Guilty Pleasure 4 – Old Books

26 Jul

I admit it, while the other kids were smoking behind the hill I was in the library reading ‘The Mask Of The Red Death’ By Edgar Allan Poe. I started on Sherlock Holmes in my teens as well as discovering M.R James. Oh yes, a good old fashioned short story from a bygone era that’s my weakness. I read other books too but those were my favourites.

I loved Sherlock and the supernatural stories. Our ancestors may have had many short comings but there was a beauty to their speech which I often feel is lacking in the our modern times. Of course the gas light and remote locations helped too; all very atmospheric.

I remember my sister buying a second hand copy of a compilation of ghost stories called ‘A Little Night reading’ selected by Irish comedian Dave Allen. Of course she bought it we love Dave Allen (especially being a half Irish family.( That was the first time I read ‘Oh Whistle and I’ll come to you my lad’ By M.R James. That one really used to get me as a child!

When I grew up I discovered Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Tales of Terror and Mystery’ Ghost stories by Holmes’ creator, yes please. Actually I think there’s a couple of those I haven’t read yet. Since then I have also discovered Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu another great writer. I’ve also read a few Algernon Blackwood stories (brilliant name!) His character of John Silence is a bit like  a psychic Sherlock Holmes. Although I don’t find his writing style to flow as well as Conan Doyle’s in those particular stories there is something that feels quite familiar.

Do you have a favourite ghost story? What is it? Do you like the horror of Poe or the subtlety of James? Answers below

N.B Of course, before anyone points it out,  old books do have their disadvantages, once or twice (not often luckily)  I’ve come across a word that is absolutely offensive to a modern ear and I do have to remind myself to look at the context in which it is said in conjunction with the historical context. I don’t like it but I can’t change our ancestors social attitudes. That said I don’t really want to get into that in this post, it’s meant to be about positive things.




One Response to “Guilty Pleasure 4 – Old Books”


  1. Why I Chose Self Publishing | daydreaming in words - February 28, 2014

    […] My writing style (in this book) Because this book is an homage to the old fashioned ghost story, and a personal challenge to myself, I have tried to create the voice of a Victorian narrator. I wanted (who knows why) to create a book that read like a real Victorian book. I didn’t want to write historical fiction with a 21st Century voiced narrator; it wouldn’t have felt right.  This creates two potential problems: a) I fail miserably and it comes across as a characateur and really fake or b) The reader will find the style alienating and jarring to a modern audience. The Victorian style is very wordy. You can read about my love of old books here […]


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