Monthly Archives: August 2017

ūüćāFall Blogging Events 2017ūüéÉ

SeptOctTBRBase2

Autumn is an embarrassment of blogging riches for me. Horror and mysteries are the genres I gravitate toward so I love that fall has become a celebration of all things spooky. This year R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril will again be joined by Bloggers Dressed in Blood for the duration of September and October. There is also Gothic September and, in October, the FrightFall Readathon¬†over at Castle Macabre. And of course the next Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon is Oct. 21st. I swoon in bookish ecstasy.

TBR

Progress

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Writing Update, 8/30

I kind of fizzled out on everything last week. Summer is…hard. Even after living in Arizona for nearly 18 years, “back to school” and Halloween candy appearing in the stores just seems like a cruel joke when the forecast is a consistent 106+F for the foreseeable forever. I hate summer.

I’ve passed the one year mark on¬†Wicked Witch, Retired. It doesn’t seem like I started this project that long ago. I’d like to have a full draft done by November. I’m going to have to work hard for that.

 

Down the TBR Hole #1

TBRHole

This is a meme started by Lia at Lost in a Story. The “rules” are:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I’m modifying this a little since my to-read shelf is a mess of books that are mostly in storage. Instead, I’m going to look at my wishlist—all those books I add on a whim during my travels around the book blogging community—and weed out the ones that don’t quite sound as good now. The “keepers” I’m going to look for at online libraries or add to my Amazon wishlist.

alt text Shakespeare’s Tremor and Orwell’s Cough: The Medical Lives of Famous Writers¬†by John J. Ross

I own a lot of nonfiction and I have a lot of nonfiction in my TBR already. This one doesn’t sound that compelling anymore. GO.

alt text Layer Cake by J.J. Connolly

Funny story: First watched the movie based on this book about a week before Daniel Craig was cast as James Bond. No one had heard of him, but I knew he’d do just fine as Bond. Still want to read the book. KEEP.

alt text Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday

Kind of on the fence with this one. Published in 2012, I can’t decide whether it will be super relevant or completely outdated. KEEP for now.

alt text Early One Morning  by Robert Ryan

I think I only added this to my wishlist because of another Robert Ryan book that I wanted to read (Dead Man’s Land), which I still haven’t read. GO.

alt text The Uninvited by Liz Jensen

Violent children. A main character on the autism spectrum. Yeah, this one is a KEEP.

So ends my inaugural edition of Down the TBR Hole. Anyone have any experience with any of these? Any arguments for KEEP or GO?

Review ~ Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic

Cover via Goodreads

Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic by Adelaide Herrmann, Margaret B. Steele (Editor)

Madame Adelaide Herrmann (1853-1932) was a superstar of the Golden Age of Magic and now her story is finally told, and what a story it is! Entitled “Sixty-Five Years of Magic,” Madame takes us on an amazing adventure, from her beginnings as a dancer and trick bicyclist, to her marriage to Alexander Herrmann and their subsequent tours of the U.S., Mexico, South America and Europe. She peppers her memoir with hilarious anecdotes, misadventures, accidents and the continuous outrageous antics of the husband she adored. She describes their show in minute detail, including her husband’s magic repertoire and their baffling illusions which drew standing-room only audiences wherever they went. In heartrending detail, she tells the story of her husband’s death. She then reinvents herself into the first great female magician, and takes us through yet another thirty years of solo adventures. (via Goodreads)

Why was I interested in this book?
This is the memoir of the greatest female magician of the early 20th century (perhaps ever). Are you kidding me?! Of course I was interested in this book!

What Worked
Often there are two kinds of magic books: the cheaply made public domain scanned reprints or the beautifully made limited editions that are beyond my budget if available at all. This book is thankfully neither of those things. It is a very nicely made trade paperback full of black and white pictures. Finding Mme. Herrmann’s memoir and collecting her writings and ephemera together was a labor of love for magician and editor Margaret Steele, and it shows. And…it’s available! ¬†Because why wouldn’t you want to make Adelaide Herrmann’s memoir available?

The first three-fourths of the book is Alelaide Herrmann’s memoir, written by her with some editorial help. It covers her life from meeting, marrying, and becoming the assistant to Alexander Herrmann (“Herrmann the Great”) to the end of her career in the late 1920s. It covers their love story, many of their adventures, and her trials and triumphs working on her own as a performer. The last fourth of the book is articles written by and about Mme. Herrmann, including several from women’s magazines encouraging young women to take up magic.

I have often wondered why more young girls do not turn their attention to the study and practice of magic, as it develops every one of the attributes necessary to social success—grace, dexterity, agility, easy of movement, perfection of manner, and self-confidence.

Here’s Margaret Steele performing one of Adelaide Herrmann’s signature tricks:

Publishing info, my copy: trade paperback, Bramble Books, 2012
Acquired: Amazon, 12/17/16
Genre: memoir

ūüďö Bout of Books 20

Bout of Books

I’ve been so busy with writing work. I’ve been in a reading slump. Or maybe an everything slump. But…

It’s Bout of Books 20!!!

I think my first BoB was #4 back in spring of 2012. I love me some BoB.¬†ūüėė

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th 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 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. РFrom the Bout of Books team

TBR

The Princess Bride Shatterday Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women

All these books are in progress. If I finish them, I’ll be 9/10 for 10 Books of Summer. Also have¬†“The Artist of the Beautiful” by¬†Nathaniel Hawthorne to read this week.

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Mini Reviews, Vol. 8

MiniReviews
Sometimes, I don’t have a lot to say other than, “Man, I liked this.” So, here are some things I’ve liked recently.

alt text The Janus Tree by Glen Hirshberg

Two stories from this anthology that are going to stick with me: “You Become the Neighborhood” and “Shomer.” “You Become the Neighborhood” has a rather ambiguous path and maybe a zigger ending, but, man, the ending is enough to make any arachnophobe uneasy. “Shomer” is a more direct tale and more indicative of Hirshberg’s ability evoke creepiness. In both cases, Hirshberg takes what is “normal,” points out the shadows and uncertainty, and then populates those places with… well…

Interestingly, this collection also includes “Like Lick Em Sticks, Like Tina Fey,” which would seem to be the short story jumping off point for the novel Motherless Child. This is a great place the get a taste for that in-progress trilogy.

alt text “Kindred Spirits” by Rainbow Rowell

A charming tale about…waiting in line. Okay, waiting in line for the¬†Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it’s also about expectations and assumptions. Elena loves Star Wars and expects to be part of a celebration of that love. Instead, she faces that embarrassment that sometimes occurs when you love something deeply and slightly irrationally—even when among other fans of that thing. The notion of the “true fan” is handled lightly along with how we casually judge others without knowing anything about them.

alt text “Mystery of Asgina Lake” by Caren Rich

It might be the end of the summer vacation for many, but it’s just the beginning for Ella and Lena. This is a solid monster tale from Caren Rich with a great action climax that left me wondering, “What was that ting?!”¬†I also loved that Ella and Lena were just casually tomboyish geek girls. Ella is gung-ho for adventure and Lena goes along, but with a good stock of comic books to keep boredom at bay. Originally included on the¬†Fantastic Creatures Fellowship of Fantasy anthology.

Writing Update, 8/16

Not much to report, honestly, other than chipping away at drafting and rewrites. And, surprisingly, this isn’t causing me anxiety or consternation. It’s simply part of the work I want to do. Yes, it’s sometimes difficult and sometimes, word-count-wise, there isn’t a lot to show at the end of the day, but I’m okay with that. Maybe I might even be enjoying my work.

Many years ago, a friend from my LiveJournal days sent me the following:

The Vintage Man by Hafiz