Author Archives: Katherine Nabity

About Katherine Nabity

Writer, publisher. Hobbies include reading, studying magic & illusions from a historical/theoretical perspective, and playing ultimate frisbee.

Monday Miscellanea, 10/18/21

Classic Club Spin

On Wednesday, I posted my list for Classics Club Spin #28. On Sunday, the random roll was revealed: 12! Which for me is King Solomon’s Mines by Henry Rider Haggard. Haven’t read any Haggard before and, as I commented on my list post, I love “spooky season,” but I’m definitely ready for a change of pace.

Nonfiction November

Speaking of changes of pace, we’re only a few weeks away from Nonfiction November! Five weeks of reading and appreciating nonfiction. I might even finally read In Cold Blood.

Getting Back to It

Last Monday was our first fall ultimate frisbee league game. It was super windy which made for a very discombobulating night. We won, though. Game 2 is tonight. Other than that, not much going on with me. I fired up EverQuest 2 because I enjoy MMO holidays. I’m thinking about doing NaNoWriMo, but I haven’t quite decided on that.

R.I.P. Bingo ~ Haunted House

To misquote a tagline, what’s better than one haunted house? Four haunted houses! I’m not against remakes and I had the opportunity recently to watch some classics back-to-back with their turn-of-the-century remakes. How do they stack up?

House on Haunted Hill (1959) and 13 Ghosts (1960) were both directed by William Castle and written by Robb White. Castle was rather well known for promoting his films with gimmicks. House‘s gimmick was Emergo: in certain theaters, at a certain point in the film, a skeleton would be made to fly over the audience. Ghosts‘ had Illusion-O: a viewing device that audience members could use to see the ghosts in the film. Honestly, 13 Ghosts loses a lot without its gimmick because there isn’t much going on other than seeing the ghosts.

House on Haunted Hill is by no means a great movie, but it generally serves as a bit of schlocky seasonal fun. Vincent Price is delightfully wicked, the exterior of the house is a Frank Lloyd Wright design, and it has a few actually creepy moments. The plot (spoilers) isn’t exactly supernatural, but it has enough double dealing and betrayal that , if the house wasn’t haunted before, it is now. It’s also the easiest to view now. A copyright SNAFU has led to it being in the public domain.

In 1998, genre heavy-weights Robert Zemeckis, Joel Silver, and Gilber Adler founded Dark Castle Entertainment. The production company’s first two films were remakes of the two William Castle films mentioned above.

House on Haunted Hill (1999) was directed by William Malone and written by Dick Beebe. While the basic plot stays intact (stay over night in the haunted place, win money) the “house” is actually a former insane asylum, a trope that’s wearing thin for me. One of the criticisms of both of these movies (and of a trend in horror films that started during this period) is that they become too reliant on CGI effects. Yes, the ending of this movie is very over-wrought as our survivors flee from a Rorschach-test-like dark cloud. Luckily, there are some uncanny moments earlier in the film and there are also a few nods to the original. Winner of the Vincent-Price-level evil award: Famke Janssen.

Thir13een Ghosts (2001), directed by Steve Beck and written by Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D’Ovidio, diverges even more from the original, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As in the original, a hard-up family inherits a haunted house, but in this case, what a house! It’s all glass, glowing runes, and clockworks. The set design is really the star of this movie. The titular ghosts have back stories, which the movie doesn’t really worry about fleshing out. That’s fine, those details go into the character design where they belong. While the ghosts may not be that scary, they are interesting. Like House on Haunted Hill, the ending is the weakest point in Ghosts, but it’s kind of a fun ride while it lasts.

Classics Club Spin #28

Look at me posting twice in a week like some kind of blogger . . .

It’s Classics Club Spin time! Classic Club is a group of readers and bloggers who have pledged to read 50 classic books in five years.

More information on Classics Club.
My Classics Club list. Deadline: 12/14/2024

For a Classics Club Spin, I pick 20 books from my list and the organizers of the Classic Club pick a number between one and twenty. And then I read the appropriate book by a deadline, in this case Dec. 12th.

Below is my list:

  1. The Land of Mist by Arthur Conan Doyle
  2. The Yellow Claw by Sax Rohmer
  3. The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
  4. The House of the Vampire by George Sylvester Viereck
  5. The Dorrington Deed-Box by Arthur Morrison
  6. The Wind in the Rose-Bush by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman
  7. The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker
  8. Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn
  9. The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
  10. The Experiences of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective by Catherine Louisa Pirkis
  11. Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
  12. King Solomon’s Mines by Henry Rider Haggard
  13. The Horla by Guy de Maupassant
  14. Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime, and other stories by Oscar Wilde
  15. The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill
  16. The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume
  17. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  18. The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green
  19. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
  20. East Lynne by Ellen Wood

Monday Miscellanea, 10/11/21

Reading

I’m trying out StoryGraph. I don’t have much there at the moment. I thought about waiting until the beginning of the year to start a fresh account, but where’s the fun in that?

Despite it being the #Frightfall read-a-long, I put aside The Blood Countess by Andrei Codrescu. There is a strange disconnect between the narrative voice and the plot events that was not working for me. I’ve moved on to the #RIPXVI read-a-long: Shirley Jackson’s The Sundial, which is a reread for me. (I last read it in 2006, it seems.) Danse Macabre is my morning book. I was just about to reread some stories from Glen Hirshberg’s The Two Sams when I discovered that he had a new collection out. I jumped on that Kindle purchase, already existing TBR be damned!

Watching

I’m doing #31HorrorFilms31Days over on Twitter, but I’m not going to post here about all the movies unless they fill some R.I.P. Bingo squares. Maybe I’ll do a top five post near the end of the month.

I caught Midnight Mass before I left Netflix. It was pretty good, I thought, though not quite as creepy as Mike Flanagan’s Hill House adaptation. I’m now watching Ghosts, the BBC comedy. It’s had me giggling. I just realized that there is a new American version. I’ll try it out, I guess.

Listening

Right now? Queen. I can’t be spooky all the time . . .

Getting Back to It

Ultimate frisbee league starts tonight for Eric and me. We’re supposed to have 35mph winds ahead of a weather front. Should be fun!

Monday Miscellanea, 10/4/21

Leaves on a line. Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com
Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Getting Back to It

Last Tuesday, we went out to dinner at a restaurant.

I know, a lot of people have been doing restaurants for a while now. Eric and I have been cautious, but we’re also just not likely to go out very often. In 2018–2019, we were maybe eating at a restaurant once or twice a month. Increase in price and decline in quality at a few of our favorite places had driven us more toward take-out even pre-2020. While I’ve missed some of the variety, it hasn’t been that hard during the pandemic to not go to loud, people-filled restaurants. The older I get, the more autistic my tendencies . . .

But our friend Chris was celebrating his birthday with his family at Osaka, a teppanyaki steakhouse, and invited us along. Teppanyaki, I learn, refers to food prepared on a large iron griddle. This is often done table-side with much flourish. Or rather the table is grill-side. The eight of us sat around the edge of the griddle while the chef prepared fried rice, vegetables, and various proteins. The chef is a showman, twirling utensils, setting things artfully on fire, and bantering while cooking for eight people. Everything was excellent. I had filet mignon and calamari. Osaka probably rates as my second favorite calamari preparation. (I realize when I was a kid, I’d often eat the fried chicken at a new restaurant because I knew it was safe. Now, I try the calamari when I can. Growth!) Now, as I mentioned above, I sometimes don’t like going out because things are too loud and too much, but I did okay at Osaka after I settled in and ordered a drink. All in all, it was fun and the food was good and plentiful.


Tonight, we go out to play some pre-season ultimate. Should be fun.

R.I.P. Bingo ~ Spooky Music

I have a pretty big Spotify playlist that I call 31 Flavors of October. It’s a combination of goth, industrial, movie soundtracks, and other somewhat “spooky” music. I hit random a just let it go. Here’s a sampler:

“The Olde HeadBoard” by Rasputina, from How We Quit the Forest, 1998

“The Haunting” by Nosferatu, from Prince of Darkness, 1996

Listen to More

Reading Challenge Check-In, 9/30/21

Haven’t done a proper reading challenge check-in since the beginning of July. I’ve been blogging so much about movies lately that one might even wonder if I still read! I do, but I really enjoy movies too.

The Classics Club

Goal: 10 Books by 12/14/21
Progress: 7/10

✅ I’m more or less on track, but with no room to spare. I am also about a quarter of the way through The Devil’s Elixirs (I forgot that my version is in two volumes.)

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

Shelf Maintenance / Unwieldy Library

Goal: Abstain from acquiring books; read at least 21 books from my shelves.
Progress: I’ve acquired 14 titles (including six ARCs and a preorder), 12/21+

❌ By the middle of July, I had cataloged all my owned books, both physical and electronic. On July 15th, I owned 561 unread titles. Right now, that’s down 551, mostly due to some short story titles I blew through. It’s doubtful that I’m going to get to 21 full length books by the end of the year since I’ve been distracted by so many ARCs and library books!

Additional note: I’m pretty much no longer using Goodreads. I’m keeping track of my “currently reading/read” myself (which I’ve always done), cataloging my “owned” library at LibraryThing, and only keeping “wishlists” on various library accounts. This might cause me to look at my own shelves before borrowing or buying, but it hasn’t worked that way yet.

I Read Horror Year-Round

Goal: Read 6 books from 6 categories.
Progress: 4/6

✅ On-track. I have books that would cover two more categories on my fall TBR. So far I’ve read:

  • A body of water (featured in story, on cover, or in title): The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson
  • Written by a woman: Into Bones like Oil by Kaaron Warren
  • Ghosts or spirits: A Thin Ghost and Others by M. R. James
  • Historical horror (must be an historical novel written by a contemporary author) Slewfoot by Brom

Dune Read-through

Goal: Read Herbert’s six Dune books by October.
Progress: I read 5 of the 6 and am voluntarily stopping with Heretics of Dune. So, I’m considering this a win! ✅

Nonfiction

Goal: Read at least 30% nonfiction.
Progress: By my reckoning, I’m currently at 37% and am reading a non-fiction book as well as a fiction book currently. ✅

Short Stories

Goal: Deal Me In each week.
Progress: Again, I have been reading my weekly Deal Me In stories, if not posting about them. I’m more likely to mention them on Twitter. 😬