I have three papers, two of them eight to twelve pages long, due by next week. A third is due tomorrow, but I think I must prostrate myself before my professor and plead for a stay of execution from my professor. As a result, I am stressed out to the point of skin destruction and sleep has become a fond, bleached-out memory.
So I figured I'd write a blog post! Priorities: I have them. I'm a member of audible.com, which is one of the best things on the internet, and as a result I am addicted to audio books. I got all of the Twilight books, a bunch of Christopher Moore, I'm working on Terry Pratchett now, and have been dabbling with a variety of other titles that have caught my eyes here and there. For example, The Exorcist as the original novel is waaaay scarier than the movie. Seriously.
Another title I got on a whim is Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, by M.R James. The M.R stands for what may be the most perfect name for an author ever: Montague Rhodes. Not shockingly, he was British. I am so doing that to my kids. He was a prominent literary figure, and regarded as very influential for popularizing the concept of a more realistic type of ghost story, dispensing with the high gothic tone that had previously been adopted.
In terms of an audio book, this is a short one at only four hours and twenty two minutes. Hey, the Twilight books average out at around twenty hours each, and the Terry Pratchett novels average around ten hours. It's also not an interconnected novel, instead basically an anthology of ghost stories. On the whole, I really recommend this, especially if you like your ghost stories more subtle. These reminded me a lot of H.P Lovecraft though not as dense, not a total coincidence I'm sure since James and Lovecraft were contemporaries, sort of.
Like Lovecraft, James has noticeable themes, at least in this compilation. Most of the protagonists are ivory tower academic types who frequently have no idea what they've stumbled into, and strangely, there seemed to be a lot of disdain from strongly Protestant secondary characters aimed at Catholicism. Since the Reformation was about three hundred years prior to the setting of many of the stories, this is a touch weird.
Over all I really recommend these stories, and am impressed with what he comes up with to use as representatives of the story's horror. It's usually something innocuous that takes on a decidedly sinister tone, like all good Victorian ghost stories should be. His works are way in the public domain, so I'm sure you can find websites with stories listed; give it a listen, and share what you think. NOW.
As for me, I'm off to drink my self to sleep.
My drink of choice in this instance is NyQuil.