The Haunting of Hill House

The haunting of Hill HouseI’ve just read (or been read to by David Warner as it was an eaudiobook ) The Haunting of Hill House’ by Shirley Jackson and can highly recommend it.

The best-known of Shirley Jackson’s novels, and the inspiration for writers such as Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is an eerie, chilling story of the power of fear. Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch and The Secret History has said that ‘Shirley Jackson’s stories are among the most terrifying ever written’

The story is about four seekers gathered together by a Dr Montague, an occult scholar, to spend a summer at rambling old pile known as ‘Hill House’, a haunted New England mansion. The group includes Luke, a bit of a wastrel, who has hopes of inheriting the estate and is there as a family member; Theodora, Dr. Montague’s assistant, a lesbian, bohemian artist with ESP; and Eleanor Vance, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past who is there because she experienced poltergeist phenomena as a child. She has spent the last 11 years of her life caring for her invalid mother, recently deceased.

At first, their stay seems destined to be ‘merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena’. It becomes much more than that as Hill House gathers its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

The book has been adapted for film twice – once in 1963 (this one is better rated and follows the book more closely) and more recently as ‘The Haunting’, starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson.

 Shirley Jackson was born in California in 1916. Other books include The Road Through the Wall, Hangsaman, The Bird’s Nest, The Sundial, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, widely seen as her masterpiece.

She died in her sleep at the age of 48.


Young Adult books as film are big box office

MatchedThe Twilight and Harry Potter movie franchises may be finished but Young Adult fiction is still big news at the box office. With cinematic sequels due for Divergent and The Maze Runner and the final outing for the phenomenally successful Hunger Games sequence still to come it seems that dystopian fiction in particular is box office gold. But dystopias are not the only Young Adult novels getting the Hollywood treatment so if bleak futures aren’t your thing maybe you will find something else more appealing amongst this selection of some of the best Young Adult tomes currently in production:

Fallen by Lauren Kate. Forbidden love pulses at the heart of this dark paranormal romance. When Luce meets Daniel she has an intense feeling that they have met before, but how is that possible when she knows for a fact that they haven’t?

FallenMatched by Allie Condie. Cassie lives in a society where every life choice is made for her including who her life partner will be but when she falls in love with someone who isn’t her match Cassie decides it’s time to make some choices of her own. This is the first book in an exciting dystopian trilogy.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Two young magicians’ fates intertwine when they are used as pawns in the power games of their older masters and The Night Circus becomes the stage for a fantastical tale of magic, love and rivalry.Wither

Paper Towns by John Green. An unusual coming of age tale from the author of the hugely popular The Fault in Our Stars. When the girl Quinten love’s mysteriously disappears he embarks on an epic and life changing road trip across America to find her.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Photography and text are used to startling effect to tell the story of sixteen year old Jacob. Sent to a remote Welsh island following a family tragedy he discovers the remains of an orphanage and within its Thirteen reasons whycrumbling walls some very unusual photographs which may hold clues to the fate of the strange children who used to live there.

Wither (The Chemical Garden Book One) by Lauren DeStefano. Rhina lives in a world where due to faulty genetic engineering women die at the age of 20 and men at 25. With only four years left to live Rhina is kidnapped and sold into a polygamous marriage with a rich young man. In order to escape and reunite with her twin brother she must first learn who she can trust amongst the other wives and servants of her new household come prison but the clock is ticking.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Thirteen names on a list, thirteen cassette tapes and thirteen reasons why teenager Hanna Baker took her own life. Compelling, tragic and utterly believable.

Mortdecai – have you read the books yet?

Don't point that thing at meAnyone been to see Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow in the film ‘Mortdecai’?

You might be interested in reading the novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli on which the film is based and which have been reissued by Penguin (The Mortdecai Trilogy and The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery).

Sometimes compared to P G Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster novels for their humour but altogether darker (Mortdecai has a thuggish sidekick called Jock and Mortdecai himself is more cunning than Bertie Wooster), the author’s wife also said Bonfiglioli owed a debt to Kipling.

Mortdecai says of himself: “I am in the prime of life, if that tells you anything, of barely average height, of sadly over-average weight and am possessed of the intriguing remains of rather flashy good looks … I like art and money and dirty jokes and drink. I am very successful. I discovered at my goodish second-rate public school that almost anyone can win a fight if he is prepared to put his thumb into the other fellow’s eye.”

We’ve got one title in stock and we’re ordering  more.

Don’t point that thing at me by Kyril Bonfiglioli –Portly art dealer and seasoned epicurean Charlie Mortdecai comes into possession of a stolen Goya, the disappearance of which is causing a diplomatic ruction between Spain and its allies. Not that that matters to Charlie … until compromising pictures of some British diplomats also come into his possession and start to muddy the waters.