Good Minds Suggest: Clive Barker's Favorite Books About Good vs. Evil

Posted by Goodreads on May 5, 2015

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English writer Clive Barker has spent his career exploring the darker, more fantastical corners of fiction, doggedly poking at things that go bump in the night with a sharp stick. His series of short stories, Book of Blood, first established Barker as a leading young horror writer in the 1980s, and he went on to spawn the Hellraiser franchise of films (writing and directing the first himself), which are based on his novella, The Hellbound Heart. In his new novel, The Scarlet Gospels, he resurrects two of his most iconic characters, detective Harry D'Amour and villainous priest of hell Pinhead, for a spine-tingling showdown bathed in supernatural gore. Barker shares his favorite books that pit the forces of good and evil against each other and that inspired his obsession with nightmarish conflict.

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
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"Moby-Dick is the perfect representation of the ambiguity between good and evil in the animal kingdom. A masterpiece of literature. Personally, the incredible iconography behind the image of the white whale as pure metaphor—like Blake's illustration of the tiger—is one of the most powerful images in our collective consciousness. This book marked me deeply. Part of me belongs to it."

The Holy Bible
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"It has all the best lines. And is THE definitive book on Good and Evil. As a child, I was always drawn to books with illustrations. My grandmother used to have an enormous Bible that contained these extraordinary monochromatic reproductions of Renaissance paintings that changed the way I viewed the world. I was able to open this Bible up and, at random, find something that fascinated me. Those images have never left me."

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
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"One of those miraculous stories that is both ancient and modern at the same moment. My Abarat novels are greatly inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The book is pure imagination."

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
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"I read it as a child of 11, and it was such a simple, beautiful story about people suffering with the compromise of age. There are elements in my novel The Thief of Always that were very much intended to have the simple kind of beauty of a Bradbury story. Bradbury is, unquestionably, a titan of literature. If you read Something Wicked This Way Comes when you are ten, it means something very different to you than if you read it in your thirties or forties. It's that rare kind of masterpiece that continues to evolve with its readers."

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
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"The horror, the horror. Need I say more?"

Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Popular Good vs. Evil Books

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* I'm delighted you have had Clive Barkers recommendations! I'm excited about the new book.

I haven't read Something Wicked this way comes yet, but it's definitely on the wishlist.

message 2: by Allan (new)

Allan Excellent choices.

message 3: by Sharon (new)

Sharon The ultimate good v. evil: Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. Angels and demons fighting over control of the human population.

message 4: by Victoria (new)

Victoria For once, I can say I've read every book suggested here, but I really did not like Heart of Darkness, perhaps because it was an 8th grade reading assignment. I might enjoy it more now, as a mature (in years) person. I am reading Sacrament right now, and it is quite engaging.

message 5: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Funny how required reading in school usually does not become a reader's favorite. I could not get into Jane Eyre in high school, but I read it last year and was able to understand it better.

message 6: by Diana (new)

Diana Starr I don't think I ever got over reading Lord Of The Flies. I see so much of it in the real world.

message 7: by Sharon (new)

Sharon That book was banned when I was in school. I had to wait for the movie. :)

message 8: by Diana (new)

Diana Starr Lord of the Flies was banned? Where?

message 9: by Saleh (new)

Saleh Hajehalbi I need it in Arabic language

message 10: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Massachusetts. Check the Banned Books List. The Bible's on it too.

message 11: by Diana (new)

Diana Starr Wow! I had no idea! I'm originally from Massachusetts and I thought we were so broadminded. I wonder why, but it is pretty violent. Didn't know it was printed in Arabic. Was it banned in the Middle East too?

message 12: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Hicks 3 points: re-read EVERYTHING you read in school as an assignment (some teachers just assign books & don't TEACH them so you can study, understand what it really MEANS, & apply it to your own life--this from a 45 yrs middle/high school/senior English teacher); read/re-read because as an adult you bring life experience to the literature and it will help you understand on a different level--I didn't understand PRIDE AND PREJUDICE was a satire--hysterically funny, sweet, ironic, & the first romance novel until I re-read at 40+. Hated OUR TOWN (boorrring until I re-read/taught it. My students cried, so I knew they understood.) I'd like to see LORD OF THE FLIES on that list--read/re-read, study, look at the 4 ways to interpret the book. Such an important work dealing with good, evil & the nature of the human animal.

message 13: by Kit (new)

Kit Perriman I would definitely add Lord of the Flies too. Otherwise, a great selection!

message 14: by Diana (new)

Diana Starr I saw the movie Our Town recently. It had an impact on me that it would not have had when I was in school. Lord of the Flies still haunts me. A grim view of humanity, but after WWII it's not so far off the mark.

message 15: by Bill (new)

Bill H. Don't know how anyone could leave out Dante's Divine Comedy (and not just the Inferno). More thorough than the Bible in exploring the psychological and sociological sources of good and evil.

message 16: by Marc (new)

Marc Kozlowski Rebecca wrote: "3 points: re-read EVERYTHING you read in school as an assignment (some teachers just assign books & don't TEACH them so you can study, understand what it really MEANS, & apply it to your own life--..."

I wholeheartedly agree though I don't think it relates to age or the fact that we were in school - I think it relates to the fact that our teachers totally failed to engage us in what we were reading and failed to bring it to life for us. Like Mark Twain allegedly said: "I have tried not to let my schooling interfere with my education". If he did not in fact say this then somebody needs to!


message 17: by Bill (new)

Bill H. In many cases, students are not mature or experienced enough to appreciate the books that are thrust upon them at a given age, even if the teachers are effective. And students of a given age are not equally mature either. Finally, teachers often don't have a sayso on what books to teach when. Sympathy for the teacher, from a retired teacher.

message 18: by Lori (new)

Lori Jeschke I recently purchased Great Expectations. I thought it would be interesting to read it with an adult perspective.

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