Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Nonfiction November 2017 – My Year in Nonfiction

Nonfiction November 2017 Info

Week 1: (Oct 30 to Nov 3) – Julie @ JulzReads: Your Year in Nonfiction: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

My Year

I’ve been having a pretty slumpy year, reading-wise. Out of only 30 books, I’ve read 7 nonfiction titles.

Two of what I’ll call “Pop Culture”:

Three Celebrity Bios:

Two about Magic:


Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz ChickensI’ve been a fan of Eddie Izzard since sometime in the early 2000s after his special Dressed to Kill was aired on HBO. I had followed his career and some of his marathon-running odyssey, but there was a lot I didn’t know about Izzard. His journey to stardom is a long one. I also enjoyed reading about his philosophy: that belief in self and those around you can be a very powerful thing.


Adelaide Herrmann Queen of MagicMy favorite is different from my recommended because magic history is a bit of a niche subject. But, if you’re interested in magic or showbiz during the late 19th/early 20th century, this is a great book. Adelaide Herrmann was one heck of a lady, becoming one of the most famous female magicians after the death of her husband.

Looking Forward

I can’t read enough books about magic, but mostly it would be nice to eventually get through the nonfiction books I’ve acquired this year:

  • Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia by Dennis Covington
  • The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
  • Lizzie: The Letters of Elizabeth Chester Fisk, 1864-1893, edited by Rex C. Meyers
  • The Science of Illusion by Jacques Ninio
  • Here is Real Magic by Nate Staniforth

Alas, Nonfiction November always increases my want-to-read list. Not that I’m complaining. 🙂

Posted in Other Media, Readathons-Challenges-Memes

The Last Perilous Update

October has been more slumpy than expected both on the reading and writing ends. The unusually high temperatures probably aren’t helping. And maybe I started my Halloween celebrating too early. I’m not burnt out on “spooky,” but it’s definitely more on the background level of things. Which is perfectly fine and comfortable.

Peril of the Short Story

Ben at Short Story Magic Tricks did a whole week of Ambrose Bierce stories around mid-October. I’m a little sad that I didn’t read Bierce when I was young, when I had first read Poe. Bierce is lighter, maybe a little more clever, but still with all the chills that 19th century lit can allow. (And with a mysterious real-life death/disappearance!)

Peril on the Screen

On the opposite side of the horror coin from Ambrose Bierce, there is the Saw franchise. Personally, I have affection for Saw and at least a few of its sequels. I think I’ve watched at least through Saw IV, though I don’t remember much about the last one. The last time I watched any of  them was before I’d read much about magic. The story telling in Saw and Saw II, which I’ve recently rewatched, does remind me of how magic tricks are structured. The audience doesn’t know where the trick (or movie) is heading and there is plenty of misdirection and hidden moves, though within the bounds of reality (mostly). I picked up a “box” set of  movies 1-7 and plan on watching one a day until Halloween.

Peril of the Playlist

While I’ve been mostly enjoying great horror movie scores, like Christopher Young’s Hellraiser and Franz Waxman’s The Bride of Frankenstein, my all-time favorite bit of Halloween music the The Nightmare Before Christmas and its cover album Nightmare Revisited which includes Marilyn Manson’s great version of “This is Halloween.”

Posted in Female Author, Graphic Novel, Novel

Mini Reviews, Vol. 10

alt text The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

On the heels of WWI, temp girl Sarah Piper takes work as an assistant to two ghost hunters; one posh, one rough, both scarred by the war.

This book was much too much of a romance for me. Sarah’s spends an overage of time believing that her beau (Matthew, the rough one) hates her for no real good reason and that she must never tell him how she feels for no good reason. The ghost story was passable, somewhat predictable. The Haunting of Maddy Clare was an audio book and the narrator’s portrayal of Matthew was disconcerting.

alt text Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Emily Carroll “tells” five stories of isolation and dread akin to Grimm’s fairy tales.

With a limited color palette and drawings that are by turns stark and detailed, these are new tales of old-fashioned creepiness. The stories and art evoke a coldness, a darkness that seems perfect for fall and winter reading. Through the Woods was an impulse pick-up for me for during readathon and it was the highlight. Might even become a yearly Halloween read.

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Down the TBR Hole #5


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 Thirteenth Night by Alan Gordon

Shakespeare. A secret guild of jesters. Yeah, this still sounds good. KEEP.

alt text Edge by Kōji Suzuki

On one hand, this sounds a lot different than something like Ring. On the other hand, it might be more like stories from Dark Water, which I prefer. KEEP.

alt text A Polish Book of Monsters by Michael Kandel

I thought this was more on the folklore end of things, instead of contemporary sci-fi/speculative. That makes it less interesting since I haven’t even read much classic eastern European sci-fi. GO.

alt text The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder

Rereading the summary on this one, it seems like a little too much. Historical personages as investigators, magic, Spring-Heeled Jack, and werewolves? Plus, I still have The Map of Time to read. GO.

alt text House of Mystery: The Magic Science of David P. Abbott by Teller & Todd Karr

*grumbles about stupid limited-edition small-press nonsense*


Anyone have any experience with any of these? Any arguments for KEEP or GO?

Posted in Male Author, Short Story

Deal Me In Catch-Up, Week 41

(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)
(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)

Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

“Tales from the Original Gothic” by John M. Ford

Card picked: Week 41: Q
From: The Architecture of Fear, edited by Kathryn Cramer and Peter D. Pautz

The Story
This story had so much potential. In an anthology about hauntings and houses, this offered up a ghost house: a house that periodically manifests full of its former occupants. A team of scientists and ghost busters anticipates the house’s appearance and decide to go in. So much potential.

The introduction to this story describes it as a “gestalt whirlwind.” I suppose that’s what this story is, but I couldn’t get through more than half of it. Six pages in, I had no idea what exactly was going on with our team of paranormal researchers.


Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

10 Years in 10 Books (sort of)

The thing about anniversaries, when you celebrate the first one, it’s actually on the second occasion of the event. So, 10th Anniversary of Readathon, but 11 books! The more the merrier!

Covers link to the books on Goodreads.

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(Lots of great books in 2011!)
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(Another year with some tough choices.)
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I really enjoyed this challenge. It was fun looking back on a great selection of books!
Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

📚Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, Fall 2017⏲

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Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon – Info & Signup

As often happens in October, my Readathon Saturday won’t be as exclusively dedicated to reading as I intended. A friend of ours is back home after being posted overseas and he’s excited to get a new gaming campaign going.  But, I should have a clear morning and late evening.


Continue reading “📚Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, Fall 2017⏲”