Who Likes Horror?

I just finished reading “The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 22” (ed: Stephen Jones). I’ve had it sitting around the house here for quite a while and finally got around to reading it.

I do like these anthologies of short stories every once in a while. This one was pretty good. I could’ve done without the long introduction (105 pages!) giving the rundown on “horror in 2010). Lots and lots of information on all the new writers, books, movies, magazines, games, etc published in that year. If you’re into that, it’s great additional information. If you’re not, it’s a waste of real estate. (I’m not that into that stuff, but I don’t like skipping over things either). 😉

They did the same at the end, with a “Necrology” of another 84 pages. Long, long pages of everyone involved in any way with horror (and even sci-fi) who died in the year 2010. Movie actors, screenwriters, actors, writers, musicians, etc. They list pretty much everything a personality was involved in.

I was surprised to read some of the things people I remembered had been involved in. Meinhardt Raabe played the ‘munchkin coroner’ who declared the Wicked Witch of the West was dead in the Wizard of Oz worked for the next 30 years for Oscar Mayer as “Little Oscar, the World’s Smallest Chef”. I remember the Beaver’s mom, Barbara Billingsley.  She was great in “Airplane!” (hilarious!). She was also in the movie “Invaders from Mars” in her early days.

Even so, I would have preferred them to just skip all the extras and get right to the stories. Most of them were pretty short, but they still packed a punch. There were 23 in all. Most written by people I’ve never heard of.

I can’t say there was a bad one in the book. Lots of ghosts, zombies, demons and just plain weird goings on. I especially liked “The Lemon in the Pool” by Simon Kurt Unsworth,  “Lesser Demons” by Norman Partridge and “Fort Clay, Louisiana: A Tragical History” by Albert E. Cowdrey.

If you like horror and weird stories, you might like this book. It’s a little long, at 575 pages, but if you skip all the extras and just read the actual stories, it’s a pretty quick read. I finished it in only 3-4 days.

I enjoyed the book, now I need to figure out what to read next. I just got a couple of new ones. I’m really looking forward to “Sleeping Beauties” by Stephen & Owen King and “The Fireman” by Joe Hill. I love both of those writers. Stephen King has been a favorite for decades and the 3 (“NOS4A2”, “Horns”, “Heart-Shaped Box”) I’ve read so far by Joe Hill have all been excellent. What a talented family!

Has anybody read them yet? Which would you read first? 🙂

Read Harder Challenge

I’ve had some extra time lately (and my internet issues seem to have finally sorted themselves out somehow), so I’ve had a chance to do a little more blogging. I’ve joined in the Just Jot It January 2017 challenge hosted by Linda on her Linda G. Hill blog.

Thanks to that challenge, I found another one the other day. I saw a post on Cyn K’s blog “that cynking feeling” about the Read Harder challenge. I’m a pretty fanatic reader. I read everything I can get my hands on. Constantly reading a book, magazine, kindle, or even the labels on the condiments at mealtimes if I get desperate. 😉

I clicked on over to the Book Riot blog to find out more about the challenge. It looks interesting. It looks like a fun challenge. I’m doing it!

Just as in years past, there are 24 tasks, averaging to two per month over the course of the next 12 months. You may count one book for multiple tasks, or read one book per task. I’ve said it the last two challenges, so it bears repeating: “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. No one is keeping score and there are no points to post. We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try out. That’s what this is – a perspective shift – but one for which you’ll only be accountable to yourself.”

You can read a book for each task, or one book could work for more than one task. For instance, I recently read “Fifty Shades of Grey”. I could count that as #2 (debut novel) and/or #12 (fantasy novel- maybe not technically, but a fantasy as far as I’m concerned- considering when would I ever meet a gorgeous billionaire who falls in love with me and we have kinky sex all day every day?).

Here’s the challenge (or click the link). I copied this from the Book Riot blog post, the links below are theirs. They’ll take you to some interesting (and relevant to the challenge) resources. Enjoy…

  1. Read a book about sports.
  2. Read a debut novel.
  3. Read a book about books.
  4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
  5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigrationnarrative.
  6. Read an all-ages comic.
  7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.
  8. Read a travel memoir.
  9. Read a book you’ve read before.
  10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.
  11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.
  12. Read a fantasy novel.
  13. Read a nonfiction book about technology.
  14. Read a book about war.
  15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
  16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
  17. Read a classic by an author of color.
  18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead.
  19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey (From Daniel José Older, author of Salsa Nocturna, the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, and YA novel Shadowshaper)
  20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel (From Sarah MacLean, author of ten bestselling historical romance novels)
  21. Read a book published by a micropress. (From Roxane Gay, bestselling author of AyitiAn Untamed StateBad Feminist, Marvel’s World of Wakanda, and the forthcoming Hunger and Difficult Women)
  22. Read a collection of stories by a woman. (From Celeste Ng, author Everything I Never Told You and the forthcoming Little Fires Everywhere)
  23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. (From Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series, including The Unquiet DeadThe Language of Secrets, and the forthcoming Among the Ruins)
  24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (From Jacqueline Koyanagi, author of sci-fi novel Ascension)

A to Z: Reading

Today’s post for the A to Z Challenge is: reading.

I’ve always loved to read. When I was a kid, I used to read everything I could get my hands on. I read the entire children’s section of the local library (and plenty of the adults). I read the encyclopedia of animals I got for a present. I read my fathers magazines. I would even read the labels at the table if I had nothing else. 😉

My brother is the complete opposite. I don’t think he’s picked up a book in years. Last I heard he checked out a couple of comic books, but that’s about it. I can hardly believe how little he reads and how different we are in that respect. Our parents were both voracious readers. I don’t know how my brother feels, but I’m sure glad I followed in their footsteps. At least in that respect.

It constantly amazes me how few people like to actually read these days (not to mention real books). People love their electronic gadgets. They’re on the phone, iPod, computer, electronic games, etc, I see it all the time. I rarely see someone peacefully sitting and enjoying a good book anymore.

I always bring something to read with me anywhere I go. It helps a lot when standing in line, or put on hold, or waiting in the Drs office. Thank god for e-readers! I can bring more with me when I ship out to work now- maybe even enough to last the whole hitch without overloading my luggage allowance!

I’m so glad I can relax with a good book once I get off watch. I can go to my tiny little cabin and escape to some insanely wonderful adventure. I can travel back in time to the world of the dinosaurs. Or forward to live on Mars. I can become a spacefarer, or a zombie hunter, a vampire or an elf, a beautiful heiress, a swashbuckling pirate, an arctic explorer, or anything I can imagine.

I can escape reality for a while and let my mind play.

I wish more people were able to enjoy reading as much as I do. I almost feel sorry for people who don’t read, they’re missing out on so much. The books are out there, just waiting for readers. You can even get them for free! 🙂

Have you read any good books lately?

Do you prefer real books, or e-readers?

I’ve been rather distracted the last couple of weeks with all the time I’ve spent trying to deal with my computer issues (it’s still not fixed), but here’s what I’ve been reading in April…

Magazines: National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Lonely Planet, AFAR, Professional Mariner, Workboat, Seaways, Sea History, First, Woman’s Day, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Money, International Living, Fund Your Life Overseas and Reason.

Books: Adrift, Know Your Boat, Born Evil, Oil Painting Techniques, Sand In My Bra, Paint It, Promise of Paradise, Bluewater Handbook, NOS4A2, and still working on Years Best Science Fiction, Horror (the best of the year 2006) and Off the Tourist Trail. 🙂

I really do have a never-ending list!


Today’s prompt for the Just Jot It January challenge is: collection.

I don’t really have anything I would consider a collection anymore. I used to be quite avid about my collections when I was a kid. I had a coin collection, a shell collection, a stamp collection, a rock collection. That all stopped when my stepfather threw all my stuff away while I was away at school.

Now, I have a half-assed collection of dragons, and a really small collection of mermaids. I don’t really spend much effort searching out items to fill my collections any more, but if I happen to see something that fits, I’ll pick it up.

I guess my library could be called a collection of books, tho I never had any specific purpose while gathering them together.

I have tons of books around here. Lots of different subjects: sci-fi, fantasy, horror, travel, sea stories, books about boats, how-to books, mysteries, political, history, historical novels, philosophy, art, music, medicine, paranormal romance. Pretty much anything and everything can interest me enough to buy a book and read it.  I really have too many books, I’ve already read almost all of them.

I’ve been trying to downsize. I’d like to move somewhere more affordable and less stressful. I don’t really want to pack up dozens of boxes of books again to fill a storage unit. So, I’ve been trying to whittle down my collection of books. That has been going very, very sloooowly.

Mostly because I want to re-read the books I still have left. They’re all the good ones I kept the last time I moved, plus the really good ones I’ve read since. I read a LOT, and I’ve been here a long time. So I still have a lot of books to sort through.

This time at home lately has been good for that. 😉

The Enchanting Sea Monsters on Medieval Maps

The Enchanting Sea Monsters on Medieval Maps | Collage of Arts and Sciences.

Another good one from the Smithsonian this morning. I always thought those old charts were so cool. I really loved the drawings.

Those people really had some great imaginations! 🙂

Libertarian Futurist Society

Libertarian Futurist Society.

This is a listing of all the past Prometheus Awards. They’re awarded for the best Libertarian science fiction of the year. I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few. I like books that make you THINK and these sure fit the bill! I’ve already read a lot of these books and seeing the list now makes me want to read some more of them 🙂 Some of my favorites on the list (I didn’t even know about the list when I read them)…

2009- Little Brother- Cory Doctorow

2011- Animal Farm- Hall of Fame- George Orwell

2009- Lord of the Rings- Hall of Fame- J.R.R. Tolkien

1998- Time Enough for Love- Hall of Fame- Robert Heinlein

1984- Farenheit 451- Hall of Fame- Ray Bradbury

1983- Atlas Shrugged- Hall of Fame- Ayn Rand

The Books We’ve Lost – Utne Altwire

The Books We’ve Lost – Utne Altwire.

I’ve always loved reading and going to the old, independent bookstores. There was one in downtown St Pete that I’d go to on my bike or the bus.  I wish I could remember the name, its probably gone now. I could spend a couple hours there easy!

I went to Powells in Portland OR, LOVED it! I went to one by Pikes Place in Seattle WA, LOVED it! All I have locally now is Hastings, its not the same experience at all. I try to go to 1/2 Price books on the way to/from Houston, its OK but still not as interesting as the others.