Shameful to say, I have never read a single work by H.P. Lovecraft – a classic master of horror rated alongside Edgar Allan Poe.
According to Stephen King: “Now that time has given us some perspective on his work, I think it is beyond doubt that H. P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the Twentieth Century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.” It is high praise indeed. I’ve only ever been mildly into the genre of horror, by why is it that I had never come across the actual works of Lovecraft until I stumbled across him in my research. Shame on me, perchance. I had heard the name ‘Lovecraft’ bandied about, and like many unknown references, it was one I let lie. In my defence, I have never come across his books while browsing the sci-fi/fantasy/horror shelves in bookstores, or in libraries. Perhaps it was my personal oversight or a defiencies in the venues I frequented. Either way, I feel a little cheated.
His influence is wide ranging, for example the Arkham Asylum in Batman is attributed to Lovecraft. His fans include Neil Gaiman, Jorge Luis Borges and Michel Houellebecq. Not to mention, David Bowie, Metallica and Black Sabbath. An impressive fan base to be sure. So I will presently be embarking on my Lovecraftian horror adventure, I hope it will be as fulfilling as when I first stumbled across John Wyndham. The bonus is that all of Lovecraft’s works are out of copyright, so Project Gutenberg, here I come.
Posted in Books, Inspiration, Things I Like, Writing
Tagged Black Sabbath, Books, Fantasy, H. P. Lovecraft, Horror, John Wyndham, Jorge Luis Borges, Lovecraftian horror, Michel Houellebecq, Neil Gaiman, Project Gutenberg, Reading, Science Fiction
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window”
– William Faulkner
It seems like any writer worth his salt advocates the golden rule of reading, and reading widely. I do think that one of my greater failings as a writer is that I had such a narrow reading focus for quite a large portion of my life. In fact, to a great extent, until the advent of the BF, I did not really read non-fiction for pleasure at all (newspapers and magazines excluded). It’s remarkably ironic really, as before we started going out, the BF almost exclusively read non-fiction. We’ve both encouraged each other to branch out, and have done. I now have some favoured non-fiction authors, one of which is Jared Diamond, acclaimed author of Guns, Germs and Steel – a title that I recommend to everyone. It is as an amazing analysis of the scientific reasons why Europe colonised the rest of the world and not the other way around. You might not agree with all of his theories, but it is a truly fascinating read.
The reason I mention this, is (i) to encourage everyone to expand their reading horizons as I have thoroughly enjoyed expanding my own, and (ii) more to the point, I’ve come an article on io9.com entitled 23 Science Books That Are So Exciting They Read Like Genre Fiction, and I’m proud to say that, as a novice non-fiction reader, I’ve actually read two of them (which do read like genre fiction). A few of the others will be going on my rapidly expanding reading list.
io9.com’s list includes: Darwin’s Origin of the Species, aforementioned Jared Diamond’s Collapse, The Poisoner’s Handbook, The Silent Spring, and the one presently going to the top of my reading list, Rachel Maines‘ The Technology of Orgasm.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to sign up to the Good Reads Reading Challenge 2013.
I did the 2012 challenge, and I was a little overly ambitious with 100 books. This year, I’ve put myself down for a rather more conservative, though still ambitious 52. That’s still one book a week. Although sometimes it may well be a novella, but hey, so long as it stands on its own as a work of literature, it’s a book and it counts. Sadly, the same applies to the epic ones – so if I do venture towards that copy of war and peace gathering dust on my shelf, that I keep promising myself I will read, it still only counts as 1 book. Ah well, rules are rules, and you will only be cheating yourself.
In any case, some of the best way to get inspiration is to bury yourself in words, so get reading!