The best part of getting my first Kindle back in 2010 (my husband’s first birthday gift to me…you would have married him too) was the discovery of all the classic literature that was available for free in the public domain in ebook format.
I had already started on my journey of reading classics that I made it out of school without ever having to read. I had already been picking up the Barnes and Noble paperback re issues and using Bookins to trade out my used books for classics to build my library. But all of a sudden , they could be downloaded for nothing and I did not have to sit in front of a computer to read them. With no shelves overflowing with books! Moving my stuff was always the most fun, with all those crates of books.
Some of the first free Kindle books I procured I had not gotten to yet, and when I am in the ReadDown mood, I scroll to the bottom of the books to choose a file that has been waiting entirely too long. I had a collection of William Hope Hodgson huddled at the bottom, among the fairy tales, A Dreamer’s Tales, which I am looking forward to getting into soon and other obscure pieces that looked appealing at the dawn of the book buying binge. The tide that I have been trying to ebb with moderate success. I should probably have unsubscribed to all the discount book emails I get and Modern Mrs. Darcy on Facebook, who has my favorite kindle deals on the web when I decided I would stop buying books in 2017. I also have the Iliad and the Odyssey on there, and I wonder when I will gather it up to read those. I did the Aeneid in my own travels through school and enjoyed it.
A word about Hodgson first: He’s in my wheelhouse with his horror and occult themes, but his writing is unwieldy. I am feeling validated that his wikipedia entry agreed with my assessment. He reminded me some of Jules Verne but Verne is clearly better.
Onto the Read Down:
Carnacki the Ghost Finder
The cover on my Kindle is not as cool as this cover, of course. Hodgson created Carnacki after an occult detective of Algernon Blackwood’s, which does not surprise me that I liked Carnacki if he was inspired by a Blackwood creation. Mr. Blackwood is also becoming a find for me. Anyway, it is a compendium of his shorter works where the detective sets to dispel ghost stories. Clearly an old premise that is still a good one, given the popularity of Ghostland released in 2016. It is my favorite of the three that I talk about in this post, but probably because it has a ghosty theme and is not spinning through the cosmos or sailing, which the other two are. Also I was thinking about modernizing one of the stories in the compendium for my own ends. There was one that has an appreciable twist.
The House on the Borderland
This book was highly rated on my Librivox app, and I was not sure if it was a rating of the reader, who was good, or of the actual story. If we are going to go supernatural I like ghosts more than space time mashups and traveling through the cosmos, but I can appreciate it. Also, an appreciable appearance of demon creatures, which really were freaky, especially in that they seemed completely random. So, I stumbled on the writing but the plot kept me guessing. The man’s incorrect and copious amounts of commas were distracting when I was actually reading and not listening.
The Ghost Pirates
This one was the most difficult for me due to the vernacular and the heavy reference to sailing. I could figure it out, but a nautical knowledge would have made this one easier. And where there was vernacular, the narrator clarifies what was said. This one actually had an audio available on Audible. Sometimes Audible surprises me by having professional narrations of books that I consider obscure. I recognize that I am not exactly the yardstick for obscurity, however. This one was good though in the fact that it was insidious. The takeover is subtle, quietly debated among the crew because the captain does not want the sailors scaring themselves with superstition. Bad things happen and there is disagreement over why. So despite the unfamiliar context and some of the writing it is a good story and does have a suspenseful buildup.
So Hodgson found his way into my awareness and my Read Down because life just wouldn’t have the same luster without an ebook reader and all the freebs.
Time for Spring. I can’t stand it. I need my morning walks at dawn.
Comments/shares/likes? Maybe a little different than the types of books I usually blog about, but classics, right?