- Grossmith, George & Weedon — The Diary of a Nobody (166 pages)
- McCarthy, Cormac — Blood Meridian (334 pages)
- Moore, Alan & Dave Gibbons — Watchmen (399 pages)
- Moore, Christopher — Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (507 pages)
- Murger, Henri — The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter (381 pages)
- Walk with Me: A Lenten Journey of Prayer for 2009 (98 pages)
- Douglas, Lloyd C. — The Robe (438 pages)
- Robinson, Marilynne — Gilead (281 pages)
- Jerome, Jerome K. — Three Men in a Boat (182 pages)
- Satrapi, Marjane — Persepolis (343 pages)
- Dodge, Jim — Fup (121 pages)
- Bauby, Jean-Dominique — The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly (114 pages)
- Fleming, Ian — Casino Royale (219 pages)
- Blake, Quentin — Clown (30 pages)
- Weigel, George — The Courage To Be Catholic (249 pages)
- Ishiguro, Kazuo — The Remains of the Day (255 pages)
- Orwell, George — Animal Farm (125 pages)
- Garner, James Finn — Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (81 pages)
- Robinson, Marilynne — Home (339 pages)
- Opera Magazine — Basses in Opera: Profiles of thirteen great basses (96 pages)
- Beaumarchais, Pierre-Augustin Caron de — The Figaro Trilogy (David Coward, transl.) (335 pages)
- Keyes, Daniel — Flowers for Algernon (217 pages)
- Bök, Christian — Eunoia (94 pages)
- Zweig, Stefan — Chess (76 pages)
- Kinney, Jeff — Meet the Wimpy Kid (55 pages)
- Lovecraft, H.P. — At the Mountains of Madness (188 pages)
Page count: 5723.
I've been meaning to read some Lovecraft for a while, and bought this last year with the intention of reading it for Halloween. When I didn't get to it in time, I decided to set it aside till this Halloween. Of course, now I have other Halloween reading selected for this year, but I wanted to find out what all the hooplah concerning Lovecraft is about. So I set aside my other reading projects and devoted all of October to Halloween reading, starting with this.
And now I must say I'm not all that impressed. First, it took way too long to read for such a slim volume. I found Lovecraft's language archaic and some of his descriptive details tedious and unnecessary. He's supposed to be a master of setting mood, but he wasn't setting the right one for me. And as for fear or cosmic terror? Sorry, he failed to excite me.
I suppose that's my particular psychological makeup. I don't find farfetched, pseudoscientific tales of ghastly prehistoric civilizations at all creepy, and in that sense maybe I'm too much a product of my own age. To me, At the Mountains of Madness felt like the print equivalent of a cheesy B movie, complete with a laughable monster at the end. The sorts of things that make my skin crawl are those that touch on the mystical or quasi-religious, evoking fears of the sorts of unknown evils that induce feverish praying. The other really famous Lovecraft story, The Dunwich Horror, and several of his stories are supposed to evoke those sorts of evils, so maybe I should check them out some day.
The book includes an introduction by China Miéville that I found enjoyable. It warned that it contained spoilers, so I chose to read it after I'd read the story, and I think this was a good call. In fact, most "introductions" I read end up being analyses which would prove far more useful if read after the story it "introduces." So, a thank you to Mr. Miéville for the heads up.
I hadn't realize until I read the introduction that Lovecraft was such a racist. Some of the thoughts he espoused were shockingly abhorrent, such that they couldn't simply be dismissed as being "of the time." I don't get, then, how he could profess these views and still be married to a Jewish woman—or how she could be married to him!
This book also contained Lovecraft's long essay, "Supernatural Horror in Literature." The racist attitudes, which I didn't detect in At the Mountains of Madness, were a little more apparent at times in this essay. Despite this, it was a pretty interesting piece, essentially a survey of "weird" literature from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. Maybe I found it so interesting because Lovecraft was talking about other people's stories instead of his own!