Friday, November 25, 2016

Books and Short Stories I Read When I Want to Be Creeped Out

Some of these books/short stories are legitimately scary. Others are chilling reminders of the base selfishness of mankind, which, to me, is equally unsettling.

"The Voice in the Night" (William Hope Hodgson) - A ship's crew come across a voice in the night which asks them for provisions for himself and his young wife. They begin to wonder about him when he won't come into the light.

Animal Farm (George Orwell) - "All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others." I first read this in junior high, but it's just as relevant in our current social climate, if not more so. The ending is spine-tingling as well, but I'm not going to give it away!

"The Cask of Amontillado" (Edgar Allan Poe) - Are you claustrophobic? If not, you might be after reading this.

Dracula (Bram Stoker) - Did you know that in Stoker's novel, Dracula couldn't enter a residence unless he was invited in? Even so, he and his wives are just as scary now as they were when the novel was published in 1897.

The Little Foxes (Lillian Hellman) - In this play, Hellman explores the unhealthy dynamic between greedy, selfish siblings and their spouses as they vye for the largest share of a probable business success. But oh, the end!

Friday, November 18, 2016

My Absolute Favorite Books

There are many books that I read and enjoy over and over, but there are three that have been my favorites for most of my life: The Hobbit, Watership Down, and Brave New World.

- The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkein) - I don't remember what incited me to read The Hobbit for the first time as a twelve year old, but I do remember absolutely loving it. Bilbo encounters many fantastic creatures on his quest--hungry trolls, bloodthirsty goblins, angry elves, a tricksy Gollum, and an articulate and intelligent dragon. Just don't get me started on Peter Jackson's "adaptation."

- Watership Down (Richard Adams) - This is an adventure story featuring a cadre of compatriots who just happen to be rabbits. Some readers claim that it's a chilling indictment of communism, whereas Adams himself claimed it was simply a story he made up for his children. I enjoy the mythos Adams created around the secret world of rabbits, including the lapine language and the tails of the lapine legend El-ahrairah.

- Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) - I've read a few dystopias, but this one is my favorite. The structure of the world government, as well as the scientific method for growing humans and the resulting social structure make this a fascinating read. Further, I'm drawn to the struggle faced by John, a young man who grew up on a reservation but no more fits there than he does in the modern world from which his absentee father came.

Which books do you find yourself returning to multiple times, and what qualities draw you in?