Forced to read! Oh, the agony.
My so-called summer vacation is at an end, as we start pre-sessional meetings tomorrow morning. I've been teaching in our new program for international students for the past two weeks already, though, and much of my summer has been consumed with preparatory work for this year's classes. In addition to my staple AP class, I'm teaching three new elective courses this year--of my design, so it's all my fault--which means reading or re-reading a pile of books I haven't taught before. Here's a list of books I'm leading students through that are fresh to the curriculum:
lost boy, lost girl by Peter Straub
Duma Key by Stephen King
The Gothic Strain (elective course)
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa
The Dark Descent, ed. David G. Hartwell
Death and the City (elective course on detective fiction and urban studies)
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Crazy Kill by Chester Himes
The Longman Anthology of Detective Fiction, ed. Deane Mansfield-Kelley and Lois A. Marchino
Central and South Asian Literature
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Poems of Rumi
The Prose Ramayana
Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
The Anchor Book of Modern Arabic Fiction, ed. Denys Johnson-Davies
Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories by Angela Carter
I haven't finished reading this list, but I've made a significant dent in it. I try to stay at least a trimester ahead of my prepping duties, though I've jumped around a bit to gie my reading some variety. The chair of our department is a real task master, though, so I've been forced--forced, I tell you--to read my widdle eyes out.
Additionally, I've read several books for review in the next issue of Dead Reckonings (also available at the Horror Mall), including Peter Straub's The Skylark (from Subterranean Press) and the sold-out novella A Special Place: The Heart of A Dark Matter (Borderlands Press). I'll be interested to read the heavily edited A Dark Matter, the mass-market version of The Skylark due from Doubleday in February of 2010. Then there was Bad Things by Michael Marshall, which--despite the marketing--is a real, live supernatural horror novel, and John Langan's debut novel, The House of Windows, which fences its yard in the best traditions of haunted house books but grows something strange, original, and contemporary in its gardens (there's a tortured metaphor for you).
And if you don't get the reference in the title of this entry, it's from a bit by the great comedian Bill Hicks. Here's a clip of the performance: