Review: At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

At the end of April, before I started the Asian Lit Bingo Challenge, I was listening to an audio book before bed. Because there is maybe something a little wrong with me, the book I was listening to was At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft. 510qnpnltsl-_sl500_

I read this ages ago when I was younger and into horror and creepiness and not at all aware of the world. And, let me just say… don’t re-read old things that you loved as a younger person if you don’t want to have to confront everything that’s problematic about them.

Sigh.

Anyway, the audiobook is read by Edward Herrmann and he does an amazing performance. I believed he was an academic who just wanted to do his research but who fell into something older and scarier than he could have imagined and who now JUST WANTS TO WARN HUMANITY OKAY. He really sold it. I loved it.

But, back to the problematic bit: H.P. Lovecraft had no problems at all relating the tales of these terrible creatures to exotic things you may have heard about from other places like The Orient.

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via GIPHY

That’s H.P. Lovecraft, waving his fingers mystically when he thinks about the Orient. And, the first time it happened, I rolled my eyes and thought, “product of his time. all of his work is xenophobic. you know that.”

But, it comes up a lot. Like, a lot a lot.
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via GIPHY

 

It’s a good thing I was listening before bed because all of that eye rolling is exhausting. The descriptions of the creatures are still top-notch and weird and the atmosphere still comes across as spooky. And, Edward Herrmann, man. Seriously. He sells the crap out of it.

 

So, I recommend this recording if I you want to read or re-read this story. But, know, that if you’re even a little bit woke, this dusty old dude is going to make you want to shake your head and argue with him in between being creepy and being weird.

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Dark Reads for Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving is a much advertised shopping holiday here in the States: Black Friday. It’s a day full of sales and, if you’ve ever worked retail, full of awful people who don’t know what they want and/or don’t know how to be nice about it. Depending on the side of the fence you are on, it can be a dark day full of dark deeds. To get us all in the spirit of this terrible and wonderful day, we’ve put together a cheeky little list of books you could be reading instead of being yet another warm body crushed into the mall. This list is part horror, part horrifying, part oddly hopeful: just like the holiday season.

1. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft
Scary monsters to haunt your nightmares from beyond the stars and below the sea. What could be worse than not finding the perfect gift this holiday season? Well, let Mr. Lovecraft tell you.


2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Coraline is a curious young lady exploring her family’s new apartment. What she finds is at first wonderful and strange. Then, it’s just strange. Maybe even dangerous and strange.

3. Fallen by Lauren Kate
Fallen angels, True Loves, and high school. What else do you need in your life? A Toaster?


4. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark
In a world that is not our world two men try to restore magic in England. Don’t you wish there was magic in the world and you could just flick a wand and you’d be done Christmas shopping?


5. Dear John by Nicolas Sparks
This book might be the worst thing that ever happened to me. It’s hours worth of reading I can never get back. I don’t actually recommend reading it but if you wanted to know what real horror looks like to me its this: a lifetime trapped in Nicholas Sparks’ terrible and cliched prose.


6. Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dracula is a blood sucking fiend. Shopping is a soul sucking endeavor. You get the metaphor.

7. Hellblazer: Original Sins by Jamie Delano
John Constantine is the anti-hero’s anti-hero. He’s a terrible person. Hell, he’s more unlikeable than likeable. And, yet he’s necessary and compelling and chain smoking. If you’re seeing the devils of commerce everywhere, you may need a little Constantine in your life.


8. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

This is technically the second book in the cycle, but I’m not sure you’d actually miss the first book. Will Stanton must fight the Black Rider and a blizzard at the holiday season and find the six sign symbols. He’s only eleven years old, can he do it?

9. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Forgotten why we’re all doing this? Let Charles Dickens remind you in this classic tale. Bonus: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is the stuff of nightmares.