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Mid-way through the April 2012 Dewey Readathon

Shirley Jackson, American author

Shirley Jackson, author 1916 - 1965

So the 24-hour Readathon is progressing and I’m still keeping up even though I had a late start. There’s been a few hiccups along the way. The ADT alarm system battery decided to wind down so I had to stop everything and figure out how to shut the stupid thing off. That took a call to ADT and then a hour and a half exploration of my parent’s home to find the panel and secure the battery. I’m back reading but my bedroom closet is empty and the bed is full of the closet’s content. Sigh.

I’m finishing up Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition), my first read and, therefore, my favorite. I managed to take a lunch break and had my favorite bacon-tomato-American cheese melt open-face sandwich along with the necessary coffee. Even managed to spend a good hour or so sitting on the patio and reading, watching the dogs play around the pond, and enjoying one of Houston’s rare cool spring days. Now I’m posting my mid-Readathon update and getting ready to delve back into the pages once again but not before a few words about American author Shirley Jackson and her work.

Reading Shirley Jackson

I’ve intended to read more of Jackson’s work ever since I read The Lottery, Jackson’s infamous short story, in high school. It’s one of those works of fiction that has severe sticky power–at least it did for me. I will, it seems, forever have that story up front in my memory. It remains one of the more powerful works of fiction that I’ve encountered. According to Jonathan Lethem reactions to The Lottery have gradually changed over the years. I’d be interested in reading the reaction of others to the famous story. Did it imprint you as it did so many for so long?

The relaxing afternoon on the porch was an interesting juxtaposition to the quiet tension Jackson built through the voice Mary Katherine, a voice that quietly wraps around you like so many tendrils on a fast-growing vine until you suddenly realize that it’s nearly impossible to break free. Then there is the the evenly paced drip, drip, drip of growing horror. Young Mary Katherine is not to be taken lightly–and now I’m off to read the end.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)


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