Welcome to the 30 Books Before 30 Challenge! I have concucted a list of 30 books to read before I turn 30 in my last year of my 20s. There’s some classics, some fiction literature, some fantasy titles I must read and more. It’ll be a fun time and I’m curious to see how I like each title. I’ll be posting my reviews for all of them under the 30 Before 30 page so you can follow along. If you’ve read any of them I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments 🙂
Our third read is The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson! Molly from MollysBookNook will be joining me in this challenge and budding reading them all with me. So we decided to do something fun! We will each ask each other some Q&A. You can see each others answers on each others posts.
First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
I’ve been itching to get into the horror genre more and it’s been a slow progression but Shirley Jackson is the perfect introduction to the genre I believe! I loved her book We Have Always Lived In The Castle, it was thoroughly chilling and creepy and everything I wanted out of a horror story. Soon thereafter I watched Haunting of Hill House on Netflix and loved it. What a great horror show! Then I find out it’s by Jackson herself. Perfect. I now have another horror read.
Heads up! The novel is drastically different than the Netflix rendition. Basically the only similarity is Hill House itself. The rest of the story and the characters are completely different. I did enjoy the book as a separate entity but I liked the tv show a lot better, which rarely happens. I had to remind myself before reading that I needed to look at it as a separate story and not compare but it was hard not to.
What I found most surprising about this story is how comical Haunting on Hill House is. I found myself laughing a lot at the quibbs from the characters and the general story line. I wasn’t as creeped out as I was with We Have Always Lived In The Castle but there was an underlying unsettlement in the book.
I felt really bad for the character Eleanor. She was a bundle of anxiety. Jackson was ahead of her time in that regard. She created a character and ripped her apart. This book truly shows us how mental illness can ruin the mind. As an aside, I found it interesting that the characters were at their core quite juvenile. All of them had this childlike aspect that made Hill House seem more unsettling.
I loved the creepy descriptions of the house itself. Jackson has a knack at creepy descriptions and making you make that “squinch your nose” face. Why have the face of a child as your door knocker? Ew. I had to message Molly at that part I was so disgusted. The room descriptions were my favourite part. I truly felt as if I was discovering the house along with the characters.
Generally I cannot stand repetition, I chalk it up to lazy writing and lazy editing. Shirley Jackson did not give me that impression whatsoever. I liked her repeated phrases and Mrs. Dudley’s incessant droning. That to me deserves a gold star. When an author can write something that usually annoys me and has me enjoying it!
Overall I had fun with this book but I wanted it to be more creepy. I found it a bit anticlimactic as well although I do appreciate what Jackson was trying to get across with her story. The mind is the most dangerous place to be.
Q&A with MollysBookNook
Another fun aspect to my 30 Before 30 challenge is Molly is joining me in buddy reading all the books with me! We can tackle this list together Molly! You can view her answers to my questions below and my questions to her answers are posted on her blog post here MollysBookNook.
- If you had the option of visiting a haunted house for an extended period of time would you? What did you think of Hill House as a haunted house?
Heck no. I can handle scary stories and movies, but the minute I feel scared of something in “real life” I’m a baby. Also, no, I don’t think anything scary really happened. It felt like this was more of a story about a woman with mental health issues.
- Since neither of us were all that creeped out what would scare you in a horror book?I haven’t read many horror books, but the few that I have read and liked usually have some sort of suspense or build up to an “entity”. It’s that “whats around the corner” feeling that gets me creeped out.
An excerpt from Molly’s post…
Honestly, this may be one of the rare cases where the media adaptation was better than the book.