The Strange Case of Edward Gorey by Alexander Theroux

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Edward Gorey has always been quite the mystery to me. Apart from an array of books and snippets on the internet I don’t feel I have ever got close to knowing more about him. I stumbled across this book and hoped for some answers and a glimpse into this wonderful bohemian life.

Theroux’s book does give some insight into the world of Gorey, however, it does leave me feeling a little empty. I don’t know him as much as I would like to. This was the feeling I had as I lingered over its final pages. Alexander Theroux, a friend of Gorey’s recounts some rather amusing anecdotes and facts about the avid collector, genius artist, solitary man and lover of cats and tea. He sounds like the person I want him to be yet the author seems to talk about other people similar to Gorey rather than the man himself. He is comparing him to others rather than talking about Gorey as a single subject. If you are interested in knowing more about him then this book will give you little hints, other than that he will remain a mystery but that is very much something he would’ve preferred. I am sure of that.

Little Book of Maudism by Lucy Coleman Talbot

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In a world that is dominated by death, it appears many people forget about living. Those that lose loved ones mourn their loss yet forget to celebrate the light they had inside them and what it was that made them special. The words – death positive sound like a paradox but the simple fact that we die is always on our minds but if we choose to understand it, embrace it and live our life to its full potential then it won’t seem so daunting.

Lucy Coleman Talbot has written a wonderful book based on the philosophy of Maud from the novel Harold and Maud by Colin Higgins. It is an unconventional love story concerning an aging eccentric named Maud, who sees the beauty in life and a young man, Harold, who is rather obsessed with death.  Maud teaches Harold how to embrace every day and face up to the simple fact that everything dies. It is a beautiful story. The essence of this tale has been brought to life yet again (it was made into a film) with Lucy’s book. Each chapter is a life lesson, it teaches us how to be human. Sounds very simple but it is an amazing read that will inspire you to step back and look at your life (and your death).

You can buy your copy here

Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton

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When you don’t stick to the path, when you take yourself on a completely unplanned adventure; the world opens up to you. This is what the Atlas Obscura book is all about. It isn’t about the major attractions of the world that everyone flocks to with their  cameras and selfie sticks. These are places that some may not dare to venture, some may think too peculiar but some seek the oddities of the world. If you are the latter then this is your guidebook. It is the alternative tome that takes you around the world whilst you sit in front of the fire with a hot cup of tea. It teases and dares you to walk off the beaten track and find the most wondrous places around the globe. It invites you to open your eyes to some of the world’s most bizarre rituals, landscapes and people (both breathing and dead I have to add).

Get those walking boots on and grab your passport; this is your companion to the weird and wonderful world we live in.

Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (September 20, 2016)
Language: English

Morbid Curiosities: Collections of the Uncommon and the Bizarre by Paul Gambino

morbid-curiositiesI was alerted to this book by the fact that one of my favourite collectors Ryan Matthew Cohn was featured in its pages together with his wife. Without a second thought I ordered it as its content intrigued me and if everyone was as obsessive and particular about their collection as Ryan then I was in for a treat.

The book is beautifully printed and bound, it is a piece of art in itself. In fact it sits on one of my shelves with its cover facing the world as it looks so damn beautiful (bibliophile talking). As I thumbed through its pages I was introduced to each collector and I was entranced by the pieces that they had picked up on their travels. From ouija boards to human skulls to shrunken heads to nipple shields. Paul Gambino has certainly cast his net far and wide to bring some of the best collectors together including Nicole Angemi who has been noted as having the most controversial Instagram account online (if you aren’t squeamish then check her out). These are very genuine people with a very genuine passion and it is an absolutely wonderful collection of stories and photographs.

If you are just genuinely interested in the morbid curiosities of our culture then this book will educate you but if you are thinking of starting off your own collection then this will also give you some inspiration. This is definitely going to go down as one of my favourite books in my library.

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Laurence King; 01 edition (9 Sept. 2016)
Language: English