Community Read

Community Read

2018 Community Read poster featuring cover of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Join us for the 2018 Community Read discussion of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.

Shirley Jackson's deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family takes readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, macabre humor, and gothic atmosphere.

Six years after four family members died suspiciously of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and eighteen-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune—and manages to penetrate into their carefully shielded lives. Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods, resulting in crisis, tragedy, and the revelation of a terrible secret.

Jackson's novel emerges less as a study in eccentricity and more—like some of her other fictions—as a powerful critique of the anxious, ruthless processes involved in the maintenance of normalcy itself.

Click to view previous Community Read selections.

The TCPL 2018 Community Read is made possible by the generous support of The Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library.

2018 Community Read Partners

Downtown Ithaca businesses are partnering with TCPL for the 2018 Community Read. Be sure to visit our Partners during the month of October to sample treats, cocktails and other beverages inspired by We Have Always Lived in the Castle:

  • Bramble in Press Bay Alley is offering a special tea blend
  • Try Constance’s spice cookies at the Press Café
  • Treats and more available at the Alley Cat Café
  • Visit the Watershed for themed drinks and selfies with the book cover
  • Dewitt Mall merchants will be holding a We Have Always Lived in the Castle scavenger hunt
  • Green Street Pharmacy has a special themed soda
  • Give the Community Read signature cocktail at the Moosewood Restaurant a taste
  • Join us for “Monks and Friends” on October 4th from 6:30-8:00pm at Monks in the Marriott for samples of the Community Read-themed cocktail and other treats

 

Upcoming Community Read Events

Branch: Tompkins County Public Library
Room: Tompkins Trust Company Study Room
Ages: Adults, Teens (13-17)
Program Type: Community Read, Lectures
Description:
Shirley Jackson's work fell into the gap between genre and mainstream fiction in the mid-20th century.  Stephen Frug will discuss her liminal place in fiction and how it shaped her career and reception by publishers and readers, then and now. ...

Community Read Movie Matinee: The Haunting

October 6, 2018
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Branch: Tompkins County Public Library
Room: BorgWarner East
Ages: Adults, Teens (13-17)
Program Type: Community Read, Film Screenings
Description:
The Haunting is the 1999 film directed by Jan de Bont (Speed), and stars Lili Taylor and Liam Neeson. This film is the critically maligned remake of the 1963 Robert Wise version of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. This one is more fun, w...

Community Read: Writing From Where You Are

October 8, 2018
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Registration
Branch: Tompkins County Public Library
Room: BorgWarner East
Ages: Adults
Program Type: Writing, Classes and Workshops, Community Read
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 4
Description:
Places are clearly defined in Jackson’s book, We Have Always Lived in the Castle: the village, where cruel children and adults shun and mock the Blackwoods; the outdoors, where Merricat buries valuables, naps and talks with her cat Jonas, and enacts ...
Branch: Tompkins County Public Library
Room: BorgWarner Full
Ages: Adults, Teens (13-17)
Program Type: Community Read, Lectures
Description:
Ellis's talk will be a discussion of the psychological and historical themes in "We Have Always Lived in the Castle," a novel by Shirley Jackson, in particular agoraphobia, xenophobia, and the Cold War. We'll also talk about Jackson's life and why he...
Branch: Tompkins County Public Library
Room: BorgWarner Full
Ages: Adults, Teens (13-17)
Program Type: Community Read, Lectures, Local History
Description:
Uncover the stories that hide in crumbling walls and behind the names on headstones in forgotten burial grounds.  The history in our own backyard shapes who and what we are today, it is in our souls. The old bones of a house have stories to t...
Branch: Tompkins County Public Library
Room: Tompkins Trust Company Study Room
Ages: Adults, Teens (13-17)
Program Type: Book Clubs, Community Read
Description:
Join us for a discussion of "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" by Shirley Jackson. Shirley Jackson's deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family takes readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, m...

Community Read 3D Cat Making!

October 23, 2018
5:30pm - 7:00pm
Registration
Branch: Tompkins County Public Library
Room: Makerspace
Ages: Adults
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, STEAM, Community Read, Makerspace
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 8
Description:
Finished with this year's Community Read, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, but still feeling haunted? Join us to create your very own Jonas cat to protect you! Paint and assemble a laser-cut, 3D wooden cat model! Use your own...
Branch: Tompkins County Public Library
Room: BorgWarner Full
Ages: Adults, Teens (13-17)
Program Type: Community Read, Lectures
Description:
Shirley Jackson was a master of the Gothic tale but she was also caught up in domesticity and child rearing.  Joan Brumberg explores women's social and economic lives in America in the 1940s and 1950s in order to capture the complicated cultural...