2016 Reading List #10: The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole

Hello, long lost blog world. It’s been a while.

My life has been a bit crazy since I last wrote, because I both attended the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and started my first semester as an English instructor. This weekend was the first chance I’ve had to catch my breath, but it still all seems a bit surreal.

In preparation for my thesis defense/oral exam this spring, I’m trying to read or reread the texts on my reading list, including Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto. This was the only novel on my list I’d never previously read, but considering it’s one of the first gothic novels (and much shorter than many others that came from this time period), I thought it was worth a go.

Boy, was this a wild ride.

Because of the book’s short nature and our shared interest in it, my roommate and I decided to make this our next read aloud adventure after journey through Dracula in 2015. Turns out, this was the perfect way to read the novel–though the book is full of dialogue, Walpole doesn’t make any punctuational distinction for it, so it would be easily to get lost in the text if you were reading it alone.

Another benefit of reading this aloud was the many laughs we shared in the process. I expected to read a dramatic story, but this was funny and ridiculous and thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, and sharing the experience with a fellow book lover was very worth it.

I don’t think either of us expected to finish this book over the course of one day, but we couldn’t really put it down once we’d begun, and I’d say it was a Sunday well spent. Not only did I make some productive efforts concerning my impending oral exam, I spent an entertaining and laugh-filled afternoon with one of my best friends.

I hope your weeks are all off to an equally happy start. Look for a giant Sundance reflection blog in the coming days!


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