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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Selected reading from The Complete Tales of Edgar Allan Poe

Complete Tales & Poems - Edgar Allan Poe

For the classic horror square I chose to read the master, Edgar Allan Poe.  Since all of his work consists of short stories and poetry, I chose a variety of titles and my thoughts on each are below:

 

From his poetry I read:

 

Annabelle Lee

This is a re-read for me and one of my favourites from Poe.  I remember the first time I read it vividly because my initial impression was "this isn't horror, this is sweet" with its singsong rhyming and talk about childhood sweethearts.  Awww.... Ewww!!  The horror hit me in a slow creepy sensation as he goes on to talk about that cold wind and I'll stop here because spoilers.  If you've read it you know what I'm talking about.  A re-read doesn't have the same horror-ific impact, but it's still pretty freaking creepy.

 

The Haunted Palace

This was on the same page as Annabelle Lee so I read it - meh.  Nothing special but I could be losing something because its rhyming meter isn't a basic one so I was stumbling about a bit rhythm wise while reading it.

 

The Raven

cannot think of the Raven without immediately seeing Vincent Price in my head; it's impossible and if there's anyone out there that has not seen Vincent Price perform Poe's The Raven I highly urge you to do so when you have a spare 10 minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7zR3IDEHrM

The quality of the video is pretty poor, but it's still worth it.

 

With that performance in my head, this re-read of the Raven was a lot more powerful and much smoother than my initial attempt.

 

Lenore

This one immediately followed The Raven and since Lenore was the subject of The Raven I figured 'why not?', expecting more details.  Nope.  Again, unless the poetry is written for a grade schooler I stumble through it, so I might have missed some deeper horror here.

 

From his prose, I read:

 

The Masque of the Red Death

Oh, I liked this a LOT.  So atmospheric, so richly detailed without being verbose.  In just a few pages Poe captures both the grotesque and the horrific while creating a story that can be taken both literally and as an allegory.  Loved this one.

 

The Purloined Letter

I'd heard of this one, of course, but until I started reading it I didn't know it was one of the Dupin mysteries.  If I had known that, I'd have skipped it.  It's a great mystery, but like all his Dupin stories it's twice as long as it has to be and serves as not only a platform for Poe's undisputed genius, but also as a stage from which Poe puts his ego on display.  Lord can that man go on!

 

Words with a Mummy

I chose this because it's Halloween and - Mummies!  I'd never heard of it before so I had no idea what to expect.  What I got was hysterical!  I loved this story so much and grinned the entire time I read it.  This is a whole different side of Poe I'd love to see more of; a dry wit and a humorous look at our silly ideas about the progress of civilisation.  If I'd read it without knowing who wrote it and someone tried to pass it off as a work of Wodehouse or similar, I'd not have disputed it.  

 

My rating for the book is based on an average of the ratings I'd have the stories: I 5-star loved 3 of them and found the rest average.

 

This fulfils my Classic Horror square of Halloween Book Bingo 2016.