Adam Nevill: The Book I Would Like To Be Buried With…

The ninth featured author is the truly scary Adam Nevill, who tells me about the book that means everything to him…

Portrait“I read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man at the age of sixteen. At that age my relationship with fiction was based upon classic ghost stories, Lovecraft, Robert E Howard, Lovecraft, Tolkien, Lovecraft, Stephen King, pulp horror, and more Lovecraft. Which was all accompanied by a relentless soundtrack of pounding heavy metal, chiefly Iron Maiden and Deep Purple. I was also an acutely sensitive, self-loathing and angry misfit, displaced from New Zealand, and quite ashamed of the maelstrom of creative energy I had no outlet for, as well as being convinced that I was destined to be a pariah and too absurdly different from most anyone I knew. A familiar profile, I’m sure. And then I passed into the sixth form and just had my eyes opened on the A Level English Literature course.

I was surrounded by great novels at home, but had churlishly resisted anything that wasn’t horror or fantasy, as I’d foolishly imagined that anything else was conservative, dull, impenetrable, and not meant for such a loathsome creature of the shadows such as I. A levels back then were more rigorous than degrees and very hard to pass; you would study a dozen texts in minute detail with senior teachers in small classes, over two years, and then pass or fail in two three hour exams per subject at the end of the second year; there was no assessment. Less than 10% of school leavers made it to university. And I remember when my teacher Mr O’Brien, took me through Joyce’s Portrait in the lower sixth, I was stunned. Just stunned by revelation after revelation within the text. It was as if I’d waited my whole life for that one book to make sense of myself. Read more

Mark Morris: The Book I Would Like To Be Buried With…

In the eighth instalment of Bury Me With… Mark Morris tells us about the book that has influenced him more than any, the book he’d like to take to his grave… or does he? It’s obviously been a difficult decision:

“Am I assuming that if I’m to be buried with this book, then I won’t be alive to read it? In which case, I might choose one of my own, just so that bodysnatchers get an idea of who they’ve dug up before carting away my mortal remains to be used in macabre experiments.

11PanBookHowever, if the inference is that this will be the only book I’ll have available to read throughout eternity, whilst sitting on my heavenly cloud, then that’s different. There are many books that are very dear to me, not always because they’re especially good, but simply because they retain a certain nostalgic resonance. Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion by Terrance Dicks is one such example. This was the first Doctor Who book I ever bought, and its joyful impact — on my life and subsequent career — has been immense. Similarly the stories in The Eleventh Pan Book of Horror Stories scared me utterly shitless one New Years Eve many years ago, though in such a thrilling, life-affirming way that they sparked off a desire and a love for horror novels, stories and movies which has never since wavered. And talking of movies, Horror Movies by Alan Frank, a book I received as a Christmas present in 1974, and which still sits on a shelf in my study today, was the first of many movie books in my collection. Other favourites include A Heritage of Horror by David Pirie, English Gothic by Jonathan Rigby and The Hammer Story by Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes. Then, of course, there are novels. The Shining by Stephen King and The Fog by James Herbert were probably the first ‘modern’ horror novels I read as a teenager, and as such were massively influential. Away from the genre, What A Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and the various works of Magnus Mills, Rupert Thomson, James Lee Burke, Cormac McCarthy and David Mitchell have all enthralled me in recent years.

dark companionsBut if I had to choose just one book, I think I’d probably go for a short story collection. My favourite single author collection is probably Dark Companions by Ramsey Campbell, but I wouldn’t want to restrict myself to just one writer. I’m going to cheat here and choose as my book an anthology which doesn’t actually exist. It’s got at least 1000 pages and contains around 100 stories, each individually chosen by me. It would contain stories by all of my favourite authors, many of whom have already been mentioned above, and added to which would be the likes of Ian McEwan, Graham Joyce, Nigel Kneale, Nicholas Royle, Conrad Williams, Michael Marshall Smith, Robert Shearman, Stephen Volk, Tim Lebbon, Sarah Pinborough, Christopher Fowler, Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Carroll, Joel Lane, Peter Straub, Mary Danby, Rosemary Timperley, Dennis Etchison and…oh, many many more. I’m not sure any book would be sufficient to entertain me throughout eternity, but I’m sure that such an anthology would give me a few thousand years of pleasure, at least.”

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mark_morrisAbout Mark Morris:

Mark Morris became a full-time writer in 1988 on the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, and a year later saw the release of his first novel, Toady. He has since published a further sixteen novels, among which are Stitch, The Immaculate, The Secret of Anatomy, Fiddleback, The Deluge and four books in the popular Doctor Who range. His short stories, novellas, articles and reviews have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and magazines, and he is editor of the highly-acclaimed Cinema Macabre, a book of fifty horror movie essays by genre luminaries, for which he won the 2007 British Fantasy Award. His most recently published or forthcoming work includes a novella entitled It Sustains for Earthling Publications, a Torchwood novel entitled Bay of the Dead, several Doctor Who audios for Big Finish Productions, a follow-up volume to Cinema Macabre entitled Cinema Futura and a new short story collection, Long Shadows, Nightmare Light.

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