Monthly Archives: April 2016

Deal Me In, Week 17 ~ “The Southwest Chamber”


Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“The Southwest Chamber” by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

Card picked: Three of Diamonds
From: Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown, edited by Marvin Kaye

Thoughts: Aunt Harriet has only been dead a few months. With no other living relatives, her house is inherited by her two nieces, the daughters of her estranged sister. The nieces, Amanda and Sophia, move into the house and take in borders to help pay for the upkeep and taxes. As the story begins, Amanda decides to put the newest border in the southwest chamber, the chamber that had been Aunt Harriet’s. No one has used the room and the very thought of it gives Sophia the heebie-jeebies.

Most of this story involves the strange things that happen in the titular southwest chamber. Items (like an entire wardrobe of clothes) appear and disappear. The pattern on the drapes change. During the night the border stays, she is repeatedly attacked by a nightcap. While not really comedic, the story felt like it could be a Noises Off-style stage play with much door slamming as characters move through the house and the plot; kind of a different take on the “bedroom” farce. Of course, this led me to think about what sort of stage magic effects might be employed to achieve Aunt Harriet’s haunting.

About the Author: Born on Halloween 1852, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman started writing as a teenager to help support her family and remained a prolific until her death in 1930. She was known generally for the domestic realism of her stories, but also had an interest in the supernatural, which lead to some well-regarded ghost stories. Indeed, she and Shirley Jackson would make a great pair of B&B ghosts.

The Reason I Jump ~ Discussion Part 2

Info on The Reason I Jump
Info on the Nonfiction Book Club
My post for Part 1


What did you think of the short stories Naoki included?

I wasn’t particularly fond of them. They were…short stories written by a thirteen year-old. Also, by the last short story I was really thinking about the issue of translation. Translators make decisions. I’ve read different translations of Pushkin’s poems and been amazed at how different the same poem can be in English. I don’t doubt that Higashida is a smart, well-“spoken,” young man, but I think it’s important to remember that this is a translation.

I know some of us talked about this already, but I’m still curious – what did everyone think of his use of the word “we” to describe his feelings and experiences?

The “we” really bugged me, moreso in the second half when things got more spiritual/nature-oriented—things that seem perhaps more culturally-oriented than autism-oriented. (Also, is the “we” Higashida’s word or Mitchell and Yoshida’s word?)

When talking to my husband about this last night, he commented, “It’s like that story about the autistic kid with the dog. Now, suddenly, every autistic kid needs an animal in their life.”

What did you think of the book overall?

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Magic Monday ~ April 25, 2016


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 and Doyle premiers next Monday in the US! It’s on Fox and will be available on Hulu as well.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

I cleared my plate during readathon, finishing up a couple things I had in-progress. There was nothing I felt like digging into for a review last week, but now (to mix my feasting metaphors) my cup runneth over. But what am I reading?

Central StationCentral Station by Lavie Tidhar

A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Cultures collide in real life and virtual reality. The city is literally a weed, its growth left unchecked. Life is cheap, and data is cheaper.

I’ve read a couple of Tidhar’s Central Station stories in the past and really enjoyed the setting. I am a sucker for sense of place.

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

What Am I Writing?

Not much. Classes are kicking my butt, Spring League finals are all day Saturday (I don’t even have all the info for setting up the page), and I need to set up Summer League (when I have that info). But, I’ve been doing some free writing (nearly) everyday as I work my way through Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.

Deal Me In, Week 16 ~ “The Billiard Ball”


Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“The Billiard Ball” by Isaac Asimov

Card picked: King of Clubs
From: Asimov’s Mysteries


Pool-playing scientist frenimies.

One is James Priss, a pale, slow-talking theoretical physicist, a two-time Nobel prize winner (both in science). The other is  Edward Bloom, a charismatic, college drop-out innovator, a multi-billionaire who has made his fortunes on the back of Priss’s theories. Their rivalry comes to a head as Bloom attempts to create an anti-gravity device based on Priss’s two-field theory. After a skirmish or words in the press, Bloom tricks Priss into demonstrating his new invention with a billiard table, ball, and cue. Unfortunately, a terrible accident occurs and Bloom ends up dead with a billiard ball-shaped hole through his chest. Freak tragedy? Or did Edward Bloom set himself up to be murdered?

There’s always a question in hard science fiction about how accurate the science is. Most general readers will assume the writer is knowledgeable enough to get it right. I don’t know enough about Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity to be too discerning, but Asimov knew his stuff (in his day) and it all *sounds* pretty good to me. It’s definitely my favorite of this anthology thus far.


Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon 2016

What is this? Exactly what it says on the tin! Except, relaxed. Read as much as you can or want. I’m shooting for 500 pages, which would break my personal record.

Wrap Up

Kindle still in hand, I headed to bed at around 2am. I read a few more pages of Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death before falling asleep. I regret nothing! I’m up today at 7:30, ready to tackle the day.

Pages read: 587! Blasted my former PR by a hundred pages. Aside from two naps and a walk, I read for 21 hours.

Finished a novel and a novella that were already in progress, two short stories, and a comics collection. I have so many reviews to write…

And I know I’m not hugely social, but I do enjoy breaks to “heart” tweets and leave a drive-by comment here and there. For me, it’s a lot more about knowing that other people are participating than actually interacting with them. If that makes any sense.

In all, after a rocky start, I had a great readathon!

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Readathon Week!

Saturday, April 23, 2016 is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. (Sign up for the Readathon!) While I’m really terrible at sticking to lists, I love making them. Here is what I’m reading this week and into Readathon Saturday!

Might also read from:

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

Deal Me In, Week 15 ~ “Marooned Off Vesta” & “Anniversary”


Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“Marooned Off Vesta” & “Anniversary” by Isaac Asimov

Card picked: Nine of Clubs
From: Asimov’s Mysteries


This draw was a double story in the anthology. The first, “Marooned Off Vesta,” is a reprint of Asimov’s first published story, written in 1939 by a teenaged Isaac. It tells of three men trapped in a portion of their space ship, Silver Queen, after the majority is destroyed by an asteroid hit. The remains of the ship is in orbit around the asteroid Vesta. The men have three days of air left, as well as a week’s worth of rations, one space suit, a heat ray, a detonator, and, since the remainder of the ship includes the water storage, a year’s worth of water. If only they could jar themselves out of orbit and land on the inhabited Vesta…

“Anniversary” is a continuation of the story, written and set twenty years later. **Spoiler alert!** The three men survived but now face the middle-aged fear of their legacy being forgotten. “Anniversary” provides a little bit of mystery as the men try to discover why Trans-space Insurance is still looking for parts of Silver Queen wreckage.

The most amusing part of this second story is Multivac:

[Moore]…doubted if ever in his life he would meet any of the handful of technicians who spent most of their working days in a hidden spot in the bowels of Earth tending a mile-long super-computer that was the repository of all the facts known to man, that guided man’s economy, directed his scientific research, helped make his political decisions, and had millions of circuits left over to answer individual questions that did not violate the ethics of privacy.

Not quite Wikipedia and cloud storage…