breakthrough for his research and to make his place in Academia, invites many possible apprentices to join him in a stay at a house of ill (horror) repute. Only a few take him up on it.

But they are ALL IN, Baby!

THOUGHTS: So, I’ve maybe seen the movie? maybe PIECEs of the movie? I seem to know enough about that movie with (Liam Neeson, Lili Taylor, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson) but not quite the same. Same enough! Minor creative differences, is all.

The house is actually COOL, in its off kilter slightly not-square way. And the buildup is great. The guy who built the place was obviously way off his rocker and nothing is explained.

Only survived…

“I like apple pie with sour cream.”

I enjoyed the telling, I enjoyed the descriptions and the sense of place – extremely well done. I did see Lili as Eleanor and I could see CZJ as Theo, too. Liam Neeson will never be the professor. Yes, Jackson is a master – so good. Not really that scary in print, methinks. I may never watch the movie again nor the miniseries recently. I’m just NOT a scary movie person.

RATING:  Four slices of pie.




Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Private Demons

Thoughts  Private Demons: The Life of Shirley Jackson by Judy Oppenheimer, GP Putnam’s Sons 1988, 304 pages Hardcover

I had no idea.

What an interesting life! and yet, I don’t think that says anything at all. You might think by my saying she had an interesting life that she traveled and did amazing things. But no, not really. She was a mom. She was a wife. She wrote books. She collected things.

but WOWZA!

She had agoraphobia. She was a partier and also extremely private. She resented and rejected her mother and also earnestly wanted to please her.

She was complicated!



Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Life Among the Savages

Thoughts  Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson, Academy Chicago 1990 (orig 1948), 241 pages Tradeback offsize

Memoir, Nonfiction

Delightfully charming! You get a sense of how terrific a mom Shirley was by how she truly listens to her kids and encourages their imagination.

It’s been said that these essays of domestic hilarity are what inspired the genre most think of when you say the name Erma Bombeck, but it wouldn’t be something Ms. Jackson would have been too thrilled with, I don’t think. I bet she often thought this audience of her ‘stories’ beneath her contempt. But they sold and sold well. What’s an author to do?

It almost breaks your heart to read this and then right after, read her biography. No wait. It DID break my heart to read the bio right after enjoying these madcap loving little tales.

If you want to immerse yourself into fascinating and extremely talented writings of a complicated artist, study Shirley Jackson. First read her infamous short story The Lottery and then read this or Raising Demons (I haven’t read), then read We’ve Always Lived in the Castle (a favorite of mine; I want to read it again, especially after reading her biography), and then read Oppenheimer’s bio. And then, if you are like me, you’ll seek out everything Jackson ever wrote.

I am in the middle – and I jump around, as always – of her collection Just An Ordinary Day. Then I want to read The Road Through the Wall and then The Bird’s Nest and then…

Which Shirley Jackson book will YOU read next?

BOOK MENAGE scheduled for the week of December 3rd over at Citizen Reader.



Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Review We Have Always Lived In The Castle

Review     We Have Always Lived In The Castle  by Shirley Jackson

Even the title of this treasure of a book gives you a hint of the style of writing that makes Shirley Jackson so wonderful.    I had to look up and re-read The Lottery after reading this book (AND its introduction.)    Her style is so conversational and easy and, yet …   it makes the reader UNEASY!    She assumes you know what she is telling you, like you are a friend, a confident.  You understand.

Then she hits you upside the head!   all matter-of-factly.

This was a delight to read because you must listen politely and wait it out.    What is going on?!    What happened?  Why are these people living like this?  Why do the villagers hate them so?

Mary Katherine aka Merricat, is the youngest daughter, living with her older sister and an elderly uncle.   She narrates the story of how she came to live like she does.    She has a very cool cat, too.   This is all I can bring myself to tell you.

You’ll just have to pick up the book and find out.

Five stars.   

For an EXCELLENT and more in-depth review, read Eva’s at A Striped Armchair.

Another great review that also references Eva’s and shares my issue with introductions, at least with this book, visit Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot.

My question to you:   Do you read the introductions first?  or wait until the end?   I MUST WAIT until after I read the book.   I hate introductions to spoil anything and they usually assume you I know more than I do already.   I don’t mind reading them after.   Montana 1948 had an introduction that enhances the story, but again;  I had to read it after I read the novel.