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.
I’m very susceptible to peer (non)pressure. Or maybe it was a case of FOMO. But, anyway, Dale at Mirror with Clouds is reading through a collection of James’ tales and I was moved to read a few as well. I was going to read Journey to the Center of the Earth for my June Classics Club book, but Verne will have to wait.
I’ve said this before, probably differently, but M. R. James gets undervalued as a writer of weird literature. He gets the designation “teller of traditional English ghost stories,” but maybe I don’t understand either category. Are traditional English ghost stories full of bugs (often very large ones) and strange hairy things that are spawned from an apparently cursed wallpaper print? Sure, James has the nested narrators—someone relating a tale told to him by a friend who read the creepy historical documents—of a Christmas ghost story. Often, at least in the case of these five stories, the terrible thing has happened in the less enlightened 1700s, but make no mistake, James traffics in the uncanny.
Reading Challenge Check-In
Here we are at the halfway mark of 2021. Time for a good check-in!
Actually, my goal was to read 10 books between June 1st and Sept 1st, but I’ve already finished six! They’ve all been on the short side, but I’m still considering changing the goal to 15 books. Only two of the six were from my original TRB. ✅
Goal: Abstain from acquiring books; read at least 21 books from my shelves. Progress: I’ve acquired 12 titles (including five ARCs and a preorder), 5/21+
❌ I’ve moved on to cataloging my Kindle books on LibraryThing, which is kind of a pain. I’m through titles A–F. I’ve deleted quite a few ebooks that I downloaded for free that, frankly, I’m never going to read. As is, I’m at 453 unread of 862 titles.
Goal: Read 6 books from 6 categories. Progress: 3/6
✅ Still on-track, more or less. 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
Goal: Read Herbert’s 6 Dune books by October. Progress: I managed to finish God Emperor of Dune, which is generally considered a stumbling block. I’ll admit, though, Heretics of Dune isn’t clicking with me. ✅
Goal: Read at least 30% nonfiction. Progress: Currently, at 36%. No nonfiction planned in July though. Or August. I’m not worried. I’m sure something will come up. ✅
Goal: Deal Me In each week and Cather Reading Project each month. Progress: I dropped the Cather Reading Project, mostly because I felt like I wasn’t adding much to the discussions. Still reading my Deal Me In Stories, but haven’t been posting about them. 😬
20 Books of Summer is an annual reading extravaganza hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. Now, you might have noticed that I just wrote “20 Books of Summer” but the graphic above reads “10 Books of Summer.” That’s because there are options for us slow and/or indecisive readers. I have a plan, mostly, and it should result in me reading at least 10 books cover to cover between June 1st and September 1st. (Finished Books of Summer are denoted with the ✅. Current count: 10/10!)
I’ve gotten my COVID vaccination so the only thing I’m coming down with is a Bout of Books!*
The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 10th and runs through Sunday, May 16th 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 31 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team
I haven’t set goals for Bout of Books in a while, but I want to this time. I’d like to:
Make it to at least one of the Twitter chats. Monday’s is a prime target. ✅ Took part in Monday’s Tweet-chat! We’ll see is I make it up in time for Saturday’s.
Take part in some of the reading in place/sprints. Especially around Thursday/Friday when my enthusiasm flags. 😬 Alas, I ended up being pretty hermit-y this week.
Read 700 pages. That’s a pretty ambitious goal for me, a terribly slow reader. ⭕ Monday: weekly total was at 88 pages, so I’m a smidge behind. But remember, there is no failing Bout of Books! ⭕ Wednesday: At 279 pages read, I’m still a bit behind. Just kinda flailing along this week. 👍 End of Event: 648 pages, which isn’t bad!
I’m celebrating two readathons today: Dewey’s 24-hour and Spring into Horror. I’m going to do something a little different this time around for Dewey’s. Inspired by Flik Reads, I’ve set up random prompt jar. I’m going to start the day with:
A chapter of God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert – I’m sticking to my chapter-a-day schedule.
Into Bones like Oil by Kaaron Warren – It’s become readathon tradition to start the day with a novella.
After that, I’m going to pick from my readathon jar. Some prompts will return to the jar and some are one-time only. Prompts include:
Stories from Books of Blood by Clive Barker – I’ll be starting vol. 2.
The Ceremonies by T.E.D. Klein – A chapter or two or 40 minutes. We’ll see what works.
The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination by Robert Coles – Hopefully, this book won’t crash my readathon momentum. It’s a book I want to make progress on.
Other short stories!
Plus, maybe an audio book, maybe graphic novels. Reading in all forms!
I’ll mostly be updating on Twitter. You can follow me at @katen
What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Tempe, AZ! It’s not sunny yet, but it’s going to be a warm day.
Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Vol. 2 of Books of Blood by Clive Barker. Barker has also become something of a readathon tradition for me.
Which snack are you most looking forward to? I’m planning on having a Totino’s Party Pizza later on. Also have healthier things like hummus and watermelon.
Tell us a little something about yourself! I enjoy editing formatting ebooks (as well as writing my own). If you need something extra for your stack today, I have free downloads!
If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? As I mentioned above, I’ll be drawing from a prompt jar every few hours which is new for me!
Ever since last April, I’ve been looking forward to celebrating Halfway to Halloween. I had randomly decided to do an unofficial horror movie A to Z challenge last year and late in the month realized that April is actually halfway to October.
This year, I’m officially joining the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and will post another horror movie A to Z along with a few other Halfway to Halloween festivities. I plan to stick to movies that are new to me, but I might include an old favorite or two if I’m feeling burnt out.
I have started my list of “maybes” over at Letterboxd. If you have any horror movie recommendations, I’d love to hear them!
Discuss the classics you read as a child. Who introduced you to them? Which ones were you favourites? Do you still reread them as an adult? Why? Why Not?
But what is time anyway? So, here’s a Classics Meme “catch-up” post.
On the weird side, I remember reading Edgar Allan Poe stories and Sherlock Holmes stories as a kid. For K-6th grade, I attended a small Lutheran school but within its library were some abridged, illustrated editions of classic horror tales, including Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.” I probably checked them out a dozen times each. I binged Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories one summer before junior high while enamored with Jeremy Brett’s portrayal on TV. Of course I still read Poe and Doyle. Their themes and language are a literary gift that keeps on giving.
On the less weird side, as many girls do, I went through a horse phase. I read a few of Marguerite Henry’s books (King of the Wind being my favorite) and many of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series. These, I haven’t had any want to reread, even though my Mom recently returned the Black Stallion books I’d left with her when I moved away. Young protagonists have always been hard to sell to me; it hasn’t gotten any easier now that I’m in my 40s…
I probably would have enjoyed Roald Dahl or Lloyd Alexander, but I seemingly never crossed paths with them as a kid. Perhaps if I could go back in time I’d slip a book into young Katherine’s stack and say, “I got two words for you, kid: oracular pig.”