15-ish Books of Summer 2016

15booksfinalCathy at 746 Books is hosting 20 Books of Summer again, or if you’re a slow reader like me, 10 15 Books of Summer. Looking back at last year, I’m pretty happy with how well I did. I finished 7/10 from my list! Picking from my other reading lists really kept things fresh. Instead of giving myself “switch-out” ability this year, I’m picking a dozen books. Against my better judgment, I’m going to shoot for 15 books (from a list of 22).

What’s on my list?

Magic Monday ~ Aug. 29, 2016

MagicMonday

I like Mondays. I also like magic. 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.

Mac King returned to Fool Us last week. My husband hadn’t seen his first performance and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t shared it before!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

Descent into the Depths of the Earth (Greyhawk Classics, #3) Shatterday The Unabridged Edgar Allan Poe

I should be able to finish one last book from my 15-ish Books of Summer list. That book will be: Descent into the Depths of the Earth by Paul Kidd. It’s humorous fantasy. Which is what I’ve taken to writing. Maybe. Kinda. Sorta. … I also plan on getting a few short stories read by old friends Harlan Ellison and Edgar Allan Poe.

I am very much looking forward to autumnal reading.

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Date!

ROW80 ~ Sunday Update, 8/28

Week 8 Update

So, in TweetDeck, I have a column for “nabity.” It ends up containing Tweets in Czech*, news about Nebraska running back Graham Nabity**, occasional sales retweets when I promo books, and tweets by actual people named Nabity***. This morning, one of those from the last category was a horoscope:

Sunday, August 28, 2016 – The secret to your success is setting your specific goals down on paper now. … Don’t take your eyes off the distant horizon, but you must simultaneously reassess your plans for the next few weeks. The more you can accomplish now, the easier it will be later on. Literary giant Samuel Johnson wrote, “The future is purchased by the present.” (Source: Twittascope)

I don’t believe in horoscopes****, but this is good advice and coincidentally timely for me. I’m probably past due in setting a solid goal for this new project. For the rest of this round (the next three weeks, I guess?), I’m going to add 3000 words per week to Wicked Witch, Retired. I’ve been trying to move away from word counts, but I think I need to use them while drafting. This is kind of a low-ball goal—500 words per day—but I’m still feeling my way through things. I should be able to use that excuse for the next three weeks at least.

“Playlist” for the past week: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983), Ghost Story (1981), and A Knight’s Tale (2001).

*Presumably, since my last name is also a Czech word. The Google translation is “loaded.”
**I am quite excited that football starts up again next week. Football means fall. It means we’re that much closer to basketball, which means winter.
***All Nabitys are related though the family is much too big to know them all.
****I don’t believe in fortune cookies either, but… We’ve been eating a lot of General Tso’s chicken from Panda Express and one of my fortunes was: Forge Ahead With Your New Ideas. I kept that one and threw out the non-applicable ones.

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ROW80 ~ Sunday, 8/21

Update – Week 7

My bulleted list is getting pretty long so I created a page with my original goals for this round. It has everything I’ve added as well as the stuff I’m not currently working on.

This week was spent on my new project. It’s based on a flash fiction piece I wrote called “Wicked Witch for Hire.” The obvious title for it, which wasn’t all that obvious since Eric didn’t think of it until Friday, is Wicked Witch, Retired. That title might be too frivolous, but it’ll do for now. I have a few pages of notes and the manuscript is at 2500-ish words. My writing soundtrack has been the Star Trek movies, II – IV. Goal this week? Finish the scene I’m on (part II of the first scene), move on to the next. I know that’s not a solid goal, but I’m still leery of going back to word counts.

Coming up this week: Tonight is the draft for VOTS‘s big coed fall frisbee league. Games won’t start for another two weeks, but I’ll be updating the web with teams this week. Also the Bout of Books readathon starts Monday. I’ll be reading and doing a few challenges for that.

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Deal Me In, Week 33 ~ “Person to Person”

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Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“Person to Person” by Richard Matheson

Card picked: King of Diamonds
From: I Am Legend, and other tales by Richard Matheson

Thoughts: The phone starts ringing at 3am. When Millman tries to answer it, he finds that he cannot. The ringing is in his head. His doctor suspects tinnitus and recommends chiropractic adjustment even though Millman doesn’t hear the ringing all the time. It usually stops around 6am. The treatment doesn’t help.

Millman’s therapist suggests that he do what one usually does to a ringing phone: answer it. Millman does, but who is on the other end? A CIA agent recruiting Millman to be a spy? A inventor of brain-to-brain communication? Millman’s dead father speaking to him from beyond the grave? His mother *was* psychic after all. Or is it, as his therapist believes, Millman’s own ill subconscious mind? But maybe…

church_lady_could_it_be_satan-1

I sometimes feel all my blogging comes down to how often I can use this gif.

This is definitely one of Matheson’s more meandering tales. I haven’t quite figured out the ending.

Fun Fact: I have tinnitus. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember and never realized that I experience “silence” differently than most people until I was in my 30s. It doesn’t bother me most of the time, but I do prefer to live somewhere with lots of background noise. The high pitched static is only really “loud” when I’m overly tired or not feeling well.

Bout of Books 17!

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 22nd and runs through Sunday, August 28th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 17 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Aug. 22-28: I plan to have a good writing week, keep up with my classes, deal with the chaos that is the week after ultimate frisbee league draft…and readathon! It’s the perfect plan. What could possibly go wrong? Luckily, there is no failing the Bout of Books readathon.

Wrap-Up

My grand total for the readathon was 416 pages read and 278 minutes of audio book listened to. It wasn’t quite the week I wanted to have, but it worked out well enough. I certainly read more than I might have during a busy week. I finished The Unknown Poe and The Bling Ring and confirmed that I still don’t care for Jane Austen.

Big shout out to Amanda and Kelly for hosting. BoB is always runs so smoothly and it’s all to their credit!

TBR Stack

I’m making a last 15-ish Books of Summer push:

The Unknown Poe Northanger Abbey The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World
  • Finish The Unknown Poe, edited by Raymond Foye
  • Finish Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – DNF
  • The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman
  • Finish The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales
  • “The Dust of Death” by Isaac Asimov for Deal Me In
  • Finish Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (audio)
  • Decent into the Depth of the Earth by Paul Kidd

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ROW80 ~ Wednesday Update, 8/17

Update

Ever since I wrote “Wicked Witch for Hire,” Eric has entertained the notion that it is the most quintessentially Katherine thing that I’ve written. Every once in a while, Eric will riff on the idea of this witch and longer stories I might write with her at the center. Nothing has ever caught with me until something he said on Monday. And so, my nicely organized list is all upended.

I am cautiously excited to start a brand new project (well, 95% new), but I’m also aware that I am not finishing One Ahead stories. On the other hand, maybe this will get me out of my doldrums, both my recent summer ones and the ones that have been plaguing me for the last few years. I’m going to try a more structured outlining process, mainly because this is going to be more of a quest novel—something I haven’t really written.

I also started the next SQL section at Code Academy and realized the first one hadn’t prepared me well enough. So, I’ve added an additional class on MySQL from Coursera. (Yes, on top of the Macroeconomics class I just added.)

Well, I guess if I’m going to upend my list, the halfway-ish point is the place to do it. This list is getting long…

Changes/progress from last update are in blue.

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Review ~ The Great God Pan

The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen

Cover via Goodreads

The Great God Pan is a novella written by Arthur Machen. On publication it was widely denounced by the press as degenerate and horrific because of its decadent style and sexual content, although it has since garnered a reputation as a classic of horror. Machen’s story was only one of many at the time to focus on Pan as a useful symbol for the power of nature and paganism. (via Goodreads)

I was surprised to find that this story begins with brain surgery. The 1890s were an interesting time for science as it started to truly butt heads with ideas supernatural in nature. In the first section, Dr. Raymond takes the concept of opening a mind rather literally. The surgery is performed on an unfortunate women, Mary. Her mind *is* opened—to the possession of the Great God Pan. Mary later gives birth and the child, Helen, is taken to the country. Time passes…

The next several sections of the book are a collection of second hand reports. A woman is corrupting men. Things are being done in bedrooms. The sexy details are all implied.  The men are ruined, frightened to death or influenced to commit suicide. Our two secondary narrators, Villiers and Clarke, piece together information and realize that this women is Helen, Mary’s daughter. They finally catch up with her and convince *her* to commit suicide. In her death throes, she transforms from human to animal, to something more primordial.

The Great God Pan was a scandalous book.  In a post-Fifty Shades of Greythe-internet-is-for-porn world, a reader might be left wondering what acts of debauchery are being perpetrated. Still, there is an element that may be radical to a modern reader: it’s Helen who has the power after her mother Mary has suffered at the hands of Dr. Raymond and Pan. Female sexuality is also given a predatory, feral sheen. Women are obviously very dangerous. This was a selection from the Obscure Literary Monsters list. I find it odd that the monster is supposedly Pan and not Helen.

Publishing info, my copy: 1894
Acquired: Project Gutenberg
Genre: horror