Ilse's weblog of random thoughts



The return of the headless horseman

Now that even in World of Warcraft Hallow’s End has returned, and I’m once again busy doing lots of tasks (aka as achievements) for the one and only reason that they’ll get Kany another dragon,  I thought it was appropiate to read some ghost stories around this time of the year.

Last week on the train, I thoroughly enjoyed Washington Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow‘. I always liked Tim Burton’s film ‘Sleepy Hollow‘, and not only because of Johny Depp playing the role of Ichabod Crane, but also because it was a really great plot. However, the movie’s story has little in common with Irving’s original story, apart from the characters of Ichabod and Katrina, the setting of Sleepy Hollow and of course, the headless Hessian! Irving’s story, is… well, different, so say the least, but really nice and worth reading. It’s just a short-story, so great for a chilly October’s evening. And , like so many wonderful older books, it’s downloadable for free on Project Gutenberg in all kinds of (e-book) formats.

After finishing the Sleepy Hollow story, I turned to one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, and started reading ‘The Graveyard Book‘. Full of ghosts, ghouls and witches, and a deserving winner of both the Hugo and Newbery Award, which once again stressed the fact that Gaiman has the unique ability to write stories that appeal to both aduls and children alike. I already admired ‘Caroline’ a lot, but in The Graveyard Book, Gaiman even seems to surpass himself. At the rate I’m reading, I’m sure to finish it before next weekend, so there will be time to read some more ghost stories.

I’m not really a fan of modern horror fiction, but I rather appreciate the gothic novels that started the genre more than 200 years ago, like ‘The Castle of Otranto’ by Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe’s ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho‘ and Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, all stories I read while studying literature back at uni. I also like vampire stories, especially Ann Rice’s series, which I read many years ago, and like to read again soon. It seems in my college days, I missed out on another great gothic story, that triggered the whole vampire genre, namely ‘The Vampyre‘ by John William Pollidori. I guess I’ll have to make up for that soon!

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