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RedEyedGhost

October Reading 2016 - Something Spooky?

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I finished A Head Full of Ghosts today.  Very good.  More screwed up than spooky though.  Solid ending.

Moving onto The Suicide Motor Club.

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I've had a run of pretty bad books, which doesn't surprise me because a lot of them have been things I've picked up browsing Amazon. And I don't care enough to try to rate and review books there to change my recommendation algorithms. I'll see something like "because you read Blah Blah, you should check out Blurg Blurg", and I'm thinking "but I HATED Blah Blah. Why don't you know that about me, Amazon? All this creepy data gathering you people do, and this is the best you've got?"

Monthly book club selection was A Passage to India (Forster), and monthly country book is The Man Who Loved Attending Funerals (Collymore) for Barbados. The latter are stories which are enjoyable but derivative.

Also reading Notes on Blood Meridian (Sepich) which I highly recommend as a guide to supplementary historical material. 

 

REG, have you gotten your bookshelves all set back up yet?

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16 minutes ago, Eponine said:

REG, have you gotten your bookshelves all set back up yet?

Not yet.  I bought two 4'x6' shelves and those big bastards are still sitting in the garage.  I had to take a half day at work tomorrow because my dinning room table is being delivered (in a 4 hour window - that's some BS), so I'm thinking I might try and get the bookshelves moved in and finally start unpacking the books.  Now that I'll have the table I'll have to figure out when to have everybody over.  I blame all of you on me spending $170 after Amy's birthday because I liked that game so much I bought it, an expansion, and some other accessories that night!

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3 minutes ago, RedEyedGhost said:

Stuff...

Yay, I like cooperative games. We want to have people over too, but we also are not unpacked. 

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On ‎10‎/‎4‎/‎2016 at 1:16 PM, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

Finished off Carmilla. Also short, but a good deal more reader-friendly. A modern reader can guess how things will go very quickly, but might well find it interesting how old some vampire tropes actually are - Carmilla predates Dracula by a quarter of a century, yet has things like "people often think vampires are X, but they're really Y." Oh, and the not-very-subtle lesbianism - Le Fanu's way of dancing his way around Victorian social taboos.

Fast forwarding a century... next up is The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty. 

 

On ‎10‎/‎4‎/‎2016 at 1:16 PM, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

 

Any self-respecting female vampire is a predatory aristocratic lesbian.

If you're looking at older horror, I'd recommend The Monk, by Matthew Lewis, which isn't really frightening, but is undeniably entertaining, and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, by James Hogg, a remarkably subtle tale.

  It's never made clear if the devil really exists, or is just a figment of the protagonists's imagination

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10 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Any self-respecting female vampire is a predatory aristocratic lesbian.

If you're looking at older horror, I'd recommend The Monk, by Matthew Lewis, which isn't really frightening, but is undeniably entertaining, and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, by James Hogg, a remarkably subtle tale.

  Reveal hidden contents

  It's never made clear if the devil really exists, or is just a figment of the protagonists's imagination

 

I've read both Lewis and Hogg previously (my reading challenge this year is focused on new reads, rather than re-reads). Lewis is indeed delightfully over the top, though he has that all-too common trait of English Gothic Literature of bashing Catholics because he can. Hogg's also notable that:

At one point the author inserts himself as a character. 1820s Post-Modernism.

Depending on how things go this month, I might try out Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho (a major Gothic work I haven't read).

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13 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

 

 

13 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

I've read both Lewis and Hogg previously (my reading challenge this year is focused on new reads, rather than re-reads). Lewis is indeed delightfully over the top, though he has that all-too common trait of English Gothic Literature of bashing Catholics because he can. Hogg's also notable that:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

At one point the author inserts himself as a character. 1820s Post-Modernism.

 

Depending on how things go this month, I might try out Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho (a major Gothic work I haven't read).

Catholics were always portrayed as being extremely sinister, if not downright evil.

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Just now, SeanF said:

Catholics were always portrayed as being extremely sinister, if not downright evil.

It actually gets worse the longer the genre develops. Walpole's Castle of Otranto is really tame - the Church is silly and superstitious, but that's it. Fast-forward thirty years, and you have The Monk, which is far more strident. Fast-forward another thirty years, and you end up with Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer, which goes up a level again (in contrast to Lewis' localised straw men, Maturin - as an Anglican Clergyman - is really taking on the entire institution). 

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6 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

 

 

6 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

It actually gets worse the longer the genre develops. Walpole's Castle of Otranto is really tame - the Church is silly and superstitious, but that's it. Fast-forward thirty years, and you have The Monk, which is far more strident. Fast-forward another thirty years, and you end up with Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer, which goes up a level again (in contrast to Lewis' localised straw men, Maturin - as an Anglican Clergyman - is really taking on the entire institution). 

It's one of those tropes that's really endured too, although it tends to be used mainly by atheistic authors today, like Philip Pullman, or Erica Johansen.

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Currently reading: 

The Heavenly Table - Donald Ray Pollock

 

Plan on reading:

One Foot in Eden - Ron Rash

Hell at the Breech / Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter / Smonk - Tom Franklin

 

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I'm reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

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I finished The Heir of Night. I really liked this when I first read it in 2013--I gave it 4 stars--but I didn't start remembering stuff until about halfway through and I found it kind of meh. Probably a timing thing or something with my mood/other reads. I'm reading The Gathering of the Lost (book 2) now, also a re-read.

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22 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Oh yeah, I also picked up The Call by some dude called Pead...peed...something. :P

Peed Pants? Peed Piper? Whoever he is, I'm sure he's moooost grateful :)

13 hours ago, RedEyedGhost said:

Thanks :)

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20,000 Thousand Under the Sea was interesting from a scientific point of view.  I found it interesting that Jules Verne was familiar and accepted Darwin's ideas and some of the new geological theories which would have been radical at the time.  My background in invertebrate paleontology helped me through those natural science scenes where the professor was describing all of flora and fauna he sees in the oceans.  But there was some tough slogging with all those antiquated latin names of the critters.

I hated the fact that we never knew who Captain Nemo was (ie his nationality).  I also was amused that one of the main characters in a classic novel was a Canadian.  One doesn't often see Canadians in classics due to the youth of my country. 

Now started The Commodore by Patrick O'Brian.

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Isn't there some sequel/prequel where more of Nemo's background is revealed?

For more over the top 19th century cutting edge geology read Verne's "Journey to the center of Earth" (unless you haven't already, I recall this as quite funny and not quite as sprawling as 20000 under the sea, although it must be almost 30 years that I read it)

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6 hours ago, Jo498 said:

Isn't there some sequel/prequel where more of Nemo's background is revealed?

For more over the top 19th century cutting edge geology read Verne's "Journey to the center of Earth" (unless you haven't already, I recall this as quite funny and not quite as sprawling as 20000 under the sea, although it must be almost 30 years that I read it)

Yep, the sequel - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mysterious_Island

IIRC, at various points subsequent editions actually had to play around with Nemo's nationality, for real-world political reasons (rather like Abraham Merritt's The Moon Pool, where a German spy in the serialised version suddenly becomes a Russian one in the novel due to the Revolution).

In defence of Journey to the Centre of the Earth (a book I loved as a kid), I think the science is supposed to be ridiculous. The actual theories that Axel keeps raising as objections to his uncle are the real science of the period (though there is the gloriously dated reference to Piltdown Man). But yes, it's not the sort of thing that could really be written these days... Further on Verne, one of the more amusing comments he came up with was bashing H.G. Wells' First Men in the Moon - how dare Mr Wells come up with this nonsensical handwave to get men to the moon when he (Verne) had them getting to the moon using something realistic like common everyday gunpowder.

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