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Welcome to bookchat where you can talk about anything...books, plays, essays, and books on tape.  You don’t have to be reading a book to come in, sit down, and chat with us

Tell us about your favorite spooky tales and then take a minute to fill in the story and copy it to us.  You may change words and add words as needed to fill in the blanks. (for some reason, maybe because of the blanks, I am getting italics where I didn't have any so please ignore).

Halloween Story

cfk 10-31-12

Once upon a time where the hills of Sorrow poured a river of silver light down to the

village of Gorat, there lived a _________.

This  ____  was not a monster, but a survivor of ______.

Surviving and not hiding, but living _______ was the true way.

Yet on Hallowe’en, all the memories came to the fore and the

______  returned to the place of his creation and birth, the house of


  High above the town of Gorat, the old house stood outlined against a harvest moon.

______  were its shutters and  ______  the high-arched inner door

of the famous  ______  where hunters of old had sat at ease to

drink  ______  on the 31rst of October for centuries.

____ entered the gloom of the room.  His steps  ________  and

the raven above the mantel sitting on the chandelier mocked him with curses.  

  “_________,”   he replied in the old tongue and with a gesture,

lit the fire.  The flames  ______  and bells down in Gorat


“It is time,” said the other guest who swiveled in his chair and looked at

_____.   “I call upon you to renounce  _______  and

to accept  ________.”

The young  ______  laughed until tears ran down his cheeks.  The sound

ran around the old mansion from darkest dungeon to the


  “Never,” he said.  He opened the  _______  and drank deeply of


“Then why did you come?” asked the guest whose face looked  ______

 in the dim light.

“I came to  _________  forever from this house.  I came to

_____  it before your eyes.  Next year will be a new beginning for us all.”

“You dare!”  

“I insist.”

“Over my dead body!”


  With that the fire died, the raven flew out the window and


  Slowly, the sun rose over the hills and the cock crew.  The people of Gorat climbed

the church tower and looked up to the sinister ridge where lightning had flashed all


All that remained was  ____________.  

Down the road to the village trudged the  ________.

He, at least, was  ____________.

My favorite spooky and wonderful story is The Devil and Daniel Webster by Stephen Vincent Benet.

What is yours?

Diaries of the Week:

Write On! Of character, briefly.
by SensibleShoes

GFHC - Emmigrants Who Returned Home Or Making It Up As You Go Along
by jeanette0605

Kos Katalogue: the holidays are coming!
by Sara R

A Brief History Of Halloween
by Purple Priestess

NOTE: plf515 has book talk on Wednesday mornings early

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.


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Comment Preferences

  •  What I'm reading (10+ / 0-)

    Just finished
    Nothing this week.

    Now reading

    Cooler Smarter: Practical tips for low carbon living by the scientists at Union of Concerned Scientists, a great group. These folk make sense, concentrating on the changes you can make that have the biggest impact with the least effort.

    Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman.  Kahneman, most famous for his work with the late Amos Tversky, is one of the leading psychologists of the times. Here, he posits that our brains have two systems: A fast one and a slow one. Neither is better, but they are good at different things. This is a brilliant book: Full of insight and very well written, as well.

    The secret life of pronouns by James W. Pennebaker.  What our choice of pronouns and other "function words" says about our mood, our education, our personality and other things

    Louis D. Brandeis: A life by Melvin Urofsky. Supreme Court Justice Brandeis was fundamental in shaping the modern state of the law and of law firms and played a key role in many reform movements as well. A fascinating man and a well written biography.

    What hath God wrought? by Daniel Walker Howe. Subtitled "The transformation of America 1815-1848. I am reading this with the History group at GoodReads.

    Just started
    A dirty job by Christopher Moore. Charlie Asher is a very nice guy. He's a bit of a nebbish, or, in Moore's phrase a "beta-male".  He's a very happily married brand new father. Then his wife dies. Then he becomes .... well, I won't spoil it completely, but death. Or Death. Moore isn't afraid to add humor to the big issues, and he's always funny. But this isn't my favorite of his works.

  •  Speaking of history books (9+ / 0-)

    I'm 3/4 of the way through My American Revolution by Robert Sullivan. On balance, I preferred his earlier book: The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures on the Edge of a City.

  •  welcome (12+ / 0-)

    How to find the group Readers & Book Lovers:

    or click on the heart by our tag and we will come to your page.  Please stop by and visit as you can comment in diaries now for a longer time and there are some really interesting diaries there.

    Susan from 29 has made our schedule so you can click on it and read the diaries...thanks, Susan!

    All Times are EDT, EST

    Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule

    DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
    SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
    Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
    Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
    MON 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery Susan from 29
    Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
    alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
    Tue 10:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
    WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
    Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
    THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
    Thu (third each month, beginning 9/20) 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
    FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
    SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
    Sat 4:00 PM Daily Kos Political Book Club Freshly Squeezed Cynic
    Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid


    I have finished reading:

    More Work for the Undertaker by Margery Allingham

    The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham

    I am reading:

    Queen’s Play by Dorothy Dunnett (re-read) (pg. 216 of 432)

    The Pillars of Hercules by Paul Theroux (pg. 347 of 509)

    David Falkayn: Star Trader by Poul Anderson (pg. 113 of 680)

    Embassytown by China Mieville (pg. 43 of 345)

    The Pure in Heart by Susan Hill (pg. 57 of 370)

    Sending many good thoughts to those who were in the path of the storm!!

    What are you reading or hoping to read?

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:08:51 PM PDT

  •  The Halloween Tree (12+ / 0-)

    One book that I haven't read for a while, but often think about at this time of the year is Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree, which could be described as a group of kids traveling through time to save the soul of their best friend and learn the True Meaning of Halloween.  Which sounds kind of doofy when put that way, but it's a good book.

    This past Saturday I watched the animated adaptation of the book that Hanna-Barbara did some years back with the voice of Lenord Nimoy and Bradbury himself doing the narration.  Very good.

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:09:52 PM PDT

  •  I'm about halfway through Dodger... (10+ / 0-)

    ...which is Terry Pratchett's latest.  Making appearances as characters or as acquaintances of characters so far are "Mister Charlie" Dickens, Henry Mayhew (founder of Punch), Ben Disraeli, Angela Burdette-Coutts, Sweeny Todd, Karl Marx, Dodger, a German princess, and Dodger's friend Solomon, a jeweler.

  •  "Readers should always be wrestling with... (10+ / 0-)

    the writers who feel intimate to them." Martin Amis

    I so agree with this. There are many writers whom I admire more than being intimate with. E. M. Forster always turned out such nicely structured and gracefully written works. Except in Passage to India, where he went deeper and transcended his own style.

    Other writers may well be less perfect, but they get under my skin, they throw me off balance. Every Dickens I read seems structurally flawed, and sometimes boring or predictable. But I will keep reading them. I find so much power, hunger, humor, sympathy - so much life bursting out of Dickens.

    I don't mean top knock him down. His strengths far exceed his flaws. And Great Expectations had very few spots on it.

    Some books will not lie down on the mat, they won't stay in the boxes I build for them. They make me read them again and again, and I can almost taste some sweet mystery there, which always eludes my grasp.

    Which books or writers do you all wrestle with?

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:10:32 PM PDT

  •  Got a new book by going downstairs to (10+ / 0-)

    the common room, "The Monuments Men" by Robert Edsel is about the ream of military men who recovered lost art stolen by the Nazi's during WWII. Soon to be a major motion picture.

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:11:35 PM PDT

  •  Yay, Bookflurries!!! (10+ / 0-)

    Finishing up H. Richard Niebuhr's Christ and Culture, which like many of his books really picks up as he approaches the end and starts pulling things together.  

    I learned from an article that he advocated for admitting women to Elmhurst College when he was the president in the 1920s - didn't happen under his tenure, but he laid the groundwork.

    Other than that, still frightfully behind on reading.  My focus has been miserable.  I need to call the social services agency and get them cracking on my food stamps so I don't have groceries on my mind so much.

    Been making my way through Mozelle Moshansky, Mendelssohn, from a good series on composers that includes plenty of primary documentation, but is a breezy read.  When I taught Beethoven, we used the book from this series and we had to teach the students not to just see the primary sources as "filler" but as the actual meat.

    Picked up a book that looks absolutely riveting, The Music Libel Against the Jews, which I'll probably read a few times before I die.

    Only a couple of chapters of Biblical Israel: A People's History to work through with the boys.  They're starting to get imperialism, slowly.  

    There's more in the stack, all quite dispiriting in terms of gap between what I have left to read and the time I have to read it, but so it goes.

    -9.38/-7.69 If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

    by dirkster42 on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:12:12 PM PDT

  •  An Inspector Montalbano victory! (12+ / 0-)

    I ran across someone who gave up on the series because she didn't like the first book, and is now willing to try the second one after I explained to her that us Salvo addicts didn't care for it either.

  •  "The Monkey's Paw" is the story that scared me (12+ / 0-)

    the most. My grandfather told it very well. As, I found later, he did to all my cousins - he enjoyed scaring us.

    Poe writes pretty haunting stuff. I just checked M. R. James's Collected Stories out of the library.

    A few months ago I read The Shining, and I'll certainly be reading more Stephen King. He can get way under my skin.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:15:35 PM PDT

    •  I used to read Dean Koontz years ago (7+ / 0-)

      I had to stop.  I am such a wimp.

      Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

      by cfk on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:28:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read a couple of Dean Koontz books. They were (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cfk, MT Spaces

        kind of scary, but nothing to keep me awake at night. But I'm a bit jaded against horror, and perhaps I read some of his lighter books.

        And sometimes you just read the wrong book - one that's not especially terrifying, but hits your personal phobias like Laurence Olivier finding a live nerve in Marathon Man.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 07:12:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The scariest King book was Pet Sematery. (6+ / 0-)

      I love IT, which comes a close second, but it's not as scarring as Pet Sematery.

      •  Michael Marshall Smith put it second on his list (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rimjob, cfk, Dumbo, MT Spaces, Monsieur Georges

        of top ten horror books:

        I could fill half this list with King novels, of course, and there are others like The Shining, The Stand and It which perhaps deserve to be here more on individual merit. But Pet Sematary wins the nomination by being the one that disturbed me the most on first reading. Lean, sombre and veined with dread, this is horror, pure and simple. Chilling.
        He then added Night Shift at number 6. Not that I have any idea of who Michael Marshall Smith is.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:51:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Fear Of Losing A Child (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cfk, MT Spaces, Monsieur Georges, Dumbo, Brecht

        Even if you've read the book and know it's coming, the scene in the movie adaption where Gage gets run over by the truck is still just as terrifying as reading its description.

        I had plowed through plenty of King tomes beforehand with no ill effects: Carrie was kind of cool, It was kind of funny, and Misery was a hoot. But when I got to the part of Pet Sematary where Louis Creed exhumes the body of his recently deceased infant child, I put the book down and never picked it up again. There was something so visceral, so wrong, and so terrifyingly logical about Creed’s plan. I learned years later that King himself briefly abandoned the writing of the book at roughly the same point in the story, only adding to my pre-teen heebie-jeebies.


        •  Yeah. That was plenty sick. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rimjob, cfk, Brecht, MT Spaces

          I used the word scarring above, and I meant it.  It was scarring, not scaring.  

          IT is a scary book, too.  My favorite book.  But there is one passage in that book that was too much for me to handle.  It was the part detailing the background of the kid Patrick Hockstetter.  That was more disturbing than all the rest of the book put together, and it was only two or three pages.

          There's something pleasing in knowing that a guy like Stephen King can have so much crap like that rattling around in his head and still be a decent guy.  Sometimes I think, "Wow, the guy who wrote this is one sick puppy, ready for the looney-bin," but he seems to have his shit together, for the most part.

          •  "There's something pleasing in knowing that a guy (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cfk, Dumbo, MT Spaces, Monsieur Georges

            like Stephen King can have so much crap like that rattling around in his head and still be a decent guy."

            Very true. It takes some strong fiber to look so long into the abyss, and not got twisted.

            I applaud Shakespeare for the bravery of his psychology. He could enter fully into Othello's jealousy, Hamlet's doubt and Macbeth's ambition (Richard III's even) completely and, apparently, without any shirking or judgement. But he did have a pretty sound morality and, I think, some serious fiber.

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 06:58:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  "The Rules" (12+ / 0-)

    In horror stories bad things happen to the characters if they break certain rules. Another important aspect of horror stories is the hero. Usually they're female, white, virginal, represent everything wholesome & pure, and have a unisex name (e.g. Sam, Ripley, Sidney, etc.). This gets into something called "Final Girl" theory.

    The simplest definition of this is "the last character left alive to confront the killer" in a slasher flick. The character in question tends to follow a certain set of characteristics. The most obvious one is being (almost) Always Female. She'll also almost certainly be a virgin, avoiding Death By Sex, and probably won't drink alcohol, smoke tobacco or take drugs, either. Finally, she'll probably turn out to be more intelligent and resourceful than the other victims... It's also interesting to note how the Final Girl can be interpreted in film theory. On one hand, the character seems to be the living embodiment of stereotypical conservative attitudes of what women "should be." On the other, feminists have noticed that through this device the mostly male audience (or...not) is forced to identify with a woman in the climax of the movie. In practical terms, the makers of a horror film want the victim to experience abject terror in the climax, and feel that viewers would reject a film that showed a man experiencing such abject terror.
    • Teenagers + Premarital Sex = They Will Die.
    • Also, as your friends/family are being hacked to bits day after day, it just sets the mood and always the perfect time to have sex with the boyfriend (who may or may not be the killer).
    • Teenagers + Alcohol & Drug Use = They Will Die.
    • Instead of running out the front door, when confronted by serial killer/monster/alien, characters will instead trap themselves inside their domicile by running up the stairs, or into dark basements & closets.
    • If said characters should be smart enough to run out the front door, brand new cars, which had no sign of problems earlier in the film, usually have problems starting.
    • Do NOT go into the bathroom!!! Bad shit lurks in bathtubs & behind shower curtains.
    • Do NOT go into the woods if you hear an eerie sound coming from that direction! Whatever it is can stay in the fucking woods. Let the raccoons, squirrels & deer deal with it.
    • If the lights go out, do NOT look for the circuit breaker! Look for the damn door!
    • Cellphones, flashlights or any other piece of technology that may be handy in a dire situation are affected with either low batteries or no signal when you need them the most.
    • If something from outer space should land near you, do NOT be curious by running up to it & poking it with a stick. Run the fuck away!
    • Apparently all evil monsters, aliens and serial killers are racists, since people of color hardly ever survive, and usually die first.
    • If you should hear something that sounds like screaming and/or a death rattle coming from the other room, the words "Let's Go Check It Out" should not come out of your mouth. And if your friend, boyfriend or girlfriend should say it, they're an idiot that's going to get you killed, possessed or eaten.
    • If in a group larger than 3 people, the characters must not do the logical thing of staying together when trying to escape from the haunted house, scary-ass woods or other place in the middle of nowhere. No, they must split up so they can "Cover More Ground" and be killed off one by one.
    • People over the age of 30 are useless. This includes the police and anyone of any authority. No matter how much evidence you may have that weird shit is happening, your parents will not believe you. In fact, the more you protest, the more they will think you are crazy and take actions that will indirectly help the killer to kill you (e.g. the parents in the 'Nightmare On Elm Street' films loading their kids up with sleeping pills while not noticing that every other kid in the neighborhood seems to be dropping dead in their sleep).
    • No matter how much a scientist is told their experiment is dangerous, this supposedly smart person will ignore all the warnings staring him/her in the face and proceed to horrifically mutate himself and others, or put the world/galaxy/universe in danger.
    • On the other hand, the character set-up at the beginning of the story as the town drunk, idiot, or batshit crazy person will always know more than everyone else by the end of the film. In fact, at some point toward the end, he will explain the entire plot to the main character (and audience), as well as the motivation for the monster/killer.
    • Politicians and military will ignore every warning given to them by the scientists & other assorted smart people they've brought in to analyze the situation, and say "fuck it, we're going to blow this thing up." This usually results in a large amount of people dying horribly, while the monster/killer is hardly scratched.
    • The lead female character, who has done nothing but scream, run, and cry for 90% of the story, will display a clever genius-level intellect by film's end, when confronting the unspeakable evil.
    • No monster/serial killer is ever truly dead, even when killed in the way that is supposed to kill them once & for all. Also, the characters will assume that the thing that has been nigh-invulnerable to bullets & other assorted forms of projectile weapons is dead because its lying still on the ground, instead of unloading their weapon into it to make sure.
    •  lolololol !!!!!!!!!! (8+ / 0-)

      Thank you!

      I especially like these:

      Do NOT go into the woods if you hear an eerie sound coming from that direction! Whatever it is can stay in the fucking woods. Let the raccoons, squirrels & deer deal with it.

      If something from outer space should land near you, do NOT be curious by running up to it & poking it with a stick. Run the fuck away!

      Hubby used to remove hornets' nests for an allergy company and he would find rocks and green apples in them that people had thrown...crazy!

      Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

      by cfk on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:39:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rule: YOU HAVE TO KILL IT THREE TIMES. (11+ / 0-)

      The first time they kill the monster, slasher, whatever, the main character goes, "Whew!  That was close!"  And turns their back on the body.  Bad move!  Kill it again, turn back, Whew, repeat.  Three times.  

    •  Yep, those are the rules all right. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rimjob, cfk

      Would that real life were so simple.

      No, actually, I guess I don't. But there is a particular vicarious pleasure in watching teenagers get picked off in a horror movie, knowing smugly that we'd never do anything that dumb.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 07:14:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  these are known as (6+ / 0-)

      TDTL characters

      •Instead of running out the front door, when confronted by serial killer/monster/alien, characters will instead trap themselves inside their domicile by running up the stairs, or into dark basements & closets.
      The heroine, clad only in a filmy nightdress, who hears funny noises and tiptoes down the stairs into the dark basement in which the light has gone out, armed only with a flashlight with wavering illumination.

      TDTL = Too Dumb To Live

      "There are no Americans at the airport!" -- Baghdad Bob
      "I’ve got a very effective campaign." -- Mitt Romney

      by Mnemosyne on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 07:19:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How to Survive a Murder Mystery (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cfk, Monsieur Georges

      How To Survive A Murder Mystery
      or, Never Say "I'll Be Right Back"

      (by Batya Levin Wittenberg)
      (tune: Frank Hayes, "Never Set The Cat On Fire")

      Never say "I'll be right back"
      When in a murder myst'ry
      Once you say that and leave the pack
      It's clear to all you're hist'ry
      Just leave without a backward call
      Or better yet, don't leave at all --
      No, never say "I'll be right back."
      And trust your buddies, at least until the next attack
      And never say "I'll be right back."

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 03:14:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Scariest stuff? (10+ / 0-)

    Works about Milgram's obedience studies

    Biographies of Stalin, Mao and Hitler.

    •  Stalin, Mao and Hitler are epic scary (9+ / 0-)

      though, like Milgram, they also show how easily many apparently decent people become total minions of evil.

      But for insidiousness and a kind of Blue Velvet horror in our own backyards, many recent works on what's happening in the U.S.A. are scary like Malcolm McDowell with his eyes peeled open in Clockwork Orange.

      We had such a great country, overall, in the 60s and 70s, when we were solidifying and expanding a middle class dream with good education and opportunities for everyone.

      When did we take a vote to get dumber and dumber (witness the declining figures for belief in evolution and global warming) and sell all our hard-earned birthrights for a mess of corporate pottage?

      Our kids will have a smaller, grayer world than we will. This is deeply wrong, and terrifying.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:31:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "In Cold Blood" (10+ / 0-)

    Have you ever been alone at home, and in middle of the night/early morning someone knocks on your door?

    At first, you wonder whether you should go see who it is & what they want, or just ignore it. But then (if you're neurotic like me) you wonder whether maybe whoever it is might be looking for a house where someone doesn't answer. And then if you get to the door and no one is there, the gears in the brains imagination start spinning even faster still.

    The scariness of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood combines that unsettling feeling with the inexplicable randomness of a crime done for no real reason at all. And what makes In Cold Blood even more disturbing is that it's not fiction. The events actually happened.

    From the A.V. Club: "Scariest Reading Experiences"

    Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood terrified me more than any other book I’ve read, for the simple reason that it was a true story (or most of it, anyway, creative nonfiction, etc.) It wasn’t just the brutality of the murder of the Clutter family that was the most frightening, or the fact that it occurred in the country in the middle of the night (the country is way scarier than the city for this exact reason), or that a young girl like myself-at-the-time-of-reading was killed, or that Herbert’s family witnessed his murder and then had to wait for their own deaths. It was the randomness of the crime: Dick Hickok and Perry Smith organized the 1959 robbery based on false information, and then the murders were spur-of-the-moment, not part of the plan. It was a real thing that really happened, and the type of thing that could happen to anyone. This made being alone in an empty house at night, or even a not-so-empty house, that much more terrifying. It was like the way people felt about going swimming after seeing Jaws, only in this case, the ocean was my own home.
  •  A good evening to all, especially (11+ / 0-)

    those who were in Sandy's way.

    I've missed Bookflurries because my brother decided we needed to have dinner at each other's house every Wednesday. Pretty cool.

    On the book front, I've been enjoying Sherman Alexie's latest story collection, Blasphemy, which I recommend to everyone. If I continue with Contemporary Fiction Views, that will be the next diary.

    Am also reading the YA novel, Across the Universe, by Beth Revis. It has great world-building even if the boy/puberty storyline doesn't thrill me. The set-up, that the heroine was frozen with her parents to travel to a distant planet that may support life, but is awoken early while the ship continues on, is very interesting. That the society has evolved into a dictatorship with the boy apparently next in line will work for readers of The Hunger Games. But I need to keep reading. The upcoming generation is going to get interested in sex soon and I have to see if it's middle school appropriate or older YA.

    Am also dipping into Kansas City Noir, one of the City Noir series from Akaschic Books. The stories can get pretty grim but they make a remarkable portrait of the sad fates some cannot seem to avoid.

  •  creepiest story of all time (9+ / 0-)

    the Lottery

    Currently reading: The Last Colony by John Scalzi. Really love it, though shouldn't at least one person should have said "hey, that's a weird name for a colony"? Seems kind of like naming your puppy "Puck" or your daughter Medea (unless you don't want grandchildren).

    For class at church, Diana Butler Bass' Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. Very interesting, and readable. Just finished a chapter discussion the difference between "spirituality" and "religion", and how the meanings of both words have changed over time.

    also usual assortment of running, bike & triathlon magazines

  •  Scariest book I ever read... (7+ / 0-)

    The Whisperer in Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft.  It's probably available out of copyright and online.

    I've stalled out on King's Gunslinger series.  I'm about half-way through Wolves of the Calla, but I've put it down and suppose I'll pick it up again at some point.

    In the meantime, I read Micro by Michael Crichton and Preston.  It's a posthumously completed novel about people shrunk down to a half inch tall by some high-tech gizmo that makes no sense.  They become lost in a Hawaiian rainforest and are attacked by spiders and centipedes and bats and mynah birds and wasps.  Meanwhile, bad guys are looking for them to kill them because they KNOW TOO MUCH.  Pretty good, but it's weak in a lot of ways, but that's understandable since the author died and it had to be completed.

    I've started on 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz.  Nice scary story so far.  It seems to be some kind of haunted house story.  We'll see.

    I'm also reading, and have been reading for a few weeks, making slow progress, Theory of Harmony by Arnold Schoenberg.  Man, it's tough.  It's not just a difficult subject, but he was psycho disorganized in his writing and launches into weird tirades against people, often only referring to them as "the people I won't name here in the hopes that they will be forgotten sooner."  Some very interesting insights, though.  There have been parts that I couldn't understand and went googling for help understanding, only to find arguments on music theory sites between other people who don't understand what the hell he was talking about.

    No Thursday Classical Music tomorrow night.  Next week!

  •  Once upon a time ... (7+ / 0-)

    ... where the hills of Sorrow poured a river of silver light down to the nearly-abondened village of Gorat, where there lived a person of interest, shall we say.

    This person was not intrinsically interesting, but a survivor of interesting times. Surviving and not hiding, but living interestingly, was the way one found oneself living in a place like Gorat.

    On Hallowe’en, all the memories came to the fore and thoughts turned to the place of his creation and birth, the Autumn House.

    High above the town of Gorat, another old house stood outlined against a harvest moon. Shuttered were its shutters and the high-arched inner door gazed archly from the Hills of Sorrow, wherein hunters of old had sat at ease to drink wine on the 31st of October for centuries.

    The legend of the place piqued the interest of the person, wandering, lost in memory, searching for a way to enter the gloom of the front room.  Footsteps creaked, and the raven above the mantel, sitting on the chandelier, mocked him with curses.
    “ENTER” he repeated in the old tongue.

    But how?

    Interestingly enough, the French Doors swung in the wind as the boards of the veranda sagged in passing. The person gazed with interest, entered, and with an interesting gesture, lit the fire.  The flames crackled and bells down in Gorat appealed to the Supreme Court in far Washington with their noise.

    “It is time,” said the Raven, in the ancient lingo.
    “I call upon ye to renounce The Grape and accept The Grain.”
    Tears ran down the person's cheeks in laughter.  The sound ran around the old mansion from highest attic to the deepest wine cellar.

    “Never,” and opened a wine bottle, drinking deeply of the intriguingly old vintage.

    “Why did you come?” asked the Raven in the dim light.

    “I came to drink wine in this venerable house.  I came to imbibe before your eyes. This year will be a new beginning for us all.”

    “You dare!”  

    “I insist.”

    “Over my dead body!”

    “Under your watchful gaze, and thy archaic tongue!”

    With that the fire flared higher, the raven flew away, and the person opened a second bottle.


    Later, the sun rose over the hills and the Raven crowed again.  The people of Gorat climbed the church tower and looked up to Sinister Ridge, where lightning had flashed all night, and the sounds of ancient hunters echoed in the woods.

    All that remained of bottle number two were the lees in the House of the Hunters. Down the road to the village trudged our person, humming a tune of passing interest. Gorat might be the same old place, but at least there was a cellar full of wine nearby, and the key was in a very interesting place!

    it's at least as immoral to pass on to our children a crumbling and dysfunctional infrastructure that they'll have to figure out how to rebuild -- Joan McCarter

    by MT Spaces on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 06:10:10 PM PDT

  •  None of the above (6+ / 0-)

    My co-canvasser backed out today so I took the day off.
    No trick-or-treaters, as usual.  The weather is not optimal for kids out in the dark tonight.  It's cold, rainy and windy, and we live in a rural area.  So Halloween is a non-event in this house.

    Just finished Fox Evil by Minette Walters.  It ended up being very good.  I must have read it before because I remember a few things about it, but other parts were a surprise.  Usually I remember the majority of a book once I get into it.  It wasn't a waste of time to reread it, anyway.  

  •  You're right cfk, (6+ / 0-)

    the italics are from your blanks. An underline immediately before and after a word or phrase italicizes that word or phrase. You can make it go away by making sure to put a space between all words and underlines.
    I read some fiction this weekend, The Given Day, by Dennis Lehane. It was OK, I liked reading about that era and those events, but one thing kind of bothered me, anachronistic usages. The novel revolves around the Boston Police Strike of 1919 but characters use phrases like "need to know," "public sector," "across the pond," "celebrity," and "regime change." I'm pretty sure those phrases were not in use in 1919. Hell, most of them entered the lexicon during my lifetime. I wish authors would be more careful about this, it snaps me right out of the era they're writing about. Next up, non-fiction, Savage Peace, by Ann Hagedorn. It deals with the same period in American history, the year 1919.

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 06:17:55 PM PDT

  •  I am running off for a quick nap (6+ / 0-)

    sorry...I will return later...

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 06:56:14 PM PDT

  •  I'd forgotten about (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, cfk, MT Spaces

    "The Devil and Dan'l Webster." Have to go find my collected works of S.V. Benet and re-read.

    "The Monkey's Paw," eeuuuww, creepy.

    Agree that 'The Lottery" is one of the very best. There's also a Bradbury story, title unremembered, about the wind coming to take people away. It roars around a house, and just when the people inside are lulled into thinking it's gone away, someone opens the door and . . . game over.

    "There are no Americans at the airport!" -- Baghdad Bob
    "I’ve got a very effective campaign." -- Mitt Romney

    by Mnemosyne on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 07:27:21 PM PDT

  •  Sticking w/Wambaugh's "The Onion (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, cfk, MT Spaces, Monsieur Georges

    Field" as scariest.

    Finished: nothing.
    Still reading Rushdie's "The Moor's Last Sigh," and still listening to Follett's "Fall of the Giants."  

    No Sandy excuses from here.  

  •  read that bio alluded to in the last BF..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, cfk, MT Spaces

    ......namely, a bio of the Brit composer Elisabeth Lutyens, A Pilgrim Soul.  Pretty sad life in many ways, with one nasty taint of anti-Semitism (thanks to a slander suit involving her hubby and the flak from that).  Nonetheless, interesting reading.  Just started Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King; good read so far.

    "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

    by chingchongchinaman on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 09:24:17 PM PDT

    •  This sounds interesting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MT Spaces, chingchongchinaman
      Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
      Hubby and I saw it before they cleaned it.  

      Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

      by cfk on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 10:16:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  unfortunately, I've never seen it..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ......and I've only been to Rome once.  One of these days, maybe.  Have built up a bit of a load of books for the next, and last, trip to the used book store for the year, at least that's the plan.  They don't take used books in December.

        "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

        by chingchongchinaman on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:16:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  All I've got (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, MT Spaces, Monsieur Georges

    Once upon a time where the hills of Sorrow poured a river of silver light down to the village of Gorat, there lived a maker of toys and mender of pots.  She knew herself a monster, in the old language, monstrum, a portent of things not yet present, fears and dreams, the unseen and not yet seen.   And yet, she knew one is not only a monster, or always a monster, because a portent is something that is about tomorrow, or what tomorrow might become, or what people fear and hope they will discover in themselves or other people, but even the strangest creature must wake up, and brush her teeth, and eat breakfast, and imagine the work of her hands.

    In her religion, which the good burghers who brought her cracked kitchenware and dull knives, who purchased her shiny clanging toys with strange locking gears and flashes of unexplained light deep inside the workings, did not practice, the quarter and cross quarter days were holy, and none more than Samhain, late in the fall. It was the beginning of turning of the great wheel of the year, for which we and the world are the gears and workings, when leaves fell colored so sad and earnest a red even the village bankers were moved to tears and the smallest creatures sought deep burrows before the first frost.  But she did not much remark on the day to her customers, who had their own concerns and worries with storing the harvest or selling it, the birth of children, of marriages and deaths.

    At midnight on Samhain, when things are not always what they seem and the wall is thin, she would walk out to the edge of woods, where the road into town was crossed by a footpath, and she would look for a door she remembered there.  Now that she was old, and her hip hurt and her knees hurt and her back hurt and her eyes did not always see what she wanted to see, she was not always sure there had even been a door, or that she had walked through it, or that an old lady like herself should be out at the crossroads at midnight when tomorrow had its fill of toys and pots, but she always came.  And because she believed that we are the gears and workings of the world, the only workings who notice each passing revolution,, she drank once from a tiny silver  flask of very old brandy, spun widdershins thrice, and poured the rest on the dusty road, saying thank you in a language she had never spoken with her customers, and barely remembered.


    Departed quickly from the template, and all I've got :}

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 09:28:37 PM PDT

  •  Have any of you purchased an iPad mini yet? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, MT Spaces, Monsieur Georges

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