darchildre: Tiny Flash with his arms up going "yay!" (flash says yay!)

- I have gotten so bad at updating, OMG.

- I bought new boots last week. They are Doc Martens and are black with secret rainbows. In that, they are coated with some kind of oil-slick looking substance that you can only see in the right light. I love them, but we are still in the breaking-in process so they hurt my feet.

- My mom is currently in Alabama (ferrying my grandmother to my aunt's house), so Dad and I are on our own. Since most of the tv shows we watch together we also watch with Mom, we're saving them till she gets back and I am getting random movies that look fun for for Dad and me from the library. So far, we have watched Lady from Shanghai and Field of Dreams. You guys, I had never seen Field of Dreams before and it is far and away one of the weirdest stories I've ever seen. I mean, I kinda loved it but wow. That is some weird baseball magic.

- Also, I have read too much Stephen King in my life to think that strange voices in the corn are ever something you should listen to. Don't build a baseball field! Burn down the corn instead!

- Relatedly, I am currently reading 14 by Peter Clines, and Dracula, and Caligari's Chlidren, which is a book on horror film from the late 70's. (Written just before Halloween. The author talks a lot about how horror film comes in waves and I have this weird gleeful joy that he's standing right in front of another one and doesn't know it. I hope he enjoyed it.) And, y'know, I am just a fundamentally happier person when part of my brain is thinking about monsters and horror film. I suppose that's why I always reach for horror when I'm in a bad place. But I am not in a bad place right now, so basically my monsters just make me happy.

- Today, I am meeting my sisters in Seattle for brunch and we are going to the ballet. That sentence sounds like it ought to belong to someone else's life, but it is indeed mine.
darchildre: text:  library rules 1) silence 2) books must be returned by due date 3) do not interfere with the nature of causality (library rules)
Good things:

The other day, I discovered that a horror author I very much like and whom I thought had only ever written two books - T.E.D. Klein - had, in fact, written a third book. Or, at least, had a collection of some of his previously uncollected short fiction published in 2006. It was a limited release and copies now are prohibitively expensive, but a nearby library system had one. So I put in an ILL request and got it in less than a week! It is in my bag right now and I get to start it on my break! (And then maybe I will reread The Ceremonies, because it's been long enough that I don't remember the details of the scary bits.)

Not so good things:

One of my first patrons of the day brought in a book that he had to return because it was on hold for someone else, but wanted to put it back on hold for himself. Which I did for him, and then told him, in response to his question, that he was now 10th in line for it and it would be a little while before he got it back. And he frowned and walked away, loudly monologuing about how sad and disappointed his wife would be that they wouldn't be getting it again sooner. 10 minutes later, his wife came up to check out and loudly told me that she was, indeed, disappointed.

People, fussing at me does not get your book here faster. I do not control the holds queue.
darchildre: children reading books in a field. (books are for adventure!)
Yesterday, the children's librarian at Bainbridge made a difficult decision - we have a bunch of John Bellairs hardcovers with the Edward Gorey illustrations, and they just don't check out. They've consistently been on our dusty shelf reports (the reports of books that don't ever get checked out) for years now and we just don't have space to keep them. So they had to be weeded.

Now, this is a tragic thing. But, on the upside for me, she knows that I also love John Bellairs and she wanted the satisfaction of knowing that at least some of the books would be going to a loving home. Which is why I now have hardcover copies of The Lamp from the Warlock's Tomb and The Secret of the Underground Room with the Edward Gorey illustrations.

Friends! Do you like: kid-lit, excellent writing, gorgeously spooky things that aren't gory, inter-generational friendships, well-researched occult phenomena, American small-town life in the late 1940's, and happy endings that usually involve eating cookies? Then you should go to your local library and get some John Bellairs - save them from the dusty shelf report. You will not be disappointed.

There are three series, each about a different boy and his elderly friend: Lewis Barnavelt (and his uncle Jonathan and their neighbor, Mrs Zimmerman, both of whom are witches), Anthony Monday (and Miss Eels, a librarian at the library where Anthony volunteers), and Johnny Dixon (and Professor Childermass). I'll give you a recommendation from each series:

For Lewis Barnavelt, you should start at the beginning with The House with a Clock in its Walls. Lewis comes to live with his uncle Jonathan, but Jonathan's house used to belong to a wizard working to bring about the end of the world and there is a clock hidden somewhere in the house, ticking down to Doomsday. I basically stole this book from my third grade teacher and read the cover off before I returned it to her.

For Anthony Monday, try The Dark Secret of Weatherend, in which Anthony and Miss Eels have to stop an evil wizard from transforming the world into an icy wasteland. There's a scene in this book where they almost get killed by leaves that I think about every autumn.

And for Johnny Dixon, start with The Curse of the Blue Figurine. There's ghosts, dead priests, possession, Egyptian artifacts, and evil magic rings. It's pretty great. Honestly, all the Johnny Dixon books are pretty great.

There's also an adult novel - The Face in the Frost - which is about two wizards and is lovely (and scary enough that I don't listen to the audiobook at bedtime). Well worth checking out.

So go - read John Bellairs! And then come back here and talk to me about it, because these books were a mainstay of my childhood and I don't get to talk about them nearly enough.
darchildre: Tiny Flash with his arms up going "yay!" (flash says yay!)
Ahahaha, my library is getting me an ILL copy of Les Mains d'Orlac in English translation.

Oh my god, I love the ILL system. It is the best thing.

(Triumph, Galatea!)

ETA - Also, in looking for other translations of fiction by Maurice Renard, I found this page. Which appears to want to sell me not only Maurice Renard but also a) Lord Ruthven fanfiction, b) a book in which both Victor Frankenstein and zombie Napoleon appear, and c) Sherlock Holmes vs Fantomas.

I'm sorry, just, all of that is utterly absurd and wonderful and I want all of it.

What an amazing time to be alive.
darchildre: dorothy in the ruins of oz.  text:  "beware the wheelers" (beware the wheelers!)

- So I started rereading Carmilla instead. I say "rereading", because I have technically read it before, but I was about 9 years old and missed pretty much everything important and don't really remember it at all. But hey, 22 years later, it's pretty great.

- The last 15 minutes the library was open tonight, we had no patrons. So it was just me and the other nerdy person who works there, standing around talking about stuff. And I discovered something inexplicable - I knew that he had watched at least some Farscape, because he understood a reference I made to it some months ago. But tonight it came out that he has only watched the first season and isn't really sure that he liked it and I'm pretty sure I just sort of sputtered at him incoherently for a minute because Farscape! ::flaily hands:: I mean, intellectually I understand that there must be people who don't like Farscape but I don't really grok the idea, y'know?

- There are children outside my window, chasing one of the local wild rabbits with a fishing net. (Okay, it may be a feral rabbit, as it is piebald.) I viciously hope it will bite them.
darchildre: second doctor playing solitaire (bored now)
The problem with being a fan of somewhat obscure older horror in the age of the modern internet is that one gets spoiled. I mean, if I want to read basically any work of horror literature that's currently in public domain, someone has probably put it up somewhere that I can download it. Usually for free, but if not, for a very reasonable price. Which is awesome!

But it only works if the work was originally in English*.

And that is why I am currently feeling ridiculously annoyed by the fact that I apparently cannot access a reasonably priced English translation of Les Mains d'Orlac. Because I want it and I read nowhere near enough French to just download the original.

I guess I just have to learn more French.

*I have no doubt that non-native speakers of English experience this all the time in the reverse which would be equally annoying and I'm sorry.
darchildre: dracula and renfield, staring at each other.  text:  "vampiric seduction" (vampiric seduction)
Yesterday, Mom and I drove to Gig Harbor to do some thrifting and go to a community theater production of Dracula. I bought a scarf and a hot water bottle*, we had frozen yogurt, and there were vampires.

It was, bizarrely, the most book-accurate adaptation I've ever seen. To the point of having large swaths of dialogue taken directly from the original. They conflated all of Lucy's suitors into one character - Dr Seward, of course, because he's the one you have to keep - and they telescoped the timeline a little, so Mina and Jonathan were around for the Bloofer Lady, but everything else was there, even the absurd blood transfusions. It was community theater, of course, so the acting wasn't stellar and the guy who played Renfield was over the top for my tastes but still, it was a lot of fun.

It's amazing to me how much I still love this story. It's one of the oldest of my fandoms that's still around - only Sherlock Holmes and Phantom of the Opera are older - and I still want to spend time revisiting it, reimagining it, expanding on it. It's still absurdly important to me and every time I think that I'm totally over vampires, totally done with them, I find some new and ridiculous Dracula-related thing and the love comes back.

Anyway. I totally put the audiobook on my ipod to listen to today. 8)

*Because I had been looking for one for a while - they are surprisingly difficult to find in brick-and-mortar stores where I live. Also, it is the best thing ever, OMG. So ridiculously cozy!
darchildre: the master reading war of the worlds (reading)
So, here is an awesome thing!

The Seattle Public Library has a form on their website where you plug in your name and email address and some info about the kind of books you like or don't like, and their librarians will make you a personalized 5-book recommendation list.

I filled out the form a few days ago, saying that I was particularly looking for horror recommendations and listing some of my favorite horror novels as well as some details about what kinds of horror I like best. (Cosmic horror, body horror, low on sexual violence.) It took about five days, but the list I got is awesome. And the librarian wrote me a nice chatty email, describing the recommended books and why he thought I might like them. The email actually recommended more than five books, since he included a lot of "if you like this one, you might also try this," and "our library doesn't have this right now, but we should be getting it soon." The books he recommended that I've already read were ones that I'd quite liked, which makes me pretty confident about the ones I haven't.

They are, of course, mostly books that they have in the Seattle Public system, but you don't have to have a card there to try out the form, and there's no reason you can't take the recs to your own system or to amazon.

It is pretty great. You should try it.
darchildre: a scarecrow with a pumpkin head, looking menacing (halloween)
In which I am stymied:

I know there was an audiobook made of John Bellairs' The Mansion in the Mist. I know this because I remember listening to it, and I remember it vividly because I made the mistake of trying to use it as a bedtime audiobook.* I do not therefore understand why I cannot acquire said audiobook in anything but cassette tape form. It is very frustrating. I have the book and could just reread it, of course, but it is not the same.

Tangentially, has anyone out there read any of the John Bellairs books that were finished/coauthored/written outright by Brad Strickland? Are they any good? Several of them appear to be Johnny Dixon books and he was always my favorite, but I am wary.

*I did this with The Face in the Frost too, because I am an idiot.
darchildre: a scarecrow with a pumpkin head, looking menacing (halloween)
Happy Halloween!

I am putting all kinds of audio horror on my mp3 player. I have way more of it than I could possibly listen to today, but that is what happens when I get enthusiastic. And hey, now I have a recording of The Repairer of Reputations that I can listen to any time I want. And House of the Vampire. Who wouldn't want that?

Along those lines, so that I can link to radio drama as well as straight audiobooks, I will point out that all of October has been Undead Month on the horror podcast at Relic Radio and there have been vampires every Wednesday. And an interesting episode of Quiet, Please set in the American Southwest and has a zombie conquistador. (It also has some period racism, so...) I don't feel like there's enough horror set in the Southwest. Or possibly there is, and I've just missed it. In any case, here is an addition. 8)
darchildre: a scarecrow with a pumpkin head, looking menacing (halloween)
I realized yesterday that Halloween is coming up and I haven't actually read any horror in months. So I took myself to the Horror Writers Association website to look at the Stoker awards.

This is always equal parts totally fun and really frustrating. It is totally fun because there are always bunches of books that I've never heard of, let alone read. (Laird Barron has a novel out? How cool is that?) And it is really frustrating because I find all these books and note down the titles of the ones that sound cool and then my library has none of them.

Fortunately, the ones on the First Novel list tend to be fairly inexpensive if bought for the kindle.
darchildre: a scarecrow in a cloud of crows.  text:  "stranger things" (stranger things)
The first time I can remember encountering Ray Bradbury was through a set of cassette tape recordings of him reading short stories. I got them from the library - I can't remember if I picked them out myself or not. My mom may have pointed them out, since I do remember her being supportive of my interest. I couldn't have been more than 10 or 11, which is probably the perfect age for first encountering Bradbury.

I listened to those tapes over and over. I remember that the stories terrified me, that his reading of them was horrific and fascinating. My experiences with horror up to that point had been confined to works from the 1800s and the kinds of horror that we offer children: Short and Shivery, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Those tapes had The Veldt and The Crowd and The Dwarf. I was hooked. At my school's next book fair, I bought a copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes and read it over and over. I still have that copy.

I loved his science fiction (though I never much cared for Fahrenheit 451) and I loved his stories about boyhood (though I never read Dandelion Wine) but it was his horror I loved best. Even at 10, I was who I am now: the kind of kid who wanted to always live in October. Bradbury got that, understood and fed that longing for the dark and the things inside it. His stories seemed to me to always be filled with saudade, one that I shared, and reading them both satisfied and intensified it. Bradbury is a good companion for a kid who wants to grow up to be a monster.

I spent several years between high school and college thinking that he was dead and was surprised and delighted when he came out with a new book. It was like a letter from a friend you thought you'd never hear from again. But now he's really gone and there will be no more letters. I'll miss him.

Goodbye, Mr Bradbury. I hope it's October where you are.
darchildre: dracula and renfield, staring at each other.  text:  "vampiric seduction" (vampiric seduction)
Friends and neighbors, I have been listening to Dracula on audiobook. It is some new version that audible.com sent me an email about, and apparently has Tim Curry and Alan Cumming in it somewhere, so of course I had to download it. I am assuming that it's going to be like the weird Dune audiobooks where there's a narrator for the narration and different speakers for the dialogue...in some chapters. Though, we haven't actually had a chapter like that yet. I am only 2 chapters in, though, and so far it is all Simon Vance all the time. Which is okay, because Simon Vance is the audiobook reader that always makes me think, "Hey, it's the guy who sounds vaguely like David Collings!" and I like his Dracula voice.

You guys, I really do like this book immensely. I mean, I make fun of it a lot and the characters do a lot of stupid things (OMG, the journey of the Demeter - so scary and yet so dumb), but it's pretty awesome. Revisiting it is a lot of fun and I'm enjoying having an audio version. Maybe it will eventually become a bedtime audiobook.

Other vampire-related things I am enjoying: Dark Shadows! I think what I like most about it at this point is that it is old enough to be able to play its ridiculous vampires completely straight. Nowadays, if you want to make a story about vampires, it feels like you have to be ironic about it, you have to wink at the audience. And that's fun, a lot of the time, but I get tired of it too. It's nice to go back to something old enough where, by god, if we want an entranced woman in a flimsy white nightgown wandering out into the cemetery at night, we're going to have one. Let's have the doctor wonder if the marks on her neck could be from an accidental poke with a piece of costume jewelry. Let's have the at-home blood transfusion from her boyfriend. (Though, thank god, they did manage to check blood types first.) Let's surround her house with howling wolves dogs. That's awesome. Do it. It fills my heart with glee.

Old school vampires makes me so happy.
darchildre: the master reading war of the worlds (reading)
In which I have trouble with books:

The thing about The Monk is that it's not really a breakfast book. I mean, I am enjoying it. We have yet to get to the Satanism and torture and all, but there has been a pregnant nun (who was taken away for punishment - we haven't seen her since, so I don't know yet what that punishment is) and the titular monk (Ambrosio) has discovered that his best monk friend (Rosario) is actually a woman (Matilda) who crossdressed as a monk because she's in love with him and wants to be close to him. Which means that we have to have pages and pages of Ambrosio trying to send her away for the good of their collective souls but she's so beautiful and might kill herself and she was his best friend when he thought she was a guy and also she posed for the picture of the Madonna that Ambrosio has really inappropriate thoughts about. See, this is what happens when people are raised in monasteries and not allowed to go outside till they're 30. Currently, Ambrosio has been unexpectedly bitten by a snake and Rosario/Matilda is tending to him. Wikipedia tells me that Matilda is secretly a witch, so I imagine Ambrosio will get better.

So it's fun, but it's not a breakfast book. Mostly because of the capitalization, which I have yet to figure out any sort of rhyme or reason for. It's like Matthew Lewis just threw some random capital letters at the pages and let them stick where they would. I can deal with the kind of capitalization where the author capitalizes words s/he wishes to emphasize but if that's what's going on here, Mr Lewis must want to emphasize practically everything. Also, he often capitalizes pronouns and I don't have the mental energy at breakfast to stop and remember that he's not talking about God and instead is just referring to the main character. It's oddly tiring.

Thus, this morning I ended up poking around my kindle to find something that would serve as a breakfast book (not boring, haven't read it too recently, not too mentally taxing, nothing icky). And succumbed to my periodic temptation to poke at The Insidious Dr Fu Manchu. Every once in a while, I remember that I put that on my kindle and I try to read it. And the thing is, Sax Rohmer could write. The first chapter or so (as far as I've ever gotten) is very exciting, in a pulp adventure sort of way, and I love pulp adventure. Nayland Smith bounds into his friend Dr Petrie's rooms and immediately turns out the lights, all Final-Problem-airguns, shows him where he's been shot with an arrow dipped in cobra venom, and then whisks him away to try and prevent a hideous murder. I mean, that's pretty thrilling stuff, right? You'd be intrigued. But then - horrible racism.* Before we ever even get to meet Dr Fu Manchu. I would like to meet him. I love diabolical genius evil masterminds anyway, and I'm fully prepared to root for him over Nayland Smith, who is a horrible racist. Anyone who gets nicknamed the Lord of Strange Deaths is all right by me, y'know? And at least in a book, he can be an actual Chinese person, instead of a white dude in yellow face. So there is always a temptation to try and stick it out, but I am usually defeated by about the middle of chapter two.

Is there pulp adventure that isn't horribly racist? Or misogynist? I would really like some.

*Possibly you are thinking, "This is a person who regularly reads and enjoys Lovecraft." And you are right - Lovecraft was also a horrible racist. I can manage Lovecraft because his stories, while horribly racist, are mostly about squishy squiggly things that drive people insane. Whereas Sax Rohmer is actively writing about Combating the Yellow Peril. It is perhaps a small distinction and useful only to me but there you go.
darchildre: text:  "bless me, father.  i ate a lizard." (post-apocalyptic monks! eeee!)

- Okay, so the big weeding was not as bad as I feared. Mostly because my boss actually had something for me to do this year, instead of having me stand around trying to find something to do. So I have weeded all of our juvenile fiction. Hurrah!

- Also, somehow, during this process, a few of my coworkers and I ended up talking about horror. (Because that's kind of an inevitable conversational trajectory with me.) This was fine when it was just me talking about the awesome of M R James ("We should have a ghost story program!" my manager says), but it gets a little weird when suddenly I'm talking about Carmilla and the advent of the lesbian vampire. How do these things happen? I'm never sure why people don't stop me when I start droning on about things like that.

- On a continuing horror note, I got the dvd of Island of Lost Souls on hold today, as well as The Body Snatcher (the one with Boris Karloff and no aliens). I am excited.

- On my lunch break, I become dissatisfied with my current book and thus starting poking around my kindle for things I have downloaded but never read. What I ended up with was The Monk by Matthew Lewis, because I really should read more early Gothic lit, right? So far, it is already full of ridiculous capitalization, absurdly virtuous clergymen (who, given the title of the book, will be absurdly corrupt clergymen before the end), and stolen babies. The plot summary on wikipedia is amazing and promises me Satanic rituals, secret babies, crossdressing, murder, and the Inquisition. Whee!
darchildre: seventh doctor tweaking ace's nose (aces are rare)

- Hey, did you know that if you press cntrl-alt-down arrow, your monitor display flips upside down? Because I did not know that and it just happened to my coworker. Which is pretty much the best computer problem to have: it's hilarious and easily fixed. Hurrah!

- The thing about having Christmas knitting to do is that I end up looking at a lot of patterns of other things I want to knit. Like this. But, see, the nice thing about that is that I always have yarn left over when I make socks and I could just make a few at a time and then, eventually, have an awesome patchwork knitted blanket. Which would fulfill my long-standing desire for a new afghan on my bed without feeling like it's a thing that I have to work on all the time. That sounds like an excellent idea.

- I woke up this morning with the desire to reread Dracula in my heart. However, I have way too many other books right now and several of them are interlibrary loans or things that the library purchased because I requested them, which much therefore be read first. I am also currently between audiobooks. You would think this would present an obvious solution, but instead I am full of indecision. There are a hell of a lot of Dracula audiobooks (or dramatizations) out there, you guys! It is hard to choose - do any of you have a favorite?

- One of the aforementioned books that I am reading is Monsters in America by W Scott Poole, which is pretty awesome so far (though I do wish he would have used footnotes instead of endnotes - flipping back and forth is annoying). There are sections on sea monsters and one of the chapters begins with a Mountain Goats quote (from "Lovecraft in Brooklyn"), and the author is not all et up with the Freud, which makes me happy. It is very enjoyable.
darchildre: sepia toned, a crow perched on a gravestone (gravestone)
We watched The Haunting last night at Bainbridge, which I had never seen before.

I have a hard time separating my own emotional reaction to the film from what I would say about it to other people. I have an uncomfortable relationship with The Haunting of Hill House, in that I love the book and think it's gorgeous and wonderful and shivery, but I find Eleanor to be very disquieting to read about because I identify with her so strongly. I am not Eleanor but I could be/could have been Eleanor very easily (there but for the grace of god) and so I find her rather terrifying. Watching the film is much the same thing (except that we cannot be quite so firmly and fully in Eleanor's head, even with her constant voice-overs), to the point that I'm not at all sure what the movie is like for people who don't have that extra element of horror working for them. (This film is also especially terrifying for people who, like me, have a particular fear of narrow unstable staircases.)

I would recommend it, I think, because it's a visually pretty film and I'm fairly certain it would be scary for other people. It's a good haunted house story and worth seeing. But I really recommend reading the book, which is not just a good haunted house story but a great one.
darchildre: the master reading war of the worlds (reading)
I have my kindle back and all my things back on it! (Though, oh gods, I had so many things in collections and now my collections are gone and I must rebuild them. Ah, well.)

And I have new horror things on it! Because I have downloaded The Night Lands by William Hope Hodgson from Project Gutenburg. I have not read much Hodgson, except House on the Borderlands and that was many years ago and I don't remember it. (Were there pig things? I vaguely recall pig things. Am I mixing it up with Rats in the Walls?)

Now I just have to find a way to get the Miskatonic U sticker off the old kindle and onto the new one. Then my joy will be complete.
darchildre: a scarecrow in a cloud of crows.  text:  "stranger things" (stranger things)
This morning, I woke up in the middle of a dream about being lost in an airport. I had ten minutes to get from gate to gate and the plane was going to leave and the airport had wholly inadequate signage and everyone was terribly unhelpful. Also, turned out that my gate was upstairs and the only way to get there was a staircase hidden in the back of a clothing shop.

I am not filled with lingering dread, though, because I know myself pretty well and am aware that, if I were flying by myself and had to change planes, I would have looked up my arrival and departure gates and probably drawn myself a little map with detailed instructions of the route between them. Yes, even if they were only a few gates apart. Because that is one area in which my paranoia is actually kind of helpful.

I also, and this has nothing to do with airports at all, woke up with the creepy planting rhyme from The Ceremonies* running through my head. Which happens a lot - it's one of those things that stick in your brain and pop out at unexpected intervals. In the years between losing my first copy of that book and finding a second, that was about all I remembered from it, but every once in a while I'd finding myself walking around muttering "Scramble thee, scratch thee, jellycorn hill." It's been a while since I've read that book. Maybe I should dig my copy out from wherever I've hidden it.

"Fly thee, fleet thee, jellycorn hill.
If mole don't eat thee, I will."

It's an odd combination to wake up to, though, really.

*Have you read The Ceremonies? It is the only novel by T E D Klein and I think it's awesome. It has insular religious communities and creepy planting rhymes and occult rituals and sacrifices and graduate students studying Gothic horror (so, y'know, if you wanted a handy bibliography...). Do you like Arthur Machen? Then maybe you should try The Ceremonies.

If you haven't read Arthur Machen, you should probably do that first. Here is The White People and here is The Great God Pan. Have fun.
darchildre: a cybermat!  text:  "grar!  i'm a scary monster!" (grar!  I'm a scary monster!)
So, The Beetle. I am four and a half chapters in. So far, we've had:

- A giant creepy bug with glowing eyes crawling up the narrator's body and onto his face

- A creepy hypnotic person (the narrator is as yet unsure whether this person is male or female) with huge eyes and no apparent chin

- Creepy person uses some kind of mind control to force the narrator to strip and then makes creepy comments about how nice the narrator's skin is.

- Creepy person then paralyzes the narrator and leaves him lying, essentially naked, on the floor all day. In the evening, s/he comes back and pokes the narrator all over, putting hir fingers in the narrator's mouth and touching the narrator's eyes.

- Also, the creepy person may actually be the bug thing. I'm not sure about that yet.

- Now the creepy person is telling the narrator to break into a prominent statesman's house. These orders are accompanied by random non-sequiters about how the statesman is "good to look at". I don't know what the narrator is supposed to do in the statesman's house yet but I doubt it's going to be simple burglary.

This is a weird little book.
darchildre: dracula and renfield, staring at each other.  text:  "vampiric seduction" (vampiric seduction)
[personal profile] cleolinda is currently reading and recapping Varney the Vampyre (or the Feast of Blood) and I have been reading those recaps. And now I am torn. Part of me keeps thinking "Hurrah - she is reading it so I don't have to," because Varney the Vampyre (or the Feast of Blood) is like the Mount Everest of trashy 19th century vampire fiction and is immensely long and kinda awful. And part of me thinks "Y'know, you've sort of meant to read that since you were nine and came across a reference to it in one of the numberless books about vampires you read at that age and now is as good a time as any. Also, it is already on your kindle." Because Varney the Vampyre (or the Feast of Blood) is like the Mount Everest of trashy 19th century vampire fiction - it's a hell of a slog, but think how proud you'd be if you managed it.

Also, then you get to tell people that you've read Varney the Vampyre (or the Feast of Blood). Ninety-nine percent of them will look at you like you've grown another head, but that remaining one percent will be extremely impressed.

And the title is ridiculously fun to say. It's almost as good as Hell Comes to Frogtown.

I have been craving vampires the last few days, I think. Usually when that happens, I try to scout around for modern vampire novels that I haven't read that might be satisfying. It hardly ever works. This time, I think that I will try Varney and see if the 19th century does any better. And if that doesn't work, I can try House of the Vampire again, because I liked that one but got distracted in the middle.

...and then I googled House of the Vampire to make sure I got the title right and ended up wandering through "Customers who bought this also bought" on amazon and found Richard Marsh's The Beetle and Marie Corelli's Ziska: The Problem of a Wicked Soul, both of which sound amazing. And which are now on my kindle also.

I have horror-related impulse control problems.

And now, off to my staff meeting!
darchildre: birch trees in autumn (yi elischi sa ai chi bedhul)
Things I have meant to post about today, but have been away from my computer and thus unable to:

- So, someone donated a bunch of hymnals to my church. We've never had hymnals, so we're trying to ease into using them and today was the first time we did so. Which meant that I spent most of the sermon leafing through the hymnal. I wish to share with you John Wesley's Rules for Singing, which were in the front of the hymnal, because I find them utterly charming.

Here they are: )

"Sing lustily and with a good courage." Isn't that marvelous?

- When I work on Sundays, I drive there straight from church. Sometimes, as today, I get there quite a bit early, so I spend the time reading in my car while I eat lunch. Today, I was starting The Haunting of Hill House, which I haven't read in far too long. Hill House has one of the best opening paragraphs ever so, being through with my lunch, I read it out loud. And then didn't stop.

I forget how much I enjoy reading aloud to myself, because I don't often have opportunity to do it. I flatter myself that I read aloud fairly well, with the right sort of book. I do quite nicely with Shirley Jackson and it was lovely, reading to myself all alone in the car with the rain tapping quiet on the roof.

I forget, too, how good Shirley Jackson is. I do occasionally find it a little disquieting, how easily and completely I identify and sympathize with her protagonists, but I love her stories and her characters and her use of language. I should buy a book of her short stories. I haven't read those in far too long either.
darchildre: "the good guys lose.  the monsters win.  nothing ends well.  it makes us uncomfortable.  don't look away" (soapbox icon)
Congratulation, Richard Yancey, you have succeeded in totally icking me out.

So, I am still reading The Monstrumologist. Since my last posting on this book, we have had a mysterious and cryptic diary, a crumbling and terrifying insane asylum, and a flashback to a ship full of sailors trapped at sea with a monster.* Seriously, if we end up going to the Arctic/Antarctica, this book will contain everything I love in pulpy horror.

And then, spoilers and a squick warning. seriously icky. )


I'm honestly fairly impressed. The ick is not my favorite kind of horror, but when it's done well and built up to well, it's pretty awesome.

*It also contained a rather regrettable flashback prior to the ship, where the sailors were buying the monsters from the king of an African tribe who was, of course, using the monsters for horrific ritual sacrifice. So, apparently we're doing the bad points of pulpy horror as well. There aren't any women who aren't evil or dead yet, either. ::sigh::
darchildre: drs frankenstein and pretorius, doing mad science.  text:  "should have been burned as wizards" (burned as wizards)
So...about a month ago, I found out about a book and put it on hold. However, because I had too much to read at the time, I suspended the hold so it wouldn't come in for a month. And then I promptly forgot what the book was about and why I had wanted it, until I got it yesterday.

It is called The Monstrumologist and is by Richard Yancey. Now, you are looking at that and thinking, "That is a terrible title". And it pretty much is. Also, it is the kind of title that makes one think that it's kidlit, as indeed I did until about halfway through the first chapter, when things got rather graphically gory and I realized that it was, in fact, a YA novel. Now, I am about 60 or so pages in.

It is about a 12 year old boy who is the assistant to a monstrumologist, named Dr Pellinore Warthrop. Apparently, a monstrumologist is a person who studies and/or hunts monsters. It is a stupid word and I'm a little embarrassed about it on the book's behalf. However! There are anthopophagi, which are pretty cool. I always prefer "real"/folkloric monsters to made-up ones and anthropophagi have the advantages of having a pretty cool design and being unusual. So that's nifty.

Also, Dr Warthrop is awesome. He is so perfectly the ideal of the mad scientist that I find myself imagining him to look like Peter Cushing, even though the book is set in New England. He is so amazingly horrible! I mean, mad scientists are generally bad people, which is part of the reason they're so much fun, but generally the people they mistreat are adults. Having Dr Warthrop's assistant be a 12 year old orphan boy brings his callousness and self-absorption home rather sharply. Possibly, this sort of thing should make me dislike him but honestly, every time Dr Warthrop does something callous and inhuman, I find myself liking him more. I don't read about mad scientists to find people whose company I would enjoy in real life, after all.

So far, the book has contained grave robbing, a gruesome dissection, close-range gunplay, and a chase through a mouldering graveyard, on top of an awesome mad scientist. I'm really hoping that it can keep it up and doesn't fizzle out.

Apparently, there is a sequel due out later this year that, by the title, seems to have a wendigo in it. I will admit that I am intrigued.


darchildre: a candle in the dark.  text:  "a light in dark places". (Default)

June 2016



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