Tag Archives: sunday salon

Sunday Salon, 8/2



A Room with a View

Finished The Beggar Queen before the the end of July. I even posted some thoughts on Lloyd Alexander’s Westmark trilogy!

Also caught up on my Deal Me In reading, though I’m not back on the commentary wagon there.

On a nostalgia-powered whim, I decided to reread A Room with a View by E. M. Forster. The first/last time I read it was probably sometime in college when I decided that since I liked the movie so much I should probably do my due diligence and read the book. I think I have more to say about it later.


Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process

I purchased a copy of Draft No. 4 by John McPhee. That’s probably going to be my morning reading for a couple/few weeks.

I should finish The King in Yellow, but I’m not really enthusiastic about it. Chamber’s writing is rather plain and oblique. I’ll power through another couple stories and see where I stand.

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is hosting a “reverse” readathon on the 7th-8th. Instead of starting 8am EST of Saturday, it starts at 8pm EST on Friday—which comes out to 5pm my time. I’m looking forward to it.

Also gearing up for another Classics Club Spin:

What is the spin?

It’s easy. At your blog, before next Sunday 9th August 2020, create a post that lists twenty books of your choice that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list.

This is your Spin List.

On Sunday 9th August, we’ll post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by 30th September, 2020.

via the Classics Club blog

So here’s my Spin List:

  1. Edgar Huntly by Charles Brockden Brown
  2. The Mummy! by Jane Webb Loudon
  3. Clarimonde by Théophile Gautier
  4. The Queen’s Necklace by Alexandre Dumas
  5. East Lynne by Ellen Wood
  6. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
  7. Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy
  8. Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
  9. King Solomon’s Mines by Henry Rider Haggard
  10. The Horla by Guy de Maupassant
  11. The Parasite by Arthur Conan Doyle
  12. The Wind in the Rose-Bush by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman
  13. The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker
  14. The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
  15. The House of the Vampire by George Sylvester Viereck
  16. The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
  17. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
  18. The Lady of the Shroud by Bram Stoker
  19. The Door in the Wall by H. G. Wells
  20. The Land of Mist by Arthur Conan Doyle


Watched two new-to-me movies this week. The first was The Messenger (2009) about a staff sergeant assigned to the Army’s Casualty Notification service. It was pretty good, but anything with Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster is going to be solid.

Better in my opinion was Bad Reputation (2018), a documentary about Joan Jett. I’ve never been a Joan Jett fan really, outside of her hits, but she’s an artist with an incredible and influential career.



It was kind of a crap week. I’ll blame the continued heatwave for my lethargy.

I forgot to track my time yesterday, but I probably worked less than 10 hours this past week. I did do a read-through of articles, set up a spreadsheet of names and addresses, updated the google map I have of events, and started writing—I have 300 of some kind of words.


More research, more writing. I want to reread what The Man from the Train has to say about Rev. George Kelly. Generally, I’d like to learn more about policing and streetcars in Omaha in 1915.

Sunday (Monday) Salon, 7/27



Cover: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic had to go back to the library before I was finished. It’s not that I wasn’t enjoying it, but it hadn’t caught fire for me either. Plus, I’m in a little bit of a reading slump. I’ll probably give it another go someday when other people aren’t waiting to read it.

I’ve been taking part in the July Page-a-thon, but only in the “well, I read 7 pages today” kind of way. I’m also behind on Deal Me In stories and haven’t made much progress on my Classic Club list this month.


Cover: The Beggar Queen by Lloyd Alexander

To read this week?

  • It’s possible I’ll finish The Beggar Queen tomorrow morning since morning reading is the only reading I’ve been doing. I’ll probably review the Westmark trilogy sometime during the week.
  • Deal Me In story for Week 29: “Circus Girl, The Hunter, and Mirror Boy” by JY Yang
  • Deal Me In story for Week 30: “Soft Monkey” by Harlan Ellison


Movie of the week was Free Solo, the Oscar award-winning documentary about climber Alex Honnold, directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. If you have a problem with heights, this is probably not the movie for you. Actually, if you have problems with tight spaces, probably not the movie for you either. But it is a beautiful movie and a meditation on why someone would climb without a rope and why someone would want to film it.

I’ve always thought I’d like to try climbing, but I realize I mean climbing with ropes in a gym. I don’t really like being outdoors…



I logged 18hrs 20mins of work, which is pretty good considering Friday was derailed by a gaming session on Friday.

So, what I’m doing is looking at the case of a woman named Ada Swanson who was murdered in 1915 in Omaha. The story was a sensation in the newspapers and my thesis question is, “Why Ada?” Not just why was this woman murdered (the case is unsolved, as far as I know), but why was she front page news when, for example, the story of a naked man attacking women in a cemetery isn’t.

Last week, I finished transcribing the newspaper stories about Ada and the women getting attacked.


This week, I’m going to read though my transcript and put together a list of names and addressed mentioned in case. I’ll probably do more Google-fu-related research and maybe read some of the interstitial issues of newspapers that I’ve skipped over. And I think I’ll start writing whatever it is I’m writing.

Sunday Salon, 7/19


Mexican Gothic

Before I got too far in Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia came off-hold from the online library. I placed the hold back when it was still pre-release and I was a few down the list. I figured I wouldn’t get a shot at it until sometime next month. So far, I’m enjoying it.


I have a liking for not-well-regarded occult action movies (see also Legion (2010)). The involvement of angels is only a plus. Constantine isn’t that bad, really. The cast is rather good. The story is a little convoluted, but that’s par for this course.


I’ve pretty much had Erasure’s The Innocents on replay in my head for two weeks now…


I logged 13hrs 47mins during last week. Below goal. I wasn’t feeling good on Monday and flailed around a bit on Tuesday and Wednesday. Still, it wasn’t an entirely unsuccessful week. After a long chat with Eric (my husband), I realized that I really needed a thesis for this book. We also discussed some ways of him helping keep me motivated. I’ll probably post more about this in the future.

Sunday Salon, 7/12

It’s summer in Phoenix. My least favorite season. We broke the July 12th record today with a temp of 116F! The impending week looks like more of the same. We’re on day 92 of no rain.

If I could hibernate until the equinox, I would.


Reviewed The Changeling by Victor LaValle! TLDR: I really enjoyed it.

Finished reading both The Haunting of Tram 015 by P. Djèlí Clark and Levels of the Game by John McPhee. Both were short. I’ll review one or the other, maybe both in the coming week.

The King in Yellow: With Other Classic Horror Stories [Illustrated]

Back to weird fiction for a little while with The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers.


The X-Files was last week’s background noise. I’m not watching the series straight through because, while The X-Files should get credit for ushering in the era of plot arcs in serial television, I kind of find the Mulder-UFO plot tedious.

My favorite episode of season 1 is “Beyond the Sea.” The set up is very Silence of the Lambs, but the psychic aspect of Luther Lee Boggs and Scully’s struggle with skepticism really add to the plot. Plus, Brad Dourif is always excellent.


It wasn’t a bad week considering how sluggish I’ve been. Eric wasn’t feeling well mid-week and, with the weather as it’s been, we weren’t very motivated to get out and run. It’s been easy to split my time between napping (which is fine) and doomscrolling (when I should be working).

I logged 17 hours of research. (My goal is 20.) I paged through the Omaha World-Herald and Omaha Bee from June 1, 1915 to halfway through June 19, 1915. Noted or copied 26 articles. The primary investigation into Ada’s murder is winding down. This coming week, I’m going to take a look at my timeline of events and decide whether examining the papers day by day is worth it. Mostly, I’ve been looking at what else is going on in Omaha during this period. Things like a spate of burglaries weren’t immediately noticeable when I originally followed search results to articles directly about the investigation.

I’m also going to spend time this week rereading one of Eric’s manuscripts. I’ll probably split my 20 hours.

Logged 1.5 hours of working on the VOTS pages. (My goal is 3.)

Sunday Salon, 7/5

If you’re in the US, I hope you all had a safe and maybe introspective July 4th. Eric and I stayed in, which is what we would have done anyway.


Meant to get a review of The Changeling up, but didn’t. Aw, well. I got a draft and I should post on Tuesday.

A Dead Djinn in Cairo
The Haunting of Tram Car 015
Levels of the Game

Re-read P. Djèlí Clark’s “A Dead Djinn in Cairo,” which is set in the same world as The Haunting of Tram Car 015, my current read. Next, I might read Levels of the Game by John McPhee. I really want to see how McPhee handles writing a nonfiction narrative with a tennis match, Arthur Ashe against Clark Graebner in 1968, as a backbone.


Watching the docu-series The Story of Film: An Odyssey on Hulu. It takes a broader, world-view on the history of cinema.


A Round of Words in 80 Days (or ROW80) is a quarterly goal-setting method based around flexible goals and community support. Set a measurable goal that fits in with your lifestyle, check in twice a week. My Sunday check-ins will be part of Sunday Salon.

Monday is the beginning of the round; today, I set my goals!

I want to spend the next three months focused on one writing project: working on a nonfiction(?) book(?) about the murder of Ada Swanson in 1915 Omaha. Since much of what I’m doing right now is research, I’m setting a time goal of 4 hours per day, five days a week. (20 hours a week.)

I do have an auxiliary goal of three hours a week on the VOTS webpage. I’m working on the archive and history pages, unless I have an actual update to do.

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.



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.


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


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.


*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.