SJ Reads: The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures

I’ve been away for a little bit working on some things, but I wanted to get back here for October, because…well, kinda my time of year. With everything going on, I thought I’d spend this month looking at some different creepy titles, because we all need a little October in our lives, right? It’s been a while since I’ve looked at some nonfiction, so let’s hit some spooky nonfic titles this month!

We all know I love folklore, so anything I can get my hands on, I try to read. I have some mixed feelings on today’s title, but in general it’s an insane amount of information and perspective. Today, we’re looking at The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke.

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If you’re familiar with the Lore podcast and show on prime, this basically follows a similar format. Each section deals with a theme/type of creature, he breaks it down in terms of examples and how it bled over into real life, and why humans are affected by these kinds of beliefs. It’s super fascinating, and there are some things I’d never seen in here. Vampires, fairies, zombies, ghosts, that sort of thing. My only real issues are that sometimes it feels like things are being crammed in to form a theory a little bit, and that we jump from thing to thing fairly fast in one section. You may find some asides into other undead creatures in the vampire section, the fairy section stays fairly on topic, things wander from hauntings to ghosts to possessed objects to generally make the same argument, etc. I’m also a little weirded out that the version of Robert the Doll here is different than in the prime show. This is the more accurate version (or the version that I’ve seen the most of), but it still makes me blink that the same author/collector would use two somewhat different variations under the same umbrella without addressing that. Some of the tales he used are punchier than others, and there feels like a few stories are mentioned without actually being told in the text (most noticeably with changelings in the fairy section), so I’m not sure if that’s an editing error or he’s assuming everyone who reads this has also seen or heard the show.

Don’t get me wrong – I think what he’s done with these books and Lore in general is fascinating and a great way to look at things and collect these stories. It’s important to look at why humans keep falling back onto these beliefs and why they affect us so much.  I just wish this wasn’t so meandery and the examples fit the points a little more strongly. There were definite moments of skimming for me, and sometimes I had to reread a bit twice to figure out why he’d jumped from one thing to another. All in all, though, if you like reading about hauntings and cryptids and dark folklore in general, you’ll enjoy this one.

Get it here

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If you like folklore-based horror and want a fast, creepy read for this month, be sure to check out my vampire vs lumberjack title, Mooner! It explores the dangers of life in a late 1800s lumber camp, especially when there’s something else about that is very, very thirsty.

 


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