Tuesday, December 30, 2008


 THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck

    I recently finished reading THE GRAPES OF WRATH, another amazing book by John Steinbeck.  Over the last year or so, I've read a number of his books for the first time, delighting in the discovery that somehow I hadn't been required to read them in school. I feel lucky, as no author that I've read in  years comes close to Steinbeck for managing such incredible storytelling so consistently. 
    While  THE GRAPES OF WRATH joins EAST OF EDEN and OF MICE AND MEN as my favorite of his works, I still highly recommend pursuing other Steinbeck volumes, such as the Monterey themed CANNERY ROW, SWEET THURSDAY, and TORTILLA FLAT.  
    For those interested in lifting the curtain to witness Steibeck's process, I'd also HIGHLY recommend checking out JOURNAL OF A NOVEL: The EAST OF EDEN Letters.

   TEATRO GROTTESCO by Thomas Ligotti

   A great recent discovery...and completely by accident too!  Ligotti's Weird Fiction evokes elements of H.P.Lovecraft and Franz Kafka while maintaining a very distinctive voice.  This book is a good Ligotti-Primer, collecting some genuinely creepy and disturbing stories...I loved it and have sought after some of Ligotti's harder to find collections.

   DARK GODS by T.E.D Klein

   I got this book after I'd read a creepy story called  "THE EVENTS AT POROTH FARM", in a collection of American Supernatural Fiction.
   T.E.D. Klein, a modern practitioner of the "Lovecraftian Form", wrote very few novellas and the four collected in DARK GODS are really effective and  nearly as enjoyable as "THE EVENTS AT POROTH FARM".  Interestingly,  T.E.D. Klein greatly expanded this story for his novel,  "THE CEREMONIES".  For me, though, the longer form didn't help.  It bogs down in the pacing and  lessens the impact of the novella.  Maybe these kinds of creepy tales fare better in the Short form...

Here are some other books in my On-Deck Circle: