Tuesday, March 14, 2017

“Reading List #6” by Richard F. Yates

[Originally posted 22 Aug. 2014. ---RFY]

“The Continuing Adventures of Richard F. Yates: READER! Episode 6!” by Richard F. Yates

The Continuing Saga of Yaaaaates in Spaaaaaace!!! (…and other locations, psychically transported by the written word!) The list below only includes those texts which I have completed reading. Other stuff, that I ain’t done with yet, don’t count—cuz I ain’t done with it yet… Maybe you don’t care about this. If not, here’s a picture for you to look at and then move on, but if you want to know what kinds of input I’m consuming, here’s your chance! (After clicking the “More” button, of course…)



(4 Jun. ’14)
Finished reading Tom Stoppard’s TRAVESTIES, which Mariah got me for Christmas. Very fun. I have only read a few plays by Stoppard, but I’ve loved them all, and this one, a sort of fictionalized / mythologized retelling of the events that took place in Zurich around WWI, is very funny.

(11 Jun. ’14)
Finished reading Alan Dean Foster’s SPLINTER OF THE MIND’S EYE, a book starring Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia that was published in 1978, shortly after the first STAR WARS movie, but before EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. I read it, and finished it, despite some really atrocious writing, mostly to see how much it would distort or contradict the canonical, first three films. It was a rough slog, despite the short length of the book (fewer than 200 pages) because of writing like THIS: “Luke stood a moment longer gazing at the inviting circle of sunlight and mist above. He reached upward. Despite the seeming nearness, he was not surprised to discover that he couldn’t touch the sky with a fingertip” (p. 121). Or how about this lurid passage describing a moment shared between Luke and Leia (who are, of course, brother and sister): “Like a missile launcher sighting on its prey, his eyes contacted hers. There was a brief, silent explosion before she looked hurriedly away” (p. 157). And who could forget possibly my favorite line in the book: “‘Swear it!’ she demanded, her voice that of a steel kitten” (p. 165). ??? What the fuck does that even mean??? Anyway, I’m glad the book is over, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for anyone but a serious STAR WARS completist, or a sick, twisted S.O.B. with masochistic tendencies.

(13 Jun. ’14)
Reread Osamu Tezuka’s METROPOLIS graphic novel (translated by Kumar Sivasubramanian and reprinted by Dark Horse Comics in 2003, although the story originally appeared in 1949!!!) It’s an action packed, sometimes funny, rather twisted story about a non-gender specific “artificial human” who thinks he/she is human. (Pressing a button in the character’s throat makes him/her switch gender.) It’s bizarre, melodramatic, and silly at times, but worth reading (although I enjoy Tezuka’s DORORO much more. It’s stranger and more violent, and it’s a story that I should probably read again real soon.)

(5 Jul. ’14)
Finally, having started and failed on at least two other occasions, finished reading Bram Stoker’s DRACULA. Considering all the writing I’ve done on vampires and vampire stories, it seems ridiculous that I’d never finished the single most famous vampire novel of all time. Now I have. That’s two essential horror classics that I’ve finished in the last year or so (DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN), both books that I probably should have read decades ago. Neither of them was my favorite, but they define the horror genre, and since that’s pretty much where I live, it’s important that I know how the foundations were formed. Yo!

(1 Aug. ’14)
Finished reading H. G. Wells’s THE FOOD OF THE GODS AND HOW IT CAME TO EARTH. Not very much like I thought it would be. Not a bad story, but the giant animals (which are the focus of the bad 70’s film) are only really in the first third of the book. The rest of the novel is about giant people, which I honestly didn’t see coming.

(7 Aug. ’14)
Finally finished Stephen King’s WIZARD AND GLASS, book four of THE DARK TOWER series. I started it a few years ago, but gave up early on. This time, after reading the first three books in the series again, I made it all the way through.

(8 Aug. ’14)
Reread Rumiko Takahashi’s INU-YASHA Vol. 1. Still fun. Good mix of action, humor, mythology, and horror.

(8 Aug. ’14)
Reread Takahashi’s INU-YASHA Vol. 2.

(8 Aug. ’14)
Reread Takahashi’s INU-YASHA Vol. 3.

(9 Aug. ’14)
Finished rereading Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s CARMILLA. A fine vampire tale written in 1872, which was 25 years before Stoker published DRACULA. CARMILLA is particularly interesting for the description of the non-human creature that the character, Carmilla, sometimes becomes when feeding.

(9 Aug. ’14)
Reread Takahashi’s INU-YASHA Vol. 4. (Japanese style ghost story in that volume, which reminds me of BLEACH and THE GRUDGE and similar “angry ghost” tales.)

(10 Aug. ’14)
Reread Takahashi’s INU-YASHA Vols. 5 and 6.

(11 Aug. ’14)
Read (maybe reread…although if so, I’m not remembering the story very well) Takahashi’s INU-YASHA Vols. 7 and 8.

(12 Aug. ’14)
Finished rereading THE WENDIGO by Algernon Blackwood, and I know I’d read it before because my Kindle copy was at the end of the tale when I opened it. However, almost zero percent of the details from my first reading remained when I started it this time. Now that I’ve finished it a second time, I think I see why. It’s pretty silly—not as enjoyable as some of the “weird” tales I’ve read from the early 1900s. I also find it strange that in this story the Wendigo is a “moss-eater.” In the SUPERNATURAL t.v. series, the Wendigo is a cannibalistic former human turned into a demon. In Stephen King’s PET SEMETARY, the Wendigo is more like a primal force or forest god, although I don’t recall if King says what it eats.

(12 Aug. ’14)
Reread Rumiko Takahashi’s INU-YASHA Vol. 9. (I remembered this book more than the last two.)

(13 Aug. ’14)
Finished Stephen King’s THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE, which is book “4.5” of THE DARK TOWER series, according to King’s “Foreword” to the book. A friend of mine suggested that I read this book after finishing the other three, but I’m glad I read the book now. It’s such a silly, sideline story that I would have hated for this book to be the finale to the series, which is, overall, pretty solid.

(13 Aug. ’14)
Finished rereading Takahashi’s INU-YASHA Vol. 10.

(14 Aug. ’14)
Finished rereading Takahashi’s INU-YASHA Vols. 11 and 12.

(15 Aug. ’14)
Finished reading Philip K. Dick’s “The Defenders,” a freebie short story I found on Amazon. Utopian and strangely optimistic for Dick, but not badly told. (I get the feeling that I’ve read it before…)

(15 Aug. ’14)
Read Mark Twain’s short tale, “A Ghost Story,” which is a humorous tale about the Cardiff Giant. The giant was a fraud, a statue passed off as fossil evidence that giants once lived and roamed the Earth, and Twain’s tale pokes fun at the fact that, at one point, more than one faked Cardiff Giant had been on display at a time. (I vaguely remember the historical tale from MONSTER TALK or SKEPTOID or perhaps from a Stephen J. Gould book.)

(21 Aug. ’14)
Finished reading Clark Ashton Smith’s, “The Nameless Offspring” from THE CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK (edited by John Gregory Betancourt and Colin Azariah-Kribbs.) Not too bad. Moody like Poe (in fact almost TOO much like Poe, if you know what I mean…)

(22 Aug. ’14)
Finally finished reading AMERICAN SUPERNATURAL TALES, edited by S. T. Joshi and published in 2007. My favorite stories were by Poe (“Usher” again, but it’s effective every time I read it), August Derleth, and Fritz Leiber (“The Girl with the Hungry Eyes,” which I’ve also read before, but which is also quite fun.) Always a pleasure to read something spooky.

That’s it for this batch! Stay tuned for other words about other words!!!

—Richard F. Yates

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