Celebrating Community by Reading Scary Books

BlogHer Original Post

I used to struggle in the autumn. Like many people, I spent a large chunk of my life heading off to school in the fall. The years immediately after college were hard. What do people do in the fall when they aren't going back to school? Then in 2006 along came Carl with the very first Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P) challenge. My fall was saved! I had something to get excited about! Readers Imbibing Peril is now entering it's seventh year and I'm still as excited about it as I was that first year.

readers imbibing peril seven

The internet is a large landscape. We take our pockets of community wherever we find them. I've been a book blogger since 2005 and the number of book bloggers has increased every year. It's fabulous. I love it. I also love seeing that some of the things I loved so much in the beginning still endure -- things like these community events. For a long time this event was called a challenge. Carl dropped that title this year and explains why:

“Challenge” was the lingo back when I first discovered book blogs thus its previous addition to the reading events I host. While I don’t have any personal grudge against folks challenging themselves to read a certain number of books, or books outside their comfort zone, this event is primarily about the great pleasure that can be found in embracing this type of fiction/non-fiction during this season of the year.

There are two simple goals for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII

1. Have fun reading.

2. Share that fun with others.

What is Readers Imbibing Peril? Think of it a little bit like a quilting bee, only instead of all getting together to work on a quilt, readers around the world pick up and read books that might just scare their pants off. It could be a mystery, suspense or thriller. It could be gothic, horror or dark fantasy. It could be moody and broody. My personal definition of a good R.I.P. book is one that makes me want to huddle under a fuzzy blanket with a hot cup of tea and has me peering out my windows to make sure it's just a neighbour crunching leaves underfoot as they walk by and not some scary, supernatural being.

Some people chose to read lots of books, some choose to read only one. I have documented the fact that I suck at meeting reading goals but I always try because signing up is half the fun. I always hope to read at least four books, which is doable for me in the September 1 to October 31 timeframe, but I'm usually lucky if I read one R.I.P. book. I still consider that a success. There's even a option to watch scary movies though I pass on that one. (I like to sleep at night and that doesn't happen when I watch scary movies.)

I think perhaps the best part about Readers Imbibing Peril for me is planning all the things I might read. I know for sure that I'm reading Linwood Barclay's new thriller Trust Your Eyes for BlogHer Book Club. I just picked up Alex Grecian's The Yard from the library and I've been assured that it would an excellent R.I.P. read. Or maybe this will (finally) be the year that I tackle Bram Stoker's Dracula, which I bought for this event a few years ago and has been gathering dust on my shelves ever since. Will I stop groaning at the size of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and decide that yes, I can read this 1000+ page monster? I know I am capable of reading it, however my wrists are not fond of holding it open. It might be time to invest in the e-book.

I also love hopping around on blogs to see what scary books other bloggers are putting in their R.I.P stack. Like me, Heather can't quite believe it's been seven years since she first took part in this challenge.

The leaves are turning shades of red and orange. The air is cooler. I made my first pot of soup last night. School started weeks ago. It’s time for this young girls’ thoughts to turn to vampires, werewolves, psychological terror, and grisly horror. RIP VII is here.

the little strange sarah watersIn addition to her own extensive reading piles, Heather is also participating in The Estella Society's The Little Stranger RIP Readalong. It's so very tempting but the timing doesn't work for me. I could possibly grab it from the library and read it in October.

Nadia at A Bookish Way of Life is considering The Legend of Sleepy Hollow . It was one of the very first books I read for this event and I'm tempted to reread this year if only to study Washington Irving's most excellent use of the semicolon. I believe that upon my first reading I counted 12 of them in a single paragraph.

Grace, who blogs at Books Without Any Pictures, reminded me that I still have not read Ransom Rigg's bestselling Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I've wanted to read that since before it was released. R.I.P. gives me a great reason to bump that up the list!

You see what I did there? I just added at least three more potential books to my list by visiting a handful of blogs. I'll probably add ten more books to my to be read list before the end of the weekend. I love that.

What's your favourite spooky book?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.


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