Saturday, September 28, 2019

Every Secret Thing

Every Secret Thing, by Patricia Hearst and Alvin Moscow

Well this one was a little out of character for me, but after reading the description on another blog I was intrigued.  I knew some, but not a lot, about the SLA and the Patty Hearst kidnapping.  This is her version of the story, published in 1982.  As I understand it, there are some different versions, and some documentaries and whatnot.  I read some of a piece from the late 70s that definitely cast her as a willing member of the SLA.  But back to this story...

Hearst starts with a short sketch of her early life as one of four Hearst daughters, wealthy and privileged but not famous.  At 18 she moved out to live with her boyfriend, a teacher at her former school (you can tell it was the early 70s because nobody seems to have had him arrested; she states definitively that she pursued him, but that's no excuse).  They moved to Berkeley, where he was doing grad work and she enrolled as an undergrad.  And then one day these random people showed up and kidnapped her.

The Symbionese Liberation Army was one of the small, very radical groups that kind of littered the ground in the late 60s and early 70s.  They despised the Weathermen as being too weak with their symbolic bombings that weren't supposed to injure people, and had assassinated Marcus Foster, the superintendent of Oakland schools.  After that they had to go underground, which meant hiding out in a small apartment with no outside contact.  Their intent was to kidnap the child of a very wealthy and influential person, and use her as a hostage to trade for their two impassioned members.

They kept Patty Hearst tied up and blindfolded in a closet.  The bindings lasted some weeks; the blindfold for two months.  When the governor said that there was absolutely no way that any prisoner exchanges were going to happen (think of the ensuing deluge of kidnappings there would have been!), the SLA didn't know what to do.  Should they kill her?  Make different demands?  While they thought about it, they figured they should educate her properly, so they took turns telling her about SLA beliefs for hours; the rest of the time they kept a radio playing loudly in the closet so she wouldn't be able to hear their discussions.  With not much food (and that of almost no value; the SLA seems to have lived largely on starches) and no exercise or sun, she was malnourished and weak.  She figured she ought to play along and agree with whatever they said, since she didn't want to be killed.

After a couple of months of that, they offered Hearst a choice: she could join the SLA or leave.  This didn't seem like a real choice; she assumed that it was a test and they would kill her if she wanted to leave.  She'd been trying to convince them that she believed in their cause and that she no longer wanted to be a member of the bourgeoisie.  So she became a junior, untrusted member of the SLA.  By this time they had her convinced that if they didn't kill her, the FBI would.

This is what people argue over a lot; did Patty Hearst want to be an SLA terrorist, or was she brain-washed, or what?  I found that the story reminded me forcibly of Elizabeth Smart's story; here we have a victim who is kept imprisoned, without opportunity to communicate, and constantly harangued with a particular version of the world.  After a while, you lose your mind and fall victim to coercive persuasion, otherwise known as brain-washing.  Hearst did not try to escape her captors even when she had the opportunity; she says it never occurred to her, since as far as she knew, the only possible result would be her death.  Even the comments people made in the press about Hearst reminded me of things I saw said about Elizabeth Smart -- conjectures that she had voluntarily run away in order to live on the edge, things like that.  So I'm inclined to believe Hearst's version of the story, since it fits what I've seen elsewhere.

One thing this book makes really clear: if you take a very small group of people and cut them off from the rest of the world, they lose their minds.  The members of the SLA, who lived in a small enclosed place with each other 24/7, with terrible food, not a lot of sleep, and practically no fresh air, were losing their holds on reality.

It's a fascinating book and I'm inclined to search out the CNN documentary, which somebody told me had interviews with surviving SLA members (who?  a bunch of them died) for a different angle.




Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Four Stories (from Norway)

Sigrid Undset
Four Stories by Sigrid Undset

Long, long ago I read Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter books and liked them fine, and I wanted to try something else she'd written, so I picked up this volume of four short stories.   The cover was not very promising as it said "Four touching, evocative, compassionate stories of 'little people' in modern Norway."  By modern they mean in the 20th century; the stories have no specific chronological settings, but they seem to me to be set before 1930, with at least one before World War I.   The book was published in 1959.

"Selma Brøter" is about a single lady office worker -- a spinster -- who observes and becomes involved in her younger co-workers' romance.

"Simonsen" is about an aging workman whose son finds him embarrassing.

"Thjodolf" concerns a sailor's wife whose only baby died at birth.  She fosters a little boy and becomes deeply attached to him, but then his mother appears again, and that sets off a whole chain of events.

"Miss Smith-Tellefsen" is the housekeeper to a motherless family in the isolated countryside.  She is fussy and the older children rather despise her.

They're realistic stories, and they're all tragic in their realism and their description of circumscribed, difficult lives.  They are well-crafted and beautifully written, but cheerful they are not.  I think I would have liked more...something.  Or less tragedy.

The 'other publications' page lists a book titled True and Untrue and Other Norse Tales, for younger readers.  That sounds intriguing!  I'd like to read that.

_____________________________________
Fun fact though: Undset was born in Kalundborg, in Denmark.  That's just across the belt, as the crow flies, from where I lived on Fyn, but I've never been there.  It's just that the name 'Kalundborg' invariably sets off a song in my head.  When I got to Denmark, my host sister had just bought the new album by the band TV-2 and she played it every day for a month solid.  I know those songs very very well, and one of them is about...well, it's about the Kalundborg ferry:


I quite like TV-2, but this is a weird song.  I like it anyway, but probably my favorite off that album is Nærmest Lykkelig -- 'almost happy.'  TV-2 is not a very cheery band.


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Three scary stories by William Sleator

The Boy Who Couldn't Die
Strange Attractors
The Green Futures of Tycho

We love William Sleator in our house.  My husband and I both grew up reading Sleator, and now we try to collect the books.  (Cheap on Abebooks!)  William Sleator specialized in YA/children's SF and horror, and boy he was good.   His most famous titles are Interstellar Pig (funny) and House of Stairs (Kafkaesque).



The Boy Who Couldn't Die -- Ken's best friend is killed in an accident, and Ken resolves that he will not die.  His search for a solution leads him to a woman who says she'll make him invulnerable for the low, low price of fifty bucks.  And it works; Ken can't be beaten up, or burned, so he decides to go for the thrills and spend his spring break diving with sharks in the Caribbean.  But at night, he's having awful, horrifying dreams of doing things he doesn't want to do.  What will be the price of immortality? 



















Strange Attractors -- Max is excited to visit Mercury Labs for a tour, but finds that he went on the visit yesterday, and he has no memory of it.  Then the famous and charismatic scientist Sylvan and his daughter Eve invite Max over and ask for his help.  But there are two Eves, two Sylvans...who should Max help?  The imposters are altering the past with a time-travel device, and shoving the world towards chaos.  They're also manipulative and charming, and devastatingly attractive -- why?

The Green Futures of Tycho is another time travel story, and it's also one of the most effective horror stories around.  Sleator manages to pack an incredible amount of freakiness into about 130 pages.  Tycho is the somewhat bullied youngest of four siblings, and when he digs up a shiny thing, they all want to look.  It turns out to be a device that allows Tycho to travel into the future...but every time he does, things are worse.  And the device is doing some pretty weird things.  Is it even possible to save the future now?


Three solid SF/horror titles.  If you've never read the underappreciated Sleator, give him a try!  He's not too easy to find in the library any more, but he's well worth a bit of effort.


Monday, September 23, 2019

My Lucky Spin Number!

The Spin number was announced this morning, and it is....number 5!*


My #5 book is The Bride Price, by Buchi Emecheta.  Yay!!  I love Emecheta, and I am excited to read this novel.  Here is the synopsis: 

The Bride Price is the poignant love story of Aku-nna, a young Igbo woman, and her teacher, Chike, the son of a prosperous former slave. As their tribe begins to welcome western education and culture, these two are drawn together despite the traditions that forbid them to marry. Aku-nna flees an unwanted and forced marriage to join Chike, only to have her uncle refuse the required bride price from her lover's family. Frustrated and abandoned by their people, Aku-naa and Chike escape to a modern world unlike any they've ever experienced. Despite their joy, Aku-nna is plagued by the fear the she will die in childbirth--the fate, according to tribal lore, awaiting every young mother whose bride price is left unpaid.



______________________________________
*I had a hard time picking a 5 for this post.  There was a mystic 5 with a dodecahedron behind it (?? not 5-based, but pretty), a Spidey 5, so many good 5s.  I picked this painting, "I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold," by Charles Demuth; it is a portrait of William Carlos Williams, based on a poem of his.

Love Your Enemies

Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America From the Culture of Contempt, by Arthur C. Brooks

It is now too long since I read this (very fascinating) treatise for me to be able to write a good post about it.  So I hope that even a fairly mediocre post will convince you that this is a good title to go out and read as soon as possible.  Also, it's not a very long book, only a couple of hundred pages, so there's no reason to put it off.

Brooks asks: are you sick of fighting yet?  Of screaming at people who don't listen and only scream right back?  Maybe it's time we tried something a little different.  He figures the only way to get anything done -- to improve civic life, bring people together, look for some unity even when we disagree -- is to "practice warm-heartedness."  (He asked the Dalai Lama.)  Listen to others with an open heart, engage with love, will the good of others, and disagree with respect.

...there is a practical, albeit self-interested, reason to avoid contempt, even for those with whom you disagree most strongly.  It's horrible for you...contempt makes you unhappy, unhealthy, and unattractive even to those who agree with you.  Hating others is associated with depression.  Contempt will wreck your relationships and harm your health.  It is a dangerous vice...
My point is simple: love and warm-heartedness might not change every heard and mind, but they are always worth trying, and they will always make you better off.  They should be your (and my) default position.
So Brooks (who is by the way no relation to that other columnist fellow Brooks) goes on to pile on the evidence -- psychological, social, historical, philosophical -- that we are currently stuck on a destructive method of engagement that mainly profits a few folks and results in a divided and unhappy society.  He sets out four rules for changing that, one person at a time:

1. Focus on other people's distress, and focus on it empathetically.
2. Use the 5-to-1 rule: five positive comments for one criticism.
3. No contempt is ever justified, even if you think someone deserves it.  It is unjustified more often than you know, it is always bad for you, and it will never convince anyone that they are wrong.
4. Go where people disagree with you and learn from them.  That means making new friends and seeking out opinions you know you don't agree with.

Expanding on those takes up most of the book, and then he ends with five slightly different suggestions, the first of which is "Stand up to the Man," so I like it.

I got a lot out of this book, I thought it had some important ideas in it, and I enjoyed it too.  I hereby classify this book as a Book Everyone Should Read.  That's a tag here at Howling Frog, and not a lot of books have it.



The last quotation I'm sharing is especially for my mom and other librarians:
I always suspected that Margaret Wise Brown was secretly moonlighting as a beat poet.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Three spooky stories by John Bellairs

The Chessmen of Doom
The Secret of the Underground Room
The Lamp From the Warlock's Tomb




















I have spoken many times of my adoration of the king of children's Gothic/horror, John Bellairs.  Despite the hot weather making it hard to get into RIP quite yet, I was really in the mood to enjoy some nice Bellairs reading, and I grabbed these three books while I still could, before I put so much stuff in front of that particular bookshelf that I could no longer reach anything on it.  (I know you will be happy to hear that the carpet is now finished, and it looks great, and we now face untold amounts of work hauling everything back into place.)

The Chessmen of Doom is a particular favorite of mine because the chessmen in question are the Lewis chessmen.*  Professor Childermass' eccentric brother, Peregrine,** has died and asked his brother to spend the summer cleaning up his country estate in Maine.  Johnny and Fergie are keen to go along and have some fun camping, but of course, once they get up there, suspicious things start happening, starting with Perry's own ghost arriving to dispense warnings.  Perry liked to dabble in magic, and the partner he'd found to carry out his fairly harmless plan has something a good deal worse in mind.

Bonus: all-time great illustration.



The Secret of the Underground Room is the next book in the series.  The local priest, Father Higgins, has been transferred to a tiny village several miles away and that church is haunted.  Higgy finds a magical artifact, and then he disappears.  Professor Childermass thinks he must have gone to England, so he and the boys go on an 'educational trip' and hope to track down their missing friend.  They end up on the isle of Lundy, trying to defeat an insane undead medieval knight!


 The Lamp From the Warlock's Tomb is part of a different set of stories starring Anthony Monday and the eccentric but brave librarian, Miss Eells.  (In my head it's pronounced Ells, but I have no idea what it should actually be.  Anyone?)  I couldn't remember what this story was, and I was hoping it's the one where Miss Eells solves a puzzle by knowing a particular Catholic litany, but it was not.  I think that's probably The Dark Secret of Weatherend.

Anyway, Miss Eells purchases a pretty lamp from an antique store, but Anthony suspects that lighting the lamp is causing real problems.  Is the lamp haunted?  Where did it come from, and why was the crabby antique-shop lady so nice about selling it?  Trouble is afoot, and it's going to take a helicopter ride in a snowstorm to set it right.

Yep, I could just read these stories all week.  I'll have to find The Dark Secret of Weatherend when I can get to that shelf again, and read it too.  Nothing beats a nice run of Bellairs stories!



________________________________________________
*and someday I'm going to embroider/quilt at least one of them.
** "The professor's father had taught literature at Princeton, and he had named his sons for characters in the novels of Tobias Smollett.  There was Roderick Random, and Peregrine Pickle, and Humphrey Clinker, and even Ferdinand Count Fathom, who usually signed his name F. C. F. Childermass.  All the Childermass boys had turned out to be pretty strange -- except, of course, for the professor himself.  he was perfectly normal -- at least, he said so."

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Green Face

The Green Face, by Gustav Meyrink

Getting back into the swing of things -- I hope -- I'll start with a book I actually finished a while ago.  (As I type, the carpet guy is stretching the carpet, which seems to mean getting the edges in place.  Everything in the house is now so chaotic that there is very little for me to actually do except sit at the computer!  I already did the dishes.)

I've been meaning to read this novel for so long, but I only had it on Kindle, and I'm not very good at reading books on my phone.  This book turned out to be quite hard to get into; it starts off with a man going into a shop with a strange sign that is nearly unreadable on a phone.  But, as I mentioned a month or so ago, I found a paper copy at the giant research library I visited in July, and I read the first few chapters there, which helped me get into it.  Then I read a lot on the plane home, which got me about halfway through.  Progress was quite slow after that but I did it!  (Am I pleased that I did?  Read on.)

Gustav Meyrink was of German extraction but lived in Prague, which he hated, in the first part of the 20th century.  He failed at banking, tried translation, and also wrote a lot of weird stories.  The most famous (and so far, the best one I've read) is The Golem, published in 1915.  He followed it up with this novel in 1916, and then with Walpurgisnacht, which I read a while back without realizing that I should have read Green Face first.  Green Face is Meyrink's most mystical work, which makes it very mystical indeed; large chunks are given over to philosophical theory-spinning.

The story is set in Amsterdam, but I'm not at all sure that Meyrink ever visited the place.  I get the feeling he wanted a port city for his story, and called it Amsterdam while really writing about Prague, as usual.

So this guy Hauberisser goes into a magic/curiosity shop and has encounters with some strange customers, and also a terrifying old man with a greenish face and a black band around his head.   Then he finds some old documents hidden in his apartment, and meets a group of somewhat occult worshipers who are looking for enlightenment, or change, or eternal life, which is usually marked by an encounter with an old man with a greenish face.  He's probably Chidher Green, and it's implied that he's also the Wandering Jew.  Hauberisser spends most of the rest of the novel on a sort of quest to find Green again.  He also falls in love with Eva, one of the occult group members, and she loves him too but either ascends to another plane or dies, possibly both.  Then the world falls apart in an apocalypse.

It's a weird novel, not terribly comprehensible, and I wouldn't consider it Meyrink's best work by a long shot even without its worst flaw: the inclusion of a "Zulu" character who is portrayed in terms about as horrifying as they could possibly be. I thought he was a minor side character until about 70% of the way through, and then he wasn't.  I usually try to read books of the past without reacting too much to elements we now consider objectionable, but this was just super-duper-bad, folks, and I cannot recommend that anyone but a Meyrink completist (as I appear to be?) read it.

But you can have a few quotations:
Spectres, monstrous yet without form and only discernible through the devastation they wrought, had been called up by faceless and power-hungry bureaucrats in their secret seances and had devoured millions of innocent victims before returning to the sleep from which they had been roused.  But   there was another phantom, still more horrible, that had long since caught the foul stench of a decaying civilisation in its gaping nostrils and now raised its snake-wreathed countenance from the abyss where it had lain, to mock humanity with the realisation that the juggernaut they had driven for the last four years in the belief it would clear the world for a new generation of free men was a treadmill in which they were trapped for all time.  [Meyrink's description of WWI and its aftermath]

 For a few centuries a diseased organism, so huge it eventually came to resemble a temple soaring up into the heavens, had been taken for culture; now it had collapsed, laying bare the decay within. Was not the bursting of an ulcer much less terrible than its constant growth?  [His opinion of Western civilization]

"Listen.  If one man has an idea, that just means that many others will have the same idea at the same time. Anyone who doesn't see that doesn't know what an idea is. Thoughts are contagious, even if they are not expressed; perhaps most contagious when they are not expressed."  [Meyrink invents memes?]

"From this example you can see that if he should appear to you as a man with a green face, his true countenance has still not been made manifest. But if you should see him in his true form, as a geometrical sign, as a seal in the sky which only you and no other can see, then know: you have been called to work miracles."

"The rationalists, who want to turn the people away from religion, do not know what they are doing. Truth is only for the few and should be kept secret from the masses; anyone who has only half understood it will find himself in a paradise devoid of colour when he dies."


Monday, September 16, 2019

It's the 21st Classics Club Spin!

Hooray, it's time for another Classics Club Spin!  Head over there to check out the rules, but they are very simple.  Choosing some titles, though, was a bit tricky for me.  A lot of my books are currently inaccessible, so I've had to be careful not to pick something that is not where I can get at it.  That said, here's my list:

  1. Sky Loom/Native American myth
  2. It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis
  3. Thus Were Their Faces, by Silvina Ocampo 
  4. The Obedience of a Christian Man, by William Tyndale
  5. The Bride-Price, by Buchi Emecheta
  6. Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens 
  7. Amerika, by Kafka
  8. Hunger, by Knut Hamsun
  9. The Leopard, by di Lampedusa 
  10. The Bride of Lammermoor, by Sir Walter Scott
  11. Subtly Worded, by Teffi
  12. The Red Cavalry Cycle, by Isaac Babel 
  13. Conjure Tales, by Charles Chesnutt
  14. Tales of the Narts (Ossetian myths) 
  15. Amrita, Banana Yoshimoto
  16. Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  17. The Gray Earth, by Galsan Tshinag
  18. Season of Migration to the North, by Tayeb Salih 
  19. For Two Thousand Years, by Mihail Sebastian
  20. First Love and Other Stories, by Turgenev 
One I should read anyway for Back to the Classics, and two are on my TBR Challenge list.  Probably I will not get those at all....

Are you going to Spin?

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Back to Blogging...Maybe?

Howdy folks!  It's been a busy couple of weeks and I have this ridiculous stack of books next to me on my desk, waiting for me to post about them.  I will try to this week, but there is still some busyness to go, so we'll see.  Every day just seems to be packed with stuff I have to do!  This is not a real book post, this is a 'what I've been up to' post.


I've mentioned before that I'm a member of the local quilt guild, and last weekend we put up a mini quilt show at Bidwell Mansion.  The Mansion was the home of our town's founder, John Bidwell.  It was built in 1868, and this year is his 200th birthday, so there have been some celebrations, and since my mom is involved with the people who care for the Mansion, I knew something about it and I don't quite remember what happened, but it was partly my idea to get the quilt guild to do something at the Mansion this year, and it was decided to do a mini show of antique and reproduction quilts.  I wasn't in charge of it at all, but the woman who was had a change of plans that involved her being gone for a month before the show, so I said I would take over.  It turns out to be quite tricky to take over a project halfway through, but we muddled through and had a very successful weekend that made everybody happy.  Perhaps we'll do it again in future!

So here are some photos of quilts, which we scattered hither and yon around the Mansion.  These just belong to various guild members who kindly lent them for the occasion.  Another local historical place lent us their antique crazy quilt, which has a visible backing showing Bidwell Mills flour sacks, so that was a neat addition.  Our guild, by the way, is named after Annie Bidwell, John's wife, who was deeply involved in the temperance and suffrage movements.  John Bidwell actually ran for president on a platform of women's suffrage and temperance, which pretty much guaranteed his loss.









So last weekend I nearly lived at the Mansion.  We tore down on Tuesday and then I made sure everybody got their quilts back.  It is a bit nervewracking being in charge of twenty valuable quilts.

We've also spent the last few weeks preparing to get new carpet in two bedrooms and the hall.  Our carpet is long past its expiration date!  I have never in my life gotten new carpet before.  So we've been cleaning out and shoving everything easy into the third bedroom (currently unoccupied by my oldest, who moved out for college).  Once that was full, it was time to move the important furniture like dressers and headboards into the living room.  The night before Carpet Day, we moved furniture like mad, leaving only the beds.  And then our carpet guy let us know that his dad had passed away that day, and he had to go take care of business for a good four days.

So we're still not quite sure when the carpet will be installed -- I hope soon! -- but as long as we had an empty bedroom and at least three days for it to be empty in, we figured we should paint.  The room badly needed painting, but we hadn't figured on having the time or even energy.  So yesterday we painted all day long, and now the room looks fantastic as long as you don't look at the floor.  I'm calling it a blessing in disguise, and I sure hope that carpet shows up soon.  Right now you can barely get around the furniture and stuff in the living areas of the house!  It will be quite a job to put it all back again.

Oh, and Banned Books Week is coming up!  Less than 10 days to get ready in!  Oh dear there is so much to get done at work before that.  I am making ART!  Well, a collage.  Is that art?


Have you got reading plans for Banned Books Week?

Friday, September 6, 2019

My Quilty Weekend

There's been no time to post, because I'm helping to organize a mini quilt show of antique, vintage, and reproduction quilts at our town's most historic location.  I'll tell you all about it afterwards, but here's a photo of a lovely hexagon quilt made sometime before 1900.  I'll be back when I can think of something besides keeping this event on the rails!


Monday, September 2, 2019

The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths

The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths (3 vols.), by Brian Froud, et al.

A couple of years ago, we bought these graphic novels for our oldest.  With the release of Netflix' and Jim Henson Studios' new Dark Crystal series imminent, I decided I'd better get with the program and read them.  I'm glad I did that before we started watching the series (we've finished episode 2; we are no good at binge-watching anything and like to digest in between episodes).

We got these in separate volumes; they were out of print at the time, but now everything is being re-published and you can get them in a collected volume as well.  So that's what I've linked to.

A mysterious storyteller narrates the beginning of Thra and its peoples.  We see the origin of Aughra,  the arrival of the urSkeks from another planet, and their eventual division.  Gelfling folktales are sprinkled throughout, such as 'How the Gelfling Maiden Got Her Wings' or tales of an adventurous sailor looking for the perfect song.


Raunip
The major character here is Raunip, who is Aughra's son and kind of a patchwork creature with differing eyes.  He is nearly as intelligent and curious as his mother (and just where did the other half of him come from?), but he's also something of a rabble-rouser and very suspicious of the urSkeks, whom he sees as outsiders who should leave Thra.  What business do they have, building a castle around Thra's crystal?

By the end, the Mystics and Skeksis have divided and are just beginning to settle into their respective places

The art concepts, like all of the Dark Crystal world, is clearly the work of Brian Froud, whose imagination and love of grotesquerie is unbounded.  The origin stories are neat to read, and I like the folktales.  It should be noted that the new series does not exactly chime with these tales, and I kind of wish they did, but hey.  I can roll with it.

If you're a Dark Crystal fan, you'll want to read these.  Indeed, I expect I'm the last to the party and everyone else already has.  I include the trailer for the new series in case you live under a rock and haven't seen it yet, but really so I can tell you how much I want that book at 0:44.  I might have to make one.









Sunday, September 1, 2019

Witch Week 2019 is coming

Witch Week is coming up!  As we know, the days between October 31 and November 5 are Witch Week, when magic is abroad in the world.  To celebrate, Chris at Calmgrove and Lizzie Ross  will host the sixth year of Witch Week, and the theme this year is.....VILLAINS.


 They'll be featuring posts about:  Shakespeare!  DWJ!  Joan Aiken!  Narnia!  and the readalong will be Cart & Cwidder, by Diana Wynne Jones.  Oooo, I'm getting excited just thinking about it.  Hooray for Witch Week!


R. I. P. XIV

RIP completely snuck up on me, as I suppose is appropriate.  But if 20 Books of Summer is still going on, and it's 95 degrees out, how can it be RIP already?  Well, luckily for us, it just can.  September 1st happens no matter what the weather.  And so here we are, for the 14th year of Readers Imbibing Peril.  The rules are easy and general:
The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:
Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.
The emphasis is never on the word challenge, instead it is about coming together as a community and embracing the autumnal mood, whether the weather is cooperative where you live or not.
The goals are simple. 
1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.
As we do each and every year, there are multiple levels of participation (Perils)...
Ooo, new color scheme!  Nice!
 Head on over there to check out the Perils and decide what you want to do!

I walked around the house and gathered a few titles (a difficult task; we're prepping to put new carpet in two bedrooms and the books are double-stacked and all over the place where the carpet will not be).  I'm not sure yet what I'm going to read, but I'm finding myself in a mood to read some old kids' favorites, like William Sleator and John Bellairs.  I also have a few things on my TBR pile that seem appropriate, and though I read mysteries like candy all year long, I did grab a couple.  Recently a large box completely filled with my favorite kinds of mysteries was donated, and most of them were not in good enough shape to sell, so I got some Georgette Heyers I'd never read, and a few Sayers I didn't have.  I've been wanting to re-read Busman's Honeymoon for quite some time.  I also had a lucky strike recently to find some of the lesser-known Elizabeth Peters mysteries -- I'm reasonably fond of the Peabodys, but what I really like are the one-off Gothics and the Jacqueline Kirbys. 



So my collection of RIP reads is not exactly planned and coordinated, but it does look like fun!  Will you be joining RIP?