Friday, October 30, 2015

Vampire Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Deluxe Transitive Vampire by Karen Elizabeth Gordon, Great Tales of Horror by H.P. Lovecraft




Happy Halloween!  I am currently attending a Writer's Conference being held at the University where I work.  I attended a good workshop tonight about creating effective dialogue.  Tomorrow I give up most of my Saturday to attend a full day of workshops.  I hate to let Halloween pass me by, so here are three brief reviews of books that I am currently reading.



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The first book is by a master of the detective novel.  Before Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about Sherlock Holmes he wrote a number of vampire short stories for magazines.  These vampires do not much resemble Dracula but what they do have in common is animals, people and even plants that devour people.  Not always physically, often times it is spiritually.   From giant Venus Flytraps, evil, hypnotic women who destroy desperate men, to ancient Egyptian mummies who cannot die, the stories are different in plot and character but carry an equal amount of suspense that keep you turning the pages to see how it all works out.



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The Deluxe Transitive Vampire  is not very scary but is an  amusing attempt to make grammar more interesting.  The book is filled with gothic Victorian images while explaining punctuation, participles and parts of speech (and alliteration).  The examples are in keeping with the book's spooky theme.  For example, sentences demonstrating "complements":

A vampire has supple limbs
Cronopios have many quirks.

Gargoyles spout.  Spout what?
Gargoyles spout nonsense. or rain. or syllogisms. 



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And last but not least, one of this century's master of horror, H.P. Lovecraft.  

Lovecraft's writing style resembles Edgar Allan Poe's in that the narrator is usually writing from an insane asylum, or going insane, or still tormented by his experience or about to give in to his experience.  It takes them the entire story describing harrowing scene after harrowing scene, never quite revealing what is happening or about to happen until the end.  The story quickly culminates on the last page, usually the last paragraph, with a huge, horrifying whollop.  Then the reader often has to reread the rest of the story to make sense of what was going on all along. 


 Little Bear (next to the pumpkin) and Marcus Hambone (sitting on Lovecraft) were delighted with my selection of Halloween reviews but Percival Piggybottom was disappointed I didn't include his favorites: Poe and a collection of Penny Dreadfuls.  I had to promise him that a review was coming in the future.  He was satisfied with that (and a carrot).

6 comments:

  1. These are great books to read this season, I really want to give those Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books a try.

    I love HP Lovecraft. I have read a lot of his stories.I find that they are the perfect blend of psychological and real horror.

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    1. Happy Halloween, Brian! I think Doyle's book would be perfect reading tonight. I plan on reading some more Lovecraft. I agree with you that they are a wonderful mix of the mental and dark imaginings of our psyche.

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  2. Sharon, the vampire tradition in literature has an interesting trajectory; much has been written about the "roots" or "symbolism" behind vampires in literature, but I push aside all that theoretical twaddle and instead simply enjoy the horror of it all. I was not aware of Doyle's vampire tales. And I need to revisit Lovecraft. That was a really strange man!

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    1. Hi R.T. I'm with you, I like to enjoy the suspense and have a good scare the same way I enjoy roller coasters. But I must confess I do like researching origins. And I'd like to know where the concept of ghosts and vampires came from.

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  3. I just discovered your blog, and I will return often. You have encouraged me to consider reading some of those vampire stories. In the meantime, I have a question for you at my new blog: http://howtoreadandwhy.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks, Blaine. Hope you enjoy reading them.

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I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.