Tried to read in September

September 2017

Books Bought:

  • Object Lessons: The Paris Review presents ‘The Art of the Short Story’ – Picador (Misc. Authors)
  • 50 Great Short Stories – Bantam Classics (Misc. Authors)
  • Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction – Grady Hendrix
  • How Proust Can Change Your Life – Alain de Botton
  • At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails – Sarah Bakewell
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • Black Wings of Cthulhu 2 – Titan Books (Misc. Authors)

Books Read:

  • Luke Skywalker Can’t Read: And Other Geeky Truths – Ryan Britt
  • Meddling Kids – Edgar Cantero
  • The Alchemist – Paolo Coehlo
  • Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction – Grady Hendrix (unfinished)
  • We Gon’ Be Alright – (unfinished)
  • The Museum of Extraordinary Things – Alice Hoffman (unfinished)
  • It – Stephen King (unfinished)

Well, Hurricane Irma came and went. I’m still here, if just a bit soggy. The power was out for a few days, so with no power and no work, I sat down with Cantero’s Meddling Kids. I thoroughly enjoyed it, being a throwback to the Scooby-Doo era of my childhood, as well as dark mystery/fantasy with Cthulhu undertones. It’s getting even closer to Halloween, and I’m getting excited.

Cantero tackles issues unique from the animated source material, such as suicide, gender issues, LGBT relationships and mental disorders. He does so deftly and humorously, and thus it’s less likely to be seen as accurate representations of any of those things. But I finished it in just over twenty-four hours, sometimes by candle- or flashlight, and I was happy to be reading it.

It, on the other hand, I barely got into this month. I did see the film, which is a horse of a different color, and boy did I enjoy it. My date for the evening likewise enjoyed it, though she screamed at just about every scare, which made my viewing experience even more memorable, and somewhat interactive.

I recall being a young boy, and my sister was babysitting me. She had rented the original It adaptation, with Tim Curry, and while watching it, we got to the point when Stan had killed himself. Then the power went out in the house. I’m pretty sure that it was jarring enough for me to have a heart attack, even at twelve. The novel just didn’t get much time from me September, so I’ll try to rectify it this coming month.

I’ll be working in Georgia much of the month, so I’m hoping for ample time away from other responsibilities, with which I’ll devote to reading.

Another unfinished attempt, The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman, was a book that I really tried to get into. I really, really did. The main characters were well-formed and the story was well woven, but it just left me in engaged. I gave it nearly half the book to determine that I was not going to maintain a relationship with these characters, so I sadly put it down. I may try again at some future time.

Unfinished number three – We Gon’ Be Alright. This short collection of essays on the race crisis in America made some strong points that resonated, but it echoes the climate of the Nation so vividly that it was difficult to digest. I intend to finish it this month.

And Paperbacks from Hell! What a lovely little collection from Grady Hendrix, one book showcasing dozens of horror novels from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. I’m only through the introduction, but even some of the displayed cover art has made me laugh and cringe.

With Paulo Coelho’s short novel, I reentered a world that I had become familiar with early last year. This was a book loaned to me as I struggled through spiritual and emotional turmoil that left me questioning many of my decisions in life. Very unlike the protagonist of the book, a shepherd named Santiago who was very content with life the way he was living it. Through his dreams he discovered a Personal Legend that then sent him across the desert to discover his treasure.

This gave me much to consider when I first read it, and I wanted to see if it held up now that I am ostensibly out of that dark night. And it does. The book is hopeful, and anyone feeling lost at any point in life could give it a read. It may or may not resonate, but it’s comforting to know that books can be both inspirational and accessible.

Something entirely different is the collection of essays: Luke Skywalker Can’t Read. I laughed, I had childhood beliefs called into question, and I learned a little bit more about nerd fandom than I had known that I needed. Britt is an author, film critic, and science-fi aficionado, and he took to task Star WarsBack to the Future, and various monster movies, among others.

I think my book purchases this month reflect my newfound interest in short form storytelling and essays. Botton, Hendrix, and the collected short stories are examples of short form, and I’ve been exploring them both as consumer and as writer.

The month didn’t provide me as much time as I would have liked to read. A theatrical production, a hurricane, and commuting to Georgia for work were all time-draining, and this coming month doesn’t look much clearer. But, I’ll certainly try.

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