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Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports
Jeff Passan
Progress: 153/368 pages

The Best of HP Lovecraft - progress: foreword

The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre - H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, Robert Bloch

Although I've read plenty of fiction inspired by Lovecraft, I don't think I've ever actually read anything of his, so this book seemed like a good place to start. Which I haven't done. That is, I've only read the foreword, written in 1982 by Robert Bloch. It's interesting, containing a little bio, history of the publication of his work, and a minianalysis of recurring themes in his stories and the history of the public appetite for horror fiction, relative to the public and political events of the day. I found his assessment of his own best-known work pretty amusing:


     "Viewed in retrospect, The Exorcist was scarcely a literary landmark, and the film that followed was illogical and prolix. Few members of the audience could clearly explain the origin of the demon, why this entity took possession of a child, or exactly how it met its final fate. Nor was their interest a religious one. The spectacle of the little girl whose face was transformed by makeup into an unreasonable facsimile of Harpo Marx's 'gookie' grimace, spewing obscenities and green pea soup or rotating her head a full 360 degrees, seemed the chief attraction.

     Nevertheless, it was clearly stated that the Devil made her do it. And the statements of box-office receipts convinced both filmmakers and publishers that doing it was profitable. Hell had become hot property."


I have to disagree with him though. I still think The Exorcist is the scariest movie I've ever seen, and it isn't because of the now terribly dated special effects.