Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Classics Club’s Gothic Book Tag (#CCdare)

Being an Indonesian, I have never celebrated Halloween. Here, the All Saints Day is not public holiday; the Christians only celebrated it in Mass. We are not familiar with costume parties, trick-or-treat, or jack-o-lanterns; not when we were kids, at least. October is for me just another month—busy month towards end of the year. Thus, this Gothic Book Tag by The Classics Club (thanks, moderators!) really spiced up my October a bit this year.

Which classic book has scared you the most?
Dante’s The Divine Comedy – I have read Inferno… and that’s all. Have tried to delve into Purgatory, but did not understand about 80% of it. Tried to jump to Paradiso, and… it’s like reading a book in foreign language—total failure. I have even tried an online course on youtube, but I guess I’m too lazy to begin.

Scariest moment in a book?
The torture in Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum.

Classic villain that you love to hate?
Got to be Erik (the phantom) in The Phantom of the Opera. He is sweet, kind, honorable; but for the society’s distrust, he would have been a great man.

Creepiest setting in a book?
I’m not sure. Maybe each place in Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, except the Halloween tree itself; I found it rather cheerful than grotesque (review still to come).

Best scary cover ever?

Maybe my copy of Morrison’s Beloved falls in this category. At first you’d think it’s a black woman wearing hat, but on close inspection you’d see that the red background goes through her face; and you realized that she has no face. Creepy, no?

Book you’re too scared to read?
Dracula! Laugh at me if you want, but I felt coldness in my soul while reading it. Like every cheerfulness and light was sucked out of me by it (like Dementor? Ugh!). Finally I must hide the book under my Bible to be able to get a peaceful sleep. Call me superstitious or crazy, but that actually worked well.

Spookiest creature in a book?
Count Fosco in The Woman in White. Nothing is spookier than a man without conscience.

Classic book that haunts you to this day?
L’Assommoir by Émile Zola. Seems that I can’t resist to put Zola in every list/tag, LOL. But really, L’Assommoir shocked the hell of me six years ago (and I haven’t got the guts to reread it to this day).

Favourite cliffhanger or unexpected twist?

Classic book you really, really disliked?

Character death that disturbed/upset you the most?
Lily Bart from The House of Mirth

List your top 5 Gothic/scary/horror classic reads.
Seriously, only 5? :D
- The Phantom of the Opera (Gaston Leroux)
- And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie)
- The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Charles Dickens)
- The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins)

Share your scariest/creepiest quote, poem or meme.
The nursery rhymes from And Then There Were None, originally written by an Irish songwriter Septimus Winner in 19th century. Some calls it Ten Little Injuns; but Christie used Ten Little Indians; or like in this picture: Ten Little Soldier Boys. Which one be it may, it’s still creepy (at least the fact that it was a nursery rhyme is really scary!)



  1. I'd forgotten how creepy some of the Christie books could be, it's so long since I read them, but reading the poem again reminded me how scared I was when I read particular book was in my early teens.

    I'm glad you manage to get a Zola into every quiz you do :-) although now you've scared me about getting to L'Assommoir.

    And I can't believe I forgot about The Woman in White! So many creepy scenes in that book!

    1. PS when you get the chance pop your link on the original post so that all the other classic clubbers can find you :-)

    2. Christie's creepiest book is And Then There Were None, I think. And part of it because the murders are related to the poem.

      My "problem" with L'Assommoir is that it was my first Rougon-Maqcuart. I had only read Therese Raquin before that, and I thought Zola was psychological-ish. I really had no idea how "raw" and realistic he could get. After that one, I was more familiar with him. Do try it, you'll see for yourself.. :)

  2. Yeah, I agree: Dracula was bone chilling creepy.

    1. So I'm not alone.. :)
      But did you finally finished it, Ruth?

  3. I'm Egyptian and Halloween is not celebrated at all, except for those elite clubs and hotels who want to be sounds classy.

    Agreeing on Count Fosco, he is pure evil.I am not planning on reading Gone with the Wind. And then there were none is one of my all time favorites.

    1. Hey Neveen, greeting from Indonesia! :)
      We, in Indonesia, also have Halloween party in elite hotels, and therefore I have never had one.

      Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors, but my favorite from her is Curtain and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. And Then There Were None is a great mystery too, though.

  4. Whew, I'm glad I'm not the only one who disliked Gone with the Wind! (Granted, I've only watched the movie...but I'm not sure I could make it through the novel.)

    Dracula is definitely intense... I think it's best read with a friend (my sister and I read it about the same time).

    Also, I'm from the US, but I don't celebrate Halloween either. Why would I want to celebrate fear?!

    1. You too? Well... love to have a friend here :)) During the read, I must fight the urge to literary fling the book out of the window. I have never hated a book so much before. By the way, I sold the book immediately after reading (not finishing, because I gave up on two chapters before end).

      Hey, I thought all American love Halloween :) For me, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

  5. I thought And Then There Were None was very good and I remember looking for the poster you posted here of the poem she used as her inspiration.

    1. Yeah.. I remember the first time I read this book; the poem and the way the ten glass ornaments (I forgot what it really was) missing one after another with each murder, have made it spookier.


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