May TBR

April was a combination of All the Crooked Saints hangover and “let’s go to the library” rebellion from my organized TBR list. It took me a while to just go with it. May probably won’t be much different.

From My TBR List

A Dirty, Wicked Town: Tales of 19th Century Omaha The Hermit
  • A Dirty, Wicked Town: Tales of 19th Century Omaha by David L. Bristow – for Nonfiction Reading Challenge. I’m already a third of the way through.
  • The Hermit by Monica Friedman – for TBR Challenge.

Just Checked Out from the Library

Will Storr vs. The Supernatural: One Man's Search for the Truth About Ghosts The Doctor and the Kid (Weird West Tales, #2) Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars
  • Will Storr vs. The Supernatural: One Man’s Search for the Truth About Ghosts by Will Storr
  • The Doctor and the Kid by Mike Resnick
  • Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars by Ray Bradbury – Read a bit of this on the way home from the library.

Public Domain

  • A Corner in Sleep; And Other Possibilities by E. E. Kellett
  • The Piazza Tales by Herman Melville

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, Spring 2018


Need Info about Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon? Here you GO!

Progress!

22:45

As expected, my team won one game and lost the second (to the eventual champion). I stuck around to watch the semi and finals game—and talk to friends that I see a couple of times a year at league. I’ve had a few beers and a very tasty margarita. Also a peanut butter cup doughnut.

11:00
Reading: A Corner in Sleep by E. E. Kellett, pg. 43-74
Number of Pages: 32 (142 total)
Food, Drinks, Notes: Peanut butter granola bar. More water.

10:00
Reading: A Dirty, Wicked Town by David L. Bristow, pg.49-82
Number of Pages: 34 (110 total)
Food, Drinks, Notes: Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans, Diet Mtn Dew

09:00
Reading: A Dirty, Wicked Town by David L. Bristow, pg. 27-48
Number of Pages: 22 (76 total)

08:00
Reading: A Dirty, Wicked Town by David L. Bristow, pg. 1-26
Number of Pages: 26 (54 total)
Food, Drinks, Notes: Fajita meat and hash browns. Also, lots of water.

07:00
Reading: “A Scandal in Bohemia” by Arthur Conan Doyle, pg. 1-13
Number of Pages: 13 (28 total)
Food, Drinks, Notes: Shredded steak chimichanga.

06:00
Reading: Finished The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle, pg. 180-195
Number of Pages: 15
Food, Drinks, Notes: Pumpkin spice coffee.

Prologue, Plan, & TBR

I have two main pastimes: reading and ultimate frisbee. You might think that neither of these things would ever over-lap. 95% of the time,* you’d be right. This year though, every readathon weekend has landed on a disc weekend. 24 in 48? Same weekend as New Year Fest. Dewey’s? Same day as spring league finals. What’s a plastic-flinging bookworm to do? Well, as much of both as possible, I guess. If anything, I want to contribute to how much we’re going to crush the 1M page goal.

So, here’s my plan: I don’t have a game until 2pm. I’m going to try to read from 6am-noon/1pm. (Start time for me is 5am; we’ll see if I can get up that early.) At the outside, my team will possibly play three games—two is more likely and I don’t think we’ll end up in finals. I’ll probably stick around to watch finals, but I’m going to try to go light on the beers-while-watching. I should get back around 10pm. Hopefully, I can get in a couple more hours of reading before I pass out.

Bookworm: TBR

A Dirty, Wicked Town: Tales of 19th Century Omaha Hawkeye, Volume 3: L.A. Woman https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/A_Scandal_in_Bohemia-04.jpg
  • A Dirty, Wicked Town: Tales of 19th Century Omaha by David L. Bristow
  • A Corner in Sleep by E. E. Kellett – I have a few short stories left in this collection.
  • “Scandal in Bohemia” by  Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Hawkeye, Vol. 3 & Vol. 4 – I figure these will be good for 10pm+.

Continue reading “Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, Spring 2018”

Review ~ Hombre

Cover: Hombre

Hombre by Elmore Leonard

Set in Arizona mining country, Hombre is the tale of a white man raised by Indians, who must come to the aid of people who hate him when their stagecoach is attacked by outlaws. As thrilling as [Leon’s] contemporary novels of crime, double-cross, and murder in Detroit and Miami, Hombre is Elmore Leonard at his riveting best—no less than one would expect from the creator of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Justified). (via Goodreads)

Why was I interested in this book?
I may or may not have only signed up for the Wild Wild West Reading Challenge in order to have an excuse to read Elmore Leonard westerns.

Justified is perhaps my favorite TV show ever—it’s based on character and situation created by Leonard. It led me to a collection of his short fiction and ultimately to the very first proper western that I had ever read, Gunsights in 2012.

hosted by Nick @ One Catholic Life

What Worked
Honestly, I think Leonard does westerns better than contemporary crime fiction. In many ways, Justified feels more like a western than crime drama.  Or at least what he does well is what one *thinks* of as a western. There’s a level of heightened action, one might even say melodrama, that works well in a cinematic notion of the Old West. (It works well in crime noir too, but that’s a genre that I’m not as fond of.) But on the other hand, there isn’t anything in Hombre that I would point at as being too modern. The story pays attention to things like the state of horses, amounts of water, or qualities of darkness.

While I wouldn’t say that Leonard’s strength is environment, it’s certainly the version of Arizona that I marvel at every time we take a car trip. How anyone spent days crossing mountains and expanses of cactus-filled nothingness by horseback/wagon is amazing to me. An eight-hour drive to California with a IHOP stop in Yuma is pretty much all I can take.

What Didn’t Work
In this case—with a first person POV—very informal narrative voice worked well, but that isn’t always the case with Elmore Leonard. One of his most famous quotes about writing is: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” Some times, I don’t think that works. Some times, a reader wants steady clarity of narrative. Again, I didn’t have this problem much with Hombre.

Overall
It’s been another indecisive reading month for me. This was a nice change-up from what I had planned. There will be more Elmore Leonard later in the year.

Publishing info, my copy: trade paperback, Dell, 1999 (originally published 1961)
Acquired: Tempe Public Library
Genre: western

It’s Monday, What Are You… 4/23

…Reading?

I’m on the fence about Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon on Saturday. It’s the same day as league finals, so I won’t be able to even attempt 24 hours. But on the other hand:

So, I feel like I could contribute to the event a little in a fun way. I don’t have a game until 2pm which means I could get maybe six hours of reading in before finals. Probably nothing after—games go until 9:30. Even though my team will probably only play two games, I’m likely to stick around and revel.

What am I reading this week? I’m mostly finishing a few things:

The Valley of Fear Hombre The Three Impostors
  • The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle – Over halfway. I love that fairly ridiculous cover.
  • Hombre by Elmore Leonard – Started on Friday; it’s going down easy.
  • The Three Impostors by Arthur Machen – Maybe a third of the way through. Machen is a bit dense at times.
  • A Corner in Sleep by E. E. Kellett – A potential favorite discovered while working on the automaton anthology.
  • “The Neanderthal in the Garden” by Guido Eekhaut – For Deal Me In.
  • “Scandle in Bohemia” by  Arthur Conan Doyle

I’m still holding out hope that Meddling Kids will become available before the end of the month. If it does before Saturday, I’ll definitely readathon.

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

Deal Me In, Week 16 ~ “Riddle”

DealMeIn

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

“Riddle” by Ogbewe Amadin

Card picked: 2 – a WILD card
Found at: Fireside Magazine

The Story

I think Aunty Adesuwa is a witch. Mama says so sometimes.

To Idara, Mama never lies, and when Mama says that witches are evil, it must be so. But witchcraft also see,s like it could be a wonderful thing, full of possibilities. Idara sets out to prove whether Aunty Adesuwa is really a witch and really evil. It’s a riddle that isn’t easily solved.

Fireside Magazine showcases some really nice flash fiction. This one has been bookmarked since January and I decided to choose it for my wild card this week, even though it doesn’t fit with the sci fi tales I’ve chosen for hearts. Glad I did. It’s a lovely story with a nice touch of ambiguity.

The Author
I think this might be Nigerian author Ogbewe Amadin’s first publication. I’m pretty sure it won’t be his last.

Spring into Horror Halfway-ish Point

For someone who had no horror on her TBR at the beginning of the month, I’m doing pretty well.

Castle of the Carpathians cover The Castle of the Carpathians by Jules Verne

I’ll be honest, I haven’t really read much/any Verne. I know the basics of many of his more famous Extraordinary Voyage novels (20,000 Leagues Under the SeaThe Mysterious Island), but I haven’t actually read them yet. I ended up quickly reading The Castle of the Carpathians due to a research tangent.

The story is…very slow. 90% of it does not occur in the titular castle. I feel like Verne decided to write a Gothic novel with the intent of explaining all the possible supernatural happening with technology—very pre-Scooby Doo of him. The problem is, Verne’s not a Gothic writer. This book might have influenced the early portion of Dracula. If it did, Bram Stoker massively improved upon it.

The Greatcoat cover The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore

I knew going into this book that it was going to be a somewhat romantic slow-burn ghost story. And I like that sort of thing, but I wish there had been a little more menace to the haunting, maybe a little more of a zing to the ending. On the other hand, it wasn’t an entirely predicable ghost story, which was nice.

The Fifty Year Sword cover The Fifty Year Sword by Mark Z. Danielewski

I’ve sort of been in the mood to reread Danielewski’s House of Leaves, a book I didn’t quite like when I read it the first time, but has weirdly stuck with me. But I couldn’t easily find my copy. When I was at the library I considered  checking out their copy, but then I saw The Fifty Year Sword on the shelf.

It’s an odd size for a hard back. It’s cover it riddled with holes as though made by a big sewing needle (or the miniature sword letter opener I own).  The text in the book is upside down and backwards and written in a free-verse style with many quotation marks (demoting different speakers, it’s explained) and embroidery looking illustrations (our protagonist is a seamstress). The names of most of the characters are strange. While there are shadows of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Drosselmeier in the Story Teller and Shirley Jackson’s “The Witch” in the conceit, I sometimes wish Danielewski would simply tell a story without all the shenanigans. But, I suppose, what else was I expecting…

Down the TBR Hole 12

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.

Cover: Ratcatcher by James McGee Ratcatcher by James McGee

I’m still a little intrigued by a story of Regency era crime, but will I actually ever get to it? Probably not. GO.

Cover: The First Psychic by Peter Lamont The First Psychic: The Peculiar Mystery Of A Victorian Wizard by Peter Lamont

I’ve only read two books by Peter Lamont (The Rise of the Indian Rope Trick and Magic In Theory), but he’s one of my favorite writers on magical subjects. KEEP.

Cover: Extraordinary Beliefs by Peter Lamont Extraordinary Beliefs: A Historical Approach to a Psychological Problem by Peter Lamont

Same as the above. KEEP. Alas, these two books are “out of print”-ish. Extraordinary Beliefs is available in a Kindle edition for the scholarly price of $21.49.

Cover: Pantomime by Laura Lam Pantomime by Laura Lam

At a certain point I added a lot of circus novels to my pile. None have stuck around, but I’m KEEPing Pantomime. It feels like the kind of YA I enjoy every once in a while.

Cover: Fadeout by Joseph Hansen Fadeout by Joseph Hansen

There are two things that led to my adding this book in the first place: the main character is “an insurance investigator who is contentedly gay.” Emphasis is mine. An investigator who isn’t police (or a not-related-to-investigation profession)  and a gay character who isn’t tortured by it. KEEP.

Only one cut. Slow week. Anyone have any experience with any of these? Any arguments for KEEP or GO?