Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Classics Club Spin #32

I plan on working on my Classics Club list again. On the 14th, I’ll have two years and 34 books left after purposefully taking 2022 off. I was burnt out on reading from lists and just wanted to read “free-range.”

Since I’m coming up on the three year anniversary of the list, now is a great time for a CCSpin:

  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog before Sunday, December 11th.
  • We’ll announce a number from 1-20.
  • Read that book by 29th January, 2023.

Here’s my list:

  1. Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory
  2. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
  3. Shakespeare’s Sonnets by William Shakespeare
  4. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Ward Radcliffe
  5. The Monk by M. G. Lewis
  6. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  7. The Mummy! by Jane Webb Loudon
  8. The Queen’s Necklace by Alexandre Dumas
  9. Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawethorne
  10. Piazza Tales by Herman Melville
  11. Curious, if True Strange Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell
  12. Uncle Silas by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
  13. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  14. The Experiences of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective by Catherine Louisa Pirkis
  15. In Ghostly Japan by Lafcadio Hearn
  16. Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn
  17. The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
  18. Three John Silence Stories by Algernon Blackwood
  19. Carnacki the Ghost Finder by William Hope Hodgson
  20. Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle

I believe all of these qualify for Beat the Backlog too, a personal challenge I’ll renew in 2023.

Posted in Other Media, Readathons-Challenges-Memes, Short Story

Yuletide 2022, Check-In #1


Cover: "A Christmas Tree" by Charles Dickens
Cover: The Night Before Christmas: A C is for Cthulhu Holiday Tale by Jason Ciaramella, illustrated by Joshua Janes

I haven’t done too much Yuletide reading yet. I listened to “A Christmas Tree” by Charles Dickens, which, of course, is a little creepy. Our narrator reminisces about his childhood Christmas tree and goes on may tangents about Christmas and the dark evenings of winter. I also read The Night Before Christmas: A “C is for Cthulhu” Holiday Tale by Jason Ciaramella, illustrated by Joshua Janes. This is a delightful board book; the ebook version was a contest freebie. The illustrations are cute and colorful and the thought of cute, colorful eldritch horrors would probably make H. P. Lovecraft spin in his grave. That makes me happy. Not very “hooked-on-phonics” friendly, though. 😉


Happiest Season (2020)
I didn’t realize before watching Happiest Season that it was written and directed by Clea DuVall, whom I’ve always enjoyed as an actress. There are conceits that you have to accept when watching most Christmas movies. The primary one: there will be a happy ending. And, oh, that all are holiday family trouble could end as happily as in Happiest Season . . .

The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
Honestly, The Christmas Chronicles has been on my TBW for a while. The concept of Kurt Russel as Santa Claus was appealing to me. This movie is ridiculous and a lot fun. Honestly, it presents a Santa mythology that is fairly well worked out. (I mean, as a kid, I never understood how Santa was going to visit because we *didn’t have a fireplace*.) I laughed, sniffled at the sappy parts, and finished the movie thinking, “My grandmother would have loved this.”

Posted in Male Author, Novella, Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Monday Miscellanea, 11/28/22

Read & Reading

Cover: The Greyhound of the Baskervilles by John Gaspard & Arthur Conan Doyle
Cover: Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright
Cover: Aliens: Vasquez by V. Castro

Finished The Greyhound of the Baskervilles by John Gaspard and Arthur Conan Doyle. This mystery asks, “What if Sherlock Holmes was a dog person?” It’s a retelling of The Hound of the Baskervilles, but from the point of view of Septimus, Holmes’ pet greyhound. It’s a fine adaptation, a freebie I had picked up because I’ve read Gaspard’s Eli Marks mysteries. It’s book #22 for my Beat the Backlog goal.

After finishing Greyhound, I headed to the elibrary for a Yuletide Challenge pick and found Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright. I like the occasional fluffy holiday romance. And then two hours later another book came off hold: Aliens: Vasquez by V. Castro. I also like the occasional military sci-fi movie tie-in.


Season 1 (2022)

I’m not a fan of supernatural clique boarding school stories, but I am a fan of Tim Burton and The Addams Family (the TV show and the 90s movies especially). So, in the words of my husband on the subject of Wednesday, I’m a sucker. The mystery story is fine, but for me the plot is secondary to the morbid quips and puns. Jenna Ortega is well cast and Wednesday’s interactions with her pastels-and-glitter roommate (Emma Myers) are particularly fun. All of the cast is great, aside from Catherine Zeta-Jones (Morticia) and Luis Guzmán (Gomez). I actually had high-hopes for that pairing but the two have no chemistry. Guzmán seemed too restrained and Zeta-Jones isn’t vampish enough. Tim Burton’s aesthetic is toned down too, but that’s just fine. It actually works really well with Barry Sonnenfeld’s movies.

Writing Update

NaNoWriMo 2022 Banner

Well, it’s the 28th of November and I’ve only written just over 28,000 words. And I marvel at the use of the word “only” in that previous sentence. That’s 10K more than I wrote last NaNoWriMo when I was tinkering with an old project.

My problem with NaNoWriMo is that is gets messy. Not just the manuscript, but my world. I let chores go and put off things I want to do. Yes, that’s a product of doing more writing work than I normally would, but it also makes me a bit nuts. Part of what I wanted to do with NaNo was to get into a stronger work schedule. Time will tell if that worked, but I’m definitely okay with going back to a more balanced life.

And I also hit the wall on how much story I had planned. I’m not a good planner. I’m also not great at “seeing where the story will take me.” So, at around 25,000 words I really needed to take some time and figure out what I’m doing. I’ve clarified the conflicts and have an end target.

I plan on getting to 30K by the end of the month and maybe shooting for another 20K by the middle of December.

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Reading Notes, 10/27/22

Cover: It Came from the Closet, ed. by Joe Vallese
Cover: The Hacienda by Isabel Canas
Cover: Moby Dick by Herman Melville


Having a reading hangover after readathon. Or at least a reviewing hangover. So here’s what I’m currently reading:

  • It Came from the Closet, edited by Joe Vallese – I have a handful of essays left from this anthology. Should have it finished by next week.
  • The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas – My “night time” book. A checkout from the library. (Note to Eric, who will probably read this: this is not the book I spoke you about the other day with that autistic character. I sent that one back to the library when this one came off hold. No hate-reading for me, at this time.)
  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville – Finally started my reread of Moby-Dick as my “morning” book.

Challenge Updates

Beat the Backlog: It’s been 14 days since I acquired a book.

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, October 2022

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon image


Mid-Event Survey

  1. What are you reading right now? I rolled randomly for a while, but I’m now going between It Came from the Closet and My Heart is a Chainsaw.
  2. How many books have you read so far? I’m such a slow reader; I haven’t finished any.
  3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the readathon? I’m just going to continue what I have going on.
  4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I’m courting interruption by having some ultimate frisbee games in the background.

Opening Survey

  1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Tempe, AZ
  2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror, edited by Joe Vallese. I’ve never read from a book of essays during readathon before.
  3. Which snack are you most looking forward to? A Totino’s Party “Pizza” for lunch.
  4. Tell us a little something about yourself! Other than reading, I like to watch movies and play ultimate frisbee.

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Readers Imbibing Peril & Something Wicked Fall

Image of two small unlit jack-o-lanterns with a black and orange background with other seasonal leaves.
Photo by Toni Cuenca on

Autumn is my favorite season. Horror, mystery and the related are my favorite genres. So, of course, Readers Imbibing Peril (or, R.I.P.) is one of my favorite reading/blogging events! There are multiple categories of participation or “perils.” Check out the link for details.

Banner for Something Wicked Fall blogging event.

September and October are also the time for Something Wicked Fall at Castle Macabre! The read-along this year is Victor LaValle’s The Devil in Silver, which I’ve had on my TBR for a while!

Click for TBRs
Posted in Female Author, Novella, Readathons-Challenges-Memes

#20BooksOfSummer Review: Upright Women Wanted

Cover: Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

I picked up this book, one of the few I acquired in 2021, because the concept of a post-apocalyptic-ish distopian-ish western sounded cool. Plus, the main characters are librarians! Of a sort. The librarians are tasked with distributing “approved” materials to far-flung townships, but obviously their freedom to travel allows them to engage in plenty of subterfuge—so much that I’m not sure why the Librarians would be government approved. The world building *is* pretty vague.

Our main character is probably the least interesting of the librarians and fugitives that we ride along with. Esther is pretty angsty, but also seems to overcome a particularly traumatic event with ease. I rather liked the Old West slang peppered through the dialog, though I’m not entirely sure is we’d revert back to that slang (if this book *is* set in the future). The plot was fine, but maybe Esther falling in with revolutionaries the moment she leaves town is maybe too convenient.

20 Books of Summer Wrap-Up

My summer reading started and ended with fun, but slightly unsatisfying reads and that’s okay. I read fifteen books, which might be the best I’ve ever managed for 20 Books of Summer. Six of them were from my original list and six of them counted for my Beat the Backlog challenge. Considering how hard I slumped in August, I’m considering it a win! Now if it would not be 110F outside, I’d comfortably move on to my fall reading . . .