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Showing posts from May, 2010

Review: The Gates

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There are few things worse than being a small boy people overlook — especially if you know for certain the world is about to end and no one will take you seriously.  Just take the case of Samuel Johnson in The Gates, John Connolly's amazing and terribly entertaining novel.

Samuel Johnson, age eleven, and his dachshund Boswell decided to beat the rush and go trick-or-treating a few days early.  The Abernathys at 666 Crowley Road were first on the list, and they were none too pleased to encounter him.  As he sat on their fence and pondered what his next move would be (considering the whole beat-the-rush gambit had failed so miserably), he was drawn by a blue light emanating from the Abernathy basement.  And what he saw made him run straight home.

You would, too, if you saw what came out of the bright blue hole the Abernathys conjured up with the words they didn't understand in a book they couldn't properly understand but read aloud anyway.  (Evil, especially the kind with a …

Fill In the Gaps: An Update

I haven't completed another Fill in the Gaps book lately, but there's a reason for that: I've been hijacked by Ray Bradbury.

Can you blame me?  I read Neil Gaiman's article about Ray and had to read the story he mentioned, so I got a hold of his short stores.  (Ray's, not Neil's.)  (Though I have those, too.)  I just couldn't put it down.  (For the record, the collection I grabbed was The stories of Ray Bradbury, which I checked out from the library.) (Until I got my own copy, that is.)  I have re-read a few of my favorites ("There Will Come Soft Rains," "The Sound of Thunder") and hit a few others that made me laugh, think and wonder.  (It's been a while, so a few are like new again.)

At about the same time, I read "The Call of Cthulhu" in The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre.  (It's on my list.)  May I say: Yikes!  Good, but yikes nonetheless.  I had to re-read the description of t…

Review: Horns

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Joe Hill is a great writer whose work is full of surprises.  His novel Heart-Shaped Box led me to create a new bookish term: Reading Buddy (someone who reads a book with you; in the case of scary books, your Reading Buddy remains in the room — in person or by phone — while the book is read).

I expected the same thing with Horns.

It's not that kind of book.

Don't get me wrong: that is a good thing.  I don't think my imagination could take that kind of ride again so soon.

The story is compelling, heartwrenching, simple and yet terribly, terribly complex.  After a night of drinking that leaves a gaping hole in his memory, Iggy Parrish wakes up with horns growing out of his forehead.  It's not the first horror of his life.  He spent the last year mourning his love, Merrin, who was raped and killed — crimes for which Iggy was suspected, but never formally charged.  (If you wonder what's worse than going to jail for a crime you didn't commit, just ask Iggy.)  In fact…

Dead Poets Remembrance Day: Are You In?

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Just when I thought it was safe to post a holiday list, They come out with another literature-related one.  ("They" always do.)

The Dead Poets Society of America is promoting its new holiday: Dead Poets Remembrance Day.  Held on October 7, the date of Edgar Allen Poe's death, the holiday remembers all of the poets who have come before us.

The society is ramping up to that bash by having Dead Poets events in nearly every state.  In Virginia, it's at the Edgar Allen Poe Museum in Richmond.  In Maryland, it's at Poe's grave.  (Do I see a trend here?)  In D.C, they leave Poe alone.  Check out the list on the link from the Dead Poets Society Web page.

A little macabre?  Sure.  But if you can't love a dead poet, who can you love?