Ta2ati2d's Weblog

The Book List | April 1, 2008

There’s a benefit to living close to a library; saves money from having to buy the books at any myriad of stores with membership cards.  Get a library card and you can get the books for free…what a wonderful world full of self-sabotage!

I’ve just finished Joe Hill’s “20th Century Ghosts”, a compilation of short stories.  It really only had the one ghost story, which had me a little disappointed.  I managed to get over it, though (I’m tough like that) and enjoyed all the stories in this hidden gem of a book.  You may recognize the name Joe Hill by his hit novel “Heart Shaped Box”.  If you don’t know of it, but enjoy horror/ghost stories, this is definitely a must-have!20th Century Ghosts

I’ve now started on Dean Koontz’s “The Darkest Evening of the Year” which has a funny (ha ha) start to it.  But knowing the avenues Mr. Koontz likes to ride, I’m bracing myself for the creepy.  My tastes seem to be going for the scary and supernatural for the past year at least now.  Usually one will spot me on the subway or train with either a John Connolly or a Neil Gaiman book, biding my time until the next Christopher Moore novel comes out (I have it on authority it’s due out later this year, but I will not reveal my source) and then I’ll be flush in another few hundred pages.

There’s something wonderful about these books…rather, there are a lot of things wonderful about these books.  Not just an escape from the cold cruelty of the real world by envisioning their well-written cruel worlds, but also because they let you believe that the absurd is possible, that other worlds can intertwine with ours without doubt or question, and that the underdog could very well be the bad guy you were rooting for through most of the story.

These guys are a perfect example of what it is to create a whole new world where the rules are yours to make up as you go along.  It’s heartening for me as a writer to be able to read these books.  For so long, I was holding myself back from writing what I wanted to because I had put these inane, insane rules on myself of the characters I could write, trying my hardest to make sure they were all likable, unflawed characters (highly unrealistic) for fear if I created a really heartless bastard, I’d get in trouble with someone and my work would never get published.  So many times as a kid, I would hear people on the news talking about burning books (a crime) because of the content.  People burned Harry Potter books because it talked about witchcraft (and the most recent discovery that Albus Dumbledore was gay – I knew it! – had more in an uproar), others wanted to burn classics such as E. B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web” and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” because the animals talked.  

These books were classics…CLASSICS!!!!  And the reason they were classics was because their lessons stood the test of time.  A child’s love for her pig, how animals interact with each other and the telepathy or language of some sort they use to communicate.  This was communication from the writers to us, this was them telling us what was on their mind without actually talking to us face to face.  This was education; books teachers were using to utilize better comprehension skills in their charges.  Children got to use their biggest talents, their imaginations, to play with these stories and learn the morals ingrained in the pages.  And people wanted to burn that!

Sorry for the tangent there…went off course a little bit towards the end.  Okay, where was I before the soapbox creeped under me?  Yes, the guys I listed at the top give me hope and a path to follow while laying down a few of my own bricks while going about my way.  if I’m lucky enough to get published this year, I hope I’ll have come up with something you’ll like.

What are you reading these days?  How do you like it so far?  Who’s next after that?

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