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The Haunting of Hill House
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Book of the Month -- 2016 & 2017 > October 2017 BOTM: "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson

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message 1: by biblio • bliss, Mod Nerd (new) - added it

biblio • bliss (bookgirl1987) | 1152 comments Mod
October is getting spooky with this month's speedy selection of
The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Share your thoughts with us!


Pien | 446 comments Definitely a nice read for this time of year! I just read it some months ago, liked it!


Kelsey I'm on chapter 4 already (started it Saturday), and I'm really enjoying it! It does have the creep factor of big old houses, and things that go bump in the night, so it's a perfect read for October!

Hopefully all the Snails who join in on this read will enjoy it too :)


message 4: by biblio • bliss, Mod Nerd (new) - added it

biblio • bliss (bookgirl1987) | 1152 comments Mod
Pien wrote: "Definitely a nice read for this time of year! I just read it some months ago, liked it!"

Awesome!


message 5: by biblio • bliss, Mod Nerd (new) - added it

biblio • bliss (bookgirl1987) | 1152 comments Mod
Kelsey wrote: "I'm on chapter 4 already (started it Saturday), and I'm really enjoying it! It does have the creep factor of big old houses, and things that go bump in the night, so it's a perfect read for October..."

I think I might jump in on this one!


Kelsey Allison wrote: "Kelsey wrote: "I'm on chapter 4 already (started it Saturday), and I'm really enjoying it! It does have the creep factor of big old houses, and things that go bump in the night, so it's a perfect r..."

I think you'd enjoy it! There's a lot to unpack, but it's worth it. I think Jackson's best characteristic is making the reader, along with one of the main characters, feel like such an "other," that you have almost no clue as to what is going to transpire throughout the whole story, as if you're on the distant edge, barely hanging on to sanity. It's brilliant!

I have only a few more chapters left, but I can say with almost 100% certainty that I know what's finally going on! Can't wait to finish it :)


message 7: by biblio • bliss, Mod Nerd (new) - added it

biblio • bliss (bookgirl1987) | 1152 comments Mod
Kelsey wrote: "Allison wrote: "Kelsey wrote: "I'm on chapter 4 already (started it Saturday), and I'm really enjoying it! It does have the creep factor of big old houses, and things that go bump in the night, so ..."

Sounds great.


message 8: by Erin (new)

Erin | 580 comments Just got the ebook from my library and it looks like I won't be able to make my YA book club's meeting this month so I can skip that read and focus on this one. I'm glad we have a "Halloweenish" book this month!


Kelsey Erin wrote: "Just got the ebook from my library and it looks like I won't be able to make my YA book club's meeting this month so I can skip that read and focus on this one. I'm glad we have a "Halloweenish" bo..."

I think you'll enjoy it, Erin! I'm almost finished with it, and it certainly has the Halloween vibe, but it isn't cheesy or campy, like a lot of Halloween themed things tend to be!


message 10: by Lupe, Bibliophile Extraordinaire (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lupe Dominguez (lupedominguez) | 92 comments Mod
I actually really loved this book. I may have to do a re-read..


message 11: by Brandyn (new)

Brandyn (brandy_k) | 13 comments I just finished We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson and I don't think I'm up for another one of her books just now. It was good, just a little disturbing.

I'll be interested to know what you guys think of this one!


message 12: by Erin (new)

Erin | 580 comments Has anyone read her story The Lottery? I'm wondering if it's the same "The Lottery" I read in high school where (view spoiler)


Kelsey Erin wrote: "Has anyone read her story The Lottery? I'm wondering if it's the same "The Lottery" I read in high school where [spoilers removed]"

I have read it! Totally didn't expect the ending. That's why I love Jackson's writing. It's so visceral but at the same time, so confounding that it's almost hard to understand.


Jennifer Perry | 29 comments I have read both the haunting of hill house and we have always lived in the castle! Between the two I enjoyed the later more, but they are both great reads!! I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's comments!!


message 15: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
Erin wrote: "Has anyone read her story The Lottery? I'm wondering if it's the same "The Lottery" I read in high school where [spoilers removed]"

Yes! I've also seen it mentioned several times in books on writing, as a model example of the right way to do a short story with a twist ending.


message 16: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
If anyone has trouble finding THoHH, I found a site where you can read it online (free). Not my favorite way to read, but it's one option:

http://www.readnovelonlinefree.com/no...
(I have no idea it's a "legal" posting of the book).

or listen to a reading of the book at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to_4K...

~~~~
Online PDF of Jackson's short story, "The Lottery":

https://sites.middlebury.edu/individu...


message 17: by biblio • bliss, Mod Nerd (new) - added it

biblio • bliss (bookgirl1987) | 1152 comments Mod
StarMan wrote: "If anyone has trouble finding THoHH, I found a site where you can read it online (free). Not my favorite way to read, but it's one option:

http://www.readnovelonlinefree.com/no...-..."


THANK YOU for adding these links, StarMan!


message 18: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
Apparently there is a Netflix TV series based on THoHH due out in 2018:
http://deadline.com/tag/the-haunting-...

Here are some early book covers: (view spoiler)


message 19: by Lupe, Bibliophile Extraordinaire (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lupe Dominguez (lupedominguez) | 92 comments Mod
The Lottery messed me up! It was also how I realized that I needed to devour everything Shirley Jackson ever wrote so I'm not mad. LOL


Kelsey Lupe wrote: "The Lottery messed me up! It was also how I realized that I needed to devour everything Shirley Jackson ever wrote so I'm not mad. LOL"

That's how I got into Shirley Jackson, too! I read the story in college for one of my classes, and thought it was brilliant. I've been hooked ever since :)


message 21: by Erin (new)

Erin | 580 comments So I just re-read The Lottery (since high school was 15+ years ago for me) and I'm left thinking "Why?" No reasoning is provided for what's being done (other than, "that's the way it's always been") and that bothers me. I like The Hunger Games better :-P

Is The Haunting of Hill House going to leave me with the same feeling? I'll be pretty annoyed if it does...


Kelsey Erin wrote: "So I just re-read The Lottery (since high school was 15+ years ago for me) and I'm left thinking "Why?" No reasoning is provided for what's being done (other than, "that's the way it's always been"..."

I think with Jackson's writing, she chooses to leave it up to the reader to figure out the "why". With The Lottery, we could say that she's warning against the temptations to blindly follow tradition. She could also be writing to show the randomness of persecution in societies, where innocence doesn't matter. That's what I got from it. I'm sure everyone who reads the story got something else from it! I think that's what Jackson intends.

For The Haunting of Hill House, I wouldn't say it's as open ended as The Lottery. The why is answered right off the bat, but it's the how the readers answer for themselves, paired together with another 'why this character..' question. However, the clues are way more prevalent in this story! You just need to piece it together, I think.

I will tell you, though, that I spent four years of college life working on this exact thing, reading and analyzing texts to death to figure out what the author was intending to say, and why, with their work, and even with that, it took me about 7 chapters to piece the story together! (And there's only 9 chapters in the book).

If you do read it, I think it's an enjoyable story! I would just say that you should keep this in mind: Shirley Jackson was obsessed with family, what makes a family, and why it's so important. She also focused on what makes a family good, and what makes a family bad. That's a huge part of The Haunting of Hill House. Actually, I'd say it's the defining theme!


message 23: by Erin (new)

Erin | 580 comments Thanks Kelsey!


message 24: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (last edited Oct 06, 2017 01:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
Erin wrote: "So I just re-read The Lottery (since high school was 15+ years ago for me) and I'm left thinking "Why?" No reasoning is provided for what's being done (other than, "that's the way it's always been"..."

I can see that POV, Erin. I don't like stories that have a crazy or senseless twist just for shock value, and which leave you wondering what it all meant. And maybe some readers felt like they just had the wool pulled over them, or didn't like a sort of sneaky, unreliable storyteller who hid things till the very end.

But I liked 'The Lottery'. At the end it left me thinking, is this Sci-Fi? Is this an alternate reality/parallel world where things like this happen? Or is this something that might happen in some real future, due to societal breakdown? And sometimes I like pondering stuff like that.

In a way, The Hunger Games is nothing more than 'The Lottery', expanded to a full story/trilogy, and with contests to the death instead of immediate (view spoiler) as in Jackson's story. And The Hunger Games (2008) seems to steal borrow from stories that came before (view spoiler)... but I digress.

Sometimes we want a quick thrill (Lottery), and sometimes we want more immersion and characters to root for (Hunger Games).

I like what Kelsey said about analyzing stuff to death! It can be fun (and borderline worthwhile), but sometimes a poem or story is just what it is, and the author never intended all the deep analysis or alleged hidden themes. Sometimes, that red wheelbarrow in the rain is just... a red wheelbarrow, in the rain. (https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/r...)

If you liked 'The Lottery', check these short stories out: (view spoiler)


message 25: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
Lupe wrote: "The Lottery messed me up! "

This is my favorite quote from this entire week :)


Kelsey StarMan wrote: "Erin wrote: "So I just re-read The Lottery (since high school was 15+ years ago for me) and I'm left thinking "Why?" No reasoning is provided for what's being done (other than, "that's the way it's..."

Exactly, StarMan! That was the most frustrating part about being an English major. Yes, I love analyzing what I'm reading, but at the end of the day, sometimes, it just is what it is.

In one of the poetry classes I took, we had a visiting poet come in, and he said when he used to teach English, he took his class to a reading by some local writer. At the end, they were asking him questions such as, "why did you make this green?", "why so much emphasis on this sunset?", and the writer just kind of stood there, and he answered, "it was becoming night..we needed a sunset". And that was that.

I think with almost anything, humans always ask "why," because we want to understand everything in our world. Of course, authors write their stories for a reason, but not everything has a hidden meaning. Not everything is symbolism. Sometimes, writers just write to entertain :)

(Just on a sidenote though, I think classic writers like Jackson should be analyzed, because that's how classics are written. Nowadays, though, it seems like authors are distancing themselves from that. How many books that are written now will be classics in the year 3000? There's a fine line between symbolism and no symbolism, and I think it depends on the era it was written in to be defined as a classic filled with symbolism!)


Kelsey Just to put on my English major hat one more time, I think it's important that we analyze these texts, too, because, really, that's how people got out their societal critiques back then. They wrote a story and thinly veiled their feelings behind symbolism and themes. Nowadays, with social media, someone can blast off a "f*** you political person" tweet and no one bats an eye. But could you imagine that same thing in 1955? In 1855? Especially by a woman? So, anyway, I guess I'm trying to say that these classic works always have a "why" behind them, even if it's not obvious! In modern days, maybe not so much.

Ok! I'm done! Thanks for letting me indulge in heavily analyzing works. I've missed it :P


Kelsey I finished the book! I wrote my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Heads up, though. My review is very spoilery, because I talk at length about the plot, and about character analysis.

If you're interested, maybe read it after you've finished the book?

Of course, if you've already read the book, or you want to read it anyway because you don't care about spoilers, my review is right there. Obviously. :)


message 29: by biblio • bliss, Mod Nerd (new) - added it

biblio • bliss (bookgirl1987) | 1152 comments Mod
Lupe wrote: "The Lottery messed me up! It was also how I realized that I needed to devour everything Shirley Jackson ever wrote so I'm not mad. LOL"

"The Lottery" was so good!


message 30: by biblio • bliss, Mod Nerd (new) - added it

biblio • bliss (bookgirl1987) | 1152 comments Mod
Kelsey wrote: "Erin wrote: "So I just re-read The Lottery (since high school was 15+ years ago for me) and I'm left thinking "Why?" No reasoning is provided for what's being done (other than, "that's the way it's..."

Thanks for breaking it down for us, Kelsey!


message 31: by biblio • bliss, Mod Nerd (new) - added it

biblio • bliss (bookgirl1987) | 1152 comments Mod
Found a copy of "Hill House," you guys! If I like this one, I can explore her other stories because I was lucky enough to find a collection of her works! Yay university library ;-)

How's it going for those who are reading? Anyone done?


message 32: by biblio • bliss, Mod Nerd (new) - added it

biblio • bliss (bookgirl1987) | 1152 comments Mod
Kelsey wrote: "I finished the book! I wrote my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Heads up, though. My review is very spoilery, because I talk at length about the plot, and about chara..."


Not going to read your review until I'm done. But I'm excited to do so!


Kelsey Allison wrote: "Kelsey wrote: "I finished the book! I wrote my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Heads up, though. My review is very spoilery, because I talk at length about the plot, ..."


I don't blame you! I hope you like the book. There's not too much action in it, but I still found it incredibly intriguing.

If you do like it, I definitely think you'll like her other works! They play off the same themes, but they're all so different from one another.


message 34: by biblio • bliss, Mod Nerd (new) - added it

biblio • bliss (bookgirl1987) | 1152 comments Mod
Kelsey wrote: "Allison wrote: "Kelsey wrote: "I finished the book! I wrote my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Heads up, though. My review is very spoilery, because I talk at length ..."


Looking forward to exploring Jackson's work!


message 35: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (last edited Oct 20, 2017 12:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
Thanks for the review, Kelsey :) Glad everyone is liking this classic horror-ish tale so far.

I read it last night. Shorter than I expected, and maybe a bit better than expected as well.

Short, bascially non-spoilery review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'll throw out 3 random discussion questions:

[Please avoid or hide any big spoilers, for Snails who may still be reading it.]

1) Do you have a favorite scene from the book?

2) Would you have fled Hill House? If so, at what point in the story?

3) The story was:
a) Terrifying!
b) Scary
c) Mildly disturbing
d) Moody
e) Intriguing but not disturbing at all
f) Mostly boring
g) a real hoot (some laughs!)
h) Other


Kelsey Thanks StarMan! I liked your review too. Short and sweet. I wish I could write shorter reviews! Alas, the writer in me seems to burst forth for reviews, but not for my book series..

#1.) My favorite scene in the book is when Eleanor and Theo hear the banging again, and children's voices, when they're sharing a room, and they're grasping each other's hands so hard that Eleanor can feel Theo's bones. I loved the ending of that scene, because I wasn't expecting what happened to actually happen! (view spoiler)

#2.) I wouldn't have fled, honestly. I love the paranormal, and I always wanted to be a ghost hunter. I would have been super happy staying there! I wouldn't descend like Eleanor, and would want to leave at some point, but staying for a week or two would be fun! Also, we have to ask ourselves, (view spoiler)

#3.) I found this book to be a cross between C and E. I was completely intrigued by the story, and found some events mildly disturbing, but I wasn't scared by any means.


message 37: by Erin (new)

Erin | 580 comments I don't know if I'll finish :-(
I got near the end of chapter one and was enjoying it, but then got busy with things... I only have one week left until my ebook is automatically returned...


message 38: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (last edited Oct 20, 2017 12:19AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
Erin wrote: "I don't know if I'll finish :-(
I got near the end of chapter one and was enjoying it, but then got busy with things... I only have one week left until my ebook is automatically returned..."


Erin, you can finish reading it online at
http://www.readnovelonlinefree.com/no...
if you want to.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Those were good answers, brave Kelsey. Most people would have fled after the first event (the (view spoiler))


message 39: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (last edited Oct 23, 2017 09:31AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
I recently watched the original 1963 movie version, titled simply "The Haunting."

It more or less followed the book in spirit (ha), with a few changes. (view spoiler)

There are a few fun trivia facts about the movie to be found on imdb.com (direct link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057129/ )

Worth a watch if you can find it online or on DVD. It's currently available on Amazon video for $3.99, or on vudu.com for just $2.99
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Haunting-Julie...
VUDU: https://www.vudu.com/movies/#!content...

I was able to watch it for free at:
https://oql955.oloadcdn.net/dl/l/JkTs...
but I can't guarantee the link will work forever, or if it's exactly, um, legal.

The 1999 movie re-make (also simply titled 'The Haunting") is also available on Vudu, Amazon, etc. It strays further from the book, and has several actors/actresses you'll recognize. It's more dependent (perhaps overly so) on special effects than mood. I can't say it's a great film, but for a color, popcorned version it's okay.

PS: Vudu currently has 60+ free movies available, including Orwell's 1984. And also a memorable sci-fi/horror film perfect for Halloween: Lifeforce. One of the actors is a younger Patrick Stewart (aka Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek NG), when he had more hair. Also Night of the Living Dead and several other horror films are currently free.


message 40: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
3 more discussion questions:

4) What did you think of the ending?

5) Is this book THE standard for haunted house tales, or can you think of an even better one?

6) If invited to stay in a remotely located "haunted" house for a week, would you go? (Kelsey, we know you would!)


message 41: by Lupe, Bibliophile Extraordinaire (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lupe Dominguez (lupedominguez) | 92 comments Mod
Gosh, I have to go back and re-read this so I can answer some of these questions! *scuttles away to her in home library to find the book* BRB guys!!!


Kelsey I've read that "The Haunting" has become a really big cult classic. I might watch it at some point! I did see the 1999 version, and I didn't like it at all..and that's before I even read the book! It wasn't awful, it just, wasn't good..

4.) I did like the ending. I wasn't expecting the ending, actually. I figured that something like that might occur, but not in the way it did. I also found it sad, because for once in her life, Eleanor has self agency, and that's what she does..

5.) I don't know if I'd say it was the standard, because we don't really know if (view spoiler), and a lot of the conventions Jackson used in her writing stemmed from Victorian Gothic literature, so I'd say, maybe it's the contemporary standard?

6.) I would definitely go, yes :P


message 43: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (last edited Oct 24, 2017 03:55PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
Kelsey wrote: "I've read that "5.) I don't know if I'd say it was the standard, because we don't really know..."

Excellent point! I like that it's ambiguous, leaving the reader to their own conclusions, if any. FYI, the 1963 movie ends on a note that gives a nudge in a certain direction, if you're paying attention to the voiceover. The '99 film just sort of... ends.

It seemed to me that the house probably was either actually haunted, or it was haunted-in-effect by serving as a conduit for those who might themsleves have certain paranormal abilities/curses. Let's dig deeper:

(view spoiler)


message 44: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (last edited Oct 24, 2017 03:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
Some comments on the films:

I was disappointed in both movies (1963 and '99) in that they left out the scenes from outside the house (Theo & Nell at the brook, the mysterious picnic and Theo screaming to RUN!). I thought the original film was much better, even though neither Eleanor was true to the book-Eleanor in my head.

Younger viewers may enjoy the effects in the flawed '99 version more, but I thought the film went too far in trying to explain things, rather than depending on mood. But I admit a certain scene with Luke and the fireplace is almost worth the price of admission. Some of the rooms were pretty neat, too (remember the hallway with books for stepping stones in the water?)

Interestingly, the '63 film mirrored certain suggestions from the book that (view spoiler)
~~~~~~~~~~~~

What locations were used for Hill House in the movies? imdb.com says:

(view spoiler)


Kelsey StarMan wrote: "Kelsey wrote: "I've read that "5.) I don't know if I'd say it was the standard, because we don't really know..."

Excellent point! I like that it's ambiguous, leaving the reader to their own conclu..."


Really good points! I've also read that Jackson had said something along the lines of, "I just think of it as a haunted house story," but, knowing Jackson's work, I don't think her writing was a "just xxx" thing to her.

(view spoiler)


message 46: by StarMan, Co-Mod Space Snail (last edited Oct 24, 2017 04:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

StarMan (thestarman) | 1826 comments Mod
I like the way you think, English major.

Kelsey said, (view spoiler)

(you said it a lot more succintly than I did!)

The fact that Eleanor and Theo both saw and heard (view spoiler)


message 47: by Kelsey (last edited Oct 24, 2017 05:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kelsey StarMan wrote: "I like the way you think, English major.

Kelsey said,
"..."normal" people could feel its energy, (or be put off by its design), but to unleash all of its power, it needed the right person, and th..."


Ha! Thank you :)

(view spoiler)


message 48: by biblio • bliss, Mod Nerd (new) - added it

biblio • bliss (bookgirl1987) | 1152 comments Mod
Just now getting around to this one...missed it by several months but I'm already on chapter 2 and I'm waiting to get my hands on another copy. It's very eerie already...


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