Programming Spotlight: 2018 Community Read

Programming Spotlight: 2018 Community Read

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.

For more information, contact Tom Burns at

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

Pictured above are staff and friends performing a scene from We Have Always Lived In The Castle at the 2018 TCPL Readathon.  View the performance here: