Sorry I missed this thread! Looks like it started right after I left too! It's a shame KingCrab seems to have left the forum (six years ago, apparently). Well, should he ever come back, I'll write my thoughts here for him to find.
My first encounter with H.P. Lovecraft was in the October of 2004, a good few months after I had first joined PWF. I was sick one day, lying in bed with the cold or something, and utterly bored. A few years prior, a high school friend had sent me a copy of Lovecraft's most well-known tales, collected in one volume, which he had bought on a visit to America. I had put the book on my shelf and (like so many others) never read it. On that day in 2004, I picked it up and started reading the first tale in the collection -- "The Outsider".
The first lines of that story go as follows:"Unhappy is he to whom the memories of childhood bring only fear and sadness. Wretched is he who looks back upon lone hours in vast and dismal chambers with brown hangings and maddening rows of antique books, or upon awed watches in twilight groves of grotesque, gigantic, and vine-encumbered trees that silently wave twisted branches far aloft. Such a lot the gods gave to me - to me, the dazed, the disappointed; the barren, the broken..."
Well, from that point on, I was utterly hooked. The ending left my mind reeling in a state of total awe. I went on and read all the other stories in the book, then over the next four years bought every single book by or about Lovecraft I could find. I became utterly obsessed with the man, his ideas, his over-sensitive personality and of course his writings, to what I would now regard as an completely insane degree!
After I left this forum in 2008, I threw away all my Lovecraft books and never looked back. Later, once I had got married and regained some sanity points, I bought the two leatherbound volumes by Gollancz, NECRONOMICON
and ELDTRICH TALES
, which between them contain most of his work.
Today, I still admire the man's evocative writing style and powerful imagination, though the lure of the Cthluhu Mythos has definitely lost its grip on me and I am nowhere near
as into him as I was a decade ago.
My favourite tale? Probably The Call of Cthulhu
. It is a classic.