Sunday, September 09, 2007

Black, and Lovecraft, and Gleason...oh my

Tithe by Holly Black was my introduction to the Faerie Realm. And what a wonderful introduction it was. I have to admit that I had a hard time really getting into this book at first. It seemed somewhat disjointed to me. But I suspect that may have had more to do with my reading than Black's writing. I just happened to start this book during a "busier than normal busy" time, and was literally reading a page here, a paragraph there. Definitely not the way to really enjoy a book. There were also areas I wished she had developed a bit more, explained a bit more.

But overall, I have to say I enjoyed the story immensely. Kaye, learns that she is a pixie...but only after having lived as a human for 16 years. Like the teenage years aren't tough enough, huh? Black does a great job of making Kaye into a very believable character...she brought back vivid memories of that time in my life. Anyway, Kaye is manipulated by those she trusts. She has good instincts, but learning to navigate her way through this new world is far from easy. She is used as a pawn in a very deadly game.

Black definitely has a way of creating vivid images. "Roots, swept bare of the mud that should have surrounded them, sat above the bank like overturned baskets or ran along the ground like the pale arms of half-buried corpses." I especially loved her descriptions of the Unseelie Court...definitely a place I would only like to visit in the pages of a book. "The room itself was massive, so large that she wasn't sure what was on the other side. Far across the room, what looked like a giant, slouched near a dais. Each step seemed to push her in a new direction, full of splendors. A fiddler was playing an improbable instrument, with several necks and so many strings that the fiddler sawed his bow at them wildly. A long-nosed woman with freckles and ears like a jackal's juggled pinecones. Three men with red hair and double rows of shark teeth dipped their caps in a pile of carnage, soaking up the blood. A huge creature with bat wings and limbs like stilts sat atop a table and lapped at a beaten copper bowl of cream. It hissed at Kaye as she passed it."

Though I initially had trouble getting into the story, by half-way through I was hooked...and stayed up much later than was wise to finish it. Yes, I would have to say that I am definitely pleased with my first selection for the RIP II Challenge.

And now on to short stories...

Thanks to Carl's wonderful short story post last Sunday, I was compelled to hit the library in search of some H.P. Lovecraft. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never read any Lovecraft before...but it's never too late to try a good thing, right? I couldn't find any full collections, but I managed to pick up a book entitled Scary Stories. (This collection was put together by Peter Glassman. And it contains some incredibly wonderful engravings by Barry Moser.) Anyway, this collection contained a tale by Lovecraft entitled "The Terrible Old Man." I absolutely loved this story!

In literature the idea of a terrible old man, or terrible old woman, living alone in a creepy old house often believed to be haunted, is certainly nothing new. And how often is that terrible old man, or terrible old woman, eventually found to be simply tragic and misunderstood? Well...not in this case...sometimes a terrible old man really IS a terrible old man. (Sort of.)

And I now understand what everyone was talking about when it comes to Lovecraft's writing. It's simply a delight to read! "...while Mr. Czanek waited for them and their presumable metallic burden with a covered motor-car in Ship Street, by the gate in the tall rear wall of their host's grounds. Desire to avoid needless explanations in case of unexpected police intrusions prompted these plans for a quiet and unostentatious departure." Some much more fun than if he had said, "Czanek waited out back in the get-away car."

I had a chance to read another story from this book this morning, "Thanksgiving" by Joyce Carol Oates. It was a wonderful story...truly...but it definitely ruined my appetite!

And finally, on another RIP II note, I managed to pick up Colleen Gleason's The Rest Falls Away and Rises the Night. And as if that isn't good enough, they're both autographed copies! I couldn't believe it! Especially since I looked for these a few months back...

When I e-mailed Carl our address after he so graciously awarded Annie a prize for the Once Upon a Time Challenge, he noticed that we lived in a town that Colleen Gleason had just passed through during a book tour. I went and read her lovely post, which said such nice things about our town, and of course, commented. She was amazingly sweet and e-mailed me. She let me know that there were autographed copies of her books at the local bookstore. We went the next day...and I scoured the store! I'm the first to admit that one of my many faults is that I hate asking for help. So I didn't, and left the store empty-handed. (Oh, okay, not empty-handed, but without her books.) I assumed that they had just all sold. So imagine my surprise when Friday night, while again looking for her books, I not only found them, but found one of two autographed copies of each! (My big mistake all along had been to not look in the "romance" section. Just never occurred to me to try there until a picture for the cover of her new book popped into my mind...and I figured it was worth a try. Glad I did.)


Chris said...

I have Tithe sitting on my bookshelf and it's been there for awhile now! I really should get to it some time soon. I don't know why I didn't add it to the RIP list. The chances are very slim that I'll fit it in. As it is, I seriously doubt I'll finish everything I chose!

So glad that you got autographed copies of Colleen's books! You'll love them :) They're great!

Rhinoa said...

I really liked Tithe and Valiant and have Ironside waiting to be read for this challenge. Valiant is different characters but a similar world and Ironside I believe follows on from Tithe.

My husband loves Lovecraft but I haven't read any yet. I will steal them from him sometime when he isn't looking I think.

Melody said...

Like you, I too haven't read anything by Lovecraft...yet! I have read great reviews about his works so I'll definitely keep a look out of his books in future.

Glad you got autographed copies of Colleen's books! I have her books in my TBR pile too!!! ;)

Nymeth said...

Isn't Lovecraft wonderful? I now that some people find him too "wordy", but the way he writes is part of the fun! It really fits the mood of the stories, I think.

I really like the sound of Tithe! To the wishlist it goes.

That's great that you were still able to find autographed copies of the book :)

Fence said...

Tithe is one I want to read, I've heard a lot of good things about Holly Black, and from your review it sounds like one I'd really enjoy.

Court said...

I read Tithe a few years ago, so a fair amount of it has faded from my memory... Thanks for the quotes to remind me a bit. :)