I feel like I’m screwing everything up this October and the blog is no exception. A hastily assembled month of guest content, genre diverse reading, and nostalgia related articles has led to my worst two weeks of views ever when I was thinking (and hoping) it would be well received. I know the loss of Instagram traffic is hurting and change is always hard, but…. sigh, tell me again why I even bother?
Last Saturday I started some rambling thoughts on ways that a book itself potentially enhances it’s own reading experience, such as when it’s borrowed from a friend and some bookish conversation is enabled as a result. Or, in this case, when it was owned by and now a link to a deceased relative.
I’ve always gotten nostalgic reading Bradbury, especially the few remaining books I have from my uncle’s collection. The October Country is a short story anthology of some of Bradbury’s oldest stories, a macabre and fantasy-horror filled assortment of human observation and meditation on loss (among other things). Not sci-fi. One thing I read about Bradbury recently that irked me was someone hating on the book because it wasn’t sci-fi? Like why? Authors evolve over time and sometimes write outside their classically known genre, although I do blame that on early publishers for marketing some of it as sci-fi when it’s not.
Anyway, I’ve got an old Ballantine sci-fi classics edition (see, to me this is setting the book up for undue scrutiny) of The October Country that’s falling apart at the binding. I’m almost afraid to read it any more but also felt like thumbing through a few stories was suitable for my mood this October, as I tend to do anyway each autumn. I don’t actually know what my mood is but it’s manifesting as smelling the book and imagining that I can still detect pipe smoke. It’s having a minor melt down because I dropped and broke one of the last plates I had from his set, I’m supposed to be taking care of them right? It’s feeling one more page detach even though I’m barely cracking the spine and just feeling like I’m destroying everything.
Anyway, to make this bookish, another way to connect to the physical reading experience is to know who else has owned and loved a book. As evidenced by a beaten to hell paperback that probably belongs in a dust sleeve for preservation but I don’t really think that’s what anyone would have wanted, so I continue to read a few stories every year.
I’ve only read the first few this time around and found myself enjoying and connecting with, not for the first time, the prose contained in “The Next In Line”. With the frantic wife and the speed of her thoughts. The evaporating warmth that keeps things (Bradbury uses the clay analogy) from moulding anew.
I’m not scared of skulls and bones…If a child was raised and didn’t know he had a skeleton in him, he wouldn’t think anything of bones, would he? … In order for a thing to be horrible it has to suffer a change you can recognize
If anyone is still following for GrimDarkTober content, I’ve got a guest review coming from Brandy at The Review Booth tomorrow, a review for Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde coming probably Monday, then a slew of guest content including a surprise interview 💀