“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.” – Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
Authors use water in variety of ways in novels. It is used to create a mood – either violent with storms or gentle with the imagery of a lake at sunset. Water is used as a setting – by the ocean, at the beach, or in an oasis. Authors use water to isolate characters from society (Lord of the Flies) by surrounding islands or by placing characters on ships. This month we are looking at books where the use of water plays a role in the development of the plot or is intrinsic to the telling of the tale. I asked the yasla-bk listserv for their suggestions of titles. We received a flood of suggestions, the suggestions poured in, the ideas flowed.
Robinson Crusoe – Defoe
Treasure Island – Stevenson
The Old Man and the Sea – Hemingway
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Verne
The Far Side of the World – O’Brian
Not Wanted on the Voyage – Findley
Life of Pi – Martel
Ship Breaker – Bacigalupi
Scorpio Races – Stiefvater
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Twain
The Far Side of the World – O’Brian
Birthmarked – O’Brien
The Raft – Bodeen
The Water Wars – Stracher
They Came From Below – Nelson
Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi
Dark Water Rising – Hale
Exodus – Bertagna
Imaginary Girls – Suma
Horatio Hornblower series – Forester
Shipwreck – Korman
The Cay – Taylor.
The Island of the Blue Dolphins – O’Dell
Call It Courage – Sperry
Water Steps – LaFaye
Dark Life – Falls
Whale Talk – Crutcher
Swim the Fly – Calame
Drought – Bachorz
The Vicious Deep – Cordova
The Highest Tide – Lynch.
The Killing Seas – Lewis.
Undine – Russon
Water : tales of elemental spirits – McKinley and Dickinson (short fiction)
Nation – Pratchett
Moby Dick – Melville
Ripple Trilogy – Swanson
The genre of horror includes all kinds of stories. First, we have the classical gothic tales like Shelley’s Frankenstein, Stoker’s Dracula and the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. These days the genre of horror can include psychological horror through to gruesome and gross reads. Authors can get our hearts beating by messing with our heads or make our stomachs turn with their depictions of zombies, monsters and other things that go bump in the night. These are the books that evoke the feeling of fear in the reader. Personally, I enjoy a good horror book but I’m not a fan of the subgenre of gruesome and grisly.
As with many genres, there is cross-over. Some of these titles could fit onto a dystopian list, for example.
So, here’s a list of suggested horror reads – titles and authors. Some are light. Some are dark. Some are just really, really red and sticky.
- Dracula – Bram Stoker. For those who want to meet the original Count.
- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley. One of my all-time favorite books. A story that really asks what makes a monster?
- If you like Frankenstein, try the Kenneth Oppel’s prequel, This Dark Endeavor and Such Wicked Intent.
Humorous horror aka “blood-lite” (I don’t know how coined the term so I can’t give credit, but it is a good way of describing this type of book)
This phrase may seem like an oxymoron but these books do have the traditional fear factor mixed with varying degrees of humour. One of the best I read this summer was:
- Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride. I can’t wait for the sequel. Sam is having a tough week. He has just found out that he is a necromancer, one of his friends has become a talking head, and he finds himself trapped with a hot werewolf. Now all he has to do is figure out how to use his powers to save himself and his friends.
- Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer. “High school bites. Especially when you are a teenager.” Like all teenagers, Vladimir Tod has to survive the trials and triumphs of high school but he also has a secret he’s trying to hide – he’s a vampire.
Favorite Crusader gore
We like our horror. These are the top five books/series we can’t keep on the shelves:
- Department 19 by Will Hill
- Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
- Enemy by Charlie Higson
- Knife Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
- Escape from Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith