Another Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge has come and gone, handily retaining its place as my favorite reading challenge of the year. Honestly, it doesn’t even have close competition; I look forward to RIP all year long, and it never disappoints! So, what did we learn from RIP V?
We learned that it’s all well and good to compile a list ahead of time, as long as you’re not married to it. As the challenge goes on, you’re going to hear about a lot of really good books that you’ll want to read immediately, or you’ll get absorbed by a particular author, or you’ll find you just weren’t quite in the mood to tackle Dracula this year, or whatever. Plans change, and those books will still be there next year, patiently awaiting their turn on the RIP roundabout.
We learned that even on second read, The Historian is too close for me to review it. I’m sorry, but I’m just not ready to talk about it. I don’t think you’d like it anyway: it’s too obviously written for my particular tastes. I hear The Strain is really good, maybe you could give that a try?
We learned that there are more intriguing Mystery/Horror/Thriller books out there than we could get to in a whole year, never mind the two months of the challenge. Well, we knew that already, but the RIP Challenge Review site (at well over 600 entries!) brings that reality home. The best bet is to read what you can now, and start a To Read list somewhere so you can capture interesting-sounding titles to for later investigation. I keep mine at Good Reads, and it’s very likely many of them will still be waiting for attention when RIP VI rolls around next September: voilà, a ready-made reading list!
We learned that Shirley Jackson thoroughly deserves her reputation as a great American storyteller. Her novels were the highlight of this challenge for me. (This was a great example of letting the reviews of other participants sway my book selections, and I’m so glad I did!) And we learned that Shirley and Minette Walters would likely have a high old time swapping small-town horror stories over tea—and wouldn’t we love to be a fly on the wall in that parlor!
We learned that even at an average running time around 90 minutes, and with a Muppet Show cheat week, one Vincent Price film per week for nine weeks starts to feel like a chore. We also learned that Price’s oeuvre, like history, may not exactly repeat itself, but it certainly rhymes—heavily. But along the way, we came to appreciate the gifts of Mr. Price all the more. Next fall, we won’t undertake a weekly Price film, but we will set aside at least one afternoon to indulge our passion for the Prince of Terror. (Related: we learned that if your enemy is being played by Vincent Price, you better make darned sure he’s good and dead when you go after him, or prepare to be creatively murdered by a horribly disfigured, vengeful creature sometime down the road. Better yet, if your enemy is played by Vincent Price, think long and hard about switching sides.)
Not a new lesson either, but we were reminded what a gracious host Carl V. is, and what an amusing and entertaining crowd his parties draw. I’ve added many new book-related blogs to my feeds as a result of RIP V—this is probably the best thing about participating in the challenge: better than finding a new book to read is finding a new source of book recommendations that fit with my tastes and interests. The “Books” category on my feeds easily doubled in the past two months—and so did my To Read list!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the RIP Challenge, too—one thing’s for sure, it certainly got me blogging at a more frequent pace! If you’ve enjoyed my reviews, I recommend having a click around the RIP Challenge Review site—there are a lot of good books and good bloggers to be discovered there. Maybe you could even consider participating next year—there’s always room for new voices in RIP!
As I said at the top, this is my absolute favorite challenge of the year; it’s hard for me to disengage from it now, and there’s already a little voice in the back of my mind insisting that next year, Dracula for sure!!