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Scary adventures in books

All right, everyone, I'm going to do it. It may be reckless, it may be painful, but I'm determined. I have knocked it long enough without trying it, so now I'm going to try it, and I won't be stopped.

I'm going to read a Danielle Steel novel.

Pray for me. Maybe I'll soon be back to report that someone's loins are being struck with the hammer of desire. Here's hoping.

The book I just finished caused me to invoke my rare "Do not read after dark" rule: The Haunting of Hill House by (I almost wrote "Danielle Steel") Shirley Jackson. Brilliant if weird, and very very spooky without actually showing any ghosts. But we all know it's what you can't see that's scary. And, in the end, it was actually more interesting than frightening, so a well-done story overall.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
kijjohnson
Nov. 13th, 2006 02:09 am (UTC)
I read a Danielle Steele book once, and lived to tell of it.
mollyringle
Nov. 13th, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC)
Heartening to know. Thank you. :)
impetuousnote
Nov. 13th, 2006 09:12 am (UTC)
I pass her section in the library often and I'm always tempted to pick one up just to see what it's like. I feel like a little boy looking at the girlie mags in the supermarket, though.

Which one are you reading? You should categorize as you read:

Number of various penile references:
Number of body parts afire:
Number of cliched phrases:
Number of times you laughed at inappropriate times:

And so on and so forth...
mollyringle
Nov. 13th, 2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
I'm reading The Ghost. It was sitting around at my parents' vacation house, and I like ghost stories (which apparently this one contains), so I am giving it a whirl.

Your checklist--heheh! So far I would already be in the "several dozen" range for cliched phrases, but otherwise it isn't the worst-written thing I ever saw. We'll see when the action gets hot & heavy.
terrylj
Nov. 13th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC)
I read a Danielle Steele book once...it scarred me for life...the woman couldn't finish a sentence properly...she kept throwing ellipses around like candy...it was really annoying.

And the sentence fragments. Were very irritating.

You may learn how NOT to write, but that's about it.
mollyringle
Nov. 13th, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC)
Oy--I have already noticed the sentence fragments. The ones that belabor a point. The ones that could be deleted.

Also, a writing how-to book I recently read explained that you shouldn't start in with an interesting move made by the protagonist, then have him look out the window for a while as you go into 20 pages of backstory. Which, pretty much literally, is what she's doing in this one. (Guy gets on plane to move to another country after nasty divorce, and uses length of flight to dwell on entire relationship over many many pages.)

I will indeed try to keep it from influencing me, except in the sense of figuring out how she sells so damn many books!
new_iconoclast
Nov. 13th, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
No, please, don't. An excellent writer like you may not be able to read Danielle Steele and come out unscarred. I know you're strong, but so am I - and, dammit, I don't spend time hanging out in bars just to prove it to myself.
new_iconoclast
Nov. 13th, 2006 04:43 pm (UTC)
Besides, I hurt just thinking of having my loins struck with the hammer of desire.
mollyringle
Nov. 13th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
Hee! I suppose it is the literary equivalent of picking a fight with dangerous people. But she sells a lot of books, so maybe I can figure out why, without turning off my editor-radar as I read. (Man, the number of sentences I would have cut so far--and I'm not even through the first chapter.)

Oh, and the desire/loins bit was inspired by an actual quote from a romance novel I read (for some reason) earlier this year. Think it was "Desire slammed into his loins like a fist." Ow! Jeez!
captnofmyheart
Nov. 13th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, and the desire/loins bit was inspired by an actual quote from a romance novel I read (for some reason) earlier this year. Think it was "Desire slammed into his loins like a fist." Ow! Jeez!

That's just....EEEW...ick.
captnofmyheart
Nov. 13th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hll House is a CLASSIC - we did the theatrical version in high school and its true, the reason why jackson's book is such a frightenign book is that it is more about what you DONT see, and all the things that are implied. More ghost stories and thrillers should be more like this. Its a psychological ghost story.
mollyringle
Nov. 16th, 2006 11:51 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that could be a great play! Must keep in mind if I'm ever in the position of suggesting a Halloween theater production...
kalquessa
Nov. 13th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)
I've actually heard that there are different levels of quality in Steele's writing. I can't quite stop giggling long enough to verify this first hand, but there it is.

I love Jackson, and Haunting is (in my opinion) one of her best. I recommend the old black-and-white move based on the book (called simply "The Haunting"). There's a more recent film version with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Liam Neeson in it, but it bears just a passing resemblance to the book and is not nearly so well-crafted, though the special effects are quite something. Another book of hers that has a similar (if more subtle) narrator/main character is We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Mr. Bill's favorite Jackson novel so far).

A Jackson book I think you'd really dig: The Bird's Nest. It's about a woman with multiple personalities and is quite a compelling read, while not being nearly so disturbing as Haunting (though Bird's Nest does have its disturbing moments, too). I can't really say any more about why I like it so much because it's all spoilery, but I highly recommend it.
mollyringle
Nov. 16th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
Well, good news: after about 200 pages Steel has finally introduced an interesting subplot. (Urgh.)

Anyway, cool: must wish-list more Shirley Jackson!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )