Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October's Reading List

Last October, my seasonal reading list was much shorter: I finally read I, Strahd by P. N. Elrod, and then I read Bram Stoker's Dracula (I have the lovely version illustrated by Edward Gorey) out-loud to my wife at night.  The latter was time-consuming but very rewarding, since she knew who Dracula was, but the story itself was completely new to her.  It was fantastic seeing her first-time reactions to the classic tale. 

This year, I have acquired a healthy stack of books for the month, and since I finally finished Merritt's Dwellers in the Mirage, maybe I have a shot at making a serious dent.  (If the reading goes faster than I anticipate, I'll reread Gross' Prince of Wolves to finish out the month.) 

I have never read any of the books below before.  My object in coming up with the list was to gather dark fantasy fiction that somehow fit together and would touch on things that appealed to me (historical settings I like, especially.)  It was put together by hunting the clearance racks at area Half-Price Books over a period of several months, so if it is as successful as I hope it will be, it is a testament to what can be done cheaply with forethought, thanks to my favorite book chain.

I will read the above, starting from the top, in order from left to right.

I established a reading order according to the chronological order of their historical settings.*  The first book in the schedule, Marco Polo & the Sleeping Beauty by Avram Davidson & Grania Davis, doesn't really seem to be dark fantasy like the others, but it will build a bridge from my recent novels to the "vampire at Kublai Khan's court" of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.  (And what's up with her?  I don't remember ever hearing of her before, and now interesting looking books she wrote are popping up for me everywhere, as witness the two above.)  Starting off with Asian settings is a nice nod back to my recent enjoyment of Dave Gross' Master of Devils and the fairy tale element is a nod back to the re-tellings I have recently read. So it seems a goodly pile to me, and I look forward to many hours of themed reading in preparation for one of my favorite holidays.  I'd be curious to hear if anybody else does anything tomefully special for Halloween.  As always, I wish you happy reading.

* In the case of The King in Yellow, I didn't want to spoil anything before I read it, so I guessed that it was set roughly contemporary with its publication date of 1895.  In any event, this saves the most anticipated volume for the last.

~ PLEASE NO spoilers in the comments, but teasers and observations are certainly welcome! ~

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