RIP IX Readalong: The Haunting of Hill House

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.” –first paragraph

It’s almost that time! Carl’s RIP IX event is just around the corner, and The Estella Society is back with special guest, Amanda from Fig and Thistle, and another festive fall readalong. This time we’re reading the classic novella, The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson.



Sign ups “officially” begin September 1, 2014, but we’re fudging a bit and making them available now. We will actually discuss the book on October 1, 2014, so you have a month to get this slim volume finished.

We will post some discussion questions here on October 1, but feel free to write your own blog post, using our questions or not, and link up beginning that day. And if you’re in the mood to Tweet about it, use the #ripix hashtag!

100 Chapter Books Project: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret



1970’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume came in at number 74 on the Top 100 Chapter Books list. It’s kind of right on that border of middle grade and YA due to lots of time spent talking about puberty and budding relationships.

What it’s about: Margaret Simon is starting sixth grade at a new school after moving from New York City to New Jersey. Her mother is Christian and her father is Jewish and she spends a lot of time thinking about religion — when she isn’t thinking about boys or puberty issues.

Age level: Grade 5-6

Best part: Margaret learns some great lessons about not believing rumors about people and about standing up for herself, even against bullying family members.

Worst part: Margaret’s eventual conclusions about religion are ridiculous. They actually managed to ruin the entire book for me.

Verdict: Borrow/Skip

I really didn’t feel like writing much about this book because it made me so angry. I was actually thinking “hey, this book isn’t too bad — it’s a little weird that these girls are talking so much about their periods since I never once talked about it with any friend because EMBARRASSING but maybe some girls were different than I was” and then BAM! the most ridiculous “moral of the story” showed up in one or two sentences near the end. Margaret spends the entire book researching religion, attending different services and talking to a God that she isn’t even entirely sure she believes in about how she wants him to make her boobs grow. So what conclusion does she come to? That her parents were wrong to leave the choice of her personal religion up to her because it’s just too damn hard to think for herself and that she will just force a religion on her own children from birth and spare them the agony of thought. Yeah. That’s a great message to send to kids. Don’t bother thinking about religion. Pray that you were lucky enough to just have your parents tell you what you are and what you believe. Blech.

Moving on … I’m definitely looking forward to The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate! It’s been on my TBR since it came out but I’ve just never gotten to it.


Schedule – August through November

note: dates are not necessarily set in stone – posts may go up a day or two before or after

August 30 – #66 The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (2009)

September 15 – #14 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1938)

September 30 – Project Update – Two Years In!

October 15 – #79 The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1967)

October 31 – #48 The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (1999)

November 15 – #21 The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (1961)