Okay, taking a break from the protest series, here are the (very few) books I was able to complete in June.
1. The Eclogues and The Georgics by Virgil.
Well, I’m currently writing a chapter that lays out the details of imperial Roman ideo-theology (I wish people used that word, I find it really convenient). Therefore, I thought I would go back and reread some of the relevant primary source stuff to look for things I might have missed the first time around. It is proving to be a worthwhile exercise although, damn, 9 out of 10 of these pastoral poems are hella boring.
2. Let the Right One In by John Lindqvist.
After reading, and being disappointed by, the Iain Banks book I mentioned last month, I thought I would dig around a little more in the “horror” genre to see if I could find some things there that are also representative of really good literature. Not that long ago, I had watched the movie called Let The Right One In and had enjoyed it. It left me thinking that there was probably a richer story behind what was portrayed in the film, so I decided to go with Lindqvist as the next step in my horror quest.
The book really is quite good. Having seen the film, I was stuck knowing what was going to happen, but story lines were much more fully developed (and darker) than in the film and the characters were much richer (the only thing I didn’t like was the vampire’s ability to communicate, um, her story to her companion). I would recommend both the book and the movie (the movie has a couple of really awesome scenes, one of a kiss and one of something that occurs in a swimming pool). When the vampire is a 12 year old girl, her caretaker an old male pedophile, and the boy she meets a picked-on kid with sociopathic tendencies, well, you know you’re not reading Twilight.
3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
This was my next horror effort. The google searches I did on the subject seemed to pretty consistently refer back to this haunted house novel as one of the classics in the genre. I can’t say I enjoyed it all that much. I thought the best element of the plot was the question of whether the haunted house was tormenting the protagonist or whether it was the presence of the protagonist that brought the haunting to the house. That bit was done well. The rest of it was pretty ho-hum.
I’ll probably dabble around with a few more suggested titles in this genre but don’t have very high expectations. Suggestions are welcome. John Updike’s “Rabbit” series is actually the scariest thing I’ve ever read (by a long shot). Those books terrify me because they make me think: “Fuck! Maybe that’s really all that we’ll ever amount to!”