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Showing posts from September, 2017

Creepy kids are creepy, especially when they ought to know better...

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In our house, this book is practically a sacred text (my wife uh-dores Shirley Jackson). My book club selected this as our read for May, and I was thrilled for the reread because this book surprises me every time.

Our narrator, Mary Katherine (or Merricat, as she's called) lives in her dilapidated house with her sister and uncle. The town shuns them after a terrible family tragedy that resulted in the death of most of her fmaily. But Merricat likes the little life she has, and she does what she needs to in order to protect all of them. And as you might expect, when her happy world is threatened, she gets to work.

I'm being vague to ensure you get the pleasure of Merricat and her story. If you're only familiar with Shirley Jackson through her short story "The Lottery", you need to get this novella. It's a great, atmospheric read -- very quick at 160ish pages, depending on your edition -- and the creepiness crawls over you.

Jackson's Merricat is so sweet …

Wordless Wednesday: But the little things need to be quality

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Today's Wordless Wednesday is a response to my Wordless Wednesday from last week.

Basically: $2 stickies have no sticky and now I have learned my lesson. But life isn't over because last night my wife made caramel apples because it was Tuesday.

Teaser Tuesday, September 26: Happy birthday, Gloria Anzaldúa!

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"I want freedom to carve and chisel my own face, to staunch the bleeding with ashes, to fashion my own gods out of entrails."
I came across Gloria Anzaldúa in college, after stumbling across the above quote. It electrified and shocked me, as did the passage around it (from her book Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza), which provided more context:
"So don’t give me your tenets and your laws. Don’t give me your lukewarm gods. What I want is an accounting with all three cultures—white, Mexican, Indian. I want freedom to carve and chisel my own face, to staunch the bleeding with ashes, to fashion my own gods out of entrails. And if going home is denied me then I will have to stand and claim my space, making a new culture—una cultura mestiza—with my own lumber, my own bricks and mortar and own feminist architecture." You can read a few more powerful excerpts at She's Got the Mic.

Mood Ring Recommendations: Feeling...Indecisive

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I'm going to start a new series I'm calling Mood Ring Recommendations, in which I'm going to share recommendations and reviews for books (or other things?, if I feel like it) that relate to the mood. It's an experiment; let's see if it's any good!

Since I'm in the midst of angst-ing about what to do with this blog (I even gave myself a tarot reading for advice!), today's mood is going to be:

~ Indecisive ~
These recommendations are reads that immediately came to mind when I started thinking about making choices (or not), hesitating or being impetuous, or otherwise dithering about doing something.


Kage Baker, In the Garden of Iden: When you can live forever, you have lots of time to wonder about the choices you've made. This book is the start of a thirteen book series (or something like that), but it's a fabulous standalone novel, set during Elizabethan England, with a woman who is more cyborg than human (but she still struggles between head and h…

Tarot Reading: On continuing to blog...

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As I shared on Friday, I've been seriously considering closing my blog, since I'm feeling sort of 'eh' about the work it takes to keep it up. And yet, that doesn't feel quite right to me, so I decided to give myself a tarot reading about what to do.

I used the Biz Spread created by New Age Hipster and the Ostara Tarot deck, consulting my two favorite tarot books right now, Melissa Cynova's Kitchen Table Tarot and Jessa Crispin's The Creative Tarot.

Essentially, to my surprise, I think this reading is telling me not to quit! I'm a little fuzzy on some of the cards, but what jumped out to me was this sense of waiting, needing more time, and rejuvenating.

The first card, about where one's business is at, is the 7 of Coins. Crispin interprets sevens as determining what we really want, and 7 of Coins about not rushing to harvest/call it quits. That really struck me because while I've been thinking I'm being honest with myself, it may be that I&#…

Weekend reads and considering closing the blog...

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I'm not sure what provoked it, but was struck very strongly this week that I should consider closing this blog.

I think it's maybe that I'm trying to renew my work on it -- I'm trying out different review formats, attempting some YouTube vids, hoping to integrate my tarot and woowoo research -- but I'm so aware of how little interaction I have through it all. I know -- or 'know' -- many bookish folks online, but my interactions are fleeting and quick. I started my blog to connect with other readers -- a virtual book club, I imagined -- and I'm just not doing that.

Reviewing books to help authors and publishers promote them has become the meat-and-potatoes of my blog, and I'm not that excited about it. Certainly my free-range reading of these last few months have been refreshing and fun, but even writing about those reads feels like I'm talking to myself.

So, if that's the case, why continue here?

This post is kind of me "thinking out l…

Wordless Wednesday: It's the little things

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Decided to dress up my work game. $2 from Target -- like I could resist!

Check out more Wordless Wednesday posts!

Creepy kids are creepy, especially when they survive plane crashes

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My wife was listening to this on her commute and I got hooked, and we spent the last four nights listening to it at home after dinner while halfheartedly doing dishes and whatnot.

Four airplanes crash on the same day, and unbelievably, in three of the accidents, one child survives. But the world is changed by Black Thursday, as the day becomes known, as the children garner international interest and panic. We learn about what happens through Black Thursday: From Crash to Conspiracy, a book that details the events in the days and weeks that follow, and of course, what happens after this book comes out.

I found the premise suuuuuuuper intriguing and I'm a sucker for found documents/ephemera/books-within-books narrative structure, so all that worked for me; but I did get a bit tired near the end of the drawn out mystery.

My wife said this felt like an overpadded novella; I kind of agree. Maybe in book form, when I could have read faster, it might have raced more, but listening, it d…

Booktube: Library Haul, September 14

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A quick vid of some of the free-range reads I snagged from the library recently!


Teaser Tuesday, September 12: Middlemarch!

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My Teaser Tuesday for this week comes from Middlemarch!...which I am still reading. What are you reading today? Have a teaser to share?


Weekend reads and my first vlog!

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It feels like summer is over in Boston -- it's brisk and beautiful and while I love it, I'm also mourning the end of summer because I don't feel like I did enough summer stuff!

So, after fumbling with many different apps, I've made my first vlog/booktube, below. Don't judge me too harshly; I decided to just do it and not agonize, and I'll figure it out along the way. (But helpful tips always welcome!)

My weekend reads are more of Middlemarch as well as The Other Alcott by Elise Hooper. What are you reading this weekend?


A novel about E.M. Forster not getting some is surprisingly moving

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I grabbed this book from the library in my usual, arbitrary way: I liked the spine and the binding, and the cover; then I saw it was a Europa Edition and decided to check it out. Then I never got around to reading it, and had forgotten about it until noticing it on my Overdrive wishlist.

Arctic Summer is biographical novel of English novelist E.M. Forster; it's mostly about Morgan's desperate search for love and companionship and sex, and how he basically didn't get those things. It's gorgeous and emotional and restrained, and I loved every word.

Overwhelmingly, this novel is just bittersweet. Morgan is so sweetly likeable (I know it's trendy these days to want unlikable characters, but there's something to be said for characters you also just want to squish) but his life so empty despite the people, jobs, and travel that fill it. He finds some intense emotional relationships, a few that translate into physical/sexual ones, but all seem lopsided and unequal -- s…

Book Review: The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

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First line: Yeah, send her on back.

I love a good haunted house story and this one is just perfect. (Hot tip: save this for October and thank me later!)

Reminiscent of The Haunting of Hill House and Insidious, this novel features a tough, slightly damaged heroine who didn't make me eyeball roll once; serious place as character; and creepiness in spades.

The plot is pretty simple: Dahlia, whose family runs a salvage business, is tasked with tearing apart an old estate in a matter of days, a job which requires her and her small crew -- cousin Bobby, Bobby's son Gabe, and new colleague Gabe -- to sleep in the house while they work at all hours to salvage what is can be resold.

The house has other ideas, obviously.

While some of the ghostliness of the story was predictable, I found the anticipation upped my eager jumpiness. But Priest surprised me with a ghostly encounter I'd never considered before, and it has made me even jumpier when I'm alone. The book's narrative …