Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ghost Story

One good thing has come from my three-week cold. Three weeks! I read Peter Straub's Ghost Story at the leisurely pace it deserves. I'm only sorry I never read it sooner. It starts out slow, but the writing is so assured that from the outset I knew I was in good hands. It's about a group of aging men who meet once a week to tell ghost stories. Like ancient mariners, they're compelled to do so, even as they are picked off one by one. Then comes the ancient evil, the shape-changing vampires/werewolves/ghosts, and ensuing wackiness. As with all things, execution is key, and here the story is told brilliantly. My favorite character is the beautiful and aging Stella, whose vanity has made a cuckold of the husband she loves. She's written smartly and with compassion, when so easily she could have been a cliche. Ghost Story was published in the late 70s, and it's clear that most haunted house/ childhood/ town stories from the 80s were written in its mold.

Next up on my list are books that I should have read this year:

Tom Piccirilli, Headstone City
Jonathan Maberry, Ghost Road Blues
Jeff Strand, Pressure
Brian Keene, The Conqueror Worms
Deborah LeBlanc, A House Divided
Scott Nicholson, The Farm
David Wellington, Monster Island
Ray Bradbury, Farewell, Summer
Ray Garton, The Lovelist Dead
Scott Smith, The Ruins
David Niall Wilson, The Orffyreus Wheel
Sue Dent, Never Ceese
Jennifer Egan, The Keep
Alexandra Sokoloff, The Harrowing

Anybody got any additional suggestions?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Answers to the questions you've all been asking--

If you got Cayenne pepper in your eyes, would it hurt?
As I found out tonight, while adding it to my chicken broth to help clear my head from a cold, and then wiping my eyes. Cayenne does, indeed, hurt.

Also, as Will Ferrell once asked: If the moon was made of cheese, would you eat it?
Unless it was stinky cheese, and then I'd take a pass.