The Books of Blood

One of the happy side effects of the Roth obsession is my return to the pitch realms of Clive Barker. I realised that I hadn't read much of anything lately, not seriously, and I was rereading material when I should be reading something new, if only to tone up the reading muscle. So I found Clive Barker's The Books of Blood and decided to read at least one short story each day until I'm finished with the book. I know that sounds like I think it's a task, but that's not true. I'm just wanting to commit myself fully to someone else's patch of imagination for a while, and I can't think of a better garden in which to loiter than Clive Barker's. Maybe Stephen King's but, honestly, Clive surpassed Stephen King on my list of favourite authors back in 1990. Funny coincidence, that (not).

So, tonight's story is actually called "The Book of Blood," and it's the first story in the first book (there's three in one volume). About ten pages long, it should not take me long at all to read it. And I'll probably want to read the next one, but I'm going to refrain. I've set rules; one story each day.

Yes yes, Virgo anal retentiveness. Whatever. Shut up.

Anyway, I'm shocked at myself for never having read The Books of Blood. They are one of the most vital of Clive's written works. I'm rather ashamed of myself, to be honest.

The last book of Clive's I read was Mister B Gone in 2009, and it was ingenious. What makes a person conjure up the idea that a minion of hell got trapped in the first printing press and embodied the book you're reading at that very moment? It's insane and brilliant.

After this reading assignment, though, I may have to return to previously-read books, if only to reacquaint myself with Imajica. This is my favourite book by Clive Barker, and it always will be. After JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion, it is my most-read book, having been devoured by these eyeballs six times already. And that's pretty impressive, if I do say so myself, since the book is 57482092842466221 pages long.

Honestly, I could reread all his books, but there is one book I would probably avoid, and that's his first novel The Damnation Game. It was my first Clive book, read to an almost exclusive Shriekback soundtrack, because that is when I first discovered them. And, looking back at it all now, I realise that parts of Mamoulian found their way into Cadmus Pariah. Mamoulian's description in the Wikipedia article goes like this: The main antagonist of the story, Mamoulian is a strange man with strange skills to give and take life with a sense of death about him that give him a creepy disposition and the demeanor of a devilish, almighty being.

I might go batshit if I read that book again, after all these years and everything that has happened. Despite rumours to the contrary, I would like to keep what little sanity I have left.

For now, though, one story each night...because night is the only logical time to release your soul to Clive...and then I'll move on to something else. I don't believe reading any of this will affect The Harming Tree, since I am still avoiding any Vampire literature, and that isn't really Barker's bag. If I turn out to be wrong, I'll shelve the book until I can keep the reading and writing comfortably separate.
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