It’s Monday! What Are You… (3/25/19)

…Reading?

I might finally be back on the reading wagon. I finished The Man From the Train over the weekend and should have a review of that tomorrow.
Tesla: Man Out of Time
This week, I’m starting on Tesla Man Out of Time by Magaret Cheney. Because I always need to read another Tesla biography. This one caught my eye by presenting, at least in its first chapter, a narrative tone while not being fictional. If that makes any sense.

I also have a bunch of short stories to catch up on.

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

…Watching?

Doing a Bourne movie watch-through. I haven’t seen the last one yet. Good gracious, this trailer is cheesy.

…Doing?

Been playing too much EverQuest 2. The game launched a new time-locked expansion server last weekend and Eric and I decided to play on it. This is my main character, Reesa, in her home. She’s a bard, hence the musical notes floating around her.

Deal Me In, Week 12 ~ “White Goddess”

DealMeIn

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

“White Goddess” by Margaret St. Clair

Card picked: 4
Found at: More Stories Not for the Nervous

It was somehow less nerve-wracking to think of her as a young woman in disguise than an old woman who moved and spoke like somebody in her twenties.

Carson is a small-time con man and thief. His modus operandi is flattering little old ladies into getting them to take him home for tea-and-cakes and then stealing their silverware. But Miss Smith is not quite what she seems. And the baubles, that Carson wouldn’t even be able to pawn, might eventually be his prison.

I haven’t quite gotten my thumb on what these stories-not-for-the-nervous are supposed to be. Mysteries? Horror? Hard-boiled crime? So far, they’ve been all of the above. I’m not familiar with Margaret  St. Clair. Apparently, she is a pioneer of science fiction, which would explain why this little dark fantasy story was originally published under the pseudonym, Idris Seabright.

Viva Las Vegas!

Despite my affinity for the song*, few of the lyrics to “Viva Las Vegas” apply to my recent trip to Sin City.

I gambled, not at all.  Of the thousand pretty women, I only saw a few fairly attractive faux show girls working their “Pictures with a Show Girl” schtick on the Strip. The neon flashing and the one-armed bandits crashing have even been mostly replaced with LED screens and push buttons. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a “swinging” time, it just means that  Doc Pomus &  Mort Shuman didn’t take into account going to Las Vegas to see magic.

Continue reading “Viva Las Vegas!”

Magic Monday, 3/11/19

I like Mondays. I also like magic. 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.

The magic world lost one of its great performers and mentors this past weekend. Johnny Thompson was known as a fabulous comedy magician and a generous collaborator. If you’re not familiar with his act, you’ve undoubtedly seen his influence on performers such as Penn & Teller, Piff the Magic Dragon, Mac King, and many others through his “in the booth” involvement with the show Penn & Teller: Fool Us. Here’s his signature act The Great Tomsoni & Co. (& Co. being his wife Pamela Hayes).

It’s Monday, What am I…

…Reading?

Reading? What’s that?

To be fair, I spent the first part of last week in Las Vegas and am otherwise speeding through a rewrite/third draft of the book I’m working on. But here’s what I might read this week:

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 7: I've Been Waiting for a Squirrel Like You

Plus, short stories!

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

…Doing?

As I mentioned above, I’m working through a rewrite/third daft of what was known as Jane Anderson Mystery (#1?), but now has a title: Deal with the Devil. I plan to have that finished by Friday. Granted, I haven’t entirely finished writing the book in the first place. (That won’t be finished by Friday.) I decided at the end of February, I wanted to solidify some shifts in plot before heading into the climax.

I’ll probably write up something about my trip to Las Vegas this week as well. Most things are taking a backseat to my getting writing work done, which is as it should be, but often isn’t.

Otherwise, ultimate frisbee (if we don’t get rained out) and some EverQuest 2.

What *Was* I Doing?

#DealMeIn2019 Week 10 ~ “Evil Opposite”

DealMeIn

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

“Evil Opposite” by Naomi Kritzer

Card picked: 6
Found at: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September-October 2017

There is a theory that each choice, each chance, each throw of a die creates a separate parallel universe; that there are infinite universes layered like filo dough in baklava or stacked like an unsteady pile of papers on a desk.

The Story
The “what if” of this story is, what if you could peek at your other layers. Our unnamed narrator, a handy physics post-grad, builds a device posited by his graduate advisor and is able to see other versions of himself in those other universes. In some he’s still a Ph.D. student studying physics, or mathematics, or political science, or business, or law. In some he’s single, in some he’s still with his ex-fiance, in some he’s living in a different state as a new father. In some, he’s murdered his annoying Ph.D. program nemesis Shane…

Playing the alternate lives game is always fun. What if I had pursued an MFA instead of diving into writing? What if I had taken that anatomy class instead of physiology and never met Eric? What is I took the ROTC scholarship and ended up at Creighton? Would I have ended up at as a Bluejays fan??? Okay, maybe the alternate lives game isn’t always fun.

The Author
This is the second story I’ve read by Naomi Kritzer (I believe). The first was the excellent Hugo award-winning “Cat Pictures Please”. I really enjoy her style and I should really read more of her work.

Review ~ The Lady from the Black Lagoon

This book was provided to me by Hanover Square Press via NetGalley for review consideration.

The Lady from the Black Lagoon Cover via Goodreads

The Lady from the Black Lagoon
Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara

As a teenager, Mallory O’Meara was thrilled to discover that one of her favorite movies, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, featured a monster designed by a woman, Milicent Patrick. But for someone who should have been hailed as a pioneer in the genre there was little information available. For, as O’Meara soon discovered, Patrick’s contribution had been claimed by a jealous male colleague, her career had been cut short and she soon after had disappeared from film history. No one even knew if she was still alive.

As a young woman working in the horror film industry, O’Meara set out to right the wrong, and in the process discovered the full, fascinating story of an ambitious, artistic woman ahead of her time. Patrick’s contribution to special effects proved to be just the latest chapter in a remarkable, unconventional life, from her youth growing up in the shadow of Hearst Castle, to her career as one of Disney’s first female animators. And at last, O’Meara discovered what really had happened to Patrick after The Creature’s success, and where she went.
(via Goodreads)

Why was I interested in this book?
I’m a horror movie and special effects buff. The story of a woman working in early Hollywood as a Disney animator and creature-feature designer sounded good to me.

What Didn’t Work… For Me
Full disclosure: I did not finish reading this book. Usually, I don’t post reviews of books I haven’t finished, but I want to make an exception in this case. I read over a third of The Lady from the Black Lagoon while slowly realizing that this book is not to my taste. That doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a bad book.

There is an adage that biographies and memoirs should have a compelling story at their heart. The problem with this quip is that “compelling” is subjective. There are plenty of perfectly good memoirs in existence that don’t interest me at all; I do not find them compelling for whatever reason. There are two narratives at play in The Lady… . One is life of Milicent Patrick, animator and creature designer. The other narrative is about the author Mallory O’Meara’s career as a woman in the modern horror movie industry and, especially, how she researched this book. Maybe it’s because I’ve done my own research work, but O’Meara’s portion of the book, bogged down Patrick’s story for me.

O’Meara is also very close to her subject and her attitudes continually bleed into history. That is something that is very attractive to some nonfiction readers. For me, I guess I’m a more stodgy in my attitudes. I feel like if you present history well enough, I can make my own comparisons to current events. I’ve also read a few biographies this year that weren’t afraid of being slim. The Lady… ended up feeling padded out instead of being a quick 200 page biography. Again, this might be more due to my particular taste in books lately.

Overall
I think Milicent Patrick is an interesting subject, a woman who lived an extraordinary life. I think Mallory O’Meara’s telling can add scope and context for some readers, just not me.

Publishing info: Hanover Square Press, published 3/5/19
My Copy: ePub, NetGalley
Genre:
memoir, biography

March TBR 2019

I don’t want to make grand pronouncements, but for the time being, I plan on blogging less (not that I blog much to begin with). After this week, I have no more ARCs in the queue and I don’t plan on pursuing more through NetGalley. I’m going to review when I feel like it and maybe do the odd meme/readathon, but not worry about sticking to a schedule.

I kind of took a few weeks “off” of reading, so much of this TBR is a rerun.

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery Lady Molly of Scotland Yard (Illustrated. Annotated. Includes all 12 stories + original essay "Who Was Baroness Orczy?") Tesla: Man Out of Time