Saturday, October 15, 2011


I've been reading a lot of books recently that feel similar to me. And I'm not sure why they do. Several of them are steampunk or Victorian themed, but I think the real likeness is the lushness of the writing. They're atmospheric, a bit macabre, and detailed in their descriptions.

The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings by Edgar Allan Poe.
Poe has always fascinated me. I heard 'The Raven' at about the age of eleven, and I adored the imagery and scansion.

The Food of the Gods and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.
Classics of the genre. Despite my distaste for some of Wells' personal social beliefs, the man sure could write. Personally, and I know this is not a generally agreed on opinion, I much prefer The Food of the Gods.

Camera Obscura by Lavie Tidhar.
Oh, so gruesome. There are descriptions of unwanted surgeries, of mutilation, of horrible deaths and intricate plots. And yet... there is warmth and camaraderie, and paper-thin trust. There is a rich world peopled with characters of interest.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.
This is one of my favourite of her books (and you know what a huge Christie fan I am). I remember the terror when I first read it. This isn't a crime novel. There is no detective. There is just an island and ten people. And one by one they die.

The Haunting of James Hastings by Christopher Ransom.
This is a bizarre horror novel. It's part supernatural, part psychological. I was given this by a friend at work and, whilst I'm not sure it's one I'd reread, I did blame her the next day when I was exhausted. Because I was up until 1am finishing it, so I had a vague idea what the hell was going on. To be honest, I'm not sure if that's a recommendation or not.

The Coma by Alex Garland.
It's a neat little book - I read it in the time it took me go to and fro between the bus stop and work , and on my smoke breaks, in one day. So maybe 40 minutes of reading in all. It's quite absorbing, and features some lovely little woodcut illustrations by the author's father. It's a good read, but I think it's a little self-absorbed to have been a longer book. At the length it is, it manages to pull it off.

The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.
The Illustrated Man is my favourite book. The stories are haunting - they whisper around the back of your mind when you're thinking of other things. I remember first reading this book at my grandparents' house. I must have been about eight or nine. I remember sitting absorbed in the magic and the imagery and the worlds woven from words. I know that I must have not understood a lot of the nuances - I still discover new things every time I read it, after all - but it instilled in me a love of science fiction of this particularly atmospheric type. The Martian Chronicles is almost as amazing.

So, tell me of your books!

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At 10:29 am, Blogger Burnie08 said...

We just did the time machine in class hehehe. Ive also read the new terry pratchett, catcher in the rye, one flew over the cuckoos nest, fear and loathing leaving las Vegas. bit of a reading binge right not :)

At 3:54 pm, Blogger Hieronymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm jealous - I have yet to read the new Pratchett!

I'm not a huge fan of Catcher in the Rye, though. ;-)

At 1:14 am, Blogger Shawna said...

Currently I'm not reading for fun, but I am reading stuff by John Gay (The Beggar's Opera), John Bunyan (excerpts from Pilgrim's Progress), Samuel Pepys, Lady Mary Whortley Montagu, and currently Anna Barbauld. This is all for my Brit Lit class, and we've just gotten into the Romantic period.

A couple of my favorite books, ones that I searched for for years, are Daughter of the Bright Moon, by Lynn Abbey, and Warrior Woman, by Marion Zimmer Bradley.


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