#AMonthOfFaves ~ A Day in the Life

For the month of December, join hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event—a fun way to recap the year that was. They have every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out, and you can join in anytime! More details.

Monday, Dec. 10th — A Day (or Weekend) in the Life. What did you do on Saturday, December 8th … or the weekend—December 8-9. Let’s take a peak into each others’ lives as as we chronicle what we all did on that day (or during the weekend). 

I’ve always wanted to do a Day-in-the-Life tag. Why? I don’t know. It’s not like I have an exciting life. Despite this being the holiday season, Dec. 8th was an average Saturday for me. Which means, it was pretty quiet—just the way I like it.

07:24 – Woke up, took a shower.

07:50 – Coffee, morning pages. Nearly every morning for the past year, I’ve written three pages by hand first thing in the morning. I plan on talking more about this habit more on Wednesday (10/12).

08:25 – Breakfast: a turkey and cheddar on an English muffin. Also, I read my poem of the day, “Marriage” by William Carlos Williams. Then I dove into the internet. I checked in at:

  • Habitica – This is my current to-do list productivity app of choice.
  • Email accounts
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter

I read about the Nebraska/Creighton managers game and became distracted by the fog.

Continue reading “#AMonthOfFaves ~ A Day in the Life”
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The Bookish Naughty or Nice Tag

Liz @ Travel in Retrospect tagged me! I don’t do a lot of tags because I’m bad with lists. But this one seemed really fun. Thanks, Liz!

Rules

  • Tag & link the person who tagged you (See above!)
  • Tag and link me/this post (if you would be so kind, I love reading your answers!) Jenn @ Jenniely is the origin of this fine tag!
  • Tick/cross off the ones you’ve done
  • Tag another 10 people! (I’m really bad at tagging. Worse than I am with lists. If you’re reading this, do the tag!)

1. Received and ARC and not reviewed it. 😈

Well, sort of. On NetGalley, they’ve made it easy for me to say why I’m not going to review an ARC. Sometimes, it turns out that I’m not going to get to a book in a timely manner. Sometimes, my interest in the book changed, or I started the book and decided it wasn’t for me. But my shame is the Goodreads giveaways I’ve never read/reviewed.

2. Have less than 60% feedback rating on NetGalley. 😇

I’m up to a 72%! I think I’ve been above 60% for a while now.

3. Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog and then never did it. 😬

So, I’m a writer as well as a reader/book blogger. After a lot of thought, I decided a few years ago that I didn’t like the possible conflict of interest that came with rating and reviewing on Goodreads and Amazon. It’s in my review policy, so generally, it hasn’t been a problem. (Hey, I’m still surprised when offered ARCs!)

4. Folded down the page of a book. 😈

It’s not something I do often. Usually, there’s some piece of paper to use as a bookmark, but I have dogeared a book in my time.

5. Accidentally spilled on a book. 😈

Again, not something that happens often, but I often read and eat and am not the most graceful person. My notebooks are much more likely to get the brunt of the spills.

6. DNF a book this year. 😈

Not only have I DNFed a book this year, I’ve DNFed 17 books. Life’s too short to spend time on book that you don’t enjoy.

7. Bought a book because it was pretty with no intention of ever reading it. 😇

Anytime I buy a book I intend to read it.

8. Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework). 😈

No! Never!
*is lying like a rug*

9. Skim read a book. 😇

If I catch myself skimming, I DNF. So, one “sin” for another.

10. Completely missed your Goodreads goal. 😇

I’m 58/52 this year. And while I don’t hit my goal every year, I’ve never *completely* missed it.

11. Borrowed a book and not returned it to the library. 😇

I always return my books and I don’t think I’ve had a late fee since college.

12. Broke a book buying ban. 😈

You said some words, but I don’t understand what they mean.
I have acquired fewer books this year than last year (although I’ve spent more on books this year).

13. Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about. 😬

More like, I lost interest in writing the review. Usually I try to write reviews the same week that I read the book, so forgetting isn’t the problem. But I will start a review, decide I have nothing to say, leave it, and never come back to it.

14. Wrote in a book you were reading. 😈

Yes. Actually, I was reading Magic in Theory the other day and some tangent occurred to me that I was going to note only to see that I had noted it the previous time I’d read the book. I have no problem with people who write in books. Highlighting is a different story…

15. Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads. 😈

Yes, I’ve done this. As good as I try to be about documentation, I always forget *something*.

16. Borrowed a book and not returned it to a friend. 😇

I rarely borrow books, but I always return them.

17. Dodged someone asking if they can borrow a book. 😇

Nope. If someone asks to borrow a book, I pretty much throw it at them, even though the record of my getting loaned books back is pretty poor.

18. Broke the spine of someone else’s book. 😇

No. I don’t consider books to be sacred objects, but I’m going to be respectful of other people’s property.

19. Took the jacket off a book to protect it and ended up making it more damaged.😇

Nooooo…? People take the jackets off books…to protect the jacket? Isn’t the jacket supposed to protect the book?

20. Sat on a book accidentally. 😈

I can’t remember this ever happening, but it’s a given that it has. I know I’ve fallen asleep on many a book.

So, 9-😈, 9-😇, 2-😬. I’m even True Neutral in my bookish life!

Review ~ Unholy Land

This book was provided to me by Tachyon Publications via NetGalley for review consideration.

Unholy Land

Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar

From the bestselling author of Central Station comes an extraordinary new novel recalling China Miéville and Michael Chabon, entertaining and subversive in equal measures.

Lior Tirosh is a semi-successful author of pulp fiction, an inadvertent time traveler, and an ongoing source of disappointment to his father.

Tirosh has returned to his homeland in East Africa. But Palestina—a Jewish state founded in the early 20th century—has grown dangerous. Unrest in Ararat City is growing; the government is building a vast border wall to keep out African refugees. Tirosh has become state security officer Bloom’s prime murder suspect, while rogue agent Nur stalks them through transdimensional rifts—possible futures to prevented only by avoiding the mistakes of the past.

via Goodreads

It is actually really hard to review Unholy Land after reading its afterword by Warren Ellis.

Unholy Land is one of those lovely books that starts out presenting itself as one thing, and mutates into another almost without you seeing it.

In a way, that’s spot on.  This book starts with a “what if.” What if a Jewish state had been founded in Uganda? It was a scheme in the early 1900s, but one that was never acted on. And, if you’re familiar with Lavie Tidhar’s style of writing, this what if is a tasty morsel. Tidhar’s forte is in providing settings that you feel like you’re walking through, sweating in, having dinner and drinks at. It’s even better when the setting is a mash-up of cultures and technologies.

But I disagree that Unholy Land‘s transformation, from an alternate world noir to a more politically charged thriller,  occurs without notice. Tidhar does things that are designed to put the reader off-kilter. Point of view changes happen not only between chapters but within scenes. Memories shift for characters. It’s obvious early on that something more is going on than originally meets the eye. This isn’t a comfortable book despite my wanting to spend time in the world. I enjoyed it, but I also feel like I’m going to need to reread it. And that’s not a bad thing.

Publishing Information: Tachyon Publications, November 2018
My copy: Kindle ARC
Genre: science fiction

The Black Cat, No. 2, November 1895

Welcome to the second issue of The Black Cat and the Black Cat Project! While this issue weighed in with the same number of pages, fifty, it was a story lighter and all together felt shorter. Also, the stories didn’t feel as strong. Here’s to hoping that issue no. 3 is a return to form.

Stories

“A Calaveras Hold-Up” by Roberta Littlehale

Littlehale takes us to the Sierra’s in the 1880s once again with another western-romance. Billy Owen is a man with a questionable past. (His gun is named Betty…) Rudy Field is the preacher’s daughter. Billy never had a chance and falls in love with Rudy. Alas, his attempt to go straight isn’t providing “something to live on,” in the words of Rudy’s father. So Billy plans one last heist… It doesn’t go well. I enjoyed this story more than last month’s “In the Gold Time.”

This is also my runner-up for favorite of the month.

“From a Trolley Post” by Margaret Dodge

A man stands waiting for a trolley in Boston on a drizzly, windy day. Bored, he is entertained by the antics of a boy from Texas and an organ grinder’s monkey. The ending of this story might be tragic, but we miss it because the man’s trolley finally arrives. Couldn’t find much on Margaret Dodge other than she had a few stories in a few magazines around 1900.

“An Andenken” by Julia Magruder

Ethel is a lovely young painter taking a working summer holiday in the Alps. She is intrigued by the murals in the village and the andenken, or roadside memorial pictures. While the artwork is crude, it has great heart. Ethel meets the painter, Anton, and endeavors to give him lessons. Unfortunately, Ethel is engaged and Anton believes that she is more than just his teacher. Julia Magruder had my favorite story of issue no. 1 with the deliciously gothic “The Secret of the White Castle.” This story doesn’t hold together as well.

“The Man from Maine” by J. D. Ellsworth

This is a humorous tale about a man on a long train train observing some of his fellow passengers, especially the man from Maine.  The man from Maine is the picture of Yankee frugality and abstinence. But he will play some card if gambling isn’t involved. And he will take a pull on a flask—for medicinal reasons only, of course. Alas, he does seem to be ailing quite often.  Is this the same J. D. Ellsworth that wrote Reading Ancient Greek? I don’t know.

“A Wedding Tombstone” by Clarice Irene Clinghan

An “angular schoolgirl of fifteen” listens to her grandmother tell the story of Melindy Barbour’s wedding tombstone. The Barbours were an aloof family that lived in Ragged Corner. Mr. Barbour committed suicide while in prison. The son, Mortimer, and his mother were unusually close. When she died, Mortimer kept to himself until lovely Melindy McAllister arrived in town. The two fall in love, but a shadow is cast on their marriage by a tombstone with Melindy’s name on it. Clarice Irene Clinghan has a couple of ghost stories to her name as well as a novel, That Girl From Bogota.

My favorite of the month.

“The Other One” by A. H. Gibson

Caleb Parton, a wealthy eccentric former wine merchant living in the hills of West Virginia, tells Mr. Hope (who works for a bank) the Poe-esaque story of his rivalry with Judson Pickford. The story is creepy, but Gibson rushes his gotcha ending. Is this the same A. H. Gibson that wrote Hydraulics and its applications? That A. H. Gibson would only be age 17 at the time of this publication, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

“Stateroom Six” by William Albert Lewis

A tale told on a river boat about a gambler and a toddler put into his charge who ends up with a bundle of money when the gambler is shot dead. Very short and anecdote-like.

“Her Eyes, Your Honor” by H. D. Umbstaetter

A young woman is on trial for the brutal murder of another woman. All the evidence is circumstantial, and the crowd firmly believes that hot-shot lawyer McWhorter will prove her innocence. But strangely, he doesn’t provide much defense at all… The second story from The Black Cat‘s illustrious editor and another zigger of an ending.

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No new advertisers in issue no. 2.  American Hair Cloth Company of Pawtucket, R.I. had the whole back page.

Want to read for yourself?
Here’s the link to Issue No. 2, November 1895

Or find out
More about the Black Cat Project

#AMonthOfFaves ~ These are a few of my favorite things…

For the month of December, join hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event—a fun way to recap the year that was. They have every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out, and you can join in anytime! More details.

For December 3rd the prompt is:
[The 2018 Favorites Edition] – e.g. to eat, drink, wear, smell, see, do, enjoy, best purchases, most used gift received, most used purchases, favorite concert, outdoor activity, place visited, most squee worthy moment of the year, etc.

You know that song “My Favorite Things”? When I was a kid, I used to think that was a pretty lame song. I mean, doorbells? Whiskers on kittens? White dresses with blue satin sashes? Those are your favorite things? But as an adult, man, life is all about being able to appreciate those sorts of small things. So, without any further ado, here are a few of my favorite things from 2018 (or thereabouts).

Continue reading “#AMonthOfFaves ~ These are a few of my favorite things…”

December 2018 TBR

Between #NonFicNov and #NaNoWriMo, November so busy around here that I can’t believe it’s December already, despite Christmas trees and seasonal music.

But December it is. I have a pretty good line-up of books ready to go and for the first time I’ll be participating in #AMonthOfFaves. Should be fun!

Unholy Land
An ARC that was preempted by #NonFicFov. 
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
An impulse checkout from the library.
Ashes to Ashes: The Songs of David Bowie, 1976-2016
An ARC I will  be working on through Dec. & Jan.
An impulse ARC.
Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds (The MIT Press) by [Shelley, Mary]
A final stab at some #FrankenSlam volts!
Grim Tales
Perfect for dark days.

Review ~ Surviving the Angel of Death

This book was provided to me by Tanglewood via NetGalley for review consideration.

Surviving the Angel of Death

Surviving the Angel of Death by Eva Mozes Kor & Lisa Rojany Buccieri

Eva Mozes Kor was just 10 years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, she and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man known as the Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Subjected to sadistic medical experiments, she was forced to fight daily for her and her twin’s survival. In this incredible true story written for young adults, readers will learn of a child’s endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil.

The book also includes an epilogue on Eva’s recovery from this experience and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis.Through her museum and her lectures, she has dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working for causes of human rights and peace.

Summary via Goodreads

In a way, this is a hard book to review. Eva Mozes Kor’s story is amazing. Her will to survive, to keep herself and her sister alive, at 10 years-old(!) is extraordinary. If it were fiction, I would say that it is completely unbelievable. The entire thing. Rounding up entire populations for incarceration or elimination? Twins saved by a deranged doctor intent on performing dubious medical experiments on them? This is the stuff of third-rate dystopian fiction. But it isn’t fiction. This is a true account of what humans can do to other humans. Remembering that Kor’s account, and the innumerable other holocaust accounts, are real is what’s meant when we say never forget.

According to the epilogue, Surviving the Angel of Death is a YA version of Kor’s previous memoir, Echoes from Auschwitz. To me, it didn’t feel “YA” while I was reading it. The writing and organization of the book and clear and good, though maybe not stylistically outstanding. Kor felt that getting her story into younger hands was important. After her marriage and immigration to the US, she relates that it was difficult to tell her story because most people didn’t really have a frame of reference for the holocaust. It wasn’t until the 1978 TV miniseries The Holocaust that she had a basis from which to speak. To me, it seems strange that people might not know, but even I, who read The Diary of Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel’s Night in school, don’t know all the stories.

I read Surviving the Angel of Death right after finishing a book called The Coddling of the American Mind. The authors of that book present three fallacies that they believe people (Americans especially) are falling victim to. One of these fallacies is “the world is a battle between good people and evil people.” It would be easy to read Eva Mozes Kor’s memoir and say, “That isn’t a fallacy. Look at the evil she overcame!” But the antidote to the good/evil fallacy is to remember that we have everything in common as humans.

In 1993 I traveled to Germany and met with a Nazi doctor from Auschwitz, Dr. Münch. Surprisingly, he was very kind to me. Even more surprising, I found I liked him.

Eva Mozes Kor, Surviving the Angel of Death, pg 131

That Eza Mozes Kor was able to forgive what had been done to her, that she found peace in that forgiveness, is maybe what shouldn’t be the most extraordinary thing of all.