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.
Houdini: A Life Worth Reading by Higher Read
Houdini was a man of magic and mystery. He was also a pilot, an author, an actor, and a rabid opponent of the Spiritualist movement. He was impatient of charlatans and imitators and loving to his family. He had an impressive ego. If any of these facts are new to you, then Houdini: A Life Worth Reading is the perfect primer on the man who was, by the end of his life, known only as Houdini. (via Goodreads)
I picked this up as a freebie from Amazon back in March. I don’t know what’s up with Higher Read as an “author,” but this short biography was well written and included chapter overviews and study questions. If, you know, you find Houdini to be an important enough guy to study. (Higher Read also has books on Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy, and Thomas Jefferson.) In fact, I was pretty impressed with how neutral the biography is. It makes no bones about Houdini’s greatness as a showman and publicist or his massive ego. If I learned anything from this Houdini bio, it was that Houdini was sued more often than I had thought!
Publisher: Higher Read, LLC
Publication date: January 30th 2014
“The Minister’s Unveiling” & “The Ghost of Banquo’s Ghost” by Tim Prasil
Tim Prasil’s Help for the Haunted stories are based on the manuscripts left to him by his great-grandaunt. The stories involve his great-grandaunt, Lucille, and her friendship with Vera Van Slyke, a journalist and occult detective in the early 1900s. Vera investigates hauntings and tries to put ghosts to rest. She’s smart, if occasionally absent-minded about frivolous details like personal names, and makes no apologies for it. Lucille, a debunked spirit medium, likes adventure a little more than a proper lady should and is game to help Vera in her investigations. They’re a great Holmesian/Watsonian(?) duo. The stories are fun with an appealing mixture of skepticism and the supernatural. Also it’s nice to see two women *doing things* in fiction. Both of these stories are currently free on Tim Prasil’s website, but only for a little while longer as he offers new stories. The third story “Skittering Holes” was released over the weekend!
Publisher: To be published later in the year in novel form from Emby Press
Genre: Ghost mysteries.