Harry Potter and The Birds of Death
It's the one thing I always make time for. No matter how tired/ill/drunk I am, I cannot go to sleep at night without reading a couple of pages. Although I am busier at the moment than I have ever been in my life, I have two books on the go.
In preparation for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows coming out on Saturday (squee!), I'm re-reading the Half Blood Prince. I don't care what anyone says about the Harry Potter books, I love them. I KNOW I'm supposed to read grown-up books, and I KNOW Harry Potter is written for children, but for a bit of escapism you can't beat it. I wish I'd gone to Hogwarts.
I've also just started 'The Birds and Other Stories' by Daphne du Maurier. I've wanted to read the short story ever since I saw the Hitchcock film, because it made a big impression on me. I'm a big girl's blouse when it comes to creepy films so it was quite brave of me to sit up late one night, on my own*, to watch The Birds and I was so glad I did. It's not a scary film, but you get a sense of creeping dread from the first few minutes, and the tension grows and grows until you almost can't stand it. It's disturbing, but in a subtle way - there are no gory death scenes, no psychotic murderers (not human ones anyway) or evil men lurking in bushes watching the pretty (but stupid) girl get undressed while they finger their axe. It's a masterpiece of tension and I loved it.
*The Boy has a bit of a problem with birds and flapping things, so he made his excuses that particular night.
So when I read the introduction to the du Maurier book, where Alfred Hitchcock is quoted as saying that he only read the book once before he made the film**, I didn't know if the short story would meet my high expectations. However, I was reading it on the bus this morning and I nearly missed my stop because I was so engrossed, and I can't wait to pick it back up again.
Creeping dread? Check.
Flocks of murderous silent birds? Check.
And I'm only on page 20.
**The full quote is "What I do is to read a story only once and if I like the basic idea, I forget all about the book and start to create cinema. Today I would be unable to tell you the story of Daphne du Maurier's 'The Birds'. I read it only once, and very quickly at that."