Spooky Recommendation: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

It’s Halloween, so there is no better day to talk about a book that still haunts me, years after reading it.  As a reader, I loved the book, but as a writer, there is so much to learn from it!

i-am-legend

I read I Am Legend by Richard Matheson a few years ago and I still find myself thinking about it all the time. Essentially, it follows Neville, the last man on Earth, when the world has been overtaken with vampires. The utter despair and loneliness of Neville’s situation is something that has stuck with me. Neville goes about his day, staking vampires as they sleep, fortifying his home, ignoring the voices of his neighbors who want to kill him at night.

A man could get used to anything if he had to.

A simple sentence. A simple idea. But, somehow, I find myself, again and again, going back to it. How often to we get used to terrible experiences and situations because we have to? Forget the vampires. For me, that quote is the real horror that can seep beyond the confines of a horror story.

Later in the story, too, I am forced to question everything that I believe, and not just about the story, but about life itself.

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS: At the end of the novel, Neville realizes that he has become what the vampires fear, the monster attacking their children. He hasn’t been a single man standing against abomination, but a relic of the old world terrorizing the new world.

The way the ending is achieved still gives me chills to think about. And if Matheson could paint a true horror of existence in his horror story, couldn’t this final revelation be another truth about the world? When have I been the bad guy? How do I discover what is true about myself or the world or others?

This was the book that made me question everything, and I have no regrets.

Lies Books Taught Me: Stalking=Dating

boy-stalking-time

Someone needs to explain how dating works to me. I’m really bad at it, and, in books, dating is almost always the product of… stalking.

That can’t work in real life… right?

And I get that a lot of the examples that immediately spring to mind are older: Confessions of Georgia Nicholson, Twilight, Stephanie Plum. But I read a lot and I don’t think this phenomenon has disappeared.

litle-mermaid-hes-so-beautiful

When I think about stalking=dating in the real world, I can come up with a few examples, too.  I have a friend whose parents started dating because her mom made every excuse she could to visit her dad’s place of employment in high school. They are still happily married.

Then, there are the less successful stories. I had a friend who wanted to marry rich, so she started hanging around places where she thought she would meet rich men. This worked for getting her dates, but not so much for a lasting relationship. Another friend is intent on going out with a guy and stops by his workplace to flirt at least once a week. Nothings come of it, but, who knows? Maybe there is a “yet” at the end of that sentence.

There is something to be said for making yourself available for the object of your affection. Nobody can flirt with you if you are holed up in your room playing Dragon Age. (Just me?) But… where is the line between being available and straight up stalking?

Personally, I haven’t tried this since high school. But mostly what I remember is I was so obsessed with “being available” for one particular person that I missed out on a lot of other opportunities that could have bloomed into teenage love and dramatic breakups.

t-swizzle-drama

So tell me two things in comments: 1. What is the most realistic love story you’ve ever read? and 2. Have you ever stalked anyone into dating you?