Friday, November 12, 2010

100 Days of Fantasy: Day 90

This is an ongoing series looking at books that influenced me as a fantasy author.

Mysteries of the Unexplained
edited by Carrol C. Calkins

Mysteries of the UnexplainedThis non-fiction book has some personal importance for me. My grandfather bought it for me when I was about ten. He wasn't a man for literature, but he knew I loved books and each year he got me a subscription to Reader's Digest magazine and from time to time he would be me specific books that were published by Reader's Digest. This was one such book. My favorite, in fact.

Though I was young, I knew I wanted to be a fiction writer someday. At the time, my interests were mainly in fantasy, though I would discover horror in a few more years. I was also always interested in history, and things that seemed just a bit odd.

This book brought all of that together, my love for history, fantasy and things that were odd.

Mysteries of the Unexplained is a sizable book, physically and in its number of pages, and within there are tons and tons of articles about histories of world histories, covering such topics as the occult, ghosts, vampires, mysterious disappearances, mysterious historical figures, ESP, UFOs, alien abductions, etc.

For the young me, this was like having an encyclopedia of the supernatural. In one book, I could find out at least the basics on just about everything weird and unusual that I could ever want to know about. Keep in mind, this was decades before the World Wide Web came along, and while I could have found much of this information in a big library, it was a matter of pride for me that I had all this information at home in my room.

And it was good, interesting reading. No dusty, boring text here. There were also plenty of images to keep a boy's interest, from photos to maps to what today I realize is smart book design.

I couldn't have asked for anything better as a boy, and my grandfather realized this to some extent or other.

Even today, I'll turn to this book from time to time when I'm want a refresher about a piece of occult history, or a fact about a mysterious figure out of history, etc.

Thanks, granpa.

Up next: The Books of Magic

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