Quentin S. Crisp: The Book I Would Like To Be Buried With…

August 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Bury Me With This Book, Interviews 

The twenty-fifth entry in the Bury Me series features a writer recently returned to the county of his birth, Devon-based Quentin S. Crisp. An author who is, in Mark Samuels’ opinion, “the most important writer of his generation.”

Kafu walking“There are two choices here, essentially because this article serves as a kind of recommendation (and primarily, I suppose, for those reading in English) and my chosen author, Nagai Kafū, is Japanese. Therefore, I’ll have to select one translated volume, and one volume in the original.

On the website Goodreads, I notice that my influences are listed simply as, ‘Nagai Kafū’. His name standing alone like that makes it seem as if he is actually my greatest influence as a writer, and at first I wondered if this might be misleading. I suppose it is, to an extent, but perhaps not such a great extent as I first thought. It does seem curious, though, that Kafū has come to assume such great significance for me.

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Simon Kurt Unsworth: The Book I Would Like To Be Buried With…

August 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Bury Me With This Book, Interviews 

One of my favourite short story writers, the very personable Simon Kurt Unsworth, gives us his Book To Be Buried With, in this, the twenty fourth instalment…

salem-nel“Let’s sort out our terms of reference here. I’m assuming by ‘the book I’d like to be buried with’ that we’re granting me some kind of zombified afterlife in which I can read, and that I’ve been buried with one of those booklights, and maybe some peanuts to keep me going when I get peckish? I’m also assuming that we’re meaning ‘a book I’d like to read again’, which helps – it means I can discard all those books I’ve enjoyed but am unlikely to tackle more than once (Danielewski’s House of Leaves, for example, which I thought was great, but I really can’t be bothered doing all that ‘holding the book upside down and reading great long lists of stuff’ again). In the end, this came right down to the wire in a all-out scrap between three books, all of which I’d have been perfectly happy to read in my coffin at leisure as the Rapture happened around me. The two losers (let’s not call them that, actually: let’s call them the two equally wonderful books that I didn’t pick this time) are The Collected Ghost Stories of MR James and Junji Ito’s three-part graphic novel about a town cursed by spirals, Uzumaki. Both of these are superb, nigh-on faultless, pieces of art which have brought me hours of pleasure, but in the end, I didn’t really have a choice. So, the book I’d like to be buried with is Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot.

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Allyson Bird: The Book I Would Like To Be Buried With…

August 16, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Bury Me With This Book, Interviews 

The twenty-third entry of Bury Me… and Allyson Bird, author of the British FantasyAward winning Bull Running for Girls, shares her Book To Be Buried With…

Nest of Nightmares“‘The Wine Dark Sea by Robert Aickman would have made joint first choice but that problem has been decided for me because it has already been mentioned in this series …the other is Nest of Nightmares by Lisa Tuttle. A friend in California sent it to me last year and I was devastated when I had to send it back. Quite fortuitously, as copies are hard to come by now, I went into the dealers’ room at WHC Brighton this year and found a copy quickly. I asked Lisa to sign it – a wonderful moment for me.

In Nest of Nightmares Lisa Tuttle gives me the mystery I long for and everything isn’t neatly tied up. I don’t always want that. And, there is much more going on than the literal meaning of the words. Her fiction is enigmatic and all the stronger for being so. Her characters are ordinary people facing the strange and I remember the imagery long after the final page has been turned. Women are mad, or are they? They are taken over, as are some of the ones they love — but by whom or what? They feel trapped. One protagonist is belittled (Robert Holdstock mentioned this when he talked of the story, Flying to Byzantium in Horror 100 Best Books, edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman) and others are driven by ‘forces’ supernatural or otherwise. They face life and death and we wonder if they live …what will be the outcome? They are never let off easily. The way back can be fraught with danger and some make the choice to stay or can’t get away from the ‘supernatural’ knowing a price will be paid.

And then we come to The Nest at the end of the collection. A real horror story for me, and as with many of Lisa Tuttle’s stories, it can be read on many levels. There is so much pain and yet hope in that story. We are all mortal and just perhaps… whether it is something we shouldn’t wish for… there might just be more about our world that we can’t comprehend.”


Allyson Bird with Vincent Chong and Steve UphamAbout Allyson Bird:

Allyson’s debut collection, Bull Running for Girls, won The British Fantasy Society award for best collection in 2009. Her second, Wine and Rank Poison from Dark Regions Press, will be launched at Fantasycon this year. Autumn sees the publication of her first novel, Isis Unbound, from the same publisher. She is also co-editing an anti-fascist, anti-racist anthology, with Joel Lane, called Never Again. This is due out from Gray Friar Press in September.

A little on Wine and Rank Poison.

Revenge. Best served cold. Here are ten stories involving most of the deadly sins: greed, lust, envy, wrath, and pride. Strange stories woven in time and place from Ancient Greece to 1929 Odessa, Italy to the modern United States…stories that mix reality, mythology, legend, half-humans, and the inhuman…

Allyson lives near the South Yorkshire moors with her husband and young daughter.

Weston Ochse: The Book I Would Like To Be Buried With…

The twenty-second entry in the Bury Me… series features US-based Weston Ochse, aka El Elvis Rojo, a man who killed me off in one of his stories in a signed, slip-cased, leather bound, 26-copy edition of Scary Rednecks, co-authored with David Whitman.

Dandelion_wine_first“Although the Fifty Years of Playboy comes to mind because of the continually deviant workings of my fourteen-year-old mind, not only am I not sure that it is really a book, but even if it was, the experience of looking at pictures would eventually grow tiring and pale in comparison to the universe one can be transported to with cannonical writing.

Such is the case with Dandelion Wine. If I was to be buried with any book, it would be with my own first edition signed by Ray – Bigger Elvis – Bradbury. Not only did Ray introduce me to the coming of age (Bildungsroman) style of writing, but this truly magical novel contains everything I should ever want to read; it is a tale of horror, it is science fiction it is fantasy, it is mystery… it is truly an iconic book because it is uncategorical.

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Johnny Mains: The Book I Would Like To Be Buried With…

August 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Bury Me With This Book 

The twenty first Bury Me… features young whippersnapper Johnny Mains, a man who has risen to notoriety in horror circles thanks to his enthusiastic resurrection of The Pan Book of Horror Stories.

blue_highways1“The book I’d like to be buried with is a non-fiction travel book called Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon. I stumbled across it in a charity shop when I was 18 and it has become one of the most important books I own.

In the early ‘80’s, after a painful divorce and redundancy from his job as a Professor, Least Heat-Moon buys a van, decks it with a bed, table, cooker and toilet so it is liveable and in accordance with Native American resurrection rituals, calls it Ghost Dancing.

He then drives for 13,000 miles on the ‘Blue Highways’ of America, the small back water roads (coloured blue on the old Rand McNally maps) that take him through forgotten and lost towns; he purposely steers clear from the fast motorways and big cities. He retells the histories of the areas he passes through, talks to the people he meets along the way – be it a born again Christian who hitchhikes for no other purpose than to spread the word of God, a family who have a book recording every death in the community for several generations and take solace in the fact that one day their names will also be added to the book – to Brenda, the waitress he meets in a roadside diner, with whose dialogue (as with everybody he meets) he recreates on the page, and it’s beautiful to read.

Blue Highways is wistful, witty, heart warming and painful. The knowledge that many of these people knew that they were the last of their kind before they were swallowed up by faceless consumerism that lurked at the edges of their communities is extremely sad and touching.

The book inspired me so much, that I took my own road trip, at 19, all around the UK. I spent one year on the road, just me with a tent and a rucksack and I hitchhiked and found work in whatever town I landed in and met many amazing people, some who I’m still in touch with 15 years later. And the book went with me every step of the way, and it holds pride of place on my best bookshelf, battered and dog-eared, next to the signed Pan Horrors and the Not at Nights…”


JohnnyAbout Johnny Mains:

Johnny Mains is a relative newcomer to the genre. He has had a couple of short stories published in the Black Book of Horror series, has written for SFX and interviews cult authors and artists for  The Paperback Fanatic Magazine.

He has just edited Back From the Dead: The Legacy of the Pan Book of Horror Stories and has written the introduction for the re-issue of the 1959 Pan Book of Horror Stories, out in October.

He lives in Norwich with his wife Lou and dog, Biscuit.