Sorting through Dad’s hoard #11: Watership Down

“All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.” I don’t remember a specific moment when…

Sorting through Dad’s hoard #10: Cyrano de Bergerac

It was one of Dad’s fondest hopes that we would one day be able to read great classics in their original languages. It is one of my fondest hopes that, one day, I will fulfil his hope. Foreign languages were never one of my strong points. *side-eyes Duo Linguo* The 1990 version of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano…

Sorting Through Dad’s Hoard #8: M.R. James

Dad would usually read us M.R. James’s ghost stories in the evenings, after dinner and homework and sundry other bits were done; he’d occasionally play recorded versions of several of the stories, read by Michael Horden. I always preferred Dad’s narration, the way he’d growl for the villains and gruffer types, or use a slightly…

Sorting through Dad’s hoard #7: The Midwich Cuckoos

  Dad spoiled the ending of this book long before I ever got around to reading it. And I’m going to spoil it for you too, HA!!! One day when we were intruding into his study, he got onto the subject of the film version (the 1960 version, The Village of the Damned – because apparently…

Sorting through Dad’s hoard, part 6: The Day of the Triffids

  Dad may not have been interested in vampires and monsters, but he loved more subtle types of horror. He recommended plots and stories that could feasibly happen, and were all the more creepy for it. “There’s a book,” he told us once, “which starts with everyone on the planet staying up late to watch…

Sorting through Dad’s hoard, part 5: Saki

I couldn’t have been older than eight when Dad sat me down to read me a story. The story was called Sredni Vashtar. The main (really only proper) character was a young, frail Edwardian boy named Conradin, living with a domineering female cousin, who seemed determined to joylessly coddle, thwart and repress him into the…

Sorting through my father’s hoard, part 4: Moby Dick

Behold, The Modern Library INC edition from 1926!!! ….Iiiiiiiiii have not actually read Moby Dick. I don’t know if I plan to. I did read the Classics Illustrated comic version of it when I was about fourteen; does that count? And I will grant that it has one of the best opening lines in literature,…

Sorting through Dad’s hoard part 3

I was stressed out from impending deadlines. I was momentarily disenchanted with a post graduate course that, while incredibly useful and instructive, also seems to suck all of the happiness out of me at times when I really need to hold on to my positive attitude. I was tired and cross and more than a…

Is it me, or is the Cthulhu Mythos something of a no-woman zone?

I’ve been working through the Cthulhu Mythos Mega Pack  (if you have a Kindle download this now now now, it’s only 37p and, despite what I’m about to say, I bloody love it) and it would appear that meddling in things we ought not to wot of, getting spooked by rats that, it turns out, are never rats, calling up what…

Anonymous 2011: aka Who The Hell Wrote This ****?

In honour of Shakespeare’s probable birthday – and date of death; yes, Shakespeare supposedly died on his birthday, that must have spoiled the party, ho ho, bet you never heard that joke before – I’ve decided to make up a list of my favorites when it comes to his works, both plays and films based…

Sorting through my father’s hoard: Rudyard Kipling

“Now, when they ask you what you like to read, don’t mention Kipling.” Dad’s words of wisdom when I was preparing for university interviews; probably not best, he agreed, to profess admiration for he who wrote of The White Man’s Burden and Gunga Din. I love Kipling, but I’ll be the first to admit he’s politically…