Ding dong dell
Pussy's in the well
Who put her in?
Little Johnny Thin
Who pulled her out?
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
chasing brown leaves
on broken path
Of Darkness and Light, by me. It’s been making people sleep with the light on since 1989. The sequel, The High Place, will be published soon.
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg. In my opinion, the greatest Scottish novel ever. I wrote about it, and others, in this essay.
Carnacki the Ghost-Finder by William Hope Hodgson. A classic, far ahead of its time. Here’s an essay I wrote about it. Also, I wrote The Host, a Thomas Carnacki story set in modern Scotland.
The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley. Another classic, but not at all ahead of its time. The racism, classism and general Little Englandism of this book sometimes reads like parody, but it’s still a great page-turner, still scary, and it arguably invented the occult novel as we know it.
The Night before Christmas of the Living Dead by M.V. Moorhead, despite its campy title, is a serious, suspenseful take on the Zombie trope.
The Last Weekend: a Novel of Zombies, Booze and Power Tools by Nick Mamatas has two things in common with this author’s other novels: it’s great, and it’s like nothing else you’ve read.
Blood and Kisses: Vampire Love Vol. 1 by J.T. Blackfriars. This novella, the only publication so far by a mysterious author, might someday be regarded as a classic. Here’s M.V. Moorhead’s review of it.
Julia by Peter Straub is haunting in every way, and still this author’s best work.
Full of Days by Bart Lessard is elegant and horrifying, my favorite work of one of my favorite contemporary authors.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Read this, okay? You’ll thank me. Then read The Moonstone.
Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito. I love Ito’s graphic novels Uzumaki and Gyo, but this collection of short tales is the best thing I’ve read by him.
The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories by Algernon Blackwood. What I said about Wilkie Collins applies equally to Blackwood.
Lion's Roar reports the death of Aaron Lee, who blogged for years as The Angry Asian Buddhist. He was one of the best Buddhist writers online — fierce, intellectually rigorous, compassionate, and honest. His death at age 34 is a loss to Dharma discourse. I hope someone will publish a book of his writing.
Endless bows. Gate gate paragate parasangate bodhi svaha.
R.H. Blyth wrote:
A haiku is not a poem, it is not literature; it is a hand beckoning, a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean. It is a way of returning to nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature. It is a way in which the cold winter rain, the swallows of evening, even the very day in its hotness, and the length of the night, become truly alive, share in our humanity, speak their own silent and expressive language.
For me, this applies as much to the novels I write as it does to haiku. I want to get as close to a blank page as possible while still having a story, with nothing extra, with everything unnecessary stripped away.
A couple years ago, I was on a panel about novellas at Left Coast Crime in the U.S., and the moderator, Brian Thornton, said that my novella One for My Baby has as many characters, plot twists and points of view as a full-length novel. I answered that for me it is a novel — the longer I write and the better I get, the number of words diminishes, but the size of the story doesn’t. Another panelist regarded the novella, like the short story, as a slighter form than the novel, saying that her novellas contained less complexity and less story than her novels, but for me the opposite is true.