Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Salon

OK, guys, I am adding to my list of firsts as a budding book blogger (say that ten times fast -- and you'll sound really silly) and participating in my first Sunday Salon.

The Sunday

For the uninitiated, Sunday Salon is a virtual reading room where bloggers talk about what they are reading (click the badge above to go to the Sunday Salon home page and read more about it).

I have been reading two books, and I am not reviewing either one of them yet because I am not finished with them.  But they are both ones that I plan to keep on reading, although one is harder going than the other.

First up is a book I got from the library, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume 14.  It's a collection of horror short stories from various authors.  So far they have been a mixed bag, as you invariably get in a collection of this sort, but the best has been a story that is now something of a classic, as far as I can tell -- "October in the Chair" by Neil Gaiman.  It's a story about the months of the year sitting around a campfire, telling stories at a monthly meeting they have, and as the story opens, they are getting ready to hear October's story, which (of course) is a spooky little tale about a boy whom we know only as "the Runt" who runs away from home and meets up with a new friend named Dearly outside a graveyard.  It's a memorable story although it's very short.  I have never read any of Gaiman's longer works, but I know he is extremely popular.  This story makes me want to read some of his other stuff.  (If you have any suggestions, I'd welcome them in the comments.)

Another story I enjoyed from this collection was "The Wretched Thicket of Thorn" by Don Tumasonis.  It was a slow starter, but I enjoyed the way the author began with a sense of dread and kept it as a subtle undercurrent throughout the story, all the way to its unfortunate (for the characters) conclusion.  Suffice it to say, this story is a variation on the basic horror story theme: Don't open that door -- they open that door -- they pay for opening the door.  It's a story that definitely calls for a rereading, to catch the small touches and details that I probably missed the first time through.

The other book I am in the midst of is Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game and How It Got That Way by Philip Orbanes.   It's a history of Monopoly from its beginnings as a homegrown game from 1904 called the Landlord's Game.  The book is a whole lot drier than I thought it would be, but one very interesting thing about the book is the way the author weaves the social and political history of the time into the story of the development of Monopoly as a game (through its many incarnations, which were surprisingly many).  Guess what?  The political and financial climate of that time (the early 1900's) mirrors ours so closely as to be positively uncanny.  So that makes this a timely read as well.  Another interesting aspect of the book is the discussion of game history and development, told from the viewpoint of an insider -- the author served as a Vice President of Research and Development at Parker Brothers and also has judged many Monopoly tournaments.  All in all, although it is not exactly what I expected, I am eager to get further into the book at this point.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I'm a new Neil Gaiman fan myself. I've only read a few of his books, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Stardust, American Gods. They were all wonderful. I'm not sure you can go wrong with his books :)