Saturday, 29 June 2013

Scared of Swimming


I'm finding it hard this weekend to feel exceptionally appreciative of my inspiring elders because I'm hardly reading a classic novel at the moment. I'm reading Ingo because it's the one I've been given from my book club. On the cover there is a turquoise sea bed and an image of a beautiful mermaid tossing her tail between the waves. Nothing towards those who love mermaids, but there are some things I find hard to read in public.

Alas, I haven't yet finished the book and I don't want to comment on it before I've closed it for good. I was getting ready this morning and thinking 'What could I possibly write about that's connected to the sea in someway and will interest me and my readers?'

The outcome was that I suddenly remembered a short story I'd once read concerning the ocean, and with more thought I remembered the collection of other short stories linked to it which I'd also read, which is why I'm about to inform you of this anthology.

Edited by Nick Shadow and collectively known as The Midnight Library, this series is a collection of volumes each housing three short stories designed to chill you to the bone. For some reason or another, I've picked up the eighth book in the series, The Catch, but the stories are seemingly unconnected and so this didn't seem to matter. The first was about the ocean, the second about a mice infestation, the third about a tin of lip gloss.

With a tag line of 'dare to be scared', the front cover isn't very promising, but regrettably I can't remember what I felt when I first brought the book, or let alone read it. It's been on my bookcase for years and years, and I've only picked it up now and again to refer back to parts which have had some sort of impact. Despite this, the stories in there terrified me. Like, I'm about to go to university, and I can't imagine what I must have felt reading the book alone in my room for the first time. They aren't overly filled with themes, motifs and symbols, but they don't have to be, one because they're designed for a young audience, and two because they're so well written they don't need that sort of stuff. It's the sort of thing where it's what you don't see that scares you. Rather than filling the whole thing with gore and blood, it leaves you to figure out for yourself what happened. You can run wild with these stories.

My particular volume has stories written by Allan Frewin Jones and needless to say I enjoyed them very much. It's a mystery to me why the books aren't more popular, but it seems as though more series-based books about fantasy and teenage girls take off a lot easier nowadays.

My college library has a least two more books in the collection which I will get out as soon as possible, and I'll let you all know whether they're all up to the same standard. I mean, I read these books years ago, so it may just been the scary feelings that I'm remembering rather than the scary plot lines, but flicking through it now I see how much the author has thought about this - it's engaging. It made me think of another book I'd recently read in book club called The Stuff of Nightmares.

I must apologise again for the content, I'm stuck in a school with 11 to 15 year old kids and our library books aren't really a great selection. Though I finished Wuthering Heights last month, and I'm keen to talk about it.

Rachel x

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