My affair with the gentleman of Providence

My interest in the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft goes back to my childhood, if only vaguely.  I remember that my dad picked up a book, most likely from Goodwill, which was a collection of Lovecraft’s, and possibly others’, stories.  It was a red, hardbound book with gold lettering on the spine and lacked a dust jacket.  I recall looking through the table of contents and spying the curious word “Cthulhu”.  I was probably about ten at the time, and I pretty much forgot about Lovecraft soon after.

Later on, in high school, I began to wonder about the book.  I’d read a little about Lovecraft online and was interested to read some of his work.  Not long after this newfound interest, I encountered a book at Goodwill called Best Supernatural Stories of H. P. Lovecraft.  It had a ragged purple dust jacket and some adequately pulpy cover art.  The book was published in 1945 (a first edition, if I remember correctly), and had brittle yellow-brown pages that smelled as old as they looked.  I still look back on that day at Goodwill as a very serendipitous event and am thankful my eye didn’t pass right over the book.

I devoured that old book’s contents, starting with The Call of Cthulhu.  Every day as I sat in the back of my Genetics/Criminology class, I was swept up into another world of cosmic wonder and terror.  The crowning moment in reading the delicate old book was with the story “The Colour Out of Space”.  (It was, and still is, my favorite Lovecraft story.)

After finishing the book, I soon discovered that the Osgood Library had a very nice copy of the Library of America’s Lovecraft publication Tales, and I checked the book out as many times as I could possibly manage to persuade the librarians to let me.  (This wasn’t too difficult, because my mom worked there and could check it in and back out for me.)

Today, I have read enough Lovecraft to have a pretty solid opinion about which were his best and worst works.  I would like to start a blog series about some of his tales…which will have the added benefits of getting me to read more again and to read more Lovecraft.  I can’t see why I shouldn’t enjoy my favorite author’s writings, and so I’m off to look through my catalog of stories (I have a written system–it’s pretty funny to look at, but it lets me know which of my books contain which stories at a glance) and choose which one to read and write about.

(I just finished “The Whisperer in Darkness” today, and it’s made me even more excited to see how the HPLHS adapts it into a film!  We’ve been teased and it’s been talked about since 2007.)


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