Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Happy Birthday to Melville and M.R. James

Two of my main men, Melville and Jame, were born this day, many, many years ago (150 for James, and 195 for Melville, if you're counting). If you're looking to celebrate this momentous occasion, but are stuck behind a desk today like most working sods, there are plenty of ways to do it online while pretending to, you know, work.

There's this great article by Emily Cleaver, Five Ghost Stories that Scared M.R. James, this birthday tribute by Jo Fletcher, and this fab essay over at Hypnogoria. The absolutely terrific Podcast to the Curious should be your background listening today as you type tiny columns of numbers or do whatever it is you're supposed to be doing. And for those who think, "Hm, I'd really like to craft a Jamesian tale of terror myself!" you can always read my old post on How To Write Ghost Stories, inspired by some advice from the old boy himself.

For the Melville fans, definitely check out the Moby Dick Marathon, which is live-streaming right now and will last until noon today. Or take a virtual walking tour of Melville's New York, courtesy of I also recommend listening to Mastodon's Leviathan album, which will make your workday 100% more badass. And, if you've got a particularly lenient or absent-minded boss, you can read Bartelby the Scrivener in its entirety, here. 

Finally, for your lunch hour reading, you can download my book of ghost stories, Boroughs of the Dead, on Kindle. I've lowered the price to only 99 cents (for today only!) in honor of my main men and their birthdays. The book contains ten short ghost stories all set in and around New York City (though stylistically they owe a huge debt to the Cambridge scholar) -- and one of them features the ghost of none other than Herman Melville himself!

If you have any more ideas, or just want to share enthusiasms, find me on Twitter and we can gush. The two things I love most in life are ghost stories and the sea, so this is a pretty big day for me.

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