The amount of books in existence is mindboggling. And out of all of the books in existence, how many there must be which focus on ideas which transcend the bounds of everyday human existence , i.e. the fantastic. I want to briefly put the spotlight on an arbitrary number of fantastic books because, well, this IS the season for such things. Truly though, there’s no reason to imprison these books in an artificial, temporal box; they can and should be read whenever and wherever. Still, this is a month to celebrate the extraordinary, so what better time to take a look at a few particularly delectable paragons…
On Monsters, Stephen T. Asma
I encountered On Monsters entirely by chance. Back when Borders was still around, I used to love to walk around their storefronts, not looking for anything in particular, though I would gravitate toward the sections of interest to me. I was looking through the mythology section and I found this book. I thought that it would be a great counterpoint to another book I was considering buying (Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces), so I picked it up. As it turned out, Asma provided a wonderfully readable and even-handed account of monsters throughout the ages. Various monsters, from Biblical, classical, and modern epochs, are examined from psychological, social, and biological perspectives. In my opinion, good non-fiction is hard to find; it often veers too much toward sensationalism on one hand, or dry academic prose, on the other. Asma here strikes a great balance and this book ought not be missed by anyone fascinated by the monstrous. Continue reading
Lou Carter can’t remember where he’s been or where he’s going, but he can plainly see that there’s something wrong with the world around him — and the answers to these mysteries may lie in the memories eluding him, memories which he’ll have to uncover as he bands together with a handful of survivors to confront the ancient evil which is stalking them.
Step into the psyche of a man on an odyssey through the desolate deserts of the American Southwest and through the forgotten labyrinths of his mind. And prepare to meet a force far more powerful and elemental than man has ever seen; prepare to experience the darkness our greatest religions have only hinted at…
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I get scared sometimes. It’s true! Not often, but sometimes. And I’m not talking about your garden variety “scared” — you know the type, the tiny “fears” we experience every day, from “I’m scared I’m going to be late” to “I’m scared I’m going to fail this exam [or lose this contract, or whatever]” to “I’m afraid they’re going to run out of tickets for the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.” No, I’m not talking about these weak, watered down versions of fear. I’m talking about the primordial stuff. The type of fear that comes along and tenses your muscles, if you’re lucky, and prepares you for action; the kind of fear which, if you’re unlucky, paralyzes you and leaves you at the mercy of whatever predators might be lurking around the corner and in the dark. I’m talking about that fear which makes your heart pound and finds your skin suddenly saturated with sweat… Continue reading