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Old 11-07-2015   #1
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The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

I have been reviewing the gestalt of my own recent revisit of 'Songs of a Dead Dreamer' and 'Grimscribe' (reprinted and possibly edited for the new Ligotti Penguin Classics collection), stories that I first read about 30 years ago.
These works, based on my findings, represent an artful blend of (a) genuine, perhaps partially unintended, prophetic warnings about factors that have since emerged in our world, couched in a beautiful original Gothic-Baroque style, and (b) a 'fabulous hoax' that is essentially an avant garde happening.

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Old 11-07-2015   #2
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

PS: I should make it clear that everything I say about Ligotti fiction is based on his fiction alone, as far as I am able to do so.
For example, one doesn't know, I suggest, whether his numerous interviews and, indeed, CATHR, are substantively contained within (a) or (b) above.

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Old 11-08-2015   #3
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

I expect one way to keep track of fans' views on this book is to follow this Goodreads page:
Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, etc.

Remarkably few and mixed reviews so far. I would add my own (as I consider myself to be an ordinary fan) if I could ever understand how to use Goodreads!

Are there any Ligotti fiction fans here on TLO with views on the recent momentous Penguin Classics collection? This is where Ligotti fans have gathered for years. When CATHR was published we had loads of its fans come here for a while.

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Old 11-08-2015   #4
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

Quote Originally Posted by Nemonymous View Post
I expect one way to keep track of fans' views on this book is to follow this Goodreads page:
Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, etc.

Remarkably few and mixed reviews so far.
I just came from reading those Goodreads reviews. Methinks the initial mixedness of the whole pool that you note, Des, may go some small distance toward validating my tentative early hypothesis, expressed in my quoted words in that recent WSJ piece, that Tom's appeal overall may remain relatively narrow. Here at TLO most of us feel that his combined body of work is almost supernaturally powerful and perfect. That's just our native response to it. I know it's mine. So when I read people saying things like, "The guy's style is too ethereal and abstruse, it gets boring, it's so repetitive, I was expecting more in light of the hype," I instantly feel a) a bit defensive, and b) convicted all over again that Tom's overall appeal and place in the literary canon is destined to be somewhat reminiscent of Lovecraft's, but on a vastly high level of pure literary excellence. As with HPL, Tom's will probably remain a relatively (that's the key word) narrow appeal given very specific type of sensibility and overall worldview / attitude / outlook / philosophical-emotional set point to which his work speaks most directly and powerfully. I figure his name will go on to become familiar to most readers who have their eyes and ears open to the general literary culture. But among them, only a certain segment will read him and feel that deep and awesome sense of identification and confirmation that has made Tom's work so talismanic for so many of us here.

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Old 11-08-2015   #5
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

Matt, thanks.
I concur wholly with what you say above.


Quote Originally Posted by Nemonymous View Post
Remarkably few and mixed reviews so far. I would add my own (as I consider myself to be an ordinary fan) if I could ever understand how to use Goodreads!
I have now added my own short summary review to Goodreads (thanks Rog for letting me know how to do it!). I don't think it has yet appeared on the page.

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Old 11-08-2015   #6
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

As a goodreads member, I am highly gratified at the ratings and reviews that the Ligotti Penguin Classics book received.

At this time, the book's average rating is 4.34 out of 5, which is extraordinarily high.

Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

Yeah, I read that one star review. But that is the only one star review thus far.

A book will not work for everybody. For example, I didn't like _House of Leaves_, which puts me a variance which a good number of folks in the horror/weird fiction community. I wonder sometimes why that is. I'm probably more tolerant of "experimental" writing than the average person. And I've never been accused of having dumbed down tastes in fiction.
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Old 11-14-2015   #7
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

The Goodreads page is still generally full of good reviews. Average now 4.29 stars.
However, it would not be fair on this thread to resist reporting on 'bad' reviews, one that seems to have turned up recently, by 'Daniel Polansky', where he states that he would find it unlikely that TL would ever read his review.

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Old 11-14-2015   #8
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

Here is the Amazon (US) page for the Kindle version:




At this time, ten reviews, all five stars. Although my impression is that average ratings for books on Amazon are generally higher than at goodreads. I can only speculate why that might be the case. Maybe people who don't like a book don't bother with a review.

Further down on the website is interesting data on sales rank. In the top fifteen for short stories for the Kindle

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,461 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#15 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror > Short Stories
#29 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > United States
#63 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror > United States
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Old 11-14-2015   #9
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

Quote Originally Posted by matt cardin View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Nemonymous View Post
I expect one way to keep track of fans' views on this book is to follow this Goodreads page:
Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, etc.

Remarkably few and mixed reviews so far.
I just came from reading those Goodreads reviews. Methinks the initial mixedness of the whole pool that you note, Des, may go some small distance toward validating my tentative early hypothesis, expressed in my quoted words in that recent WSJ piece, that Tom's appeal overall may remain relatively narrow. Here at TLO most of us feel that his combined body of work is almost supernaturally powerful and perfect. That's just our native response to it. I know it's mine. So when I read people saying things like, "The guy's style is too ethereal and abstruse, it gets boring, it's so repetitive, I was expecting more in light of the hype," I instantly feel a) a bit defensive, and b) convicted all over again that Tom's overall appeal and place in the literary canon is destined to be somewhat reminiscent of Lovecraft's, but on a vastly high level of pure literary excellence. As with HPL, Tom's will probably remain a relatively (that's the key word) narrow appeal given very specific type of sensibility and overall worldview / attitude / outlook / philosophical-emotional set point to which his work speaks most directly and powerfully. I figure his name will go on to become familiar to most readers who have their eyes and ears open to the general literary culture. But among them, only a certain segment will read him and feel that deep and awesome sense of identification and confirmation that has made Tom's work so talismanic for so many of us here.
Well said, Matt. You've summed it up perfectly.

Put your faith in God; he won't expect you.
Put your faith in death, because it's free.
If you believe in nothing, honey, it believes in you.
-Robyn Hitchcock
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Old 11-22-2015   #10
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Re: The Ligotti Penguin Classics book - views from fans

A hilarious review here. if I were Thomas Ligotti I would be very proud of it...
Jack Poling (Saint Clairsville, OH)'s review of Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe

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