Call it pathetic fallacy, but sat enjoying a warm coffee on a cold, dark night was the perfect setting to discuss this month’s book club choice; H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories.
Even though most people struggled to read more than a few of the short stories, the discussion was lively and everyone had plenty to say. It seemed a mix of reasons why people hadn’t finished the book – some don’t like short stories, others aren’t fans of horror, some didn’t like the writing style and others just ran out of time. But everyone recognized the importance of Lovecraft to the horror genre today – the documentary style reminded me of the X-Files, the lack of women brought us on to talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I’m sure at one point someone mentioned Start Trek.
I’m genuinely glad I attempted to read some of Lovecraft’s work. I’ve been meaning to for years, and whilst I didn’t really get into it in time for the book club, I suspect it’s the kind of thing I might try and dip into every so often. Sure the language wasn’t what I’m used to and some of the stories felt a little like the interesting stuff had happened off page, but they were worth a read – and definitely a notable classic, I’m sure.
The usual questions asked at most of our book club
- Did you enjoy the book?
- Would you recommend it to others?
- Did you finish it?
More specific questions for The Call of Cthuhlu and Other Weird Tales:
- How did you feel about reading short stories?
- How did you feel about reading horror?
- The writing style – did it feel older than the 1920s?
- Could you see how Lovecraft influenced the horror genre today?
- Did the device of the documentary style put you off or did you like it? Do you think it made it feel more real – would audiences at the time feel the same?
- Did anyone notice the lack of women and how foreigners were treated in the stories?
Next month the book club is reading Never the Bride by Paul Magrs. It’s not chicklit, despite what the title suggests (my friend Liz described it as ‘mad old lady lit’). And double-points, because it’ll count towards the British Book Challenge!
*This was originally posted on my old blog Sisyphean Solutions*