The Lost Horizon (James Hilton)

In the early 1930s four people, two British political officials, a British missionary woman and an American financier, escape the political unrest in Baskul, China by boarding a plane, bound for Peshawar. The plane, however, has been hijacked and eventually crash lands deep in the far reaches of the Tibetan Himalayas. Seeking shelter, the group soon finds themselves in the valley of the blue moon, guests at a lamasery, a place named…Shangri-La! This classic novel clips along in eleven short chapters making it pleasingly easy to read and absorb.
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Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury)

One of my favorite “semi-horror” reads. I suppose it could be called “horror” but it doesn’t fit neatly into the mold. The point of view is that of a boy on the brink of manhood as he gets to know more about certain concepts of “good and evil” than he ever really wanted to…the traveling carnivals that moved from town to town, showing up at county fairs, sets the background for this tale–with their mysterious denizens, noisy rides, lights that filled the night while leaving pockets of darkness. The barkers and their “side shows”, the fixed games of “chance” are now a thing of a bygone era. Bradbury paints such a vivid picture of a now-lost bucolic rural life here as to be almost heartbreaking to contemporary readers.  [Read more…]

Moby Dick (1956 USA)

moby dick 1956I declare war on all the remakes. To you teenyboppers wondering which version – this is the best. And if anyone is still smirking at the title they can leave this blog now or I will smite thee! (Don’t laugh) Supposedly Herman Melville’s masterpiece was impossible to turn into a film script. Supposedly director John Huston was too tyrannical and stubborn during the filming and spent a lot more time and budget than he was allowed to. Supposedly none of the actors playing the most crucial roles deliver good performances and don’t bring any justice to their characters as described in the book. I say tish and pish to all of these objections! [Read more…]

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Jules Verne)

jules verneLord, would I love my own private Nautilus. (Sigh) Maybe next Christmas…Captain Nemo is every bit as deep and unfathomable as the oceans he commands. Of course, submarines are something which we tend to take for granted nowadays, but the atmosphere Jules Verne weaves had me just as mesmerized as the professor, when he’s shown around the Nautilus for the first time. I would recommend buying a suitably edited version for pre-teens and would recommend the original for adults, who will get more out of the complex central character, while enjoying a good adventure story. Just don’t expect a fast pace. It takes its time.
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Tarzan Of The Apes (Edgar Rice Burroughs)

edgar rice burroughs“Tarzan of the Apes”, published in 1914, is perhaps the most well-known adventure story of its age. Certainly it spawned the legend of Tarzan – a pinnacle of masculinity, a demigod; a gifted hunter and fighter, a gentleman and connoisseur.”Tarzan” was written in a period of Western literature that was so uniquely thrilling: it saw the publication of the fantasy stories of Rudyard Kipling,  Rider Haggard, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. [Read more…]

Masque Of The Red Death (Edgar Allan Poe)

Lon ChaneyDream in the language of dream, with an imagery shining forth in a symphony of sound and colour. Not to get too pretentious about it, but Masque is the greatest short story of the last 200 years. It contains a Biblical weight and foreboding tone that resonates in the reader’s back teeth. This is an Old Testament horror from the Prophet of Doom himself!

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