Monday, June 17, 2024

Under appreciated novels, an open book blog hop post


Welcome to Open Book Blog Hop. You can find us every Monday talking about the writing life. I hope you'll check out all the posts: you'll find the links at the bottom of this post.

What's your favorite under appreciated novel? 

Oh my, that's a tough one. I mean, when I LOVE a book, it's strange to me to realize that other people haven't even heard of it, but that's often how it goes. There are SO MANY books, and even among friends who read as much as I do and more, we only have some crossover. 

Under appreciated is also hard to gauge. It's not like I'm checking their Rotten Tomatoes rating or something, right? 

Still, a novel did come to mind when I read the question: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. 

It's not as obscure as other novels I could have chosen, but anytime I bring up Shirley Jackson, people say, "Oh yeah. She wrote The Lottery, right?" or maybe, "Is that the Haunting of Hill House lady?" Both of those are true, and both of those works are also genius (though I think Castle is better). It's this one that wanders the backrooms of my mind, and pops out to jump scare me from time to time. 

Like a lot of Shirley Jackson, there's not anything supernatural going on. Her horror is only rarely about ghost or monsters. Mostly, it's in what people do to one another. Some call her more specific genre "domestic horror" and I think that fits well. Other than Hill House, her stories mostly take place in mundane settings:  small towns, gardens, post offices, grocery stores, homes. 

What I love about Castle is Merricat, the main character and somewhat unreliable narrator. She's intense and scary in that way that very young people can be, and as the fuller history is revealed her complicated relationship with her sister Constance becomes fascinating. 

So, that's my pick for today. How about you? Do you have a favorite novel that no one else seems to love the same way you do? I'd love to hear about it in the comments. 

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  1. You're right that there are so many authors and books that friends and family may not have heard of an author we love. This sounds like a creepy horror story. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

  2. Posts like these remind me I need to broaden my horizons when it comes to picking my books to read.

  3. I haven't heard of this book. Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. As I recall Shirley Jackson wrote short stories that no one mention. This book has been on my radar for awhile now.

    1. Yes, she had a lot of really good short stories. I've read a lot, but not all of them.