in preparation for a yosemite valley adventure weekend after next, i am reading (around in) john muir’s book. his language is immense. you feel the soaring rocks and sparkling waterfalls and so forth. i’d forgot the power & poetry of the sublime. it’s been a while since i’d read the romantics. it’s like he walked hand in hand with robert burns.
attending a birthday party this past weekend led most profitably not only to friendship but a lengthening TBR list that now includes ONCE & FUTURE — a graphic novel arthurian adaptation in the horror genre — and FIRST WORLD, HA HA HA: A ZAPATISTA CHALLENGE — and THE BEATS: A GRAPHIC HISTORY — and among other titles i am still trying remember. i am not good at parties, my brain shuts down. these were real readers in attendance, though, which made it considerably easier & happier for me.
all I can say about JUST LIKE HOME, without spoiling it? — it was enjoyable to its last breath. all the buildup & climax on point. 9/10 would read more of this author (sarah gailey)
since may of this year, i have become obsessed with shells and the mollusks of the sea. it came over me suddenly, and was the direct consequence of reading THE LITTLE BOOK OF SHELLS: GEMS OF NATURE.
the course of my life shifted, and i was set down a slightly altered path from where i was going before. i saw the world changing. i did not anticipate being able to comb the beach or plumb the tide pools for treasure, but found myself there before the end of the month, by happy chance, by stroke of fate.
i found myself walking miles along the coast with my dear cousin, whom i had not seen since the death of our grandmother some five or six years ago, and we poked at crabs and pored over the rocks of morro bay. one day we will meet again in florida, i expect, and do it all over again.
my own collection of shells has exploded — my bookshelves are lined with them. i have filled the pages of my notebook with drawings and excerpts from the many other seashell books i have greedily consumed since GEMS OF NATURE. full reviews coming soon.
but i have not forgotten my beloved horror, and there are some major books in other genres coming out in september that i anxiously await (a jane austen biography through her wardrobe by the brilliant paula byrne, a new haruki murakami novel — he is a genre unto himself — …)
my entire summer is already set up for reading. i have the books near at hand in a tidy pile. i cannot wait. for books, for shells, for glorious sunshine.
i fell in love with stephen king at a young age. in those days they had his novels at the checkout line at the grocery store. as a child i had to get mine from the library of course. pretty sure i started with THE GREEN MILE, in serialized form. christopher pike and r. l. stein (god, GOOSEBUMPS). short story anthologies. ghost stories. monster movies. it felt very natural. though other times the horror came by accident — like THE LOTTERY. that was a total surprise. i remember feeling stunned. almost physically in a daze. to this day i love horror stories, can’t stop reading them.
and it never ends. you make these sudden discoveries. like, sadegh hedayat of THE BLIND OWL..?? fcking shocking, complicated, multilayered gothic horror. it touched my heart. i felt like a different person after encountering him. didn’t even happen til my 30s. back in the day, HOUSE OF LEAVES (mark z. danielewski), I couldn’t open my own closet for a month. ridiculously scared. i fell in love with the decaying monster of FRANKENSTEIN IN BAGHDAD by ahmed saadawi. ted hughes wrote a short story called THE HEAD that i had to read twice, rapidly, when i first read it. it was magnificent, deeply disturbing. i long to know the entire pantheon of great & sometimes obscure gods of horror writing. i can’t resist, the library’s right there (walking distance!), i know a couple good bookstores, i consistently trawl the internet — i’m going to find them out.