Friday, November 25, 2016

Total Skull - Books Read in Oct. 2016

I've already talked about all the movies I watched in October, but when I wasn't watching horror flicks I was reading these.

Red Spectres is a well-curated collection of Russian Gothic tales from the twentieth century. This book is a real treat; the stories contained in it span a wide range of Gothic moods (though all are recognizably Russian in outlook), and aren't likely to be found translated out of their native tongue elsewhere. The most surprising element to me was how much fin de siecle Decadent writing had influenced the Russian Gothic tradition. 

Fragments of Horror was my introduction to Junji Ito, a manga writer and artist I looked into after a student recommended his works to me. This book is a collection of Ito's shorter works. Ito's mix of haunting spectrality and outrageous body horror shouldn't work but is profoundly unsettling in practice. After getting these mere tastes of his style, I'm definitely going to be seeking out his longer series. 

More famous for its film adaptation, Joan Lindsay's Picnic at Hanging Rock is a quiet, understated novel about the disappearance of several girls from a finishing school picnic. What really happened to them is never revealed, so this isn't a book for people who read-to-find-out. Instead, this is a book for readers who like to see how a moment of explainable tragedy ripples outwards, touching the lives of both the people involved in the event as well as the people who are merely on the periphery.