March was a really busy month for me, I didn’t get nearly as much reading done as I wanted to. Of course, that tends to happen when you start 3 books at once and then try to read them all at the same pace. Only two of them ended up being read this month.
Seabury Quinn – The Skeleton Closet of Jules de Grandin
For a book I bought for 50 cents in a discount bin, this one really blew me away. What were the odds that I’d find marvelous sci-fi from 1930? Not so high, methinks. Seabury Quinn was a regular contributor to pulp magazine Weird Tales in the late 20s and early 30s, publishing a flurry of stories that starred Jules de Grandin, a mildly eccentric detective who focuses on cases involving paranormal activity. This book is a collection of 6 such stories, all pulled from Weird Tales, and re-released together in the mid-seventies. From ancient Egyptian curses to raving hypnotists, this book provides endless entertainment in the form of crazy fiction. De Grandin’s ridiculous expressions (Nom d’un Canard! Mort d’un Rat! Chapeau d’un Cochon!) add a comedic touch to these thrilling and demonic tales, making them all great reads. I’d kill to get my hands on the original versions of these stories, and to own my very own copies of Weird Tales. Maybe one day! I strongly recommend reading this (or any of the other 3) De Grandin book if you’re up for some classic sci-fi.
Paul Auster – Travels in the Scriptorium
Every time I pick up a Paul Auster novel, I tear through it in days, and I end up asking myself the same question: Is this my new favourite Auster? Travels in the Scriptorium is another masterpiece, telling stories within stories within stories. A man wakes up in a room, with no idea how he got there, and without recollection of anything about his life, or himself in general. He is referred to as Mr. Blank, and his story is told through his eyes, through the eyes of a mysterious third party who is observing Mr. Blank, and through a script that is found in Mr. Blank’s room. The story is circular and fascinating, as Mr. Blank is visited by various people he may or may not have met in the past. This whole book reminded me greatly of Jim Henson’s “The Cube” in the way the main character had to deal with unannounced visits from suspicious characters, and try to sort it all out. The way it wraps up is astounding, unnerving, and wonderful. Another great pull from the Auster bibliography, filled with obscure callbacks to his previous works.
That’s all for this month. Should I stop raving about Paul Auster? He seems to find his way into my hands every second month. Cheers!