It's a good book, but it's not my Typee...

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ghosts in Irish Houses: Halloween 2

Halloween 2015: Day 8

For a truly bizarre read, pick up Ghosts in Irish Houses by James Reynolds. Illustrated by the author, it features numerous stories about a wide variety of hauntings. It's everything from ghosts who have killed multiple people to a glove that reappears decades after its owner loses it or some such drivel. I'm not sure if Reynolds just wasn't a great writer or if the stories are so weird that they don't come across well. Either way, it's a bit of a slog to get through the whole thing. Also, many of the accompanying sketches, which are usually of the main character in the story, are mediocre at best.

There is a pretty interesting recurring theme of strong women in many of the stories. There are warrior queens and vicious murderesses galore.

My favorite story is about a birthday party that could have come straight from Game of Thrones. It went about like this:

     "Hey, hated enemy. I know you slaughtered my warrior queen mother and her army back in the day, but while you're travelling through town, do you want to spend the weekend at my house?"
     "Sure, guy who has probably gotten over me killing his mom. Thank you for your hospitality."
     "No problem. And since you're here, please help us celebrate my oldest son's birthday."
     "That was a great party, but I'm really old and I need to go to bed now. Also, my men are wondering why you wouldn't let them bring their swords into the party."
     "No reason. But before you go to bed--" STAB STAB STAB
     "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal! Agh!"
     "Well that was fun. This one's for you, Ma. Oops the neighbors are coming. Better hide all these bodies under the floor. I'm sure they won't haunt the castle and kill everyone who disturbs their resting place. Happy birthday, Junior!"

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Cask of Amontillado: Halloween 1

Halloween, 2015: Day 1

I like to celebrate Halloween. A lot. Starting on the first day of October, in fact. My desk at work is already decorated and I'm considering my costume options (I'm thinking Shriner).

In preparation for this festive day, I will cram my blog with as much creepy fun as I can. I'll be reviewing and posting about all the atmospheric and unsettling books and stories I can think of. What better way to start off than with the master himself, Edgar Allan Poe?

Click here for one of my personal favorites--The Cask of Amontillado. Check out the rest of for more stories and poems by the original emo kid as well as biographical information and a list of the delicious and eccentric words he used.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Depraved Heart-Excerpt

I just read an excerpt of Patricia Cornwell's new Kay Scarpetta novel, Depraved Heart (isn't that just the best title?) and it was great. I have read several of Patricia Cornwell's books and always enjoy them.

If you're interested in reading the first three chapters, they are here. I love the part in chapter 1 where she says "A select few of us come into this world not bothered by gruesomeness." Having studied to be an embalmer, I can identify with this statement.  There are just some people who don't mind being close to death and these are the ones on whom we depend to care for our dead and sometimes find their killers.  Scarpetta represents this group perfectly.

There will hopefully be more posts about this book as I am trying to snag an advance copy.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Witch of Lime Street

There's an upcoming book for readers interested in things that go bump in the night, or at least things that go bump under seance tables.

The Witch of Lime Street, by David Jaher, is the true story of "Margery" and her attempt to become the first scientifically approved medium. In the course of her hundreds of seances and trials with the panel of judges assigned to test her, she became a household name to Americans and Brits alike. Houdini tested her as well and found her personally charming but undeniably a charlatan. But even after rigorous examination and numerous battles between her admirers and detractors, the answer to why she did what she did (and more importantly how the heck she did it) is as hard to pin down as the ectoplasm she produced.

Jaher's book is enormously entertaining and opens the door to a time in our country's history when a Ouija Board seemed like the answer to many questions. I received a free advance copy of The Witch of Lime Street from LibraryThing. My full review will follow shortly.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring is here!

I'm so glad it's Spring. I can wear bright colors, short skirts, and cute shoes. No longer do I go to work as am amorphous blob of wool, slacks, and boots.

Yesterday I was walking on our local greenway and saw the greatest thing. This woman was walking her dog while reading a book. I don't know if she actually walks and reads simultaneously, but when I came across her, her little dog was sniffing at the edge of the trail and the woman was standing there READING.

I didn't say anything to her beyond hello, but it felt like meeting a secret friend. A friend who doesn't know you exist. That sounds stalkery. But it made me feel slightly less alone in my own tendency to read at stoplights.

So yay for Spring, bringer of cute outfits, pollen, and crazy readers.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Boy Who Didn't Die...No, Not Harry Potter

Yesterday I found out that Alex Malarkey (heck of a last name) has issued a statement that his memoir, The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, is completely made up. As a young boy, Alex was in a devastating car crash with his father and is paralyzed to this day. Now, as a sixteen-year-old, he admits that his story about visiting heaven and meeting Jesus during his time in a coma is fictitious. The coma and accident were real, just not the journey.

This does not come as a total shock, but I'm a bit disappointed because I read Alex's book and while I did find it hard to believe, it was certainly spiritually uplifting. If nothing else, I felt it to be the story of a boy whose faith strengthened his family during a horrific time.

But now Alex says guilt has driven him to make this new message heard. He fabricated his lies because he wanted attention and boy did he get it. The book is a bestseller, but the Christian publisher who put it out is pulling it now that the truth is public. The waters are a little murky as to how long they have known about Alex's change of heart. His mother says the family has been trying to tell people for years that the book is not what it seems.

The Malarkey family still has faith and Alex was brave to set the record straight. In his public statement, he urges people to read the Bible and trust in it rather than seeking proof from stories like his. Some will see this new development in his story as evidence that God and Heaven are not real, but neither the book nor its subsequent exposure as fiction should have an effect on anyone who truly has faith.

If I tell everyone I saw an albino deer in my yard and later admit I made it up, that doesn't mean albino deer don't exist.

Upon looking back at my previous review of this book, which you can read here, I was pretty skeptical at the time. I think my original feelings about the book were mostly driven by the fact that Alex was so young and so many people were swallowing his story wholesale. Turns out I have pretty good sense sometimes.