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WORAT1024A monthly event hosted by The Book Vixen

By the end of this weekend and before I return to work after a three week break, I aim to have written and published or scheduled the following:

  • Savage Magic
  • The Cold Calling
  • The Jennifer Morgue
  • The Book of the Spirits

If I finish it this weekend I may also write and schedule a post on

  • Murder

I’m planning to see The Book of Life at the cinema on Sunday afternoon but it may be too much to expect to write a review the same evening (though I have done that before so not totally beyond the realms of possibility) and may try to fit in something horror-cinema-related on Saturday afternoon.

I also want to scope out my reading list for November where I want to focus on books about WWI as mentioned here.

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IMG_0166Let the Old Dreams Die is a book of horror short stories by the Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, first published in 2006 but only relatively recently available in an English language translation. I was very keen to read some of his shorter work having been very impressed by the three of his four novels that I’ve read so far:

I really enjoyed this collection which I read over several days while on holiday, staying in a former stately home in Cumbria. I like Lindqvist’s take on horror, which doesn’t ignore gory unpleasantness (as anyone who knows what happens at the end of Let the Right One In will confirm) but is overwhelmingly, to my mind at any rate, one of creepiness tinged with melancholy, which means they aren’t the sort of stories you can binge on. As an aside, I once heard an author being interviewed on the radio (I think it was Anne Enright but I’m not sure) who said something along the lines that people tend to approach anthologies the way they do a box of chocolates – they either eat them singly over time and savour each one, or they devour the lot in one go – I have done both in my time. This is definitely a one sweetie at a time thing.

I’m not going to pick out any individual stories to mention (except perhaps Village on the Hill which led me to consider drains more carefully than I had before) but will say that for many readers the two titles of most interest  will be the title story which is sort of but not quite a sequel to Let the Right One In (Lindqvist himself says in his afterword that it deals with a problem of interpretation that he hadn’t identified until he saw the movie version) and The Final Processing, the longest story in the collection, which is basically a sequel to Handling the Undead. There is also Eternal/Love where I think you can see Lindqvist exploring some of the themes that pop up in Harbour.

I really enjoyed this selection; it was a perfect autumn holiday read and it has made me want to pick up the most recent novel, Little Star. Recommended.

This was my second read for RIP IX.

imageWhat’s it all about?

Edward Prendick survives a shipwreck and is picked up by another ship transporting a strange cargo under the direction of the disreputable Montgomery to a mysterious island in the tropics, home to Dr Moreau and his laboratory. Prendick finds out that Moreau is experimenting on animals, continuing work he started back in England but which appalled those in the know so much that he was forced to leave if he wished to continue his research. The callous disregard he has for the subjects of his experiments and the torture he puts them through does not end well, but what will it mean for Prendick?

Why did I want to read it?

The Island of Dr Moreau is one of those classics that you know so much about you think that you’ve actually read it and then of course you realise that you haven’t, and I thought it was about high time that I did. As you can see from the cover image from the edition I read I’ve had a copy of this since the release of the ill-fated and not terribly well-received 1996 movie version.

That’s how long things can moulder on Mount TBR round these parts.

What did I think of it?

I’m not sure it’s what I expected really, based on my only other Wells reading experience which is War of the Worlds, an exciting and pacy read. I thought this would be similar but it’s clearly trying to make more of a point in terms of its message on the price of scientific enquiry and the role of vivisection which has always been a contentious issue. Moreau himself has no redeeming features whatsoever and even Prendick is at times an ambivalent figure; he doesn’t seem to have a problem with the principles being applied, it’s Moreau’s methodology he takes issue with. The beasts themselves are for the most part not well developed and the social satire elements were lost on me.

I’m glad I read it as it is a classic which has influenced other works across a number of media; the song No Spill Blood by Oingo Boingo has just popped into my head and even my late lamented dentist used to refer to his surgery as the House of Pain.  So many of the references are embedded in popular culture but I must admit that as a novel it left me entirely cold.

This was my first read for RIP IX.

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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