12.25.2008

Happy Holiday!


Courtesy of my new macro lens. 

12.18.2008

Bookmarks' Best Books of 2008

Occasionally I will buy Bookmarks' magazine to find my next entertaining read. I like to travel with a book review magazine; it helps when I lack the concentration for a novel. The only gripe I have is there should be more reviews for the science fiction section. For the closing of 2008 Bookmarks has compiled a list of their staff's favorites, which were reviewed earlier in the year. 
The List:
Fiction
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Netherland by Joseph O'Neil
Lush Life by Richard Price
Dear American Airline by Jonathan Miles
Last Night at the Lobster by Steward O'Nan
Now You See Him by Eli Gottlieb
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey
Zeroville by Steven Erickson
Sway by Zachary Lazar
The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss
So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger
The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
The Theory of Clouds by Stéphane Audeguy 
Trespass by Valerie Martin
The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa 
The Gathering by Anne Enright
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner 
Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski
Signed, Mata Hari by Yannick Murphy
The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin
Say You're One of Them by Uwen Akpan
The Boat by Nam Le
The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber 
Slip of the Knife by Denise Mina
Winter Study by Nevada Barr
The Legal Limit by Martin Clark
One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak (planning to read soon)
An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham
Nonfiction
Soldier's Heart by Elizabeth D. Samet
The Good Rat by Jimmy Breslin
The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee
Apples & Oranges by Marie Brenner
The Eaves of Heaven by Andrew X. Pham
Counselor by Ted Sorensen
Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
Journals by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre
The Forger's Spell by Edward Dolnick
Retribution by Max Hastings
This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust
The Slave Ship by Marcus Rediker
The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson
A Land So Strange by Andrés Reséndez
Your Inner Fish by Beil Shubin
Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

12.06.2008

The New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2008


Soon another year will past. 2009 is just around the corner. Reflecting on 2008, compilations of outstanding books are emerging. This week's The New York Times’ Book Review (Holiday Books) has a compilation of 100 Notable Books of 2008, fiction and nonfiction. I feel rather indifferent, but also discomfit, for I have not read any of the books on this list. After perusing the list, though I do read books outside the genre of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, I do not have an inclination to go visit the nearest bookstore to buy many books from the list. Two books in the fiction category did stand out. While in Barnes & Noble, I skimmed through “Dear American Airlines” by Jonathan Miles, which I thought was witty but did not buy it due to expensive purchases relating to my limited edition book collecting tendencies. The one book that did pique my interest in the compilation is with no surprise related to the supernatural with a philosophical twist, “The Sacred Book of The Werewolf” by Victor Pelevin, translated by Andrew Bromfield. Here is the list. In addition, compilations of the The New York Times' best books for the past ten years are accessible.

12.04.2008

Collector's Edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard

When I arrived home from a long day, my doorman handed me a wonderful package. It was evident from the smile on the box that it was from Amazon. My preorder of J.K. Rowling’s Collector’s Edition “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is finally here in my hands. I could not wait to rush upstairs to open my book dose for the day.

It was well packages to not shift around in the box. The book was plastic wrapped then covered with a soft paper slipcase. The disguised wizard textbook that contains “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is marvelously built. The front cover, back cover, and spine feels like it is made out of leather. The front cover is impressed with the title and an illustration by J.K. Rowling. The fake pages of the textbook are made of slabs of wood, painted gold and page lines are carved to create a realistic look. Inside on the right, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is stored in a burgundy velvet bag, and to the left is a side pocket, which holds an envelope containing 10-printed illustration by J.K. Rowling. The book looks very similar to the handwritten book J.K. Rowling auctioned at Sotheby except for the lack of tattered page edges, and the bookmark is not green but blue. I am very satisfied with my purchase of the Collector’s Edition; all I need now is a reading copy.

Click "Read more..." to view the 10-printed illustrations, which is not available with the standard edition or original and photographs of my copy.










Pages within "The Tales of Beedle the Bard"
Front of the envelope, which contains the 10-printed illustrations
Front of disguised wizard textbook

10.13.2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - A Short Story and A Movie

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Many books when adapted for the motion pictures, has subtle changes, sometimes-vast changes. When short stories are adapted for the motion picture, it is highly likely that there will be vast changes.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald is about 26 pages. Consequently, it is expected to have many aspects in the film that was not present in the book. Although the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starring Brad Pitt will not be release in theaters until December, around Christmas time, viewing the trailer demonstrates detail contrasts.

The first distinction between the short story and the movie is the physical appearance of Benjamin Button at birth. Granted that books have more leeway than the movies, the book describes Button as an old man with a long grey beard whose legs hang from the hospital’s baby crib. However, in the movie, Button is small as an average baby but appears to be a septuagenarian with aged wrinkled skin. Another distinction that immensely changes the story is Benjamin Button’s cognitive ability. In the book, when born Button’s has the intellectual level of a wise elderly man, but in the movie, Button’s intellectual level is of a normal infant.

The short story has a theme that while Button gets younger so does his intellectual ability correspond with his physical changes; he is finally in harmony physically and intellectually, and eventually is socially accepted. Fitzgerald short story demonstrates that Button had an entire life experience, as would a normal person even though he has had an aberrant beginning. Thus, there is a major theme difference between the short story and the movie. Lastly, in the book, Button’s father never leaves him on a stranger's doorsteps. In my perspective, it is essential for Button to be raised by his relentless father who has a mindset that his child is average, because it illuminates the second half of Button’s life with congruity. Nevertheless, I am going to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in theaters December, because well, I am curious.

10.09.2008

Leash, Bone, and Acquired book before release date

I had to do a few errands today. One of them was to buy a new leash and bone for my mother's dog, Tiffany. Tiffany is an American Pit Bull with the sweetest temperament. I insist, she thinks she is a Chihuahua. She shies away from aggressive dogs. Even a teacup Yorkshire terrier can have her shaking like a leaf. Demonstrating Pit Bulls are not innately aggressive, but people make them aggressive. 

Anyway, after going to PetSmart, I stopped next-door to Borders. There I saw a new horror anthology edited by Peter Straub. The anthology Poe's Children, represents horror writers that do not write stereotypical horror gore, but share aspects of the eminent Edgar Allan Poe's dark literature. The book includes 24 short stories with some heavy weight horror authors such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Ramsey Campbell, and David J. Schow. When I went to enter my new book into my digital library, I realized this book is not supposed to be available until October 14. This is the first time; I was able to get a book before the release date. I know it is not extraordinary, but to me, it is very cool.

10.08.2008

A Series For The Horror Lover In You

My heart filled with glee after I discovered Wordsworth Editions. It is a UK publishing company, which sells affordable books. I am thrilled that Wordsworth Editions has a series of books for horror enthusiast, like me. The series is entitled Tales of Mystery and The Supernatural. Thus far, there are 52 books in the collection, and today I have received my first book from it, Sweeney Todd or The String of Pearls by Anonymous. 

My intention is to collect the entire series. It may seem to be a simple plan, but some of the books are quite difficult to find, because the publishing company is based in the UK. Most of the books are out of stock on Amazon, so I will have to buy it from an Amazon Seller or on EBay. However, the books that are in stock on Amazon are eligible for special offers, which is the 4-for-3 promotion.

10.07.2008

Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

I have read the Harry Potter series and the Twilight Saga. Yet, I must admit children books are not on my foremost list of books to read, but Neil Gaiman’s latest novel is a children’s book called The Graveyard Book, which meant I had to read it.

How is it possible for a baby or child to survive without human tending? There are circumstances that feral animals such as wolves and monkeys have embraced children, nurturing them as their own. Fictional stories, The Jungle Book and Tarzan of the Apes have romanticized this notion, as it has enthralled children and adults. Neil Gaiman an admirer of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book has written his own version of unpredictable nurturers.

After a cold-blooded murder of his family, a baby is thrust into the world without a soul. With the killer on the hunts to eliminate the entire family, the baby soon to be name Nobody Owens (nicknamed Bod) needs protection. Denizens of a graveyard amalgamate to support Bod, and welcome him to his new home, the graveyard. The support of the supernatural provides Bod with supernatural abilities, but he is still vulnerable.

Gaiman weaves a world of not only ghost, but also of an intricate supernatural realm. Each chapter of The Graveyard book is entertaining, revealing subtle information that illuminates about the characters and the main plot. Fantasy, and supernatural enthusiast should definitely read Neil Gaiman's new book.

10.04.2008

A. Lee Martinez's Too Many Curses

Too Many Curses
by A. Lee Martinez 

Too Many Curses is A. Lee Martinez's fifth and most recent novel. Like all his novels except The Automatic Detective, which is the only Martinez's book that I have not read, Too Many Curses is what I would call a comical fantasy. Reading an interview, I discovered Martinez does not intentionally try to write comically, and this is seen in his writing style. The humorous aspects flow naturally with his story; it is never trying. 

Similar to Martinez's other comical fantasies, the characters are all unique, and his protagonist is the underdog with many idiosyncrasies that do not always attribute to the classic hero, in this circumstance heroine. Nessy, a kobold with dog like features (can be similar to Germanic mythological kobold, but also differs) is lowly housekeeper for Margle, a diabolical wizard that meets an unfortunate end, which leaves Nessy to protect and maintain the inhabitance of his castle. The inhabitances of the castle are Margle's foes that he has cursed into bizarre forms and monsters he has created and collected. For instance, Margle's brother Yazpib is a gooey substance of teeth and eyes in a glass jar. Almost all Margle's cursed adversaries have their own story to tell, and participates with Nessy to fight the forces contending to destroy the castle and the creatures within it.

Though I enjoyed reading Too Many Curses, and thought that the many characters within the story were interesting, Nessy I believed lacked depth until the end. I did not seem to care about her well-being as much as I cared for other supporting characters like Sir Thedeus, the bat. Nevertheless, it was a good magical story with imaginative characters, but my favorite A. Lee Martinez book is still Gil's All Fright Diner. If you are a fantasy fan that appreciates humor then you should read A. Lee Martinez's books. 

Another humorous writer I recommend is Christopher Moore especially his novel A Dirty Job

9.27.2008

Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House
by Shirley Jackson

Last week I reread Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House for a book group discussion. It was the first time that I participated in a book group and reread a book; both experiences were illuminating. Members’ different perspectives enabled me to view the book in many dimensions. For instance, it never occurred to me that just maybe the house was not haunted, Eleanor Vance, the protagonist might just be, in layman's terms, crazy, and the other denizens of Hill House, deceitful.

Another interpretation, Hill House is haunted and targets Eleanor, the most vulnerable inhabitant. As for me, I agree with the latter, but it is a moot issue. The validity, I would argue is the third person omniscient narrator that describes Dr. Montague intent of his research at Hill House, which would absolve him of any disingenuous behavior. Nevertheless, Eleanor also narrates the story. Lastly, the treacherous library scene, and the words Eleanor utters before the tragic end, demonstrates there was a paranormal event-taking place at Hill House. The disputable interpretations of The Haunting of Hill House substantiates it is a brilliantly written psychological horror. Reading attentively (for me a reread) reveals repletion of foreshadowing and correlations among characters.

Short Synopsis:

Dr. Montague, an erudite man pursues to validate his premise of uncovering supernatural phenomena through conducting research in an infamous haunted house called Hill House. He seeks out individuals with paranormal abilities to aid in his quest. Cold spots, loud banging, and mumbling voices are just a few of the abnormal events that occur at Hill House.

9.21.2008

The Book of Lists: Horror (Stephen Kings Favorite Horror Novels)

Saturday I went hiking and Sunday, I went to the bookstore; it was the ideal weekend. In the bookstore, I stumbled across a book called The Book of Lists: Horror. Of course, I picked it up off the shelf, thumb through it, and decided to buy the 410-page paperback dedicated to lists, in particularly horror. I have noticed lists captivate many people online. I immensely appreciate a fine list. To enrich my knowledge of a particular genre, I search for specialized book lists. Most book lists contain books exemplary to the genre. For me, it is a great way to discover books that I may have overlooked throughout the years.

The Book of Lists: Horror lists not only horror literature, but also almost anything related to horror. For instance, it lists the top six grossing horror movies, top ten horror-themed rock ‘n’ roll songs, ten horror cocktails and how to make them (Bloody Mary, Vampire, Zombie, Werewolf, Frankenstein, Exorcist, Mummy, Devil’s Tail, The Hemorrhaging Brain, and Headless Horseman), and etc.

The literature section, chapter two, titled “For the Love of God, Montresor! The Literature of the Dread” contains some remarkable lists by prominent writers such as Bentley Little, Poppy Z. Brite, Jack Ketchum, Ramsey Campbell, Thomas Ligotti, Tim Lebbon and more. The lists encompasses topics about locations, surprising horror writers, revealed horror writers' pseudonyms, one hit wonders, apocalypses, original book titles and much more.

Sample List from The Book of Lists: Horror

Stephen King’s Ten Favorite Horror Novels or Short Stories

1. Ghost Story by Peter Straub
2. Dracula by Bram Stoker
3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
4. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
5. Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco
6. Casting the Runes by M. R. James
7. Two Bottles of Relish by Lord Dunsany
8. The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen
9. The Colour Out of Space by H. P. Lovecraft
10. The Upper Berth by F. Marion Crawford


Left: One of the many waterfalls I saw while hiking. Photo taken by me.

9.17.2008

Nightmare Before Christmas Bookends

It’s September 17th, and you know what that means, there are only 44 days until Halloween and stores are ready, supplied for demand. I have a fondness for this ghoulish holiday. Stalking across my neighbors’ threshold, wearing a sinister witchy costume, filling my plastic pumpkin with an ample supply of candy is reminiscent of my childhood. The colorful costumes, the glow of jack-o’-lanterns, the dry corns hanging, the brisk cool air, and the ground ablaze with dry leaves commences my holiday spirit. I have digressed from the topic, which is The Nightmare Before Christmas bookend set, but the movie evokes Halloween nostalgia. In addition, as a Tim Burton admirer, I love the claymation film, and Danny Elfman’s songs and score contributes to the enchantment of the film.

Anyhow, I consider myself lucky; I purchased the last set of bookends and candleholders. After some (Velma) snooping, I found out that these items availability at the Disney store are limited. It is not even selling on the Disney online store. The Nightmare Before Christmas bookends are of the Mayor’s car. The headlights actually lights up as well as the back hanging lanterns.



The Nightmare Before Christmas bookends now supporting my Easton Press 13 Classic Horror collection.



(front of car) side and front view



(back of car) back view



(back of car) right side view



(back of car) left side view

9.15.2008

Richard Matheson's Button, Button: Uncanny Stories (The Box)

Button, Button: Uncanny Stories
by Richard Matheson

Revered Richard Matheson is well known for his novella I am legend, which has recently again dawned our motion picture multiplexes, starring Will Smith. It is not the only literary work of Matheson to make it to the big screen. I can think of at least two other films based on Matheson's novels. The first to thought, Hell House and the second is What Dreams May Come starring Robin Williams. In 2009, another motion picture, starring Cameron Diaz will be added to Matheson's credit, based on a short-story Button, Button. Renamed to The Box, the movie will be release in theaters late March. In addition, Button, Button was also adapted to an episode of The Twilight Zone. Only eleven pages long, it might be a surprise that this very short story will soon be a movie. Keep in mind it is not the quantity but the quality that is salient. It is a unique and intriguing story.

Teaser Synopsis: A surprising gift with a peculiar offer, sometimes if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A couple gets an offer too sweet to resist, money, but someone will have to pay the price with life.

I have never been an enthusiast of anthologies or short-story collections. Although I must admit, I own quite a few anthologies. Button, Button: Uncanny Stories a short-story collection, is an instant gratification book. Each story is engaging by the first page, but I have my favorites, which are Mute, Dying Room Only, and Clothes Make the Man. After reading Matheson's Button, Button: Uncanny Stories, I am inclined to start reading more short stories.

9.11.2008

Stephen King's N.

N.
by Stephen King


For all the Stephen King fans, short-story collection Just After Sunset will be available on November 11 2008. N., one of the short stories, is accessible before the release of the book in a series of 25 graphic video episodes. The episodes are available for download on itune, but you will have to pay for it. On the other hand, view it below on my blog or go to www.NisHere.com

Synopsis:
“The original series tells the story of a psychiatrist who falls victim to the same deadly obsession as his patient—an obsession that just might save the world!”


Note: This has been available since July 28th. Synopsis quoted from (http://www.simonsays.com/specials/stephen-king-nishere/questions.cfm)

9.10.2008

Horror Another 100 Best Books

Horror Another 100 Best Books
Edited by Stephen Jones & Kim Newman

A couple of months ago, I posted Horror 100 Best Books. I finally got my hands on the sequel Another Horror 100 Best Books. Of course, I wanted to share this list with all the devoted horror enthusiast on the web. However, I recommend borrowing or buying a copy to thoroughly enjoy. Further delving into the book, you might stumble across your favorite author writing an explanatory essay about one of the books listed. Alternatively, get it for the list of recommended readings.
Again, this is not a definitive ranking of the best horror novels but should be approached as a guide.  

The List:

1. The Revenger's Tragedy by Cyril Tourneur
2. Pikovaia Dama/The Queen of Spades by Aleksandr Pushkin
3. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
5. Rekopiz Znaleziony w Saragossie/ The Manuscrit Found in Saragossa by Jan, Count Potocki
6. New Grub Street by George Gissing
7. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
8. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
9. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
10. The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" by William Hope Hodgson
11. Le fantôme de l'Opéra/ The Phantome of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
12. Fantômas by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain
13. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H. P. Lovecraft
14. They Return at Evening by H. R. Wakefield
15. Creep, Shadow! by A. Merritt
16. The Trail of Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer
17. The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley
18. The Haunted Omnibus edited by Alexander Laing
19. The Edge of Running Water by William Sloane
20. L'Étranger/The Stranger by Albert Camus
21. Sleep No More: Twenty Masterpieces of Horror for the Connoisseur edited by August Derleth
22. Lost Worlds by Clark Ashton Smith
23. Jumbee and Other Uncanny Tales by Henry S. Whitehead
24. Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural edited by Herbert A. Wise and Phyllis Fraser
25. The Opener of the Way by Robert Bloch
26. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
27. Carnacki the Ghost-Finder by William Hope Hodgson
28. Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson
29. Tales of Horror and the Supernatural by Arthur Machen
30. Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell
31. House of Flesh by Bruno Fischer
32. Fancies and Goodnights by John Collier
33. The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
34. The Third Ghost Book edited by Lady Cynthia Asquith
35. The Body Snatcher by Jack Finney
36. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
37. The Hunger and Other Stories by Charles Beaumont 
38. The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat
39. The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
40. A Scent of New-Mown Hay by John Blackburn
41. A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson
42. The Weirdstone of Brinsingamen by Alan Garner
43. Tales of Terror edited by Charles Higham
44. Some of Your Blood by Theordore Sturgeon
45. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
46. The Case Against Satan by Ray Russell
47. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
48. The Collector by John Fowles
49. Who Fears the Devil? by Manly Wade Wellman
50. A Wrinkle in the Skin by John Christopher
51. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
52. The Playboy Book of Horror and the Supernatural edited by the Editors of Playboy
53. Pages from Cold Point by Paul Bowles 
54. Outer Dark by Cormac Mccarthy
55. The Book of Skulls by Rober Silverberg
56. Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon
57. The Night Stalker by Jeff Rice
58. Blood Sport by Robert F. Jones
59. Nightshade by Derek Marlowe
60. Peace by Gene Wolfe
61. The Year of the Sex Olympics: Three TV Plays by Nigel Kneale
62. Our Lady of Darkness by Fritz Leiber
63. The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan
64. Darkness Weaves With Many Shades by Karl Edward Wagner
65. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
66. Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler
67. The Collected Stories of Elizabeth Bowen by Elizabeth Bowen
68. Dark Forces: New Stories of Suspense and Supernatural Horror edited by Kirby McCauley
69. Tales from the Nightside by Charles L. Grant
70. The Thirst by Robert R. McCammon 
71. The Face That Must Die by Ramsey Campbell
72. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
73. Pet Sematary by Stephen King
74. Clive Barker's Books of Blood Volumes One, Two, and Three by Clive Barker
75. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
76. Finishing Touches by Thomas Tessier
77. Strange Toy by Patricia Geary
78. The Dark Decent edited by David G. Hartwell
79. Misery by Stephen King
80. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
81. Prime Evil edited by Douglas E. Winter
82. By Bizarre Hands: Stories by Joe R. Lansdale 
83. The Grotesque by Patrick McGrath
84. Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons 
85. From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
86. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
87. Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite
88. The Course of the Heart by John Harrison
89. Flicker by Theodore Roszak
90. X, Y by Michael Blumlein
91. Skin by Kathe Koja
92. Throat Sprockets: A Novel of Erotic Obsession by Tim Lucas
93. The Off Season: A Victorian Sequel by Jack Cady
94. The Nightmare Factory by Thomas Ligotti
95. A Sight for Sore Eyes by Ruth Rendell
96. Reprisal by Mitchell Smith 
97. A Haunting Beauty by Sir Charles Birkin
98. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
99. Feesters in the Lake & Other Stories by Bob Leman
100. More Tomorrow & Other Stories by Michael Marshall Smith

9.02.2008

Psychological Horror

A Winter Haunting
by Dan Simmons


I own quite a few Dan Simmons' novels. For years, I intended to read Carrion Comfort (considered to be a vampire classic). When The Terror was publish, I purchased it planning to enjoy a good read. I actually started reading The Terror, but the heavy hardcover was a deterrent. Thus, A Winter Haunting is the first Dan Simmons novel that I have read.

Picking up A Winter Haunting at a bookstore, I did not realize that it is a sequel to Summer of Night; there was no indication in the synopsis. I read the entire book without the slightest clue that there was a prequel. I am not sure whether I will read a Summer of Night now or ever, but I will certainty read more Simmons' novels.

A Winter Haunting is a cleverly written suspenseful psychological horror. Dale Stewart, an English college professor has hit a snag in his life when he commences an affair with a graduate student, Clare Two Heart. On sabbatical, Dale travels to his childhood hometown of Elm Haven to seek solace. He rents the home of a decease childhood friend Duane McBride, who is narrating the white-knuckle winter events.

Although the story is slow paced, and I would rather there have been less flashback of Dale's romance with Clare, the adage, patience is a virtue is quite true for A Winter Haunting. Simmons uses Henry James' short story The Jolly Corner to establish a certainty of reality within his own story then breaks it all down. Are there really ghosts? The evocative prose supplies the mind's eye with classic horror scenes, simply, CGI free. Con: The esoteric, cryptic messages was annoying but engaging at times. 

7.23.2008

Reading on your iPhone

If you are an iPhone user, and love reading, you will be delighted with version 2.0 apps. A long time ago, I was a PC user, but after my hard drive crashed, and I lost irreplaceable files, I switched to an Apple and never looked back. The only thing that I miss about a PC is Microsoft Reader. Nevertheless, I was still able to use Reader with my Hewlett Packard phone. After giving up my HP phone for an iPhone, I soon started to miss my digital reading device on the train, or while stuck in traffic.

Now iPhone has different apps that can read electronic books. The free application eReader only read books bought or uploaded from their online eBookstore. Their site does provide a few free books. Another application BookShelf cost $9.99. It supports uploading your own electronic books in various formats such as.txt, .html, .fb2, .pdb, .prc, and, .mobi. However, both apps lack the ability to read .lit format, which is a Microsoft Reader format. Anyway, I am on a budget and I do not want to buy an app to read public domain books, which is not compatible with the .lit format (University of Virginia Library has many free electronic ebooks in .lit, pdb and html). Searching for an app that would read .lit, I found Stanza. Right now Stanza is free on Beta version. Their website LexCycle, has a free library of public domain books that can be uploaded to the iPhone once downloaded to a Mac. Furthermore, there is no restriction where to obtain electronic reading material. Stanza’s supports numerous formats.

7.10.2008

Twilight Saga

Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse
by Stephenie Meyer

I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, so I finally decided to follow the crowd and buy Meyer's Twilight. It was good enough for me to purchase her two followup books in the series. Taking into consideration that the Twilight series is written for young readers, its colloquial diction was a fast read; even though the books are lengthy, I read all three books in less than a week.

The Twilight saga is a romance, but it happens to be about a flourishing love between a human and a vampire. The story is narrated by 17 year-old Isabella Swan, who happens to fall in love with Edward Cullen, the vampire. He reciprocates the love she feels towards him but love between a human and a vampire is never that simple, so the saga begins.

About a little over 300 pages of Twilight is character development; the conflict occurs almost at the end of the book. The duration of conflict and climax is less than a hundred pages. Towards the end Isabella (Bella) seems whiny constantly stating, "Don't leave me Edward, stay." Their love seems more like lust. Bella perpetually describes Edward as beautiful and perfect; there is no actual conversation or bonding between Bella and Edward besides approbation of esthetics. Nevertheless, Twilight was entertaining, because it keeps the reader (me) curious.

New Moon tackles the conflicts between human and vampire love. Is Bella safe having a relationship with a vampire that thirst for blood? Can she survive without Edward, and can he survive without her? In addition, a new relationship is forge, and there are more magical creatures in Forks.

Eclipse brings closure to the last surviving vampire nomad who seeks revenge against Edward. The Cullens cannot contend their enemies alone; they needed help from friendlier foes. Bella struggles with conflicting emotions while Edward competes with Jacob Black for Bella's love. The relationships among characters develop depth. 

Though the story line of love between a human and a vampire may seem unique, it is strikingly similar to Charlaine Harris's Sookie series. Only the characters' traits are reverse. Harris' main character Sookie, a human is a mind reader, but she is unable to read the minds of vampires. Thus, she is attracted to having relationships with vampires rather than humans. Meyer's protagonist Edward is a mind reader, but he is unable to read Bella's mind, which is one of the reasons he is drawn to her. Sookie and Bella also share similarity that they both are impervious to vampires special powers.

I think Meyer's Twilight saga is popular, because it fills the avoid in the young readers market for vampire romance, which has already been establish in the adult market by authors like Charlaine Harris, and MaryJanice Davidson.

Meyer’s Twilight series is a entertaining read for young readers seeking an innocent vampire romance. However, at times the romance appears superficial, and the narrator Bella seems weak not only physically but also mentally. She allows her life to be dictated by her boyfriend, which is not a good role model for young girls.

6.29.2008

Odd Thomas Series

Odd Thomas
by Dean Koontz

Many years ago, I read Demon Seed by Dean Koontz. Since it has been such a long time, I cannot remember the details of the novel or even the denouement. Nevertheless, I remember never wanting to read another Koontz’s novel. It was an interesting plot, a home monitoring smart computer develops humanistic emotion of obsession for the lady of the house (Susan), who is a twice survivor of abuse. I recall enjoying the fast pace novel, but hating the conclusion. Now, today, I cannot remember why I hated the end, but it is the reason I have shunned Koontz’s novels.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that Dean Koontz published Odd Hours, fourth installment to his Odd series, which is currently seventh on the New York Times book review bestseller list. I had heard that the series is very interesting, narrated by a young man (Odd Thomas) of twenty-years-old, who is a short-order cook in the arid Californian town of Pico Mundo with the gift to see dead people and other things. Odd creates a memoir recounting his life experiences seeing the dead, conveying, and fulfilling their wishes. In Odd Thomas (book one), Odd takes a proactive approach when an abundant amount of ominous visitors “bodachs” surround a strange man and then denizens of Pico Mundo. Odd must protect the people he cares for and save Pico Mundo from a grand massacre.

I am glad I gave Dean Koontz another try. Even though M. Night Shyamalan has already made The Six Sense, and it is a great movie, Odd Thomas is nevertheless creative and interesting though it does have similar aspects to Shyamalan’s most popular film.

The first chapter is gripping, disclosing Odd Thomas' talent and his proactive approach towards the dead. Aspects of the story unfold slowly never revealing too much but not being overbearingly concealed. There is a stirring plot twist; just when everything seems to be revealed and only the pursuit seems to matter, more questions arise. In addition, even an element of the conclusion was unexpected.

I will surely be reading Forever Odd soon.

For more information on Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas series visit Odd's website Odd Thomas. There you can view Odd's webisodes called the Odd Passenager An Odd Thomas Story.

6.14.2008

Horror 100 Best Books

Even though I am a horror veteran enthusiast, there is always more that I can discover about the genre. Close to ten years ago I bought Horror 100 Best Books edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman; a long time has past, but I still find myself skimming the pages to find another worthy horror book to read. The book is the collaboration of renowned horror authors writing about their favorite horror (meaning anything that is disturbing, aberrant) novel.

I would recommend horror fans to purchase or borrow this book, for there are more reading recommendations. The list is not a definitive ranking of the best horror novels but should be approached as a guide.

Note: This is an old edition, which was published in 1998.  The most recent edition was published in 2005.  

The list:

1. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
2. The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare
3. The White Devil by John Webster
4. Calbe Willimas by William Godwin 
5. The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis
6. The Best Tales of Hoffman
7. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen 
8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
9. Melmoth the Wanderere, by Charles Maturin
10. The Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
11. Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe
12. Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne 
13. The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf
14. The Wandering Jew by Eugéne Sue
15. The Confidence Man by Herman Melville 
16. Uncle Silas by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
17. Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Rober Louis Stevenson
18. She by H. Rider Haggard
19. The King in Yellow by Rober W. Chambers 
20. The Island of Dr Moreau by H. G. Wells
21. Dracula by Bram Stoker
22. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
23. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
24. The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker
25. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M. R. James
26. The House of Souls by Arthur Machen
27. John Silence by Algernon Blackwood
28. The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
29. The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson
30. The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce
31. Widdershins by Oliver Onions
32. The Horror Horn by E. F. Benson
33. A Voyage of Arcturus by David Lindsat
34. The Trial by Franz Kafka
35. Something About Eve by James Branch Cabell
36. Medusa by E. H. Visiak
37. The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore
38. The Last Bouquet by Marjorie Bowen
39. The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck by Alexander Laing
40. A Second Century of Creepy Stories by Hugh Walpole
41. The Dark Tower by C. S. Lewis
42. Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
43. The Outsider and Others by H.P. Lovecraft
44. Out of Space and Time by Clark Ashton Smith
45. Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber
46. Night Has a Thousand Eyes by Cornell Woolrich 
47. The Lurker at the Threshold by H. P. Lovecraft & August Derleth
48. Deliver Me from Eva by Paul Bailey
49. And the Darkness Falls by Boris Karloff
50. The Sleeping and the Dead by August Derleth
51. Track of the Cat by Wlter Van Tilburg Clark
52. The Sound of His Horn by Sarban
53. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
54. I am Legend by Richard Matheson
55. The October Country by Ray Bradbury
56. Nine Horrors and a Dream by Joseph Payne Brennan
57. Psycho by Robert Bloch
58. Quatermass and the Pit by Nigel Kneale 
59. Cry Horror! by H. P. Lovecraft
60. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
61. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
62. The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
63. The Crystal World by J. G. Ballard
64. Sub Rosa by Robert Aickman
65. The Green Man by Kingsley Amis
66. The Compleat Werewolf by Anthony Boucher
67. Grendel by John Gardner 
68. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty 
69. The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner 
70. Worse Things Waiting by Manly Wade Wellman
71. Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco
72. 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King 
73. Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison
74. Murgunstrumm and Others by Hugh B. Cave
75. Sweetheart, Sweetheart by Bernard Taylor
76. All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By by, John Farris
77. The Shining by Stephen King
78. Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg
79. The Wolfen by Whitley Strieber
80. The Totem by David Morrell
81. Ghost Story by Peter Straub 
82. The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carrol
83. The Cellar by Richard Laymon
84. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris 
85. The Keep by F. Paul Wilson
86. The Dark Country by Dennis Etchison
87. In a Lonely Place by Karl Edward Wagner
88. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
89. The Arabian Nightmare, by Robert Irwin
90. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
91. The Ceremonies by T. E. D. Klein
92. Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
93. Who Made Stevie Cry? by Michael Bishop
94. Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
95. Damnation Game by Clive Barker
96. Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
97. A Nest of Nightmares by Lisa Tuttle
98. The Pet by Charles L. Grant
99. Swan Song by Robert McCammon
100. Dark Feasts by Ramsey Campbell

5.20.2008

Hello Good Looking...

It has come to my attention from a friend that books are bought for the purpose of exterior beauty. In this particular website (Book Decor) books are judged by its cover. I am appalled that books are sheerly bought by some people for its use as décor only. Granted my library is beautiful, but it is also functional. 

On the site, books can be bought by the foot or yard just to fill empty shelves in order to create a lavish library facade. Thus, the books are displayed ostentatiously never to be read. The books are categorized by its coloration, and I  believe it is quite pricey. These old leather bound books can be found in used bookstores and garage sale. As a matter of fact, in my mother's basement there are plenty of old leather bound books that look like the ones selling on this site. However, the site sell primarily European leather bound books, because it is more affordable to American buyers.  

New York City Strand bookstore also sells books by the foot and for the purpose of aesthetics, but Strand also considers the contains of the collection such as genres, eras, and languages.   

My opinion, books are beautiful and in its own right a work of art, but it should be cherish for the contains inside and as a bonus it exterior beauty that is bestowed to an environment. I also consider slowly acquiring books throughout the years enjoyable; I would not want someone else doing it for me.  Much can be learned about a  person through their book collection. What can be said about a person that merely buys books for its appearance?

4.26.2008

Easton Press (50) Great Books of the 20th Century

Yet again another list.... 

1. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

2. Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges

3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

4. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

5. The Stranger by Albert Camus

6. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

7. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

8. Light in August by William Faulkner

9. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

10. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

11. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

12. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

13. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

14. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

15. The Ambassadors by Henry James

16. Ulysses by James Joyce

17. The Trial by Franz Kafka

18. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

19. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

20. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

21. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence

22. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

23. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

24. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

25. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

26. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

27. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

28. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

29. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

30. Beloved by Toni Morrison

31. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

32. Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell

33. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

34. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

35. Swann's Way by Marcel Proust

36. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

37. All Quiet On The Western Front by Remarque

38. Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

39. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

40. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

41. Rabbit, Run by John Updike

42. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

43. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

44. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

45. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

46. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

47. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

48. Night by Elie Wiesel

49. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

50. Native Son by Richard A. Wright

4.23.2008

Biting into another vampire novel, and it is oh so good!

Fevre Dream
by George R. R. Martin


There are a plethora of vampire novels out there sitting on the shelves of bookstores and libraries, and it is a difficult task to distinguish between the humdrum and phenomenal. Lately I've been googling noteworthy vampire novels. I wanted to get past the the obvious great vampire novels like Stoker's Dracula, King's Salem's Lot, Rice's Interview with the Vampire, and Simmons' Carrion Comfort. After some searching, I discovered science fiction writer George R. R. Martin's vampire novel Fevre Dream

Fevre Dream is an outstanding vampire novel.  The story is unique and wonderfully written capturing the steamboat era's opulence, and abject imperceptibility in conjunction with slavery. From the first chapter Martin seizes my attention. There is no such thing as slow pace in this novel. The suspense is unbearable; I could not read fast enough!

Without revealing too much, the vampires in Fevre Dream are unique. They are an entirely different species. Martin explains the primordial history of the vampire, which makes reasonable sense. The book has a strong undertone theme of morality. The plot is found on an analogous correlation between master/slave and predator/prey. Simply, societies hierarchical system is questioned. Two powerful vampires struggle. Joshua wants to change the way his people live, and Damon sees nothing wrong with the old days even though the red thirst is conquered. Abner, a man of integrity is Joshua's only hope.   

If you're a horror enthusiast, this should be on your list of "to read" books (on the top). I loved it so much, I bought the signature edition. 

To the left is the signature edition, which is limited to 448 copies.

4.13.2008

There are always two sides to a story (maybe more).


The Dracula Tape
by Fred Saberhagen

Bram Stoker published his renowned epistolary novel Dracula in 1897.  It is been adapted into numerous films, and personally my favorite is Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula. Since Dracula, there has also been a multitude of vampire novels, and the vampire has not been confined to one persona. Vampires has taken the role of villain, victim, and hero.  

In 1975 Fred Saberhagen published a rebuttal novel to Stoker's Dracula called The Dracula Tape. Saberhagen's version of Count Dracula is admirable; he is a victim to misunderstanding and circumstance that are beyond his control. 

Dracula divulges his side of the story into a tape recorder in the car of Mina Harker's descendants. Saberhagen establishes Dracula as a misunderstood protagonist through recounting the events of Dracula's quest to make London his new home and imploring the rationalization of his version of events. For example, Lucy was on the verge of death not because Dracula drank her blood but rather because of Van Helsing performed three blood transfusions.  

The Dracula Tape is an interesting way to reintroduce Dracula as a virtuous man.  However, I cannot say I fully enjoyed reading it. Throughout the book Saberhagen included lengthy quotes from Stoker's book to substantiate his assertions.  Thus, the book contained lackluster writing. On the upside, the ending was a surprise. The only creative feature of the book was telling the side of Dracula. Nevertheless, if you are interested in discovering the many facets of Dracula and vampire literature it is worth the couple of reading hours. Other novels of Saberhagen Dracula series is quite good such as An Old Friend of the Family.

3.20.2008

St. Augustine, FL

Photography taken by me at St. Austustine, FL. Wallpaper size downloadable on my site.

3.16.2008


Duma Key
by Stephen King

I went to Florida last week, and I took along Stephen King's Duma Key, which is his most recent publish novel.  It took me a while to read through Duma Key.  The lengthiness of the book, which is a little over 600 pages was not the cause of my slow reading pace, and most definitely the contents of the novel was not the reason but rather my lack of focus.  It was a perfect book to read during my vacation located close to the beach, because the story takes place in the Florida Keys and many of the scenes have an eloquent description of the beach and its sunrise. Stephen King was able to make a tranquil environment of the beach into a place of peril.    


Like in many Stephen King novels the characters and specially the protagonist are well developed.  The novel starts of quite slow paced, but those who are patient will be rewarded. At first, minor supernatural occurrences take place that pique curiosity, and then a bolt from the blue, a paramount ghastly occurrences happens.  Afterward there is a constant contend against the strange force from Duma Key. 

Synopsis:

The novel is narrating through the protagonist perspective, who is Edgar Freemantle. Freemantle struggle physically and emotionally after a calamitous accident.  He is propelled to start a new life, and that new life starts on Duma Key.  However, strange phenomena transpire as he starts a new vocation as an artist.  

Duma Key is so intriguing that after the conclusion, I still wanted to read more about Freemantle.  

Organizing, a happy pastime...



I've been doing some organizing and I'm enjoying it! Fiddling with my books is analogous to a child playing with toys. Here is a photograph of just a section of my book collection reorganized.

2.06.2008

What to read?


Tired of trying to find the next enjoyable read in your favorite genre? I've felt that way through the years, but for the past 2 years I've found help in my quest of what next to read.

Suzanne Beecher, a book lover among other things has numerous email book clubs. The email book clubs differ depending on the genre. These are the genres available: nonfiction, business, fiction, good news, horror, mystery, prepublication, romance, teen, science fiction, audio books, classics club, read-it-first from St. Martin's, Christian books, mysteries and thrillers from Bantam. Once signed up to a particular club, emails will be sent during the weekdays. The emails will include a 5-minute sample of the novel highlighted that week, and by the end of the week you should have read at least the first few chapters of the novel, which should allow you to deduce whether the book is worthy for furthering reading. The email also contains a short “Dear Reader” column that is written by Suzanne, and is also pleasant to read.

Okay, signing up is simple, just go to: Dear Reader

Then pick a club, enter your email address, which is where you would like to receive the emails and your zip code. Also, don’t worry about junk mail. I’ve never received any solicitations relating to my Dear Reader book clubs. 

Keep reading my small audience. I hope this helps you, as much as it as helped me. 

1.21.2008

Easton Press' 13 Horror Classics

Easton Press never list their entire collection titles, but I own the 13 Horror Classics collection. And since I am in a listing mood, here it is Easton Press's 13 of the greatest works of horror ever published from the 19th century. 


1. Tales of Soldiers and Civilians by Ambrose Bierce

2. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

3. The Monkey's Paw & Tales of Mystery and the Macabre by W. W. Jacobs

4. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M. R. James

5. In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan LeFanu 

6. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

7. At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft

8. The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne Ou Maurier

9. Tales and Mystery & Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe

10. Frankenstein by Mary Shelly 

11.  The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyell and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

12. Dracula - Bram Stoker

13. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells

1.20.2008

The 100 World Classic Books

Since I have finished my undergraduate studies, my objective today was to tidy up my desk, which is engulfed with textbooks and reference material. I thought to myself, I don't need all this anymore. The spanish textbook and dictionary can be placed on a distant bookshelf. While rummaging through old notes and anthropological articles, I found my old reading ledger. The reading ledger came with a bookish set that contained bookplates, which I never used, matching library checkout cards, and pencils. Inside the reading ledger it includes a check list of the 100 world classics according to W. John Campbell PH.D. From the list it is apparent that Mr. Campbell likes Shakespeare.


From: The Book of Great Books, A Guide to 100 World Classics

The List:

1. Aeneid by Virgil

2. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

3. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

4. Animal Farm by George Orwell

5. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

6. As You Like It by William Shakespeare

7. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

8. Beowulf by Anonymous

9. Billy Budd by Herman Melville

10. The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison

11. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

12. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

13. Candide by Voltaire

14. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

16. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

17. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

18. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

19. Daisy Miller by Henry James

20. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

21. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

22. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

23. The Divine Comedy: Inferno by Dante

24. Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

25. A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

26. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

27. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

28. Euthyphro, Apology , Crito, Phaedo by Plato

29. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

30. Faust, Parts 1 and 2 by J. W. von Goethe

31. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

32. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

33. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

34. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

35. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

36. Great Expectations Charles Dickens

37. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Ftzgerald

38. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

39. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

40. Hard Times by Charles Dickens

41. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

42. Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare

43. House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday

44. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

45. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

46. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

47. Iliad by Homer

48. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

49. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

50. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

51. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

52. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

53. King Lear by William Shakespeare

54. Light in August by William Faulkner

55. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

56. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

57. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

58. Macbeth by William Shakespeare

59. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

60. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

61. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

62. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

63. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

64. Native Son by Richard Wright

65. 1984 by George Orwell

66. Odyssey by Homer

67. The Oedipus Trilogy by Soppocles

68. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

69. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

70. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

71. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

72. Othello by William Shakespeare

73. Paradise Lost by John Milton

74. The Pearl by John Steinbeck

75. The Plague by Albert Camus

76. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

77. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

78. The Prince by Niccoló Machiavelli

79. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

80. Republic by Plato

81. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

82. Richard III by William Shakespeare

83. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

84. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

85. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

86. Silas Marner by George Eliot

87. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence

88. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

89. Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

90. The Stranger by Albert Camus

91. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

92. The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

93. The Tempest by William Shakespeare

94. Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

95. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

96. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

97. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

98. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

99. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

100. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

1.19.2008

Happy Birthday Edgar Allan Poe.



Today, to remember the great American writer Mr. Poe, I went to the Poe Museum in the historical district of Richmond, Virginia. The museum boasts a large collection of Poe related materials such as rare first editions, hand written letters by Poe (Poe has a beautiful penmanship), and personal belongings such as clothes and a walking stick to list a few.

The museum is located in an Old Stone House that was establish in 1922. It is comprise of five separate areas, one of which was close due to construction. One must first enter the gift shop in order to view the rest of the compound. Admission of $6.00 is paid at the gift shop register. After paying, a sticker which states Poe Museum and has the prominent image of a raven is given that must be placed in visible sight. Then an informative green handout is given. It contains a map that is helpful for your self tour.

The museum has a lonesome atmosphere, for my husband and I were two out of the three visitors. Nevertheless, the museum is worth viewing for a Poe enthusiast. What makes the visit worth it to me is the rare first edition books, the beautifully written letters by Poe himself, and the Raven Room that exhibits illustrations created by James William Carling for the publication of The Raven in 1882.

Above are photographs of the Enchanted Garden. The first photograph is the bust of Poe that is the shrine for museum visitors. The second photograph is just one angle of the Enchanted Garden. The Garden was created to commemorate Poe's love of Gardens. Photography is prohibited in the museum.