Sunday Salon, 6/28

It has not been a great week.

I have tried to be optimistic about the course of the pandemic, but I feel pretty dumb about that now. Mask-wearing has become a divisive political issue. There are people protesting a public health measure with a vehement true-believer-ship that cannot be reasoned with. And that makes me very sad. As a resident of Arizona, I’m mourning any notion I had about returning by the end of the summer to things outside of my apartment.

Anyway…

Reading

Last Week: I finished reading The Changeling by Victor LaValle. Readers, it’s darn good. Review coming up for that on Tuesday or Friday.

The Changeling
The Kestrel
The Haunting of Tram Car 015

Next Week: Finish The Kestrel by Lloyd Alexander by the end of the month. If it’s available, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark is up next for the Occult Detective Fiction book club.

Watching

Last Week: Not much. Some Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m in the middle of season two.

Next Week: Considering doing another movie-a-thon in July. Maybe an A–Z of 80’s genre movies.

Other Stuff

Moved on to playing Skyrrim. Honestly, I’d be happier if the game just let me go around beating up bandits instead of having to worry about dragon attacks. (Also, I wonder if they considered having a variant trailer with a female hero. That might be cool, you know?)

Sunday Salon, 6/21

Reading

Finished An Unexplained Death by Mikita Brottman. I intended to review it on Friday, but honestly, I’m still developing my taste in crime fiction. There were aspects of the author’s tone that often bothered me, but I don’t entirely know how I want to analyze that yet.

I decided this week that I needed a break from classical weird literature. I need to chew on the concepts being presented in the lectures I’ve been following. I’ll get back to The King in Yellow and the rest after a while.

The Changeling

I also wanted to read something by a POC author. I’m a little tired of dead, white dudes (with the occasional dead, white dudette). The advantage of diversity in literature is, well, diversity. Why wouldn’t I want to read stories by authors who have experiences different from my own? (Especially since I’m a particularly well-represented group as far as “canon” is concerned.) So, this week: The Changeling by Victor LaValle.

Watching

*queue Katherine bemoaning lack of sports in her life*

Other Stuff

Steam had a sale on Elder Scrolls titles, so I’m playing Morrowind. It’s not too shabby looking for an 18 year-old game.

Sunday Salon, 6/14

Reading

#VentureForth Update

book that I read as a child or teen – At some point in my childhood I bought an “Endless Quest” book at a hobby store: Mountain of Mirrors by Rose Estes. I knew nothing about D&D or choose your own adventure books and never got the hang of it. As an adult with some gaming experience, I plowed through it with no problem.

graphic novel – I read the first six issues of Omni, a superhero comic with a primarily female and POC creative team. It’s a similar take as X-Men, but in place of all-knowing Charles Xavier, Cecelia Cobbina is smart beyond her powers and always cautious about the ethics of superhero-ism. It reminded me a little of the movie Fast Color (2019) (which is a great movie, currently on Hulu).

The King in Yellow and Other Horror StoriesAn Unexplained Death: The True Story of a Body at the Belvedere

In the land of what I’ve recently finished, there are reviews of In the Garden of Beasts and Meddling Kids. This week I’m reading An Unexplained Death: The True Story of a Body at the Belvedere by Mikita Brottman and The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers.

Writing

I’ll be switching projects and returning to a true crime story I’ve been working on for a while now. Probably going to start doing a Round of Words in 80 Days again in July too, so my Sunday Salon posts might share space with those updates. Reading An Unexplained Death is part of this process.

Other

Our COVID-19 numbers have jumped enough that Arizona is making national news. Despite this, Eric and I have included our friend Chris in our park exercises over the last couple weeks. I’ve been holding out hope that we might get back to a regular ultimate frisbee game by Sept/Oct, but now I don’t know.

Sunday Salon, 5/31

Reading

Finished In the Garden of Beasts yesterday. I’ll probably post on it later this week.

Also reread Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow for my Weird Lit “class.” It’s so hard to divorce the Disney animated version from original. Of course, that version of the Headless Horseman scared the crap out of young me. For a few years, I was fairly sure that the Horseman was going to gallop down the street at me anytime I walked to my grandparent’s house…

This coming week:

The Mysteries of Udolpho
Meddling Kids
Carmilla

Among other things…

Watching

My pick of the week:

Four Weddings and a Funeral, the series. I was dubious because the original film is one of my favorite rom coms. My friend Tania and I watched it at least twice in the theaters when it came out. I took a chance on the series, though, and realized that Mindy Kaling is part of the writing/production team. It’s pretty obvious that she has respect for the original and Richard Curtis’s films in general. There’s a lot of the usual rom com nonsense, but that can be rather comforting and satisfying.

Writing

Continued to do some writing/rewriting. Continued to watch some ultimate frisbee while doing so. Last weeks games:

Other Stuff

Long week. We’ve had 110+F temperatures in AZ since Thursday, which is unusual for May. Our AC was on the fritz, but was quickly taken care of by our landlord. We had some excitement Sunday morning (around 2am) when, seemingly, a firework set two palm trees on fire about a half block away. Luckily, the winds had calmed and we’re very near both police and fire stations.

As of tonight, Arizona is under a week-long curfew due to Friday and Saturday protests that took a turn. Whatever your feelings about what is going on in the US right now, whatever other way you’ve chosen to protest, help, or just engage in self-care, remember one of your most important civic duties: vote.

#VentureForth2020 Summer Reading

Carl (one of my favorite bloggers) is back with a summer reading “challenge.” The theme? Recapturing the excitement of summer reading. Check out all the details at his blog!

As a kid, I don’t remember my library having a summer reading program, but that didn’t mean I didn’t read all through the summer. Thanks to my mom’s example, reading was something done for fun anyway. Summer just meant I could read without having to worry about stuff I needed to know for school!

There are no rules. No number of books to read. No prizes outside of the great pleasure of reading. As part of the fun I did make a list of prompts that I will check off if I end up doing them, but the only thing motivating factor of my reading is finishing a book, and then going and pulling the next read off the shelves that calls out to me.

Continue reading “#VentureForth2020 Summer Reading”

Sunday Salon, 5/24

Sunday Salon

Reading

What I read last week:

“Oakland Dragon Blues” by Peter S. Beagle for Deal Me In, Week 20 (10♥️). One of Beagle’s early drafts of The Last Unicorn included a dragon. The dragon got scrapped, but that doesn’t mean the dragon doesn’t have a bone to pick with his author… (From the collection Slight of Hand)

I finished both Westmark by Lloyd Alexander and The Beetle by Richard Marsh just this Sunday morning. My reading mojo from the beginning of Bout of Books didn’t last very long. I should have posts on both in the near future.

What I’ll read this week:

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's BerlinThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories

I’ll should be able to finish Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts by the end of the month. I’ve also started watching Michael Moir’s lectures on Weird Fiction. Last week, Moir covered how Edgar Allan Poe fits into the history of the weird. This week, we’ll look at “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and Washington Irving.

Watching

Loving Vincent (2017, Directed by Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman) – My husband Eric isn’t a Vincent van Gogh fan, but he watched this movie first and was puzzled as to why I hadn’t yet seen it. In his (correct) opinion, it is a movie I would love: art, mystery, and a uniquely created film. The film is animated using oil paintings, which is pretty incredible. (Currently available on Hulu, hoopla, and Kanopy)

I also watched the Great Performances episode of Much Ado About Nothing from November. It’s a really fun adaptation starring Danielle Brooks and Grantham Coleman and directed by Kenny Leon. (Available via PBS.)

Writing

Did a bit of rewriting on Deal with the Devil. My playlist of choice while working seems to be old ultimate frisbee games. Thus far I’ve watched

  • USAU 2019 Men’s College Championship, Brown University vs University of North Carolina
  • AUDL 2016 Semi Final, Seattle Cascades vs Madison Radicals

I bookmarked some mixed and women’s games for the coming week.


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Down the TBR Hole 30

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.

Can & Can'tankerous cover Can & Can’tankerous by Harlan Ellison

I own a lot of Harlan Ellison. This collection boasts “ten previously uncollected tales.” I’m fairly sure I haven’t read some of them… So, KEEP!

Sun Never Sets cover The Sun Never Sets by Cate Caldwell & Matt Pearson

I have so much genre literature actually written in 1899 on my TBR list, but this steampunk man-to-the-moon story still sounds rather charming. KEEP.

 Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite cover Medusa’s Gaze and Vampire’s Bite: The Science of Monsters by Matt Kaplan

I’m not sure there is really much science in monsters, but it’s a concept that intrigues the ten year-old in me. Plus, Medusa doesn’t get enough monster love. KEEP.

Champions of Illusion cover Champions of Illusion: The Science Behind Mind-Boggling Images and Mystifying Brain Puzzles
by Susana Martinez-Conde & Stephen L. Macknik

Don’t I own this book? Or have I read it? I think maybe I have. GO from my Wishlist.

Bunk cover Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries, and Phonies by Kevin Young

I really want to read this. Why haven’t I? Maybe during the 20 Books of Summer. 😬  KEEP.

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