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review 2017-10-10 14:50
The Best of HP Lovecraft ★★★☆☆
The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre - H.P. Lovecraft,August Derleth,Robert Bloch

This is my first Lovecraft, so I can’t judge whether this particular collection has all his “best”. It did have the stories that were recommended to me as being representative of his work: The Dunwich Horror, The Colour Out of Space, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and of course, The Call of Cthulhu. I enjoyed all of these. The quality of the other stories was variable.

 

Rather than trying to review the stories individually, I’ll just offer a few random thoughts. Yep, now that I’ve read the source material, the influence of Lovecraft on several of my favorite modern authors is pretty obvious, especially Stephen King. Lovecraft does seem to have a wide variance in style, with stories ranging from so floridly verbose that they’re almost unreadable (a la EA Poe) to more straightforward, but still atmospheric, little horror stories. I like his monsters, which seem to run from mundane creatures acting in supernatural ways, to crazy mixes of various creature parts, to creatures who aren’t even entirely corporeal. One common choice of style that I don’t care for is how they narrator always seems to be telling you a story of something that happened a while ago – this puts too much distance between the reader and the horror experienced, IMO.

 

Last, and specific to this edition, is the truly excellent foreword by Robert Bloch. I learned something about the author, who is interestingly defensive on the subject of moral hygiene and authors. I also learned a bit about the evolution of the horror genre.

 

Previous Updates:

Foreword 1/24/15 (yes I started this ages ago, then reshelved until this month)

Pg 33/406 10/4/17

Pg 98/406 10/4/17

 

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review 2017-10-07 17:13
The Hospital ★★★★☆
The Hospital - Keith C. Blackmore,R. C. Bray

Zombies are my least favorite horror sub-genre. Ridiculous as this sounds, I just can’t suspend disbelief with all the biological impossibilities. But this short story was really good in spite of that, mostly for its unusual twist, and for the little flash of post-apocalyptic humor when the protagonist comes across a supply room full of toilet paper.

 

Audiobook, which I picked up as a freebie on Audible ages ago and am just now getting around to. RC Bray’s performance was okay, using a sort of classic noir deadpan approach.

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text 2017-10-04 23:35
The Best of HP Lovecraft - 98/406pg
The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre - H.P. Lovecraft,August Derleth,Robert Bloch

Ahhhh, finally we have us some Cthulhu!

 

It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful.

 

 

And more new (to me) vocabulary words:

 

Theosophist colony (donning white robes in California): “Theosophy is a collection of mystical and occultist philosophies concerning, or seeking direct knowledge of the presumed mysteries of life and nature, particularly of the nature of divinity and the origin and purpose of the universe. Theosophy is considered part of Western esotericism, which believes that hidden knowledge or wisdom from the ancient past offers a path to enlightenment and salvation.”

 

Cyclopean architecture (apparently Cthulhu’s city): “Cyclopean masonry is a type of stonework found in Mycenaean architecture, built with massive limestone boulders, roughly fitted together with minimal clearance between adjacent stones and no use of mortar. The boulders typically seem unworked, but some may have been worked roughly with a hammer and the gaps between boulders filled in with smaller chunks of limestone.”

 

hysterical Levantines (who were mobbing NYC policemen): the Levant is the eastern Mediterranean region.

 

Antiphonal responses (to a “braying, bellowing, and writhing” ritual by an “indescribable horde of human abnormality”: Alternating call and response style singing

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text 2017-10-04 13:32
The Best of HP Lovecraft - 33/406pg
The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre - H.P. Lovecraft,August Derleth,Robert Bloch

Well, it didn't take long for me to see why everyone points out that Lovecraft was a racist. However, I'm certainly expanding my vocabulary:

 

Antediluvian: "the time period referred to in the Bible between the fall of humans and the Noachian Deluge (the Genesis Flood) in the biblical cosmology. ... The term found its way into early geology and lingered in science until the late Victorian era. Colloquially, the term is used to refer to any ancient and murky period."

 

Nepenthe: "fictional medicine for sorrow, literally an anti-depressant. ... In the Odyssey... nepenthes pharmakon (i.e. an anti-sorrow drug) is a magical potion given to Helen by Polydamna the wife of the noble Egyptian Thon; it quells all sorrows with forgetfulness." 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-04 09:26
September 2017 — A Month with an Abysmal Reading Record

 

 

The previous month was all about graphic novels, comics, and anthologies. Here is what I read in September and what I thought about it:

 

Preacher, Vols. 4-9

It was irreverent as heck:

 

 

He means the Heavenly Host btw

 

It was full of sexist characters who say things like:

 

 

 

But oh, it was so good!

 

 

 

I read this one as part of Work Book Bingo for the Bestsellers’ Shelf. Glad I did because I loved it! Find a detailed review here.

 

 

Started this one Because. Neil Gaiman. Turns out, the book had an itty bitty poem by him. Anyway, I plodded on and found a collection of really weird stories. Check out my review here!

 

 

A thought-provoking collection of stories. Read my review here!

 

September seemed endless; maybe because I couldn’t cram much reading time into it. How was your September?

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 4, 2017.

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