It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

which for me means just one thing: time for my annual re-read of The Dark is Rising. Yes, annual. I posted about it a year ago -- in fact my one-year bloggiversary is fast approaching (!) and what a long, strange trip it's been.

I'm not the only one who reads The Dark is Rising every midwinter. Laura's reading it too, and I daresay there are others. Instead of "reviewing" it, this time, I think I'll leave you with some quotes, all from the first few chapters. These are some of the sentences that give me thrills and chills every year, though I have no idea how they'll sound if you haven't already read the book a dozen times. Honestly, it ONLY gets better with each reread. Why don't you all read it along with Laura and me? Here goes:

The radio let out a sudden hideous crackle of static as he passed the table.

This night will be bad. And tomorrow will be beyond imagining.

He was woken by music.

And before him, standing alone and tall on the white slope, leading to nowhere, were two great carved wooden doors.

"Minds hold more than they know," the tall man said. "Particularly yours."

"Forests are not biddable places."

He felt again the small drooping of the spirits that had come in the last two days, because this year for the first time that he could remember there had been no birthday present from Stephen.

And last but not least, a chapter title: The Book of Gramarye.


  • Oh Julie, I so agree about The Dark is Rising-- Those first chapters are so absolutely haunting. I feel that world is conjured into my own present reality. I may join you and Laura in your midwinter tradition.

    posted by Anonymous martha on 4:18 PM  

  • I vote for a movie version!

    posted by Anonymous Anonymous on 8:54 PM  

  • I'm going to see if the library has a copy available so I can join you. I have never (gasp!) read it!

    posted by Blogger Kate on 7:37 AM  

  • Looks like I'm behind by 12 reads. Maybe if I get started this year, I'll understand this when I'm 60. (Sheesh, I'm getting old.)

    posted by Blogger Fred on 7:43 AM  

  • I first read The Dark is Rising a couple of years ago and loved it. I don't know why I didn't read it as a kid. I had a bit of an aversion to "fantasy" books then, and usually opted for the realism of Maud Hart Lovelace, Elizabeth Enright, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lucy Maud Montgomery et al. It wasn't until I got hooked on the Harry Potter books as an adult that I realized I must have missed many great books in my childhood due to my off-hand dismissal of a whole sub-set of fiction. I quickly set about rectifying this gap in my reading. My favourite belated discoveries from that exercise were Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series and Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles. I will happily join in the Dark is Rising re-read!

    posted by Blogger Kate S. on 9:57 AM  

  • Martha, haunting is the perfect word! Please do join in.

    Sylvia, did you say that to be mean on purpose? Movie version? Ugh!

    Kate, you will love it.

    Fred, go for it! Though part of the fun is reading it at midwinter when it's all cold and snowy -- I can't imagine what it would be like to read it in FLORIDA.

    Kate S., better late than never. I would not describe myself as a fantasy fan, even though there are quite a few fantasy books I love. One thing that most of the fantasy books I like have in common is they relate somehow to our own world. They have some logical explanation (however farfetched) for their existence. Examples: Dark is Rising, Narnia, Chronicles of Amber. I can only think of two fantasy series that I really love that don't relate to our world: the Earthsea Trilogy and, oh hell, the Paksenarrion books. Conspicuously absent from my list: Tolkien & Harry Potter.

    posted by Blogger Julie on 12:12 PM  

  • Congratulations on your bloggiversary!

    posted by Blogger Running2Ks on 2:07 PM  

  • Hear, hear! No movie. (Though I'm sure I said that about Narnia once upon a time...)

    I'd love to join in, but... how on earth can you read just the one book? I'd spend much too much time involving myself in the whole struggle and battle and... it has been too long...

    Maybe for Winter Solstice. Or after Christmas. Or when I'm done with the current pile of inter-library loan books.

    Until then, I'm with you in spirit. :)

    posted by Blogger Melissa on 3:16 PM  

  • BTW -- I firmly believe that Tolkein isn't a fantasy book, no matter what anyone says. It's history. Myth. Legend. Epic. It just happens to have all the "fantasy" elements. But it's structure isn't fantasy.

    Oh, and I happen to really love those movies...

    posted by Blogger Melissa on 3:17 PM  

  • I meant no offence! I just think it would make a good movie and introduce the books to more people. Just as long as Disney doesn't make it...

    posted by Anonymous Anonymous on 9:54 PM  

  • I came through from Fred's world. I love his blog design, you did a great job. I'm also a book and blog designer.

    posted by Blogger Darlene on 9:57 PM  

  • I'm frozen in time behind by more wrinkles than Fred...wrinkles in my laundry that is ;)

    Must be nice to have so much time on your hands, Julie. ENJOY!
    P.S. Darlene designed mrsd's blog... :)

    posted by Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) on 7:59 AM  

  • Hey, you did an AWESOME job on Fred's blog!!!

    Have you read Comes A Horseman yet? Or Landon Snow and the Augor's Riddle. I posted a review of the first and will be posting about the second in a couple of days.

    Merry Christmas...enjoy Susan Cooper!

    posted by Blogger M. C. Pearson on 5:44 PM  

  • R2k: thanks!

    Mel: I said it about Narnia, too. I've seen the movie, and I still feel that way. The reason it's possible to read just the one book is because it's so connected with this time of year. Plus, it totally stands alone even though it's part of a series. Anyway, it's nice to have you with us in spirit. :)

    Sylvia: None taken; it was the sort of thing my family might say to get a rise out of me. :) I have to disagree, though. IMO it would make a horrible movie. NO movie music could be as lilting, haunting, enchanting as it is in the book. No Jamaican carnival mask could be as spooky and weird in real life as in the book. Etc. Etc.

    Darlene, welcome. Your blog is beautiful and I'd love to see your portfolio!

    GEL, time on my hands? Huh? Whatever gave you that idea? Just because I manage to read a measly couple of pages in bed before I fall asleep at night...?

    M.C., welcome. Haven't read either one, but I'll definitely put 'em on my list. Thanks!

    posted by Blogger Julie on 3:40 PM  

  • I love that book and I am going to start rereading it RIGHT NOW! I hope you have an amazing holiday - I hope we can get together when we get back from California!

    posted by Anonymous NixieKnox on 9:10 AM