Shocktober 2012!

Oh hey look, it’s my favorite month coming up!

October has a lot going for it: pumpkin-spice-flavored products appear at the local grocery store; weather positioned comfortably between summer and winter (although this October 1st is reportedly going to be something like 90 F here on the coast); television channels host marathons of bad horror movies; new horror releases in theaters; stylish orange and black design everywhere to sweep away those hideously relaxed summer fashions; and, topping it all off, the one night of the year fully devoted to debauchery and Satanic worship. Or so some would have it believed. Well, even through the marketing sheen of Halloween, the month of October, with its blossoming night and dying leaves, is certainly fitted to a month-long celebration of all things eerie, scary, creepy, and terrifying. (Yes, horror has a much wider range, but it seems to me that a focus on bodily mortification and torture would be better fitted to the allergy-laden months on the other side of the orbit.)

So how to celebrate this month? I know a lot of other horror and film bloggers have horror film reviewing marathons, and the thought certainly occurred to me, but since I want to go the extra masochistic effort of assigning myself unneeded work, I decided on a slightly different plan of action.

It is my intention that for each day this coming month I will read a horror short story collection from a different author. Naturally, this is a ridiculously unachievable aim, but to mitigate this my review will be limited to one story within the collection (so if I have no time, I can just read the one story and drink away my shame while writing the review). This story might be representative of the author’s work as a whole, or it might be an oddball out; I’ll just be hunting down whatever seems the most interesting or worth talking about. Just to let you know ahead of time, these reviews will be completely spoiler-filled for the story in question, but I’ll try not to give away anything about any other stories (for those of you with hangups about the commodification of narrative, I plan to address the whole ‘to spoil or not to spoil’ issue in a future post). Hopefully these posts will help expose you to some new horror authors you might not have heard of, as well as giving me an excuse to power through the collection of collections I have accumulated from used bookstores over the past few years.

Alright, that’s all the details. I’m excited. First review on October 1st: “The Diary of Mr. Poynter” by M.R. James.

A lot of reading for one month . . .

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