Posted in History

Sunday Miscellanea, 4/17

Monday Miscellanea, but on Sunday . . .


cover: Those Who Walk Away by Patricia Highsmith
cover: The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

For Spring into Horror and Classics Club Spin, I was reading Curious, if True by Elizabeth Gaskell, published in 1860. The opening novella “The Old Nurse’s Tale” was a reread for me. I also read the second novella in the collection “The Poor Clare,” but then I put the collection aside. It’s not *bad*, but it is very slow and dependent on relationships between a lot of characters past and present. I’m just not in the mood for that. Moved on to Those Who Walk Away by Patricia Highsmith.

Finished reading The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner. Not much to this book that I haven’t heard before. Very much geared toward literary writers instead of genre writers, who have a slightly different environment. Also, this edition was published in 2000. It has only cynicism for the coming ebook era and no inkling about how authors will have to deal with social media.


Screenshot from Stardew Valley video game. The interior of a house with a big double bed, a dog asleep on the rug, fireplace, and some decorations.

Too much Stardew Valley.

Also, quite a bit of ultimate frisbee. Flyin’ Hawaiian, my spring league team, is currently undefeated. We had two regular season games left, but we’ve secured a first round bye at finals. Finals are the 30th. (Yes, the same day as Readathon once again.) The Friday pickup game has been pretty good the last couple weeks too. I seem to enjoy playing against a girl half my age.

Goal Check-In

Writing & Entangled Tomes

  • “Colors of the Sea” is still out in the world.
  • I’ve lost momentum with “Untitled California Gothic.” I’m going to try rewriting what I have.
  • Going to start reading stories for the next Entangled Tome.

Shelf Maintenance

  • After a finish and a DNF, I’m 10/25 on my Beat the Backlog goal.
  • It’s been 68 days since I last acquired a book.
Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Halfway to Halloween 2022

You know what April is? It’s halfway to Halloween!

Last year, I celebrated with a horror movie A to Z. I’m not quite that ambitious this year, though I do intend to also keep up a series of horror-aspected Cinema Saturdays. In the works are trio of Texas Chainsaw movies and an Evil Dead/Army of Darkness post.

As I’ve said, my reading has been pretty free-range this year, but I think I can definitely get “seasonal” for Seasons of Reading’s Spring into Horror Readathon. My Classics Club Spin book turned out to be Curious, if True: Strange Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell, which is perfect for Spring into Horror. I’m also thinking about rereading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski and probably some other horror, mystery, thriller or gothic from off my shelves.

The next Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon is April 30th, which might be a perfect way to end the month.

Posted in History

Reading Notes, 5/17/21

Bout of Books 31 Wrap-up

Last week was actually kind of stressful, despite my optimistic Monday attitude. I had a goal of reading 700 pages for BoB and ended up reading 648 pgs. Considering I got into a big don’t-feel-like-reading mood around Thursday, that’s pretty good.

  • I finished reading A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark (and reviewed it!). I’ll say it again, I definitely recommend it.
  • I also finished Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg. It’s her follow-up to Writing Down the Bones. I’ve been reading a chapter or so of a writing-related book every morning for a while now.
  • I made a good start on Mosses from an Old Manse by Nathaniel Hawthorne and read a couple other short stories as well.

Currently Reading

Posted in History

Reading Notes, 5/3/21

Spring Into Horror Wrap-Up

Spring into Horror Readathon banner

I didn’t finish many books in April, but I did keep (happily) focused on horror. I read to completion The Phantom of the Opera (which was my Classic’s Club pick) and Into Bones like Oil by Kaaron Warren. I also read volume one of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. I’m not counting that as finished because it’s a three volume collection and I do intend to read the rest. I started The Ceremonies by T. E. D. Klein and I’m in the middle of Nightmare Movies by Kim Newman.

Deal Me In

8♣️: “Let Shadows Slip Through” by Kali Napier
Our narrator is a nervous mother, traveling with her young son in Australia. When they stop at the Hampton Arms tea room, her past catches up to her. A short, atmospheric piece with a haunting sense of place.

Reading Challenge Check-In

Didn’t I just do this? I guess April went by fast-ish, which is a change from any month since February 2020.

Classics Club Icon

The Classics Club

Goal: 10 Books by 12/14/21
Progress: 4/10

✅ Read The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. I’m on track!

A pic of a bookshelf
Photo by Pixabay on


Goal: Abstain from acquiring books; read at least 21 books from my shelves.
Progress: 1 pre-order, 3 free books, 1 very cheap book by an author I love, 1 ARC; 3/21+

❌ Yes, somehow I managed to not finish reading any of my own books…

I Read Horror Year-Round banner

I Read Horror Year-Round

Goal: Read 6 books from 6 categories.
Progress: 2/6

Into Bones like Oil by Kaaron Warren counts for the prompt: Written by a woman! I decided not to count The Phantom of the Opera for “Monster or monsters” despite the OG being one of Universal’s classic movie monsters. The OG (Opera Ghost) is a guy with some issues.

Dune Read-through

Goal: Read Herbert’s 6 Dune books by October.
Progress: Finished Children of Dune and started God Emperor of Dune. The chapter-a-day method is working well. ✅


Goal: Read at least 30% nonfiction.
Progress: I slipped down to 27%. And then decided to right the situation by starting a 640 page book. I’m pretty sure I’m totally doing this correctly. 👍‍‍

Short Stories

Goal: Deal Me In each week and Cather Reading Project each month.
Progress: Doing fine here. ✅

Posted in History

Reading Notes, 4/27/21

Finished Reading

I participated in Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon on this past Saturday. I started more books than I finished, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I did read, cover-to-cover, Into Bones like Oil by Kaaron Warren. It’s a horror novella that has been getting quite a bit of award nomination notice. Dora, who has recently lost her two children to a tragedy, becomes a resident at The Angelsea, a boarding house for people who have a hard time sleeping. It’s a grimy, skeevy place full of ghosts and opportunists.

I also read/listened to a few short stories, including Lovecraft’s “Colour Out of Space” and the delightful “The Tree’s Wife” by Mary Elizabeth Counselman. I’m not familiar with Counselman, but I find it delightful that she wrote for both Weird Tales and Good Housekeeping.

Deal Me In

J♦️ – “Dotty” by Horacio Quiroga
This story by Uruguayan writer Quiroga was translated by Nina Zumel. Zumel includes a link discussing the translation and adaptation: how to include the word-play of the original story when a fairly straight English translation doesn’t allow for that. I think she does a darn good job. This story is a little weird and a little unsettling as we contemplate the many meanings of “dotty.”

Willa Cather Short Story Project

This month’s story is “The Son of the Celestial,” in which Cather indulges in Oriental exoticism. On one hand, it’s Cather stretching her writing muscles. It’s imaginative and has some fine imagery. On the other hand, the depiction of Yung Le Ho is very stereotypical for the time (and for a long time to come). Ponter is his good friend, a white man who is on the outs with academia due to his propensity for drinking and pool playing. It should be noted though that Yung is still a member of his community while Ponter is not really a member of white society.

Currently Reading

One of the books I started on Saturday was Nightmare Movies: Horror on the Screen since the 1960s by Kim Newman. It’s big. I’ll try to finish it by the time my loan ends. Still doing a chapter-a-day of God Emperor of Dune (which reminds me, I haven’t read today!). And I’ve jumped back into the world of ARCs with P. Djèlí Clark’s A Master of Djinn.

Posted in History

Reading Notes, 4/18/21

Finished Reading

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Growing up in the 80s, even in Omaha, NE, it was pretty much impossible to not be aware of the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, but my first girlish infatuation with The Phantom of the Opera was due to a 1990 mini-series with Charles Dance as the Phantom. Ah! the romance! Ah! the creepy opera house full of secret passageways and hidden doors. (Also being a makeup effects fan, I of course knew of Lon Chaney in the 1925 movie.) But, I hadn’t read book. Translations are particularly a classics hurdle for me.

Leroux was a journalist and a mystery writer, with particular reverence for Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Alan Poe. Had I known that, I probably would have read his works sooner. And I’ll probably be inclined to read more of his straighter mysteries. As is, The Phantom of the Opera is very much a serial novel of the time and almost more toward the adventure genre, at least toward the end of the book. I don’t know what I think of the romance angle. The Opera Ghost (as he’s known in the novel) is manipulative and overbearing; Raoul is jealous and easily wounded. Poor Christine has her hands full trying to juggle them. There are definitely some creepy moments, but also a sub-plot or two that plod along.

A Classics Club pick and very #SpringHorror appropriate, but, ultimately, not suitable for the I Read Horror All Year “monster” prompt. The O. G. (as he’s also referred to in the book, which is amusing considering the current slang use) is more of a man with problems than a monster.

Classics Club Spin #26

And the random choice is… 11!

The next Classics Club book I will be reading is Mosses from an Old Manse by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I’m excited for this one, but I realized looking over the table of contents that I’ve read quite a few of this collection’s stories. For example, I just read “Egotism, or, The Bosom Serpent” a couple months ago for Deal Me In. I didn’t do a good job cross referencing my lists, obviously.

Deal Me In

8♠️: “The Pipers of Mallory” by Henrietta Dorothy Everett
Another story from Multo’s Women Writers of Folklore series. Henrietta Dorothy Everett often wrote as Theo Douglas and is one of so many fine writers who is little known now. This story is nicely done, set during WWI with harbinger ghosts.

Currently Reading

Saturday (April 24th) is Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. I plan on taking part and knocking out some extra #SpringHorror reading.

Posted in History

April Wrap-Up and May TBR

I don’t feel like April was a very good reading month for me. I read in dribs and drabs and floundered about, resulting in 3 DNFs. But, I read 1890 pages for #pageathon and cleared up some challenge books.


  • The Book of the Damned by Charles Fort – This was my February Classics Club pick. I tried to keep with it into April, but it was an eventual DNF for me.
  • Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural by Jim Steinmeyer – The Unread Shelf challenge for April was to read the book last purchased. In order to understand Fort more I had bought this as an ebook before I knew what the challenge was.
  • The Vampyre by John Polidori – My April Classics Club book. I finished it. Success!
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker – Reread it for #SpringHorror and because I wanted to compare it to The Vampyre.
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness by Gou Tanabe – #SpringHorror and 24-Hour Readathon relief.
  • Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman – On the fly #SpringHorror check-out after Dracula, but it didn’t work out for me.
  • Supernatural Noir by Ellen Datlow, editor – I read about five stories from this anthology. They were good, but my brain wasn’t in the mood for short stories earlier in the month and my check-out expired. #SpringHorror
  • The Unabridged Poe – In contrast to what I just said above, I finished the dozen or so stories and poems I had left in this anthology. It took me over a year, but I (mostly) read the entire works of Edgar Allan Poe. #SpringHorror
  • Daisy Kutter: The Last Train by Kazu Kibuishi – Another fun graphic novel from Readathon.
  • Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft  by Jane Yolan – Decided I wanted to read a craft book for my morning reading.


The Beetle: A Mystery In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin Westmark
  • The Beetle by Richard Marsh – My Classics Club Spin book!
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson – The Unread Shelf challenge for May is a backlist title (by an author with a newer book out). Erik Larson recently released The Splendid and the Vile, but I’ve had In the Garden of Beasts on my shelf for a long-ish while.
  •  Westmark by Lloyd Alexander – Will me my morning book.
  • I will also be restarting the Black Cat Project.