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Verba Docent

Verba Docent

Joined October 2019

review
Verba Docent
Mehso-so

There are legitimate concerns about HPL's personal views which are well documented elsewhere. Speaking only for the short story, it was an interested diversion from HPL's typical settings. Ancient Egypt is always fascinating & is fertile ground for the pseudo-history HPL weaves into his tales. The protagonist, Harry Houdini, commissioned HPL to write it. I found the beginning/middle very exciting but was bored with the “horror“ of the ending.

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Verba Docent
Shunned House | H P Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are legitimate concerns about HPL's personal views which are well documented elsewhere. Speaking only for the short story, it was an excellent and atmospheric creepy tale. Loved the investigation elements as always and the way HPL weaves history into the story to give it a sense of authenticity.

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Verba Docent
The Unnamable | H.P. Lovecraft
Panpan

There are legitimate concerns about HPL's personal views which are well documented elsewhere. Speaking only for the short story, I did like some of the imagery. But the “plot“ was a bit melodramatic and it is, overall, a (very) short trifle one can skip without missing much.

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Verba Docent
The Shadow over Innsmouth | H. P. Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are legitimate concerns about HPL's personal views which are well documented elsewhere. Speaking only for the novella, it is among his best stories. The pacing is solid even with some long descriptions of urban navigation. There is an atypically high (for HPL) amount of action too. Usually I have figured out the horrific “reveal“ well before the end, but this tale managed to keep me interested to the last. Typical excellent HPL atmosphere.

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Verba Docent
The Thing on the Doorstep | Howard Phillips Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are legitimate concerns about HPL's personal views which are well documented elsewhere. Speaking only for the short story, it was a typically good HPL mystery/horror with especially good psychological elements. Not really much of a “reveal“ by the end, as the reader can easily figure out what's going on, but solid nonetheless.

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Verba Docent
The Haunter of the Dark | H. P. Lovecraft
Mehso-so

There are valid concerns about HPL's personal views, they are well documented. Speaking only of the short story, it is considered among his best horror stories. I found it interesting in the beginning as a mystery, but the horror elements (other than the excellent HPL atmosphere) were less impressive. Pretty short and worth a read as part of the Cthulhu mythos.

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Verba Docent
The Outsider | H. P. Lovecraft
Mehso-so

There are valid concerns about Lovecraft's personal views. Speaking only of the short story (and it is very short), it's a fairly straightforward horror tale. Literary critics will place it in different genres and point to psychological themes exemplified in the work. All true, but for a casual reader or someone trying to get through HPL as one of the classics of sci-fi/fantasy, it's worth a read for sake of completion.

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Verba Docent
The Shadow Out of Time | H. P. Lovecraft
Mehso-so

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate because they are well documented. This novella is somewhat longer than most of his other works. It has a very interesting premise, but has the major drawback of a slow, dragging, and overly detailed sci-fi element in the middle that seems like it could be about 1/5 the length it is. The beginning and end are mysterious and exciting respectively, and are classic HPL.

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Verba Docent
The Horror at Red Hook | H. P. Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate because they are well documented. Speaking purely about the short story, it is one of HPL's NYC tales. It was a good police investigation-style mystery with the typical supernatural/horror elements.

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Verba Docent
The Music of Erich Zann | H. P. Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate as they are well documented. Speaking purely about the short story, it is a fun (short) tale that i found rather unique. The horror element is less present, but it is typically mysterious and mind-bending. The street that cannot be found - a fun and somewhat benign way to imply deeper, unknowable things.

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Verba Docent
The Colour Out of Space | H P Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate because they are well documented. Speaking only of the short story, it is among the fan favorites for good reason. HPL truly captures the the horror of something completely inhuman and outside of human understanding. A great sci-fi horror that doesn't rely on gimmicky alien “effects“ but tugs at something universally, anciently frightening.

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Verba Docent
The Call of Cthulhu | H.P. Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate because they are well documented. Speaking only of the short story, it is perhaps the most well known of HPL. The story itself has the investigative elements that I think HPL does so well. I thought the last third of the tale was the weakest, and would have preferred more unexplained mystery. Still, absolutely necessary if reading HPL. Cthulhu fhtagn!

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Verba Docent
Midsummer Night's Dream | William Shakespeare
Pickpick

One of my favorite plays by the Bard. Magical and lighthearted, but with a moral. Perhaps more of a fun one to read, though there are still parts (as in all of Shakespeare's plays) that drag on with seemingly little impact on the larger plot. Contains some of the most recognizable characters of faerie lore now peppered throughout popular culture.

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Verba Docent
The Canterbury Tales | Geoffrey Chaucer, Thomas Tyrwhitt
Mehso-so

Not light reading. Some of the tales in this work are fun, funny, and even a bit exciting. Some, however, are extremely boring. Of note, The Tale of Melibee is perhaps the most boring thing I have ever read! If one wants to complete this to earn the achievement of reading the classics, good luck! If one would rather read select tales, it would prove more enjoyable.

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Verba Docent
The Mabinogion | Sioned Davies
Mehso-so

This is the source of much of Welsh folklore and mythology. I appreciate that immensely. Some of the tales are excellent and genuinely fun to read. Others are somewhat boring and bogged down by long lists of names and genealogies. This is not uncommon in older works and I try to ignore it stylistically. If one were to pick and choose stories, skipping some, the reading would be more enjoyable.

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Verba Docent
In the Vault | H.P. Lovecraft
Mehso-so

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate because they are well documented. Speaking only of the short story, I found it a straightforward and somewhat predictable tale. It lacked the really great atmosphere of Lovecraft, but is so short that one might as well read it to polish off the HPL corpus. Could be told as a campfire ghost story without any controversy and would likely elicit indifference.

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Verba Docent
Last Command | Timothy Zahn
Pickpick

An amazing addition to the Star Wars epic! The thrilling conclusion completes the arc of character developments and reveals the results of Grand Admiral Thrawn's plans. Anyone who loves the classic Star Wars canon (now called “Legends“) will enjoy this series immensely. Thrawn, a fan favorite, is the real selling point. It's great to have all the classic characters in their familiar roles, but Thrawn, as the new antagonist, is masterful.

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Verba Docent
Dark Force Rising | Timothy Zahn
Pickpick

An amazing addition to the Star Wars epic! The second installment continues to reveal the machinations of perhaps the best antagonist of the Star Wars universe, Grand Admiral Thrawn. Anyone who loves the classic Star Wars canon (now called “Legends“) will enjoy this series immensely.

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Verba Docent
Heir to the Empire | Timothy Zahn
Pickpick

An amazing addition to the Star Wars epic with all the beloved characters as well as new allies and villains. Such a great trilogy! The first installment gets you hooked - one cannot help but wonder what Grand Admiral Thrawn will mastermind! Anyone who loves the classic Star Wars canon (now called “Legends“) will enjoy this series immensely.

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Verba Docent
The Lurking Fear | H. P. Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate because they are well documented. Speaking only of the short story, it is typical of the mystery/horror he does so well. The atmosphere and sense of investigation are excellent. The horror elements are both traditionally overt and subtle, making the story all the creepier. The elements of historicity woven into the tale lend it a sense of verisimilitude.

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Verba Docent
The Rats in the Walls | H.P. Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate - they are well documented. Consider reading the reprint from the 50s. Speaking only of the short story, it is typical of the mystery/horror he does so well. The atmosphere & sense of investigation are excellent. Parts remind me of Poe (an influence for HPL). The horror elements are truly ghastly, which is not something I seek out, but are essential for the genre.

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Verba Docent
Cool Air | H.P. Lovecraft
Mehso-so

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate because they are well documented. Speaking purely about the short story, I found it a fairly straightforward and basic tale which lacked the atmosphere of other Lovecraft works. This is likely due to the setting in NYC. It's so short though that one might as well read it if they are fans of Lovecraft or, like me, are trying to read the “classics.“

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Verba Docent
The Whisperer in Darkness | H. P. Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate because they are well documented. Speaking purely about the novella, it is more science fiction/cosmic horror than traditional horror. I preferred the first 2/3 of the story, which involve more traditional mystery/horror elements. The last third, which has more sci-fi elements, was less impressive to me. The atmosphere of mystery and terror is the main selling point.

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Verba Docent
Dagon | H.P. Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate because they are well documented. Speaking purely about the short story (and it is short), I have to say the imagery is classically horrific. The atmosphere of the tale is the main point, in my opinion. The short action of the story is interesting too, as is the ending (won't spoil the specifics, but classic mystery).

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Verba Docent
Herbert West: Reanimator | H. P. Lovecraft
Pickpick

There are valid issues with Lovecraft's personal views which I will not reiterate because they are well documented. Speaking purely about the short story, it is certainly fun to read. Each part ends on a cliff hanger, which is the result of the serial nature of it's publication. Each also begins with a recap for the same reason, which can be annoying, but does not detract from the story too much. A classic of the genre despite the serial format.

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Verba Docent
Fool Moon | Jim Butcher
Pickpick

Better than its predecessor, Fool Moon begins to develop the gritty, magical world Butcher has created. Another solid urban fantasy, but still building up to the larger story arcs that really impress.

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Verba Docent
Mehso-so

The first book of an amazing series. However, being the first installment, the story does not benefit from the world-building and developed characters that the subsequent stories enjoy. As a stand-alone book, it's a solid urban fantasy, but overall so-so.

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Verba Docent
Pickpick

This is the Finnish national epic. Pieced together from folklore taken from oral storytellers and other sources and organized/added to by the compiler, this work represents the mythology of the Finns and has inspired modern fantasy writers. Broken into 50 parts (kantos), some are extremely fun, interesting, and compelling. Others are much less so. The epic story is therefore fragmented, which may be frustrating. A must for students of world myth.

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Verba Docent
Dracula | Bram Stoker
Pickpick

The epistolary style of the novel lends a verisimilitude to the story that increases the excitement of the mystery surrounding Dracula and the chase/hunt for the fiend.

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Verba Docent
Gilgamesh | Stephen Mitchell
Pickpick

An ancient epic not to be forgotten. Fun, in a way, to read as a story by itself. But perhaps more important as an ancient source of mythology and storytelling.

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Verba Docent
Odyssey | Homer
Pickpick

The archetypal travel adventure. Important as a source for so many references and allusions. As a story, definitely fun and a true sense of epic scale if you can get past the archaic style (which I find pleasing).

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Verba Docent
Pickpick

Definitely a classic of science fiction. It can be frustrating to get through some of the long lists of fish or the overly precise coordinates given and the action is a little underwhelming. However there is a sense of adventurous travel and camaraderie with the characters that make the book endearing by the end.

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Verba Docent
Well of Ascension | Brandon Sanderson
Pickpick

Definitely a great fantasy series. Book two is less epic than Final Empire in some ways, but makes up for this in world-building and hints at the history of the cosmology that will make anyone who loves such details and grand scales very happy.

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Verba Docent
Mistborn: The Final Empire | Brandon Sanderson
Pickpick

Amazing series! The first installment seems as if it is the full story arc, as the scale is so epic in this first book alone. But it is only the beginning of the story!

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Verba Docent
Pickpick

The fantastic conclusion of the trilogy. The battles of Book 5 and the build-up to those scenes are truly epic and exciting. Some very moving parts as well, especially at the end.

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Verba Docent
Pickpick

One of my favorites, especially the character of Theoden. Definitely more action-packed and fast-paced than Fellowship, which may make it more enjoyable to some readers.

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Verba Docent
Pickpick

First part of the epic trilogy. Takes a while to get started, but obviously worth it.

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Verba Docent
The Hobbit | J.R.R. Tolkien
Pickpick

A fun and easy romp through Tolkien's world. The quintessential fantasy adventure tale!

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review
Verba Docent
Silmarillion | J R R Tolkien
Pickpick

I have read the Silmarillion and listened to it as an audio book. I feel it is much more fun to experience as an audio book, as one does not have to muddle through the names in various languages. It reads like an epic history, as it should. Not to be missed for the true fans of Tolkien's work.