Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fluff - Fright - and Sensational

I wasn't quite sure what to write about today, seeing how I haven't done much reading in the past week due to the start of school, but there is nothing like reading through my blog list to inspire me to write a post of my own.

Today's Booking through Thursday meme asks:
What’s the lightest, most “fluff” kind of book you’ve read recently?

I must admit that I tend not to read a lot of what I would consider "fluff" books. I tend to focus on literary fiction or mysteries. I do enjoy a good cozy mystery - which might be considered the "fluff" of that genre, but I still find that my mind is actively engaged as I am trying to determine "who did it" before it is revealed in the end. At the risk of making a broad judgmental statement, I would say that my classic definition of "fluff" is chick lit. You know, the lovey-dovey romances that so many find true escape, but which make me gag (I am NOT the romantic one in our marriage, much to my husband's chagrin). However, I have recently read a book that I think qualifies as "fluff" and I was quite surprised how much I thoroughly enjoyed it: Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Patillo (review found here.) I enjoy Jane Austen, but not because of her romantic scene; I enjoy her satiric wit and commentary on Regency life in the small English villages. This book was a true fluffy pleasure!

That was the fluff - now for the fright. In reading Meghan's blog post this morning on her Medieval Bookworm site, I was intrigued by the annual RIP reading challenge. Apparently this is the 4th year for the challenge, but since I am relatively new to the book blogging community, this was the first time I had heard of it. The books that Meghan listed as possible challenge reading material were quite interesting (I have never been fond of the Horror genre, but as I mentioned above, I love a good mystery - and the gothic novel is vast becoming a favorite of mine as well). I immediately followed her link to Stainless Steel Droppings and read through the challenge. Now, I need to join another challenge like I need a hole in the head - and I know that I will only set myself up for failure (I have a dismal record for reading challenges in 2009) -- but I must say that this one seems like it "should" be doable. I mean, I only have to read one book by October 31 in order to participate. I can do that, right? If I decide to give into the temptation, then I am think I will read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, which has been on my bookshelf for at least two years.

The other aspect that I love about this challenge is the focus on Short Stories. I am ashamed to admit that I have never read any work by Edgar Allan Poe, but I would truly love to challenge myself to do so. I own several short story anthologies, of which there is always at least one Poe selection included, and I know that many of his short stories are available online. At the very least, I plan to follow Carl's Short Story Sundays and perhaps participate in this reading goal.

Fluff, Fright, and now Sensation. I want to mention that I am so excited to read Simon's postings this upcoming month when he plans to focus on a "Sensational September" on his blog, Savidge Reads. As I previously mentioned, I have gained an appreciation for the gothic novel, and the Sensational novel is, in my opinion, a natural extension of that genre. I have only read Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White and Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret, but I so thoroughly devoured both of those books that I am very anxious to read more. I hope to have the opportunity to join in at least one of Simon's read-a-longs next month, as I am sure it will a thrilling reading experience.

As you can see, I am not lacking for reading material. What I am lacking is free hours in the day to sit down and enjoy my favorite past-time.


  1. Actually, if you want to be technical about it, you only have to read a few short stories to be involved. One thing I realized that I wasn't clear on is that my interpretation of the short story peril is that if you can only participate occasionally in short story reading during the 2 months then that counts! I honestly think you could join us, have fun reading Poe, as you mentioned on my site, and still be a part of the whole thing and not fail at all. In fact I am pretty sure this challenge is fail proof!

    I don't want to twist your arm to join, however. For me it is never about how many join, just that everyone has fun. I just wanted to make sure you knew that I would love to have you participate and that I think you can do so in a no stress manner.

  2. I hope you can participate in the RIP challenge! There is so much more to it than horror and it certainly seems to be huge across the blogosphere. All the hype convinced me. And The Historian is a good choice!

  3. There should be many Sensational novels that qualify for the RIP challenge. How about The Castle of Otranto? That one is kind of fun, as I recall. It was considered scary stuff in its day.

    Oh, The Monk is wonderful. It's an 18th century gothic , very late 18th century. I think the author is Michael Lewis. It's the most over-the-top thrill ride I've read. Twists and turns and scary stuff about a monk who might be a woman who might be the devil.

  4. Hi there, Molly! It's interesting that C.B. James (above) suggested The Monk by Matthew Lewis. It's probably the scariest book I've ever read--incredibly violent and sexual, but Lewis was only a teenager when he wrote it (and it shows in the content). The skill of the writer is amazing, though.

    I read The Woman in White this summer, and Lady Audley's Secret a few years ago. I recommend The Castle of Otranto if you're looking for 18th century mystery, but for anything more modern, Wilkie Collins is your man! Have you read Collins's The Haunted Hotel? It's much shorter than The Woman in White and also very mysterious! Happy reading.

  5. I have to agree with you on the fluffy choice of yours. It definitely was.

    As far as the challenge goes, I would love to sign up for this one but i have to know my limits and I feel that I have already signed up for way too many challenges and if I add one more I'll know it would be doomed from the beginning. maybe next year I'll plan a little better.

  6. I had to define fluff as things that didn't take much thinking about, which for me meant crime and fantasy. I'm definitely not into chicklit. I found that 'The Historian' which I did enjoy, benefited from two readings (the second because one of my book groups chose it after I'd already read it). The author has done a tremendous amount of research and possibly included too much in the novel for you to be able to take it all in on one reading.

  7. Carl runs a great challenge Molly--you should do it! ;) I am with you though--not that there is a lack of reading material just a lack of hours in the day!

  8. You should definitely join RIP, as Carl runs a great challenge. Plus, I read The Historian for RIP (I think last year or even the year before) and enjoyed it!

  9. It's been interesting to read about everyone's different interpretation of fluff!!

  10. What did you think of the ending of The Historian?

    I have an award for you at:

  11. Thanks for the mention I think that I might have to join this R.I.P Challenge if I am not too late, am off to look into it!


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