Saturday, August 30, 2014

I'm Back! With a Bonus List!

I think I'm ready to come back to blogging now. This has been a really weird year for me. Not just 2014, but these last 12 months. To top it off, I HATE summer. I know that's blasphemous to a lot of people, but I always dread the heat, especially down here in New Orleans where the humidity just gets overbearing. August is the worst month for me and every year it sneaks up on me and just plows me over. But it always passes. While there's no hint of Fall down here yet, there is the fact that August is just about over and THAT makes me happy. And with the end of August comes Carl's RIP challenge which has come to mean so much to me.

This year, it's reminded me how much blogging really means to me. It's told me, "get back to blogging, get back to what you love and what you miss." That's reading and talking with all of you, so many friends that I've made over the years, on a regular basis again. I'm sorry that's fallen by the wayside lately. It's nothing personal I promise! RIP is already a challenge that I've loved for years now, but it's come to also be a sign that Fall is on the way and that means a lot to me personally. RIP has come to just feel like Fall and cooler air even when the heat index is in the 100s and the air is smothering you outside!

I'll be back with my official RIP post soon, but today I thought I'd post a list! My dear friend Pat, AKA Deslily, AKA Mom2, tagged me in a facebook post to write a list of 10 books that have stayed with me over the years. I thought I'd change it up a little bit and give you a list of 10 RIP appropriate books that have stayed with me over the years as they're some of my favorite books :)

1. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice - One of my all time favorite books and one that I don't hear people talk about often. Maybe it's because Anne Rice has gotten a bad name over the years? I don't know. But guys, her earlier writing is AMAZING and I think this is the best of the best. I've reread this book more than any other book. It's dripping with atmosphere and no other book feels more like New Orleans on a dark night than this book. I really look at this book as being a part of what formed me as an adolescent.

2. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury - Oh oh oh I love this book so much!! This book feels like October and childhood and is just so perfectly written and perfectly creepy. I miss Bradbury.

3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - This book was truly an instant classic. As anyone who knows me knows, Gaiman will always be my favorite and this is a prime example of why. Entertaining, poignant, characters you'll love and remember forever and all with the perfect Neil atmosphere that only he can create. I need to go back and visit these characters! I still haven't read the first volume of the Graphic Novel adaptation....must get on that!

4. Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest - I read this one during a hurricane and every time I think of it, my mind goes right back to being in a hotel room with no power watching the winds and rain of a hurricane out of the window. The melancholy and sheer power and haunting feel of the weather was perfect for this first part to Priest's series. Awesome book.

5. Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist - Best vampire book I've ever read. And unlike anything else you've ever read. Truly creepy every sense of the word. And it plays with gender tropes as well and issues of class. This is the way I like my horror!

6. Shadow Man by Cody McFadyen - Phew! Just thinking of this book gets my heart racing again. I'm hoping to continue this series this year. One of the most horrifying crime novels/serial killer novels I've ever read. With oh so human characters that you ache for and love which makes it all the more horrifying. Amazing writing and a story that keeps you up all night and then makes it hard to go to bed.

7. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach - This book isn't scary, but it's perfect for RIP and god I love Roach so much. All about...yep, cadavers and the many things that happen to dead bodies. Things you never imagined! And Roach makes it incredibly interesting to read about.

8. 14 by Peter Clines - I never did review this book, but I listened to the audio and loved it. A story that starts off simple about a man who moves into an old apartment building, slowly becomes a little unsettling and things seem a little off, and then just gets batshit crazy. Really loved this one.

9. Morning Glories by Nick Spencer - One of the absolute best graphic novel series I've ever read. Recommended by my dear friend Debi, this series is completely messed up...about a group of kids at a boarding school where you sometimes get more questions than answers, but the questions come as a result of some really REALLY fucked up shit.

10. A Fine & Private Place by Peter Beagle - This book is not scary, but it's beautifully atmospheric and takes place in a graveyard with a group of ghosts and is one of my very favorite books :) And one of the reasons I love Peter Beagle so much.

What would be on your list? Feel free to consider yourself tagged!! Also, thank you to those who emailed me or even sent me a card over the last couple of weeks making sure I was still alive. It was a kind reminder that this community is still here, that my friends don't all hate me because I haven't blogged in ages or because I've been horrible at keeping in touch :p I promise, responses are coming soon!


Kristen M. said...

Well, I was just completely blown away by The Land of Laughs (That ending!!! Wow. Thank you a million times for the recommendation!) so I'm going to have to look up some of your other recs (like the Cherie Priest) and finally get to the Peter Beagle which has been on my TBR forever.

Susan said...

Wow, that was quite a list, Chris. I've gone and requested two from the library - The Witching Hour - how have I not read this book when I love her vampire books so much? - and I'm going to try Shadow Man too. It might be too gruesome for me, I'll see! I can't get 14 at our library, so have to try and find it some other way. I am grateful I have read most of the other books on your list!! lol Great choices. I loved A Fine and Private Place and The Graveyard Book. I read Morning Glories vol 1 from our library this spring because of yours and Debbie's lists! It was quite creepy and would be wonderful for RIP. I've tried Let The Right One In. I love the Swedish version of the movie, and I don't know if that is affecting how I'm reading the book, but I'm having difficulties getting into it. Very strange, doesn't often happen to me.

Great list, and wonderful to see you back. I've missed you, Chris. I've been absent from blogging for much of this spring and summer too. RIP will draw us back! Nothing like a little horror :-)

Cath said...

Nice to see you around again, Chris!

That's a really good list. I can't believe I haven't read Something Wicked This Way Comes, I need to look for that. Must also look for A Fine and Private Place.

Gaiman is a god. Have you read The Ocean at the End of the Lane yet? It's amazing. And this summer I've been reading Fortunately, the Milk with my 7 year old grandson. Gaiman certainly knows how to write the perfect book for little boys. We had a ball reading it and laughed ourselves silly.

Debi said...

You blogged! Any idea how happy this made me??? :D

This is an awesome list, and I totally want to go read all the ones I haven't read yet right now. In fact, I did click over the the library website and put a hold on 14. I'd never heard of that one before, and it sounds incredibly RIP-ish and fun in that wonderfully creepy way.

Can't wait to see what you're going to read for RIP! You will be posting, right? :)

Anonymous said...

Some of my favorites are on your list: Let the Right One In, Something Wicked, Fine and Private Place.

I recommend The Monk by Michael Lewis. It's a crazy, wild ride from the late 18th century filled with every gothic element that would late become the basic cliches of the genre. I loved it.

Bellezza Mjs said...

First of all, let's arm wrestle to see who hates August more. I bet I'd win! Illinois humidity rivals New Orleans, I'm sure, and my classroom has no air conditioning, that shared, I feel better so thanks for listening.

Love Something Wicked This Way Comes!! I really want to reread that this fall.

Know I miss you and think of you though my commenting has all but dropped completely on everyone's blog. Time to amp that up again. Xo

Chris Howard said...

Kristen, Yay!! I'm so glad you liked it :) It's the book that made me fall in love with his writing. He's can't go wrong with him! He has a new book coming out in October! And yes, read the Priest and Beagle!! They're both fantastic :)

Susan, It seems like a lot of people have needed a break from blogging lately, huh? It'll be good to see you around again. I've missed you! I've missed everyone lately. Oh, I'm so glad you requested The Witching Hour! You'll ADORE it! Especially if you're a fan of her vampire books :D

Cath, Yes, yes really must read Something Wicked :) It's a book that will stick with you forever. Such awesome writing. Love Bradbury. I have read Ocean at the End of the Lane. Absolutely loved it. And you're so right. His books are perfect to read with children. Loved Fortunately the Milk too :)

Debs, I did!! And I wish I would've written about 14 to tell more people about it. It's not a deep story at all, but it's certainly entertaining and unsettling and has awesome characters :) I think you'll like it! The audio is really REALLY good too!

James, Awesome to hear you like all those too! And I've wanted to read The Monk for years...really need to get on that!

Bellezza, While I had that summer affects you as well, part of me feels better that I'm not so alone in that :p *hugs* Isn't Something Wicked incredible? Love the feelings he creates with that book. I've been a crappy commenter too this year. But I've learned that no one thinks you hate them because of that so don't think about it too much :) XO back to you!

Anonymous said...

GOD how I hate summer. I spent several hours walking down Magazine Street last weekend (NOT my idea), and it was just awful. My friends wanted to go to the Quarter and walk around there ALSO, but I put the kibosh on that by impressing on them how difficult it would be to park down there during Decadence and how far to walk it would be if we had to walk.

Beth F said...

I hate summer too -- well, hate the heat. Glad to see that you'll be around more; I've missed you.

jilllora said...

Yay, you're back!! Do you think the world will implode if we both manage to blog at the same time? ;-)

Anonymous said...

bugger. i wrote a long comment and then discovered i wasn't signed in...

'morning glories' sounds great, so i'm definitely gonna check that out!

also cool to see the bradbury mention. i've never heard about anything but fahrenheit, so it's cool to see this.

very cool to see the anne rice mention - i recently tried to read 'the body thief' and couldn't get along with it, despite loving all the preceding ones (and memnoch). but you reckon i should give this one a go?