There was a time when you could get a lovely little book on aestheticism for 75¢.

There was a time when you could get a lovely little book on aestheticism for 75¢.

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Monday, 6th September
Image of a proposed cover for Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita.  Apparently the visual metaphor was deemed a bit too suggestive as this one never made it to market.

Image of a proposed cover for Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita.  Apparently the visual metaphor was deemed a bit too suggestive as this one never made it to market.

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Friday, 10th September
In my travels, I tend to collect little chapbooks on indigenous folklore and local small-press books on ghosts.  Sometimes I even get around to reading them.  I just finished this book on the spooks of Key West a few nights ago.

In my travels, I tend to collect little chapbooks on indigenous folklore and local small-press books on ghosts.  Sometimes I even get around to reading them.  I just finished this book on the spooks of Key West a few nights ago.

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Friday, 17th September
Where did the decadent novel go?
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Thursday, 30th September
It’s the first day of October, which means I have pushed all non-horror films to the back of my Netflix queue and loaded-up on an assortment of fright flicks and blood operas.  First up on my docket: Drag Me to Hell and Thirst.
Speaking of horror, the above picture is of an artifact from the VHS era: James O’Neill’s Terror on Tape.  Terror on Tape is still my horror Bible; though it is a bit dated—it doesn’t cover any films released after the early 90s—I am continually finding new titles to hunt up in its yellowing pages.  O’Neill is one of the few authorial voices I trust when it comes to horror: he’s one of the only critics I’ve encountered with the sense to rank the original Hellraiser higher than its sequel!

It’s the first day of October, which means I have pushed all non-horror films to the back of my Netflix queue and loaded-up on an assortment of fright flicks and blood operas.  First up on my docket: Drag Me to Hell and Thirst.

Speaking of horror, the above picture is of an artifact from the VHS era: James O’Neill’s Terror on Tape.  Terror on Tape is still my horror Bible; though it is a bit dated—it doesn’t cover any films released after the early 90s—I am continually finding new titles to hunt up in its yellowing pages.  O’Neill is one of the few authorial voices I trust when it comes to horror: he’s one of the only critics I’ve encountered with the sense to rank the original Hellraiser higher than its sequel!

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Friday, 1st October
She remembered how it was here that she had seen a side of her mother that had frightened her, a scary, frenzied, secret self that normally hid behind soft bleached aprons and stoic silence. And it wasn’t just her momma who changed. The services would transform familiar, ordinary people, people she saw every day, into creatures as fascinating and horrifying as the beautifully patterned scales of the serpents they caressed—
Linda Chandler Munson, Moonblind
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Sunday, 10th October
I’ve decided to do something a bit different with my Poisonous Books course next year.  Traditionally, I’ve ever taught Decadent fin de siecle literature or followed the trail of evil books set by Max Nordau’s Degeneration, but this time around I will be addressing the notion of scandalous literary content in a more broad view.
The books I’m adopting are Rhoda Broughton’s Cometh Up a Flower (a sensation novel scandalous for its honest depiction of female sexual desire), H.G. Wells’s Island of Doctor Moreau (a nexus point for anxieties about racial degeneration, scientific advancement, and evolutionary theory), William Harris Ainsworth’s Jack Sheppard (decried as a celebration of criminality; “I love the romance of crime,” quips Morrissey), Michael Field’s Decadent and Sapphic poetry, and Thomas Love Peacocks’s Nightmare Abbery (a burlesque on the corrosive effects of the Gothic novel and the too-passionate Romantic worldview). 

I’ve decided to do something a bit different with my Poisonous Books course next year.  Traditionally, I’ve ever taught Decadent fin de siecle literature or followed the trail of evil books set by Max Nordau’s Degeneration, but this time around I will be addressing the notion of scandalous literary content in a more broad view.

The books I’m adopting are Rhoda Broughton’s Cometh Up a Flower (a sensation novel scandalous for its honest depiction of female sexual desire), H.G. Wells’s Island of Doctor Moreau (a nexus point for anxieties about racial degeneration, scientific advancement, and evolutionary theory), William Harris Ainsworth’s Jack Sheppard (decried as a celebration of criminality; “I love the romance of crime,” quips Morrissey), Michael Field’s Decadent and Sapphic poetry, and Thomas Love Peacocks’s Nightmare Abbery (a burlesque on the corrosive effects of the Gothic novel and the too-passionate Romantic worldview). 

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Wednesday, 13th October
Two recent additions to my local ghostlore book collection: Ghosts of the Southern Tier, NY and Haunted Finger Lakes, both by Dwayne Claud.

Two recent additions to my local ghostlore book collection: Ghosts of the Southern Tier, NY and Haunted Finger Lakes, both by Dwayne Claud.

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Tuesday, 19th October

Glenn Danzig showing off his book collection.  The phrase “All documented, all true” still makes me chortle with glee.

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Thursday, 21st October
A few weeks ago I had a real yen to read some M.R. James short fiction.  Imagine my surprise to discover that there was no M.R. James in my library outside of a few scattered anthology appearances!
Luckily, I had accumulated enough change to take a trip to the Coin Star machine and get a gift certificate for Amazon.  That gift certificate was promptly spent on two M.R. James collections: Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories and The Haunted Dolls’ House and Other Ghost Stories.
I also threw in a new copy of Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya, or The Moor as I lent my copy out years ago never to be returned.  Looking at the new cover of the Oxford edition, I couldn’t but notice that it is the nineteenth-century equivalent of a modern celebutant nipslip.  Does that have some secret symbolism regarding the themes of the novel?  Perhaps.

A few weeks ago I had a real yen to read some M.R. James short fiction.  Imagine my surprise to discover that there was no M.R. James in my library outside of a few scattered anthology appearances!

Luckily, I had accumulated enough change to take a trip to the Coin Star machine and get a gift certificate for Amazon.  That gift certificate was promptly spent on two M.R. James collections: Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories and The Haunted Dolls’ House and Other Ghost Stories.

I also threw in a new copy of Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya, or The Moor as I lent my copy out years ago never to be returned.  Looking at the new cover of the Oxford edition, I couldn’t but notice that it is the nineteenth-century equivalent of a modern celebutant nipslip.  Does that have some secret symbolism regarding the themes of the novel?  Perhaps.