I wish I had the same level of success with Poe’s Selected Works. It’s quite surprising to see myself struggle with a book I want to finish. My relationship with this red volume started in 2009, when I bought it and spent eight months trying to start it, until I did start it and now struggle a third month to consistently read through the collection. It’s not that I don’t like the journey and want to put down the book, but for some reason every time I sit down to read it, I fall asleep. Maybe it’s because it’s so heavy and big that I have to place it on the table and then grow sleepy.
My other failure is Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne. I honestly didn’t expect such a relaxed novel [read this as nothing happening] with that such concentration of scientific references [physics and mechanics do not rank that high in my Topics of Interest list and yes, I do have one; this winter it’s all about suicide chickens]. However, I did not finish it because of time restrictions rather than the novel not being my cup of tea.
December will have me attempt to finish both Poe and Verne. I know I will manage Verne, but Poe is a formidable challenge. My other picks include:
I promised Sam Sykes that I will attempt his challenge and read something incredibly outside my comfort zone. Not only outside what I usually enjoy, but actually featuring all the things that I do not like to read. So Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell [the man who wrote the Sharpe’s Stories] combines the three things I essentially find boring: historical fiction, war campaigns and unnecessary length. This also begs the question: Why the heck do I bother with epic fantasy? I plan on answering that.
I return to Lovecraft with The Colour Out of Space, The Shadow over Innsmouth and Rats in the Walls [I checked them all out and all three together can be devoured in one day]. This is research reading [excuse to read more Lovecraft] since I plan on writing a Lovecraftian horror story set in Japan [because Cthulhu is probably their secret mascot] and I want to recreate the correct spirit of what Lovecraft has created.
I will also continue with my research by reading Issue 5 of Innsmouth Free Press to sample some interpretations and convince myself that I’m allowed to bend the world to my own tastes [I do like being faithful to anything]. But while I’m indulging myself in magazines, I will sit down to read M-Brane Issue 21 [I’m making this public, because I plan on reviewing this]. I have been stashing issues since number 14 or so.
I’m completely excited about Monstrous Creatures by Jeff Vandermeer. It’s a non-fiction title and it’s a new review format for me personally. Then again I’ll have finally gotten my greedy little hands on some Vandermeer [which for some reason is impossible for me; if you have Vandermeer and want it to have a new loving home, then my e-mail is on the left of my blog] and there is even some Mieville in there [also a bonus]. I’m prepping this for Rise Reviews, where I will be a monthly addition to their theme [yes, I am everywhere these days].
Last [and most questionable as whether it will be read in December] is The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne. It’s a sequel to Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. I have a January deadline to review the themes of both books using Captain Nemo as a bridging character, so it has to be done. I hope the sequel is an adventure novel with a faster pace than its predecessor or I may have to reconsider Verne altogether no matter how interested I am in going back to the basics of speculative fiction.
Wish me luck. I’ve picked only… *does Math* 10 pieces. Thank god for the holidays.
Tell me now, what have you planned for December?