Pinned: What I’m Doing and Not Doing in October


Reading List for October:

  • The Kiss Murder by Mehmet Murat Somer
  • Last Winter We Parted by Fuminori Nakamura
  • Under Stars by KJ Kabza
  • The Bullet Catch by John Gaspard (Dewey’s)
  • Penn & Teller’s Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends (Dewey’s)
  • Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson
  • Fright Fest
    • The New Girl by R.Ll Stine
    • The Surprise Party by R.L. Stine

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R.I.P. IX Update #3 ~ More Peril on the Screen

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Check out more R.I.P. IX Reviews

Gone Girl has been pretty big at the box office this October. I haven’t seen it yet, but I did inadvertently watch two movies with Gone Girl connections:
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Zodiac (2007) is one of my Top 10 favorite movies. Top 5 depending on the week. Zodiac is about the less-than-successful investigation of the eponymous serial killer in 1970s San Francisco. It mostly involves police and newspaper men talking to each other about what information they do not have. Despite this–or maybe in light of the helplessness of the characters–there are some wonderfully tense and menacing scenes in Zodiac. It’s also visually beautiful.  Connection: director David Fincher.

Hollywoodland (2006) – Call me crazy, but I like Ben Affleck. I’ve liked him ever since I saw Chasing Amy. Here, Affleck puts in a really nice performance as George Reeves, the man who played Superman in the 1950s. Reeves died mysteriously, and Hollywoodland offers a few theories about his death against the backdrop of a down-on-his-luck private detective played by Adrian Brody. Connection: Ben Affleck.

(Did you know that Ben Affleck has won every Oscar he’s been nominated for? The number is two and neither have been for acting.)

Review ~ Last Winter We Parted

This book was provided to me by Soho Press via NetGalley.

Last Winter We Parted by Fuminori Nakamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell

Cover via Goodreads

A young writer arrives at a prison to interview a man arrested for homicide. He has been commissioned to write a full account of the case, from its bizarre and grisly details to the nature of the man behind the crime. The suspect, while world-renowned as a photographer, has a deeply unsettling portfolio—lurking beneath the surface of each photograph is an acutely obsessive fascination with his subject.

He stands accused of murdering two women—both burned alive—and will likely face the death penalty. But something isn’t quite right, and as the young writer probes further, his doubts about this man as a killer intensify. He soon discovers the desperate, twisted nature of all who are connected to the case, struggling to maintain his sense of reason and justice. What could possibly have motivated this man to use fire as a torturous murder weapon? Is he truly guilty, or will he die to protect someone else?

The suspect has a secret—it may involve his sister, who willfully leads men to their destruction, or the “puppeteer,” an enigmatic figure who draws in those who have suffered the loss of someone close to them. As the madness at the heart of the case spins out of control, the confusion surrounding it only deepens. What terrifying secrets will this impromptu investigator unearth as he seeks the truth behind these murders? (via Goodreads)

My expectation when reading a mystery is that I am going along with the investigator as he/she solves the case. Sometimes, as a reader, I know more than the sleuth. The enjoyment of that situation is in seeing how the investigator will catch up, or how they’ll avoid the peril I see coming. Generally, when reading a mystery, I believe I shouldn’t know substantially less than the protagonist. I should have seen what they’ve seen, heard what they’ve heard. If the fictional investigator makes a leap of logic, it should always be based on what has been shown to the reader.

Last Winter We Parted is told in the form of first person narration by the young writer and through the archived documents surrounding the murder case. Unfortunately, these archives have no context for the reader. If it’s a letter, we don’t know who it’s from or to, information that is presumably available to the narrator. There is even one archive written in first person, not by our narrator, with no context other than “archive.” At least, I think this is the case. Honestly, the structure was a little confusing and obfuscatory. The matter wasn’t helped by a pretty poor Kindle version of the ARC. By the end, the vague pieces are put together for the reader, allowing for no sense that I could have ever figured it out without it being told to me.

And all this is a shame. The labyrinth of photos, fires, philosophy, and doll fetishist that Nakamura leads the reader through is genuinely unnerving. The crux of the tale relies on a tension between beauty and grotesque, but the narrative itself gets in the way.

Publisher: Soho Press
Publication date: September 21, 2014
Genre: Horror thriller


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Magic Monday ~ Pepper’s Ghost

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I like Mondays. On Monday, I am refreshed from the weekend and exhilarated by the possibilities of the week ahead. I also like magic. I like its history, its intersection with technology, and its crafty use of human nature.  I figured I’d combine the two and make a Monday feature that is truly me: a little bit of magic and a look at the week ahead.

With Halloween fast approaching, maybe you have a spare piece of plexiglass and want to create your own spooky illusions. Make: presents a great DIY explanation of the classic illusion, Pepper’s Ghost.

 

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What Am I Reading?

This week I’ll be finishing Under Stars by KJ Kabza. I didn’t want to read too much of it during the readathon because, when I binge-read an anthology, it all munges together in my head. I’ll also be starting Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson for The Book Smuggler’s readalong.

What Am I Writing?

My goals to round out the year are to have 33K on the draft of Luck for Hire by the end of October, 48K by the end of November, and 60K by the end of the year. I’m sitting at 27K right now.

I thought about doing a rebel-style NaNoWriMo, but on second thought I don’t think I will. I’m going to stick with my new philosophy of not doing All The Things. The weird bit about being an introvert in an extrovert dominated world is that I often think that I should be able to do all the things extroverts do. There’s a lot of energy associated with NaNo, but for me there is also a lot of energy suck. It goes beyond spending too much time on the forums or Twitter; it’s an actual drain.

On the Blog

I’m going to be deviating from my usual blog schedule for the next couple weeks to fit in the reviews and special things that are going on. Heh, I bet you didn’t even know I *had* a blog schedule!

Deal Me In, Week 42 ~ “The Fall of the House of Escher”

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Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“The Fall of the House of Escher” by Greg Bear

Card picked: Nine of Hearts

From: David Copperfield’s Beyond Imagination

Review: I could not get through this story, despite its intriguing title. Maybe it was because I was reading it during my 17th straight hour of readathon-ing yesterday. Maybe it’s because I have trouble with allegories, which, with character names like Cant, Shant, and Musnt, this probably is. Or maybe I’ve been reading an anthology of speculative fiction stories that are so deftly written that this story felt very clumsy in comparison. If you’re going to allude to Poe and spend time describing architecture, man, you need to be lush in your language. This fell short.

I feel bad bailing on a story which is obviously challenging, but I’m also an adult who can put it aside for a day when I’m not actively annoyed by it. Some other time, “House of Escher.”

About the Author: Greg Bear is an SF writer that I’ve been aware of for years, but have never read.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, October 2014

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Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon

Readathon Celebration Giveaway!

To celebrate a day of reading, I’m giving away a book from Entangled Continua Publishing. Readathon participation not required! The prize is winner’s choice of:

  • (1) signed trade paperback copy of Lucinda at the Window by Katherine Nabity
  • (1) signed trade paperback of PHYSIC by Eric Nabity
  • (1) signed trade paperback of Luck for Hire by Katherine & Eric Nabity
  • (1) ebook combo pack including the expanded editions of Model Species *and* Divine Fire (available in most major formats)

Book descriptions can be found on the sidebar. US shipping only I’m afraid for the physical books.

**Enter Here**

Readathon Stack & Updates

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Also “The Fall of the House of Escher” by Greg Bear, this week’s Deal Me In story.

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Magic Monday ~ More “Seasonal” Magic

MagicMonday

I like Mondays. On Monday, I am refreshed from the weekend and exhilarated by the possibilities of the week ahead. I also like magic. I like its history, its intersection with technology, and its crafty use of human nature.  I figured I’d combine the two and make a Monday feature that is truly me: a little bit of magic and a look at the week ahead.

Part 1 of a performance from the delightfully creepy Rob Zabrecky:

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What Am I Reading?

Looking forward to Dewey’s this Saturday! What will I be reading this week?

  • Under Stars by KJ Kabza
  • The Bullet Catch by John Gaspard
  • Penn & Teller’s Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends
  • The Surprise Party by R.L. Stine

I’m planning on a giveaway raffle during the readathon too, so check back on Saturday!

What Am I Writing?

Last week was light on words. I cleaned up my character and place bibles for the Luck books, rewrote a couple scenes, and am generally doing a read-through/re-organization of scenes.

Deal Me In, Week 41 ~ “Eagle”

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Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“Eagle” by David Copperfield

Card picked: Ace of Hearts

From: David Copperfield’s Beyond Imagination

Thoughts: Each of the Copperfield anthologies opens with a story by the man himself. After starting both anthologies in January for Deal Me In, it’s taken me *this* long to end up reading one!

Adam is a loner. While other third-graders are playing kickball and other sports, Adam is content to make up stories and build things. A favorite among the others is the tale of Adam’s invisible eagle. To avoid being overly teased, Adam tells a lie: The invisible eagle is real. Now all Adam has to do is prove it to them.

While Adam isn’t labeled as such, this is sort of a quintessential magician story. Magicians tell the lie and then make it seem true, whether it’s making cards appear and disappear or devising ways to make an invisible eagle seem real.

The other question, of course, is did David Copperfield really write the story? I’m going to say ‘yes.’ It’s short and simply told. In his intro to the story, Copperfield admits that the story is very much like what happened to him as a kid. If it wasn’t written by David Copperfield, the illusion is pretty good.

Is This Your Card?

I figured it was appropriate to linked up Copperfield’s version of the four aces. I believe I’ve included Ricky Jay’s four queens in the past, but I’m not sure about Copperfield’s aces. In any case, this performance includes a bit about Copperfield’s childhood which dovetails nicely with the story.