Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Are You A Rebel?

When it comes to reading, I’ve always been a rebel. As a little kid, I was indignant at being forced to check out picture books by the school librarian when I really wanted to read chapter books. Don’t get me wrong--I appreciated pictures of cute furry animals and the like as much as anyone, but I wanted books with words. Lots and lots of words. Needless to say, I had to sneak into the big-boy stacks to get my fix, and when I found the books I wanted, I had my older sister check them out for me. (Thanks sis!) My rebellious ways continued in middle school: while most of my peers were sneaking into their big brothers’ rooms to get a peek at their nudie magazines, I was sneaking into mine to read his books. And because he belonged to a book club, he had the goods: science fiction, mystery, fantasy, and horror. Home sick one day, one of the gems I discovered in his collection was a horror anthology published in 1980 called Dark Forces, which I proceeded to devour while curled up on the couch with a bowl of chicken noodle soup. In Dark Forces I discovered for the very first time some absolute legends in the horror field, writers such as T. E. D. Klein, Ramsey Campbell, Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, and Stephen King. (Remember a little story called The Mist? Yeah, it was first published in Dark Forces.) That book was an eye-opener for me, igniting a life-long love of the dark fantastic. Make no bones about it, people: you will not find a better horror anthology than this. Ever. Trust me. Many have tried, none have succeeded. So if you’re game, give it a shot. Or don’t—be a rebel and read what you want to read. Who cares what I or anyone else thinks of it? (Even if it's trash...just kidding...maybe.) Who cares if it’s not a bestseller? Heck, who cares if Oprah’s never heard of it? If you like it, that’s all that matters.

Let the congregation say amen.

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