Day 21: 31 Days of Halloween

Photo Credit: The Guardian

I don’t know if I can think of a more polarizing author of the modern day than Chuck Palahniuk. You can do a simple internet search and find people who love his work and others that hate his writing with a passion. And I hate to admit this but I think there a quite a few people that don’t understand the way he writes. I can honestly say there are some books that are just hard to read because the way he has constructed them but I’ve learned that there generally seems to be a reason for that. I almost feel as if Palahniuk likes to experiment on his readers and I think this form of exploration with his writing is what turns a lot of folks off instantaneously. I think it is amusing that he seems to stick his middle finger up to the usual way a book is constructed. How odd to find  a rebel in a place where a lot of people wouldn’t think you could have one.

It’s interesting to me that I don’t always love his books and yet he always hooks me with saying something that resonates with my whole being. How does he do that? I find it incredibly refreshing that Palahniuk doesn’t seem to take himself seriously. He admits to so much through his writing. I don’t know if a lot of his quotes are just well crafted words but if I were to take them at face value, I can do nothing but say he speaks truthiness.

I try to forget about the expectation that’s out there and the audience listening for the next thing so that I’m not trying to please them. I’ve spent a huge amount of time not communicating with those folks and denying that they exist.” –Chuck Palahniuk

You realize you have no control over how you’re perceived.” –Chuck Palahniuk

“Every time I write something, I think, this is the most offensive thing I will ever write. But no. I always surprise myself.” –Chuck Palahniuk

You can read more of his quotes at Brainy Quote.

Photo Credit: Screencrave

By now, you’re probably wondering what Palahniuk has to do with Halloween? I’m getting around to that bit right now, so despair no longer. I think many people know that Chuck Palahniuk is the man behind the novel Fight Club, but I want to bring one of my favorite anthology-like books to light, Haunted. It’s a collection of horrifying poems and short stories that will make you feel uncomfortable. The way the book is pieced together it seems pretty experimental and yet somehow deliberate. I honestly think Palahniuk doesn’t care if you like or dislike his writing; I believe he feels that if he can evoke any type of emotion from his readers then he’s done his job and that is frustrating for what seems like a lot of people.

I never read anything of his until a friend of mine shoved their copy of this book into my hands, knowing that I love horror and enjoy reading. I will admit I didn’t know what to say about this non-conformal author after I finished Haunted. I enjoyed the bizarre stories but I didn’t know if I liked the author until I read this:

A motion picture, or music, or television, they have to maintain a certain decorum in order to be broadcast to a vast audience. Other forms of mass media cost too much to produce a risk reaching only a limited audience. Only one person. But a book. . . . A book is cheap to print and bind. A book is as private and consensual as sex. A book takes time and effort to consume – something that gives a reader every chance to walk away. Actually, so few people make the effort to read that it’s difficult to call books a “mass medium.” No one really gives a damn about books. No one has bothered to ban a book in decades.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted via Goodreads

And after I read that, he had a new customer.

If you like  reading horror and want to try something off color and  sometimes very disturbing for this Halloween season, I recommend Haunted. The only thing I ask is to not hate me for suggesting the book. No seriously, don’t hate me. And remember, it’s just a book.