A Twofer of Guy de Maupassant: The Inn and Le Horla

Panoramic view of Paradise Inn, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Last year, I reviewed A Ghost by Guy de Maupassant and it didn't go well. It was so bad that a Troll decided to tell me I was stupid and should stop writing stupid things on the internet.* Yes, because that is the way to convince people to enjoy the things you do, by calling them stupid. I would have appreciated some guidance from Mr Guy Fanboy, because Guy wrote a lot, a little "if you didn't like that, then try this instead" but no, that is not how assholes work on the internet. Anyway, I didn't let the opinions of one butthead deter me from trying Monsieur Maupassant again.

This time around I took on The Inn and Le Horla.

I read recently that Stephen King's The Shining and The Inn are often compared. I'm all about The Shining these days. In The Inn, two caretakers and a dog are left to look after an inn located in the Alps during the winter months. The inn is completely cut off from civilization in the winter. Almost right away one of the caretakers disappears, and this event sends the remaining man into madness. King's The Shining has supernatural elements, but Jack Torrance and Ulrick follow the same path. The question I had about Ulrick was if he went crazy because of the isolation or because he felt guilty. Maybe he didn't think he looked hard enough for the old man. I wasn't a fan of the ending. There wasn't much of a denouement: "And then they found him and he was crazy. The End."

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Le Horla (The Horla) was a favorite of HP Lovecraft's who is said to have been inspired by it when writing The Call of Cthulhu. In Le Horla, a man writes in his diary of a sensation of being attacked while he sleeps. This nightly occurrence drains him. The only way he escapes this feeling is when he travels. While visiting his cousin, he witnesses a doctor performing hypnosis. When he returns to his home, the feeling returns but worse. He feels that he is being controlled by an invisible being with a powerful mind, much like his cousin was controlled while under hypnosis. The situation gets to the point where he can do little other than sit in his room. Le Horla is a much better story. It's longer than The Inn and the ending feels like an ending.

Le Horla is the clear favorite for me. It's actually one of the best supernatural short stories I've read. So, yay! Le Horla could be read two ways: he really did have some creature living with him or he was cuckoo for coco puffs. He does actually go mad, but was he on the way there anyway or did the creature drive him there? The editor adds in a footnote that Maupassant died from madness *coughsyphiliscough* and that he believed he was haunted by his double. It's interesting how both these stories deal with madness. Maybe Maupassant knew what he was talking about.

You can find both these stories for free on Gutenberg Project in Original Short Stories Volume 4 and Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories respectively.

So since I like Le Horla, what else should I read from Guy?

*Deleted!

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Thinking About October

Bonjour! How are we today? The weather here is unbelievable, but also believable because September is such a good month here. (November is the worst.) October is just 2 days away. I love it! There are lots of things happening in October.

Pin It and Do It

October 2013 Pin it

Trish is at it again with another Pin It and Do It Challenge for October 2013. I think I'm just in for Pinterested (4-7 pins). I'll see how it goes.

Estellagram

If you happen to follow The Estella Society on Instagram, you'll see that another Estellagram is starting this October 1st. I haven't participated in awhile but I plan on making an effort this time. Here's a look at the schedule.

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Sleepalong (Doctor Sleep Readalong)

My copy of Doctor Sleep came in the mail this week and I've been reading it for the Sleepalong beginning this week.

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Still Ripping

Carl's Readers Imbibing Peril continues and I'm trying to read what I can for it. Besides Doctor Sleep, I'm reading The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and short stories by Guy de Maupassant.

Haunting of Hill House text

The Shining by Stephen King: Readalong Wrap Up

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This is the final instalment of my thoughts on The Shining for the readalong. Since I'll be discussing the final chapters, there will be numerous spoilers. Everything between the lines contains spoilers.

If you like to read my thoughts on the previous milestones, you can read the first, second, and third posts.

Let's get down to business.








Jack. Jack is completely owned by the hotel. There's no hope for him, not until the very end when he gives Danny a little time to escape. Tif asks if he was easily manipulated and, yes, I do think it was easy. Jack is a weak character, only his love for his son is strong. He was pretty determined to beat Wendy to death. I never felt anything but disgust and pity for the guy.

Wendy. Wendy kicks ass! Yay, Wendy! She's scared, of course, and thinks if they can just get away from the hotel, Jack will be fine. (Yeah, right.) Jack's her weak spot, but that doesn't stop her from putting a knife in his back. Too bad it doesn't work. She does what she has to do to save her and Danny.

Hallorann. What a guy! He gets himself from Florida to the Overlook in a snowstorm. Not bad for an old dude. I loved how he met up with some other Shines along the way. That was sweet. I'm so glad he lived! I always thought……MOVIE SPOILER (highlight)…killing him off as soon as he gets to the Overlook was a dick move on Kubrick's part. This was better.

Danny. He'd already figured out who the hotel wanted, himself, but he felt helpless. He remarks that he's only five. He's already seen more than any five year old should. He called out to Dick for help and luckily that works. He also finds out the Tony is really just a part of himself.

The Overlook. Who knows why that place is so evilly. It just is, I guess. Though the site it was built on is supposed to play a part in Doctor Sleep. Maybe we'll learn more. It was strange how The Overlook became so powerful that even Wendy could hear and see the 'ghosts,' if that's what they were. So who was the manager? The devil? An evil spirit? I don't know.



I'm surprised by how much I had forgotten about the story. I couldn't remember the ending at all (though I could guess by all the foreshadowing). It's very different from the original film. Stephen King himself was not a fan. He says the film, "was cold" the characters "little insects" and Duvall's portrayal of Wendy as "misogynistic." I have to agree. Beyond the setting and the idea of the family it could be a different story altogether.

I'm really glad to have read The Shining again. It's smart, compelling, and scary. It definitely deserves to be a freezer book. I can't wait to read Doctor Sleep now! I'll be getting a copy for myself soon. I'm also going to participate in the readalong for this book too.


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RIP 8 On Film

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Readers Imbibing Peril isn’t just for books, it’s movies and TV too! This past week I watched a couple of RIP related things on the boob tube.

Rear Window. Back in 2009 (whoa!), I ‘reviewed’ Rear Window for Summer of Hitchcock. This time around I live tweeted my viewing with some Twitter friends for #hitchfest last Sunday, which was a lot of fun. Snarking on movies with friends is the way to re-watch a movie. Since I already knew the plot, I focused on other things, like Grace Kelly’s clothes and the set. The whole movie happens within one apartment. We never leave Jeff, who is confined to a wheelchair. We only see what he sees. What he sees out his window are the antics of his neighbours who, with the exception of ‘the newlyweds,’ don’t close their blinds. It’s like watching living dioramas. He has a nickname for all of them. I wonder what they call him: creepy guy with the camera? Even though the movie seems clichéd at times because it’s been copied so often, it’s still a lot of classic fun.

sleepy hollowSleepy Hollow. I also watched the pilot of the new series Sleepy Hollow. It’s…interesting. This is not a show to take seriously. It is so over the top. I mean, really, George Washington was part of a plot to keep the apocalypse from happening? Sure, why not? This show is going to get extremely weird. I expect Nicolas Cage to appear and declare he’s “going to steal the Declaration of Independence” because why wouldn’t he? I do like the heroine Abbie and Icabod is a hotty. ----->

I’m really looking forward to American Horror Story: Coven on FX beginning October 9th. I wasn’t a fan of Asylum. It was too weird and all over the place. This time around Jessica Lange returns as the head of a school of witches in New Orleans, at least that’s what I’m getting from this very short trailer. Also Cathy Bates and Angela Bassett are in this one! Woot!



There are a bunch of creepy posters for the show. I think I like this one the best.

AHS Coven

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Yay, it’s fall! I know, I know, it’s become a cliché to love fall, but I do. Amy has some questions about fall. Go check out her answers. I’m going to answer them here.

1) What's the first thing that makes you feel like summer is over and fall has arrived?
2) What's your favorite fall fragrance or flavor?
3) Favorite fall goodie?
4) Do have any fun fallish outings or traditions? (i.e. apple picking, looking at leaves etc.) If not is there something you've always wanted to do?
5) Football or Baseball postseason?
6) Halloween or Thanksgiving?
7) What's your favorite spooky monster?
8) Do you have a favorite quote about fall from a book or movie?
9) If you could go anywhere for a weekend trip during the season where would it be?
10) Describe your ideal fall day.


1) When the morning air is really chilly and I have to wear a sweater. I love that crisp feeling in the air.

2) This is weird but rotting leaves! That sweet, sort of gross smell hits me as I walk out the door. I love/hate it. It reminds me that it’s fall but also ew.

3) Honeycrisp apples. They are only really good during the fall season. They’re so expensive too but they’re worth it.

4) Every year we go out to a farm nearby and pick out our pumpkins (see photo). There’s a corn maze and lots of kiddie entertainment too. I also get squash, beets, and leeks for fall cookery.

5) Neither. I like the new TV season though.

6) Thanksgiving, which is in October in Canada. That is really the kick off to the season. Usually we go for our pumpkins that weekend. And turkey. I love turkey.

7) Dracula. He’s the Halloweeniest.

8) “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” from Anne of Green Gables. It sums up my feelings exactly.

9) This might sound lame but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here in Nova Scotia. People come from all over the world to see our changing leaves. We even have a festival to celebrate it called Celtic Colours. It’s the best time of the year to be here.

10) The perfect day would be one where it was sunny and I’d hop in the car with the fam and go for a drive to see the changing leaves. Then we’d take a hike on one of the trails around here. After, we’d head to the farm for pumpkins and baked goods.

How about you?


Bloggiesta! Getting My Blog On

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Since I’m unemployed again, I figure I should work on my badly neglected blog. Luckily, it’s Bloggiesta time! I don’t even know where to start.

  • Add review links to my Review page.
  • Write a couple of posts.
  • Think about changing my template.
  • Update my About page.
  • Update my sidebar.
  • Comment on some blogs.
  • Participate in a Twitter chat.
  • Add a link to Carl’s RIP page.
  • Back up my blog.

In the long term, I’d like to read a few books and do reviews, participate in some Instagram challenges, blow the dust off my old blog features, and brainstorm some new blogging ideas which I will implement.

How about you?

The Shining Readalong: Check In #2

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Tell us your thoughts on Chapters 17-33.  Can you feel the tension rising as we progress through the story?  Any quotes or sections that stand out for you?

I’m going to be spoilery here so avert your eyes if you haven’t read The Shining before.

Things are starting to get weird up in here. Jack has flipped his lid and determined to keep them all trapped in the Overlook, Danny is still seeing dead people who are trying to kill him, and Wendy is all “what the hell is happening?” Tension, yes, we have tension. It’s building and the shit is going to hit the fan soon.

Danny: Danny confronts Room 217 and the results are horrifying. Stephen King can really paint a disturbing picture. Danny discovers that the things in the hotel can hurt him. The hotel wants him for some reason.

Jack: Why does the hotel have such an affect on him? Is his alcoholism a weak point that the hotel can exploit? Is he really deep down a terrible person who hates his wife? I can’t figure him out. Sometimes I hate that guy.

Wendy: She’s the least affected by the Overlook. She knows that Jack and Danny aren’t themselves but doesn’t know why. She also believes that Danny isn’t just a smart kid. She knows he can read people. Sometimes I think Wendy is weak and then she has these Mama Bear moments. She needs to stay strong.

The Overlook: What is the deal with this place? Is it an entrance to hell or what? So, a few people died there, so what? Why all the evil, Overlook? The Overlook wants to kill them, but why? And why does the hotel seem most active in the winter when hardly anyone is there? I want answers!

I have so many questions!

Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Review

twisted wivesPsychopaths, murders, runaways; housewives, mothers, daughters. No, this isn’t the latest Gillian Flynn novel. Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives is a collection of short stories of domestic suspense edited by Sarah Weisman. Domestic suspense revolves around crimes that occur in the home, most often to or by women.

Published in mystery magazines like Black Mask or Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, these stories were written by 14 different women in the past century. The women in the stories range from impoverished geriatrics to glamorous heiresses, runaway daughters to desperate housewives. Every woman has a story, including the women who wrote them. Many wrote for magazines to get through tough times while raising children. Some won awards for their writing before fading into obscurity, although you’re sure to have heard of at least one: Shirley Jackson. Weisman’s project is meant to bring these writers’ work back into the public eye.

A few of my favorites:

Louisa, Please Come Home by Shirley Jackson. Fed up with her home life, Louisa leaves home the day of her sister’s wedding. Afraid of being found, she hides herself in the city, quite successfully, until at last she’s found out. In typical Jackson fashion, there’s a twist that’s both clever and cynical.

Sugar and Spice by Vera Caspary. Who killed the movie star? The poor beauty or the dowdy heiress. The ladies have a long history of jealousy and one up-manship but who is capable of murder?

The Stranger in the Car by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. The family patriarch thinks he has to handle a situation for his women only to find it’s he who’s being handled.

The Purple Shroud by Joyce Harrington. Even hippies get revenge.

Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives is a good introduction to these writers’ work. I hope to read more from them soon. Give this collection a try yourself.

Thanks to Penguin Group via Netgalley for the review copy.

The Shining Read-along: Check In #1

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What are your thoughts of The Shining thus far?  Any thoughts on the characters, the writing, foreshadowing, or something we have not yet covered? (Tif Talks Books)

The story starts off  very slowly. It’s mostly backstory: the Torrance’s family life, their issues, Jack’s drinking and violent tendencies, Danny’s abilities. Still, it doesn’t drag. And as Tif noticed, there is a lot of foreshadowing. We know bad stuff is going to happen, we just don’t know what or who is going to come out of it unhurt. Tony, Danny’s invisible friend, shows him the future, which isn’t good, but Danny also knows that not everything Tony shows him comes true. So the reader has hope. If we thought everyone was going to die, why keep reading?!

Jack is a complicated man and no one understands him but his woman (Wendy). But does she? Jack keeps a lot from Wendy. As for Wendy, other than Jack and Danny, she has no one. Her mother is the devil, and her loving father dead. I can see why Wendy doesn’t leave Jack. She’s educated but can’t just run out and get a job. She hasn’t worked, ever, so what can she do? Jack messed up real good at his last job and has the weight of supporting them all on his shoulders. They’re between a rock and a hard place. The Overlook job is their only hope.

The Shining. Danny learns that he’s not the only one who has this special ability of being able to read people. Mr Hallorann tells Danny about the Shining, this talent, that he has too. Danny’s shining is strong and this worries Mr Hallorann, since he’s seen things himself at the hotel, but he says these things can’t hurt him. There is quite a bit of foreshadowing in that conversation about the hedge animals and room 217.

The Overlook. The Overlook is introduced as a character. It’s malevolence is only hinted at. The Presidential “Sweet” shows Danny a horrifying image in the bathroom and the wasps make a reappearance in Danny’s bedroom. These events are a taste of things to come. The wasps are a metaphor for what’s hidden: Jack’s temper, the hotel’s past. What we think is gone will come back.

I’m loving this reading of The Shining so far. I’m almost caught up again and can’t wait for next week’s discussion. So much to talk about!

The Shining Read-a-long: Q & A

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It’s a windy, dark day here. A perfect day for reading The Shining by Stephen King. I’m reading the book for The Shining Read-a-long. For my first post, I’m answering the questions posed by the hosts Tif and Charleen. If you want to join in, follow this link.

Will this be a re-read or a first-time read for you?

This is a reread for me, though the first time I read it, I was a teenager. It’s been interesting so far. I’m a much different reader now.

Have you seen the movie(s)?

Yes, both. I remember Kubrick’s more, maybe because it’s been on TV many, many times or because it’s so iconic: the first scene of the car driving up the mountain, the elevator, the creepy twins. The mini-series was good too (and more faithful to the book) but Jack Nicholson makes a convincing nutjob.

What are your thoughts from previous reads/watches?  (Or, if you haven't read or watched any of the above, what do you anticipate for your first experience with The Shining?)

I remember being shocked by what an son-of-a-bitch Jack was, right from the beginning. I also didn’t understand why Wendy didn’t say no to staying at The Overlook. Now, as an adult, I understand their motivations and failings better.

And finally, why are you joining in on the #shinealong?  Is there anything specific you would like to get out of the read-along?

After reading Joyland, I wanted to get back to classic Stephen King storytelling. The Shining was one of my favorites. When I heard about the readalong, I thought it was perfect timing!

I’m nearly caught up with this week’s reading and will have a hard time stopping myself from reading on!