This is just a teaser. I’ll have more info about Cadet Kendricks and a TBR later in the month.
I also read Poe’s Brother: the Poems of William Henry Leonard Poe by Hervey and Thomas Ollive Mabbott Allen, which was a research hole I went down last week.
Quiller-Couch’s On the Art of Writing got me thinking about the origins of American literature. I’ve earmarked an American Literature EdX course, so I might have some reading for that.
I finished three books last week, two from various libraries and one a reread, so no change in my Beat the Backlog number.
It’s now been 18 days since I last acquired a book. Since I started keeping track of my book purchases/acquisitions in 2016, my record is 93 days (from Oct. 11, 2019 to Jan. 12, 2020); a goal to shoot for.
Writing & Tomes:
Still haven’t heard back on “Colors of the Sea.” *checks email just in case* Yep, still haven’t heard.
Thoughts: Well, I started the year off with quite a story. Nightfire is Tor’s horror imprint and they post a monthly “best of” of horror stories published online. I haven’t in the past availed myself of their lists, but if this story is an indication, their picks are good ones, heavy on the horror.
I can’t say I totally understood everything going on in “Drip.” The narrator is definitely deranged and in an abusive situation that is pretty over-the-top. He becomes obsessed with dripping of the dirty faucet. Or at least the sound of it, which seems to only be in his head. Everything in this story, including the faucet and the basin below it, is dirty and spoiled. The only freedom for the narrator and his many brothers is when their father is gone, laying in mourning over the grave of his father and father’s fathers. I suspect the faucet and the drip are allegorical (is the faucet their . . . mother?), but none of my theories exactly fit.
The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 3rd and runs through Sunday, January 9th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are reading sprints, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For all Bout of Books 33 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team
It’s Bout of Books! What a great way to start the year! My goal is read about 600 pages and get to one of the Twitter chats.
I plan on finishing In Our Own Worlds, which is an anthology of four novellas. I started the third, A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson, last night. Then on to Beowulf or Moby Dick, neither of which will help my backlog, but I’ve been itching to reread both. My morning “craft” reading is On the Art of Writing by Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, so a chapter of that every morning and a short story a day from Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown.
I’m not going to participate officially in Nonfiction November because I don’t think I have time to put together posts each week, but I do want to give a shout-out to the event. Reading nonfiction often gets overlooked as being dry or not being as important as “literature.” False dichotomy! Nonfiction is a wide genre, knowing how the world works is always a good ting, and some nonfiction is just as narratively driven as the best fiction. So, anyway, if you like nonfiction and want to celebrate it or you’re new to nonfiction and want some recommendations, check out the event all through November. It kicked off Monday with Rennie atWhat’s 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? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
I generally try to read about a 30% nonfiction during the year. Right now I’m hanging out at 37% with my two in-progess books also being nonfiction. Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve read and what’s going on in 2021.
Books about writing: Or at least tangentially about writing. It seems I’m trying to come back from what I’ve recently described as my mid-life hiatus.
Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide by John Cleese – recommended! It’s short and rather comforting book about, well, creativity.
Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg (re-read)
The Call of Stories by Robert Coles (re-read)
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury (re-read)
Never Say You Can’t Survive by Charlie Jane Anders
The Letters of Shirley Jackson, edited by Laurence Jackson Hyman (in-progress, but so far, recommended)
Magic books: Not as many magic books as in years past, probably because I’ve maybe been paying too much attention to what I’m “supposed” to be reading.
Strange Cures by Rob Zabrecky – recommended! The least magical of the bunch, this is Rob Zabrecky’s autobiography of living in drug-soaked California as a member of Possum Dixon and later as a magician.
The Coney Island Fakir by Gary R. Brown
Jay’s Journal of Anomales by Ricky Jay
David Copperfield’s History of Magic by David Copperfield, Richard Wiseman, and David Britland (in-progress)
Horror in media: Why? Don’t know, but I have watched a lot of horror movies since April of 2020. A lot.
The Science of Women in Horror by Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence
Nightmare Movies by Kim Newman
Danse Macabre by Stephen King – recommended! Even if you’re not a fan of Stephen King or even horror, this is a pretty good primer on horror tropes and what they say about American society (at least from 1950 to 1980).
Science history related: One of my favorite sub-genres of science nonfiction is the history of science. Or maybe one of my favorite sub-genres of history is where it intersects with science. (See also, magic books.)
The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale – recommended! Also “magic books” related, but much more about the psychology that is behind the want/need to perpetuate a certain type of con, in this case mediumship.
The Reason for the Darkness of the Night by John Tresch – recommended! A great Poe biography, but also about the advancement of science in the US during Poe’s lifetime; how each influenced the other.
Tesla: Inventor of the Modern by Richard Munson
So, that’s a microcosm of my reading this year. I’m sure my TBR will be freshly filled up with great nonfiction titles by the end of the month!
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:
The Land of Mist by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Yellow Claw by Sax Rohmer
The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
The House of the Vampire by George Sylvester Viereck
The Dorrington Deed-Box by Arthur Morrison
The Wind in the Rose-Bush by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman
The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker
Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn
The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
The Experiences of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective by Catherine Louisa Pirkis
Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
King Solomon’s Mines by Henry Rider Haggard
The Horla by Guy de Maupassant
Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime, and other stories by Oscar Wilde
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.
✅ 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.)
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.
Autumn is my favorite season; mystery and horror are my favorite genres. Obviously, I’m all about fall reading events!
R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril is back for its 16th year, though in a slightly different form. There is information on Twitter and Instagram, but most of the action is over on Discord. At its heart though it’s the same R.I.P.. Horror, gothic, mysteries? All valid choices for R.I.P. and challenges include reading novels/short stories, watching movies/TV shows, and (new this year) listening to music/podcasts. Also new this season is a group read, Shirley Jackson’s The Sundial, and the above spiffy bingo card. I’m bad at prompt-based readathons so I imagine I’m going to be terrible at readathon bingo, but we’ll see how it goes.
Something Wicked Fall / #FrightFall is also back at Castle Macabre. I plan on doing the group read, The Blood Countess by Andrei Codrescu, and probably The Devil’s Elixirs by E. T. A. Hoffmann during Gothic September.