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Penguins of America - James Patterson,Jack Patterson,James Madsen,Florence Yue  

Penguins of America - James Patterson, Jack Patterson, James Madsen, Florence Yue

Exquisitely -executed reproductions of iconic images of USian paintings and photography. Only with penguins instead of people. And one-liner captions.


It might have been amusing had it been poorly-drawn, amateurish, or childish cartoons. The internet Is mostly humorless jokes. But there is no amusing caption that can withstand such painstakingly art: these pictures, which are lovely, demand captions that take them seriously. Where it is charming to frame your child's kindergarten art and story, hiring pros to jazz it up is just creepy and sad and disappointing for everyone.


Library Copy

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words - Randall Munroe  

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words - Randall Munroe

I had two hours reads going today, The Thin Man and Real World by Natsuo Kirino for the Terrifying Women square, and I got to feeling a tad oppressed by the dark and the existential dread. It was bad: I had two hours to kill by myself in Target and I walked out with nothing, because there was just no point. So the two options for lightening my mood that were to hand were Amphigories or Randall Monroe. It was a good choice. Now I am both amused and well-informed. A NASA roboticist who quit to draw stick people and made a successful career as the ubiquitous comic of technology. His family must be so proud! There isn't a lab that doesn't have at least one XKCD up.


But I think that's enough reading today. Ikea catalog is next.


Personal copy of the Offspring, graciously loaned to me.

Carpe Jugulum - Terry Pratchett

Carpe Jugulum - Terry Pratchett

  I've only read this one once before, and that ten years ago, so I didn't remember much, and didn't remember the Mac Mac Feeble were in it. And Greebo. Plus the whole Omnian question, and the christening. A delight, but by no means a simple one. Is there another writer who makes me feel so kindly toward other people? Dickens, Austen, Vonnegut all appeal to the same part of my brain, but none of them puts me in such charity with humanity, although Christmas Carol comes a close second.


Personal copy

A Friday Update


White has been called

Green has been read, but not called

Red has been read and called


So I haven't been acting as if this was Bingo, at all. Which is only a little embarrassing. I tend to be a this-is-what-I-feel-like-now sort of reader; I'm not at all good at following the curriculum, even when I get to choose all the books on the list. 


But as noted elsethread, I am having a great time. My rereads, Echoes from Macabre and The Thin Man, are holding up well to the passage of a great deal of time. The books by authors I already know well have remained every bit as pleasing as others (Paper Girls by Vaughan, Overbite by Cabot, Incorrigible #5 by Wood, Thieves by Turner). And the new-to-me-authors have become instant hits (Hilton and Morton and Stross. Okay, maybe not the Stross. We'll see when I'm done).


And yesterday I actually managed to pick out books that I will maybe read for the remaining blocks. I bailed on reading from my own shelves; instead I used this as an excuse to acquire copies of books I wanted to read anyway. 


Square Called Book Planned
Murder Most Foul 9/11 Penny
Gothic   shortest of the Horrid Novels
Terrifying Women 9/19 Kirino
Ghost 9/1 Aaronovich
Haunted Houses   Lockwood #3 - The Hollow Boy - requested
Modern Masters of Horror 9/17 The Fireman - requested
Genre: Horror 9/7 Salem's Lot -overdrive
The Dead Will Walk   Burning world - requested


Square Called Book Read Date read
Monsters   Paper Girls vol 3 9/17
Supernatural   Thick as Thieves 9/16
Demons   Atrocity Archives started 9/12/2017
Classic Noir   The Thin Man started 9/16
In the Dark, Dark Woods 9/5 The Lost city of Z 9/13
Country House Mystery   The Lake House 9/19
Classic Horror   Echoes from the Macabre 9/9
American Horror Story   Paper Girls vol 2 9/2
Vampires   Overbite 9/21
Witches 9/13 Carpe Jugulum started 9/21 
Chilling Children   Incorrigible #5: The Unmapped Sea 9/15
Terror in a Small Town   Death by Halloween started 9/21 
Romantic Suspense   Looking-Glass Portrait


A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices - Terry Pratchett 

A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices - Terry Pratchett

Pratchett held a keen understanding of academia, as well as of politics, policing, law, assassination, and another myriad subjects that his background wouldn't suggest he was properly educated to address. Clearly the man Terry Pratchett was insufficiently educated to produce such brilliant witty novels. He was no doubt a front for some other writer who had an extensive advanced education in various specialties. It's the only reasonable explanation.


Hmmm. I wonder if I can get a grant to research the possibility?


Story available online.

Sunday, September 17th

A few updates. If I can manage to update my card I will add it. I find the Kindle Fire to be great for reading, and for looking stuff up, but just too, too annoying for any real work. I need to get a new computer so I can write long pointless reviews again.


All I really need to do is fix some breakfast and finish at least one of these books. Any of them. Everyone else is reading so much and posting great updates, but I'm much too contented on the sofa with the Enos, surrounded by (I counted) seven stacks of books to read. There isn't a dedicated library in this house, and I don't have a fireplace, but ten-year-old me would be ecstatic over all these books. Thank you, 21st century! Now, about the robot house cleaner: let's see some progress.


Square  Called   Book Read Date Read
Monsters     Paper Girls vol 3 9/17
Supernatural     Thick as Thieves 9/16
Demons     Atrocity Archives started 9/12
Amateur Sleuth        
Classic Noir     The Thin Man started 9/16
In the Dark, Dark Woods 9/5   The Lost City of Z 9/13
Country House Mystery        
Classic Horror     Echoes from the Macabre 9/9
American Horror Story     Paper Girls vol 2 9/2
Diverse Voices        
Murder Most Foul 9/11      
The Raven (free)        
Witches 9/13      
Terrifying Women        
Chilling Children     The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Unmapped Sea started 9/4
Ghost 9/1      
Haunted Houses        
Modern Masters of Horror 9/17      
Terror in a Small Town        
Genre: Horror 9/7      
Romantic Suspense     Looking-Glass Portrait 9/14
The Dead Will Walk        

With my apologies


Square   Book Planned Book Read Date read
Supernatural     Thick as Thieves  
Demons     Atrocity Archives  
Amateur Sleuth        
Classic Noir     The Thin Man starts 9/15
In the Dark, Dark Woods 9/5   The Lost city of Z 9/13
Country House Mystery        
Classic Horror     Echoes from the macabre 9/9
American Horror Story     Paper Girls vol 2 9/2
Diverse voices        
Murder Most Foul 9/11      
The Raven (free)        
Witches 9/13      
Terrifying Women        
Chilling Children     Incorrigible #5  
Ghost 9/1      
Haunted Houses        
Modern Masters of Horror        
Terror in a Small Town        
Genre: Horror 9/7      
Romantic Suspense     Looking-Glass Portrait 9/14
The Dead Will Walk        


Life is being terribly annoying this month, making it hard for me to read and hard for me to post. So I apologize for the hideous appearance of my card and my list, but rushing was the only way I was going to get anything posted. The four books I've finished have all been delightful in their very different ways. The three I'm currently reading are also great fun, so I'm having a fabulous  run after a lackluster August.


I have also been watching Documentary Now with the Offspring and laughing so hard I may have caused permanent bodily harm to myself. At this rate, though, it's going to be next Halloween before I catch up with everyone 's posts. Oh, and there are now give different editions of The Thin Man in our house, which is convenient when one of the cats decided to lie on my current book and osmosis it. At least the cats will absorb books with me.

Weekend Update

Woohoo! I've now managed to finish two books. I can't decide which square to assign them, and I can't figure out a way to update my card from my kindle, but these setbacks will be overcome. None of that matters because it is Autumn and we're going to be hit by a hurricane maybe, and that throws everything else off. So I am not thinking about any of that. I am thinking that the older I get the more disturbing Du Maurier is to me. So much contempt for everyone. But "The Birds" is a brilliant story. That's some world class horror.


Echoes from the Macabre (9/9)

Paper Girls vol 2 (9/2)


Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories - Daphne du Maurier

I love DuMaurier's stories, starting way back when with this collection.  That title story is brilliant and creepy.

Sunday, September 3rd

I am already behind.


The eldest of the Offspring started college this week, so there was a goodbye dinner out at the same Mexican restaurant we discovered at graduation, which was tasty and over before the entire fraternity arrived (party of eighty), and then there was packing the car with nearly everything, and then packing a last minute bag for myself, which there almost wasn't room for. Then the Road Trip of Epic Proportions: 1461 miles in 48 hours with an audio package of eighties tunes and Talk the Talk podcasts, donuts and coffee too hot to drink for an hour, attractive Philly streetlights on the highway, a surprisingly clean and green New Jersey, and four straight rush hours. Then pizza delivery to the hotel and Lethal Weapon 3 for mindless entertainment. Up bright and early the next morning with a craving for fruit that lead to Whole Foods, and not actually finding fresh fruit until it was too late and I was committed to a sort of homemade strawberry Poptart that was weirdly much sweeter than the regular kind, then check in where there was a selection of local organic produce, and the best apple I've ever tasted. Then moving in, lunch, and a requisite visit to the local Target which had been denuded of clothes hangers and lighbulbs. Then a much longer drive home taking the scenic route, and seeing way more trees and nothing much else except Scranton, and those aesthetically pleasing highway street lights, and it was the most boring trip ever, because I had to listen to directions and the radio was lousy when I could pick something up, and in cleaning the car for the trip I removed all my cds, D'oh. 


So the only reading I managed this week was Paper Girls #2, loaned by the youngest Offspring, and wonderfully weird as it was, I don't think it fits any of the squares. And now I need coffee and headache relievers, but the cats have forgiven me finally, which means lying all over me, not hiding in the sock basket, and the only family member who is awake is now much too far away to fix me a cup of coffee. I feel that I should have planned this out better. 

Meddling Kids: A Novel - Edgar Cantero

Meddling Kids: A Novel - Edgar Cantero


I read the title, and I wanted to read this book. I read the blurb and I wanted to read this book now. I signed up for the giveaway, then I checked my local library; they have it in Overdrive, so I immediately checked it out to my Kindle. But my Kindle is at home. When I said "now", I meant "give me total instant gratification, damnit". So I also sent it to my phone.

And then I had to quit by the time they arrived at the scene of their crime-solving. That last case was closed, but the experience deeply wounded each of the four kids in completely believable ways. All of them broken and alone.

And I wouldn't pick it up again because it's a good book, the characters, setting, it's a good straight book and I wanted a light-hearted comedy, and right now I just couldn't give it the time, or seriousness, or respect it deserves. Probably I can't until my children are in their thirties, the sadness is too overwhelming.

Library copy.

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Four - Chris Van Dusen,Kate DiCamillo

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Four - Kate DiCamillo, Chris Van Dusen

What are the odds on finding affordable housing at the corner of Deckawoo Drive and Sesame Street? I really want to move to a place without racism or any of the other nasty hates that have been so apparent lately. A place where strangers are helpful, and the neighbors share in your good fortune.

DeCamillo makes me feel better about humanity and cheerful. Van Dusen's art is the perfect visual accompaniment. My Offspring are all grown up, but even they are delighted to see such a book arrive.

Go, spend a little time. I'm certain the air is sweet, even when Mercy Watson walks by. You can take a child with you, but you don't have to.


ARC provided by publisher through GoodReads giveaway. Because joy.



My private shame

I have at least 15 books in "currently reading" status that would do for Bingo reads. I really do need to finish some, or abandon them. And all of them started long enough ago that I remember nothing. My future is forseen: I will spend my last years in a tower of TBRs and Currently Reading, all stacked up around me in a circle, and every time I put a book down I'll take a different one up next, and I 'll have to start over from the beginning each time and I will never finish anything.


The good news is, when I unexpectedly saw myself in a mirror the other day I was delighted to see the face of my beloved Granny, whom I 've missed these forty odd years. Sort of the emotional opposite of my childhood fear of seeing Bloody Mary.

There's something in the air...

Sadly, it isn't autumn. We continue unbearably hot.But still, it's Fall in my soul where the books live.



My lovely card:


and my sticker


And still ages of thoughtful sifting through TBR lists and stacks. I love September!

Rabbit Hole

I've spent three hours going through to make sure I have followed everyone, because every page I checked, or nearly, had a list of books people were planning for their squares, and nearly every one of those had a number of books I needed to add to my list for later. Wow, y'all are impressively organized and on top of this! Me, not so much. I haven't even mastered the details of how to post my card.


I haven't actually been through my shelves yet. Although I recently swore off bringing home more books until I 'd at least brought my stacks down to manageable, there were several titles or authors that came immediately to mind when I looked at my card or at other's lists. So a library hold frenzy ensued.


The good news is, I think this has cheered me out of my reading slump. Okay, I 'm going to pay bills, and then check out my stacks and shelves. I need the reality check first, otherwise I might be tempted to buy 25 new books.


Thank you for inviting me into this happy gruesome madness.


Oh, hey, looking at all those lists U was surprised how few humorous books people were choosing: it's like you can't help taking the murder and monster seriously. The imp of the perverse is nudging me to read nothing but Pratchett and Gorey and so forth.

One Trick Pony - Nathan Hale 

One Trick Pony - Nathan Hale

I enjoyed this enormously: I liked the juxtaposition of multiple different cultures and societies. The premise was intriguing, the kids are resourceful, the parents believable, the robots were funny. Good set up and good payoff. I would thing this would be insanely popular since it's like to appeal to fans of fantasy and science fiction, to horse people and 

Western people, everyone really, except aliens.


My only problem with the book is a technical detail: I had tremendous trouble reading the speech sometimes. Yes, I'm old and the eyes go and dim lighting isn't sufficient anymore et cetera, et cetera, but none of that troubles me when reading anything else. I'm not confident I know what the difficulty was: whether the book pages were too small (for me), or the font size too small (for me), or the contrast not sharp enough (for me). I can't say with any certainty. But it made for an uncomfortable experience. I'm a motivated reader, so I stuck with it, but I can imagine that not everyone would. YMMV


Library copy