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We Have Always Lived in the Castle
We Have Always Lived in the Castle | Shirley Jackson
Visitors call seldom at Blackwood House. Taking tea at the scene of a multiple poisoning, with a suspected murderess as one's host, is a perilous business. For a start, the talk tends to turn to arsenic. "It happened in this very room, and we still have our dinner in here every night," explains Uncle Julian, continually rehearsing the details of the fatal family meal. "My sister made these this morning," says Merricat, politely proffering a plate of rum cakes, fresh from the poisoner's kitchen.We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson's 1962 novel, is full of a macabre and sinister humor, and Merricat herself, its amiable narrator, is one of the great unhinged heroines of literature. "What place would be better for us than this?" she asks, of the neat, secluded realm she shares with her uncle and with her beloved older sister, Constance. "Who wants us, outside? The world is full of terrible people." Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic, burying talismanic objects beneath the family estate, nailing them to trees, ritually revisiting them. She has made "a powerful taut web which never loosened, but held fast to guard us" against the distrust and hostility of neighboring villagers.Or so she believes. But at last the magic fails. A stranger arrives -- cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune. He disturbs the sisters' careful habits, installing himself at the head of the family table, unearthing Merricat's treasures, talking privately to Constance about "normal lives" and "boy friends." Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods. The result is crisis and tragedy, the revelation of a terrible secret, the convergence of the villagers upon the house, and a spectacular unleashing of collective spite.The sisters are propelled further into seclusion and solipsism, abandoning "time and the orderly pattern of our old days" in favor of an ever-narrowing circuit of ritual and shadow. They have themselves become talismans, to be alternately demonized and propitiated, darkly, with gifts. Jackson's novel emerges less as a study in eccentricity and more -- like some of her other fictions -- as a powerful critique of the anxious, ruthless processes involved in the maintenance of normality itself. "Poor strangers," says Merricat contentedly at last, studying trespassers from the darkness behind the barricaded Blackwood windows. "They have so much to be afraid of."
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JenniferP
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BiblioLitten
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I have always been fascinated with the cover.
#7days7covers #covercrush
Day 5 🖤

batsy It's a very evocative one! 3d
63 likes1 comment
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Catsandbooks
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Pickpick

4.5/5 ⭐️s I throughly enjoyed this classic! Six years after the death of their family, Mary Katherine and Constance receive a visit from their cousin that disrupts their routine. Even though I still have questions this story kept me intrigued til the end.

Spoiler discussion questions in the comments.

Catsandbooks Obviously Merricat was a sociopath but did anyone else think she may be on the autism spectrum? 3d
Catsandbooks Also I read an idea Merricat practiced witchcraft. This made sense to me since she used powerful objects or words to ward off danger and protect their home. 3d
Joyfulmimi I LOVED this too. 3d
See All 19 Comments
Catsandbooks Another idea I saw was that Jonas the cat is a familiar which also supports the idea that Merricat practiced witchcraft. 3d
Joyfulmimi She was weird. I will say THAT @catsandbooks 3d
Joyfulmimi I always think about this book when I see abandoned houses. 3d
Catsandbooks @Joyfulmimi Yes, Merricat is definitely strange, I kept reading cause I had to find out what her deal was. Although I felt everyone in the book was a little weird. 3d
Joyfulmimi I thought of that male cousin that showed up as being the devil or, at least, evil as I recall 3d
Joyfulmimi The thing about this book was that it conceivably could truly have happened and they continued to live in a house that looked abandoned. I pass by a lot of them on country roads that I drive. 3d
Catsandbooks @Joyfulmimi I agree, she referred to him as a demon at some point and I was like yes, he is from hell lol 3d
Joyfulmimi I did not like Shirley Jackson‘s other well-known book 3d
Catsandbooks @Joyfulmimi so true. I think that's part of the creepy factor is that it could possibly be reality. I have a few houses like that in my neighborhood and I feel like I'll never look at them the same way. 3d
Catsandbooks @Joyfulmimi is that haunting of hill house? I think? I haven't read it. This my first Shirley Jackson. 3d
Joyfulmimi Yes. I did not like that one at all. That‘s my opinion. It was a letdown after this one. (edited) 3d
Catsandbooks @Joyfulmimi that's too bad. Least this one was good! 3d
Joyfulmimi Yes and I usually do not read books like this. Not sure how or why I picked it up. 3d
Catsandbooks @Joyfulmimi I don't either! I've just started to try some creepy thriller type books but it's normally not my genre. I picked it up cause I'm part of a reading challenge group and it met the criteria for a prompt. I was like well it's short so if I don't like it at least it won't last long 😂 3d
ferskner This is one of my top five favorite books. 3d
Catsandbooks @ferskner definitely a good one 🙌🏼 3d
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BookwormAHN
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Pickpick

This was an exceedingly nutty book. I enjoyed it but Merrycat may be the queen of unreliable narrators. My favorite Shirley Jackson book by far 🐱
Also I did the audio version but according to Goodreads this book is 146 pages so I'm using for #BBRC #YeahBaby less than 150 pages @LibrarianRyan

Clare-Dragonfly Queen of unreliable narrators—perfect way to describe Merricat! 4d
LibrarianRyan 😁👍🏻❤️ 4d
95 likes2 comments
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MicheleinPhilly
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#7Days7Covers #CoverCrush Day 7.

And on that note, I‘m out. Thanks for the tag @LeahBergen and the fun idea @Cinfhen !

Cinfhen Nice choice ❤️❤️I‘m glad YOU enjoyed 😘 4d
vivastory Being an unabashed Jackson fan, I feel I seriously dropped the ball letting this one slip my mind. Glad you posted! 4d
GatheringBooks oh wow! is the entire book illustrated??? 4d
See All 6 Comments
MicheleinPhilly @GatheringBooks Sadly it‘s just the front and back covers and French flaps that are illustrated. 4d
LeahBergen I‘ve been enjoying your picks! 👏🏻👏🏻 4d
GatheringBooks @MicheleinPhilly ah. good to know! i still am salivating over it. 🧚🏼‍♀️😂🤣📚📚📚 4d
61 likes6 comments
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allureofbeauty
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Pickpick

Finished this one today. I listened to “The Haunting Of Hill House” a few months back and I will say they do feel similar. But also it was the exact same narrator who wasn‘t particularly my favorite but I recognized her voice immediately. I hated Charles. But I enjoyed the story. And the movie will be on Netflix tomorrow which I intend to watch.
#shirleyjackson #wehavealwayslivedinthecastle #audiobook #libby #gothic

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RachelS89
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Mehso-so

At the beginning of this novel, we are introduced to 3 members of the Blackwood family: 18-year-old Merricat, her agoraphobic sister Constance, and elderly Uncle Julian. They are the only survivors of a poisoning that killed the rest of the family 6 years earlier.
It's atmospheric, but disturbing stories with unreliable narrators aren't really my cup of tea. It was under 200 pages, but it still seemed longer than it needed to be.

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Cortg
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I thought this was really good! There are a lot of layers to it and it would make a great discussion. It was creepy, especially the more I thought about it. Two girls and their uncle, living in what was a beautiful, high society house after a public family murder. The towns people are awful to them for various reasons. Circumstances change drastically and their story becomes that much more eerie. More reason to stay away from sugar 😜

MCYmermaid ☕️❓ 3w
Cortg I stopped putting sugar in my coffee a few years ago! @MCYmermaid (edited) 3w
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Kimberlone
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Panpan

If I hadn‘t paid for this from Audible and wanted to finish at least one book for #AuthorAMonth, I probably would not have finished this. Can anyone tell me what the point of this book was? How much of the story was I supposed to take literally and how much was just fantasy? Were Merricat and Constance sociopaths or just mentally disturbed? What was the deal with Cousin Charles? Did the girls stay living in the house all Grey Gardens-esque?

Cortg Oh geez! I have an hour and 14 minutes left! 3w
Karisa It's no Lottery, that's for sure! 😜 3w
monalyisha I wrote this review 5 years ago. Today, I count it as one of my favorite books ever. 😬 It seems I was most taken with the mood & the language: https://noboysallowedreviews.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/48hbc-2014-review-4-we-hav... 2w
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BiblioLitten
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When the first page makes you fall in love with the book.
The black sesame ice-cream was a perfect accompaniment. 🖤
#loveatfirstsight #loveatfirstbite

Moony Oh I love sesame ice cream 😍 3w
rubyslippersreads I can see I need to read this! 3w
erzascarletbookgasm I loved this book and this flavour is so good! 🍦 3w
Smrloomis Black sesame ice cream is the best! 😋 3w
ShelfRighteous This book proves you dont need ghosts to write horror. Oh so creepy😈 3w
58 likes5 comments
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Cortg
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DC traffic is no joke! I decided to meet a friend in her neck of the woods and hike the Manassas Battlefield and grab some lunch. 60 miles took me 1.5 hours there 2 hours and 15 minutes to get home! I made a HUGE dent in my audiobook! Now I‘m chillaxin in the backyard with the dog, sipping on my drinky drink hubs whipped up when I walked through the door ❤️

Tamra Sounds like an ideal reward. 😁 3w
37 likes1 comment
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sudi
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Pickpick

This is a very weird book and I‘m still conflicted over how I feel about it. Initially I found it really boring, because there was always an air of suspense but nothing much happened. The second half I liked better with the introduction of Charles Blackwood, things started to get a little interesting but again it led to nowhere. I think my mistake was having different expectations of how this book would progress...👇

sudi when I should‘ve just read it first without expecting anything. I‘m still giving this a pick for how bizarre the main characters are, I don‘t think I‘ve come across a character like Merricat.

After reading this book and the short stories, I‘m so intrigued by Shirley Jackson as an author and also as a person. I will definitely try to pick up her autobiography\biography, depending on which one exists.
4w
Soubhiville Logged for Author a Month! 💜 3w
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EyrePrejudice
Panpan

Loved the premise of the book and how it flows. But I have to admit that I wanted to strangle Mericat for all her foolishness and how spoilt she was. It did not bother me that we find out she was the killer in the family, or even her burying things in the yard. But her constant other childish behavior, such as her attempts to get rid of Cousin Charles by placing wet twigs and leaves on the bed. She is only making more work for her sister!

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ShyBookOwl
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Gorgeous editions 😍

@Nute 😊

Twainy I love them. Now I have Chapters envy! 😊 1mo
ShyBookOwl @Twainy Haha they were 3 for $10 too! 1mo
Twainy B&N has a sale right now that I‘m trying really hard to ignore. Three for $10 is a fabulous deal❣️ 1mo
See All 9 Comments
ShyBookOwl @Twainy I hear that. I had a gift card so it was a go wild kind of trip. 1mo
Lcsmcat Those are cool editions ! 4w
janeycanuck Lovely! Who is the publisher? 4w
ShyBookOwl @janeycanuck Arcturus 2019 editions 😊 4w
reading_rainbow ooooh beautiful covers 😍 4w
86 likes9 comments
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IndoorDame
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Pickpick

For my second Shirley Jackson I did switch to audio. I don‘t know if that‘s what made the difference or if I just got swept away with the flow of this one more easily, but either way I thought this story was great. It‘s quirky, and not exactly scary, but sort of Adams family spooky, which is fun. #authoramonth

Soubhiville I agree completely! I enjoyed it 😊 1mo
veritysalter I adored this book, the imagery stuck with me. 1mo
Soubhiville Logged for Author a Month! ❤️ 3w
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averagejulia333
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Pickpick

A wonderfully gothic tale about a dysfunctional family. Told from the viewpoint of the very unreliable narrator Mary Katherine. (Merricat for short)

Rating: 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

Sidenote: Definetely buy the Penguin version of this! The cover is beauuuuutiful!

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Kimberlone
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@Soubhiville thank you for the reminder about #AuthorAMonth. I should be able to finish this one before the end of August since it‘s a pretty short one!

riversong153 I enjoyed this on audio!! 1mo
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OriginalCyn620
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Pickpick

This was a weird little book but I liked it! I liked Merricat‘s sass! It was a bit strange in places but the theme of persecution also makes it kinda sad. #authoramonth

Soubhiville I liked it too! 1mo
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Soubhiville
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Pickpick

I‘m really glad you all voted for Shirley Jackson for this month‘s #AuthorAMonth!

What a fun, creepy little book! I loved Mary Kat and Constance and Uncle Julian. I‘m still not entirely sure what was real or not real.

I hope very much that I have time to read another of her‘s this month, but if I don‘t I‘ll certainly pick up more in the future!

OriginalCyn620 I‘m reading this one right now! 1mo
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lazylokistarkthorcaptain
Pickpick

I would give this a solid 4 stars. I enjoyed it.

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rkeo
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Pickpick

Eerie. Bizarre. Otherworldly. Reading this makes you extremely uncomfortable, yet awes you with the superb, simple prose. The characters are haunting & layered. I was left with a very unsettling, indescribable feeling when I finished reading this, perhaps because I was so drawn in to the mind of the main character. Her craziness slowly unfolds, drags you in, and makes you feel crazy, too. How haunting when the horror isn't paranormal, but human.

sarahljensen It's such a great read! 1mo
Addicted_to_books Sounds like a great book to read for fall! 1mo
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sudi
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Thank you @Eggs for tagging me 😊😘

1. Lindt chocolate truffles 😋. I will finish the entire pack 🙈😆
2. My new sport shoes.
3. Tagged ☝
4. Everyone who liked this post, consider yourself tagged 😊

#wondrouswednesday

Eggs 💗📚👏🏻📚🤗 1mo
chaoticgoodhufflepuff Oh, second on those truffles! ❤️ 1mo
43 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Teacups_and_Time

In the last two weeks I've re-read The Siren & The Angel (Tiffany Reisz), then read the first two Thornchappel books (Sierra Simone) (okay cliffhanger!) And today I rolled through We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
In celebration of hopping back on the reading train, I decided to start posting here again. :)

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riversong153
Pickpick

I just finished this on audio last night. The narrator was AMAZING. Shirley Jackson is the master of creepy thrillers. I loved every bit of it. Listen to this if you‘re into the genre! 🤓🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩

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BooknerdsLife
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#ColorMePretty #Orange
Penguin Classics always have the best collection and most gorgeous edition. I love these with their #frenchflap & deckle edges & the cover arts by artist Eric Nyquist.

#PenguinBooks #Classics #penguinclassics #booknerd #bibliophile #readerslife #bookworm

Nute I‘m into these as well!🙂 2mo
BooknerdsLife @Nute Yeah! 🤗 They are too pretty to say no to! 😆 2mo
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toofondofbooks
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks So pretty 🧡🧡🧡 2mo
Caroline2 Oh lovely editions. 💖 2mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego I hope you win this challenge. Your photos are always amazing. 💖📖💖 2mo
40 likes4 comments
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ashsbookmarks
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Hour 12 Challenge
I get all my audiobooks exclusively from the Libby app. Sometimes I have to wait for them but they are free, so I‘ll wait 🤷🏻‍♀️
#libby #audiobook #readmore #listenup #24in48 @24in48

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Varshitha
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TBR picks for #24in48 readathon..

Christine Such good ones! 2mo
Erinreadsthebooks Great list! 2mo
Varshitha @christine @Erinreadsthebooks Thank you,, unfortunately, work called and I didnt even start☹️ 2mo
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rachaich
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Pickpick

This was fabulous!
Full of mystery and intrigue, with subtle pointers and clues.
Really pleased I've read it, and will read more by her.

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rachaich
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Oh my! This is ace so far.
I had no idea how it would read and I'm fascinated to keep reading!

Palimpsest I recently read this book and love it so much! Enjoy! 2mo
32 likes1 comment
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AutumnRLS
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New books.

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KatieanneF
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Pickpick

Really really enjoyable. The full mystery is never actually resolved, and I rather loved that. Felt very “right” in keeping with the atmosphere created by Ms. #Jackson. She is so talented. Just loved this story. #mystery #spooky

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KatieanneF
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So far, totally loving this book. She has a special way of writing really fracture characters. Found out this has been adapted to a stage play...very interested to see how that would read! #shirleyjackson #horrorbooks

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Cweeeevs
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Pickpick

This was a re-read, but even when you're familiar with the story, it still really gets under the skin. Shirley Jackson created a truly unique and unforgettable narrator in Merricat, which is apparent from that disquieting opening paragraph. Donna Tartt called it "her greatest book", and I'm inclined to agree. It's a deceptively simple read, full of startling imagery and twisted insights. The writing is exquisite!

Aimeesue I agree wholeheartedly. This is my favorite Jackson book. 3mo
Cweeeevs @Aimeesue 😄👌 3mo
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can_u_dig_it
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Pickpick

Sorry this took me a while! I finished about a month ago but it slipped my mind to review it here. I thought this was a compelling look into the mind of a not-so-normal teenage girl. It gives you bit by bit the breadcrumb trail to lead you to your own conclusion at the end of it all, I enjoyed that immensely. Overall, I would recommend this book based solely on its author. Shirley Jackson does it again with We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

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Palimpsest
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Pickpick

I am not mentally prepared to do justice to this book in a true review at this time, but I am too excited about how much I loved this little book not to share my enthusiasm. I can see why this is considered Jackson‘s masterpiece, it‘s brilliant. I loved looking at this world through the eyes of Merricat, one of the most interesting characters I‘ve seen in a long time. I‘ve read some harsh reviews & just think this book was wasted on those readers

batsy Love this book 💜 It was my first by her and what an introduction! 4mo
shadowspeak17 I love this book! ❤️ 4mo
Palimpsest @Batsy me too! I started The Haunting at Hill House but I‘m wondering if it‘s going to be too scary for me, lol! 3mo
Palimpsest @shadowspeak17 😊❤️ 3mo
batsy @Palimpsest Haha, I know what you mean! That's the only reason why I haven't read it yet; I was wondering the same 😅 3mo
54 likes5 comments
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BookDragonNotWorm
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Pickpick

Shirley Jackson is the mistress of suspense. Almost 60 years after it was published, it still reads like a fairly modern book. I feel like she really contributed to female character development in terms of feisty chics with snarky attitudes - how can you not love that! A short (but not sweet) read well worth the time!

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EmilieGR
Pickpick

Enjoyed every minute of this

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KimHM
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Pickpick

Although all first person narrators are unreliable to some extent, Merricat Blackwood must crack the top twenty. If you haven‘t read this very short novel, now‘s a good time to give it a go as the ebook is $1.99. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

(And, yes, indeed, I have an ebook problem 😬📚❤️📚💚📚❤️😬)

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RowReads1
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JoScho Looks good! 5mo
erzascarletbookgasm Gripping! 5mo
46 likes2 comments
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consonantia
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I‘m preparing a presentation on this book for class tomorrow and this is why you don‘t try to be scholarly about books you love, it kills that love dead, dead I say 😭 At least looking at the cover of this edition still makes me happy!

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 📖💖 5mo
tpixie Welcome!! 🥳📚🥳 your love will return for this book! 5mo
40 likes2 comments
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can_u_dig_it
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First really nice day this spring. So I thought I would take the opportunity to read outside. I‘ve heard good things about this book, fingers crossed🤞🏻

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IamIamIam
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This picture on a silly coloring app totally reminded me of Merricat!!! Close up, the house is all crooked lines and the parasol lady just totally brought up Jackson's imagery! Nonsense aside... now carry on...

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ShyBookOwl
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It was not pride that took me into the village twice a week, or even stubbornness, but only the simple need for books and food.

#bibliophile

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madamereadsalot1
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flying_monkeys ❤️ x 100 🤓 6mo
27 likes1 comment
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twohectobooks
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My uncle tagged me in a #7booksin7days challenge on Facebook and it just occurred to me I could share my selections on Litsy, too!

First up is one of my all-time favourite books and one of the greatest books about sisters. The less you know about this going in the better. It‘s short and a great book to read in one sitting as the dread builds and mysteries are unraveled.

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rockabillybibliophile
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And now on to Shirley Jackson. Already I'm loving this story.

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sherryvdh
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1) Our house when we bought it in 2011. There have been minor changes since then, but it pretty well looks the same.
2) Love it!
3) On audio... so so good!
4) Evening once the boys are in bed
5) 🍕🍕🤤 Can't wait!
#friyayintro @howjessreads

Johanna414 Your house is darling! 7mo
LeahBergen What a lovely house! 7mo
MelissaSue81 Ahh! I love this house! It is adorable! 7mo
See All 6 Comments
BiblioLitten Your house looks so cosy. ❤️❤️ 7mo
SailorMoon Your house is so lovely!!! 💕 7mo
37 likes6 comments
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PurpleyPumpkin
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Pickpick

I finished this book last week and I find that I‘m still thinking about it periodically. It‘s taking me a while to process it. I found it to be a riveting story, so well written and disturbing. It‘s not a long book, but it packs a punch. And I highly recommend the audiobook! 4/5⭐️

rjsthumbelina I really liked the audiobook too. It's very well done 7mo
suvata One of my all-time favorites 7mo
PurpleyPumpkin @rjsthumbelina @suvata I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one! I‘ll definitely read/listen to it again. 👍🏽 7mo
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