Monday, October 27, 2008
About what I like. . .Horrors!
I am a bit embarassed by my list of "likes" in novels. One would think, from reading this list, that I was a fan of horror. I'm not, though I have enjoyed both Clive Barker and Stephen King. I have been an unapologetic King fan for decades, and when made fun of for it, I'd say "He's the Charles Dickens of our age." Go ahead and scoff: Salon agrees with me. When the Salon.com Reader's Guide to Comtemporary Authors was released in 2000 and I read "It's impossible to know whether King will share Dickens' literary respectability a century from now, but it's not inconceivable", I felt vindicated.
Clive Barker, on the other hand, was once a purely guilty pleasure. He's best known for the movie "Hellraiser", which I tried to watch, but found so horrific that I stopped watching after five minutes (if not sooner). It's odd, but I do like horror movies, as long as they are Korean or Japanese. Anything else, I can't stand. They scare and repulse me.
My taste in fiction is eclectic, and this list doesn't reflect it well. I love 19th century literature, but I didn't put that on the "like list" because I'm not going to write a 19th century work of fiction. I do occasionally like historical novels, but if I want to read about the past, I'll go straight to something written in the time period.
I like authors who write beautifully, in many genres, but I'm not going to be writing anything that's remotely beautiful, so I went for the cheap shots. That's not quite fair, for Joyce Carol Oates has written some beautiful novels about some truly awful human beings, and Ruth Rendell excels at writing about flawed characters, murder and all sorts of dysfunction.
I've read just about everything by Dennis Cooper, and well, I'm not sure his work actually does have any redeeming value. I've never known what to think about the extremities of depravity and hopelessness that he writes about. Yet, his portraits of disaffected drug addled teenagers read with enormous and unflinching truth.
These days I don't read much fiction, to be honest. I mostly read non-fiction. I've always loved reading about science, if it's been dumbed down some for non-scientists like me (though saying Oliver Sacks dumbs things down is a bit off base, don't you think?) I read a lot of books about Zen Buddhism, and some of them I read over and over again (see my Amazon sidebar to find out which ones).
I'll stop here. I could ramble on and on, but recounting what books I've liked in my lifetime would take at least 50,000 words or so and be terribly boring. I've got to get back to writing posts here that are about something, and less conversational. Between the election and National Novel Writing Month, I have been all over the map. I hope to return to perfume, memories and odd bits of language fairly soon. Or whatever else grabs me. And as always, suggestions are accepted with gratitude!
Image note: The main character (I think) from Hellraiser. This movie was made in 1987 and had seven sequels. The first one is now being remade. If you liked this movie, please tell me why. I am most curious. To the rest of you, sorry to subject you to this graphic!