I have been reading Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series this year...well sort of.
'The relentless battle between the Light and the Dark has raged since the beginning of time. Neither side has ever been able to claim absolute victory...and so the fight continues. But every so often the evil surges, and a member of the Light must step forward if the world is to find its way out of the darkness.
It is at the center of this epic struggle that three ordinary children, and one not-so-ordinary child, find themselves. The danger is overwhelming and the stakes have never been higher. Will the Light finally be able to conquer the Dark--or will all good be lost forever?'
The series consists of five books published between
1965 and 1977.
Over Sea, Under Stone
The Dark is Rising
The Green Witch
The Grey King
Silver on the Tree
and it had all passed me by back in the day.
Even though the books were aimed at older children too I was moving onto Daphne du Maurier by 1965 and sadly leaving the children's section of the library behind. I have huge pangs of envy for those who did read this series as a child or teenager but mustn't grumble, I read everything else to hand. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is forever laced with grains of sand, Merlin's Cove and Cornish magic c1962 and all because all the playmates around were boys and a bit of bookish escape from all the gung-ho stuff was required. They all went off to build dens in St Nectan's Glen whilst I walked through the back of a wardrobe.
This summer I thoroughly enjoyed Over Sea, Under Stone, also set in Cornwall, and was about to move onto The Dark is Rising until I read the opening pages and realised that there would be no other time to read this one than on Midwinter Eve.
'Four days to Christmas, ' Will said. 'I wish it would snow properly.'
And your birthday tomorrow.'
'Mmm.' He had been going to say that too, but it would have been too much like a reminder. And the gift he most wished for on his birthday was something nobody could give him : it was snow, beautiful, deep, blanketing snow, and it never came. At least this year there was the grey sprinkle, better than nothing...'
and then this from Susan Cooper's website
'On the midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift—that he is the last of the Old Ones, immortal guardians dedicated to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. Introduced to this inheritance by the fierce and wise Merriman, Will is plunged into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. And for the twelve days of Christmas, while the Dark is rising, life for Will is full of wonder, terror, and delight.'
Well, this seasonal reading idea had all but slipped my mind until mention on Twitter yesterday from good friend of dovegreyreader scribbles Robert Macfarlane, who suggested this...
Question: would there be interest in a "The Dark Is Rising" Twitter book-club/reading group, starting - as the book does - on Midwinter Eve this year, ie 20th December? If so, I'll set one up.
Robert has championed this book on Twitter on several occasions and written more about it here....
'It is Midwinter Eve, four days short of Christmas and one short of the 11th birthday of a boy named Will Stanton. Far to the north a snowstorm is brewing, and things are not as they “normally” are in the landscape around. Animals are restless, rooks clatter from the treetops to swirl blackly above the fields. Local people have seen these signs before—they know what is coming. Warnings are issued: “This night will be bad,” an old farmer tells Will, “and tomorrow will be beyond imagining.” And so it is.'
Within hours yesterday 450 replies, over 1000 retweets and probably that whole Delia gravadlax/omelette pan thing going on in bookshops and libraries around the world.
Just to add to the crowd I asked 'Can I bring the blog along?'
'Yes!' said Robert.
And so if anyone else would like to join in please do and I thought posting now would give everyone sufficient advance warning to get hold of a copy of the book if they don't have one.
I shall be reading and joining in on Twitter (#TheDarkIsReading) and praying for snow. If I'm really clever I think I can make Twitter appear over on the side bar for a day or two, so please bear with me as I experiment.
But not everyone does Twitter so I could also post here on December 20th and beyond for those that don't tweet but would like to read along and are happy to coo and comment along with the dove.
Would anyone be interested...
Bookhound has offered to do the mulled wine and I'll sort the mince pies...