mstrust-Books & Tiki

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2024

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mstrust-Books & Tiki

Editado: Fev 16, 10:37 am

Hi, I'm Jennifer in Phoenix. I'm starting out the year with my love for tiki. Tiki cocktails, tiki mugs, tiki bars, tiki music and tiki decor. I don't know if this theme will continue all year, but for now, let's have fun with it. I collect mugs, visit tiki bars and attend a yearly tiki convention. The above pic is of our regular Vegas spot, Frankie's Tiki Room.

March will mark my 16th Thingaversary. Wow, it's actually gone by fast!
I spend most of my time writing and researching my Substack, Autumn Lives Here. It's free every other Tuesday, and only for paid members the other Tuesdays. I have short stories, true crime, book reviews, scary movie discussions, cocktail recipes and Autumn baking year round. I'm happy to say that I have over 30 LTers among my weekly readers, and a few LTers among my paid creeps. You're welcome to drop by for a scare.
I'm hosting a few times this year. For the MysteryKit, I'll host True Unsolved Mysteries in February. In the ScaredyKits, I'll host True Crime in March and Contemporary Horror in October.
ScaredyKIT March:

Dez 27, 2023, 2:53 pm


Dez 28, 2023, 1:30 pm

All the best for 2024, Jennifer.
Thank you for the marvellous pictures!

Dez 28, 2023, 1:42 pm

Starred for 24!! Tiki on!

Editado: Dez 29, 2023, 9:27 am

Glad you’re back for another spooky year!

Dez 29, 2023, 10:28 am

>4 SirThomas: Hello, Thomas, and thanks for finding me! Wishing you a happy 2024!

>5 Berly: Hooray! Let's tiki!

>6 drneutron: Thanks, Jim! And thank you for setting us up!

Dez 29, 2023, 11:28 am

Good to see you!

Dez 29, 2023, 3:40 pm

And you!

Jan 1, 12:24 am

Hi Jennifer!

Wishing you a great one!

Jan 1, 8:09 am

Dear Jennifer, I hope you had a great start of 2024! All the best for the new reading year!

Jan 1, 8:51 am

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2024!

Jan 1, 8:52 am

>10 quondame: Happy New Year! Look at those penguins go!
>11 PersephonesLibrary: Thank you, and Happy New Year to you!

Jan 1, 11:38 pm

Happy New Year, Jennifer.

Jan 2, 6:36 am

Glad to see the Tiki bar is up again, Jennifer, happy reading in 2024!

Editado: Jan 2, 10:02 am

Autumn Lives Here is back today, with a short story, "January, the Most Miserable Month". Don't feel sorry for her, she likes being miserable. It's a free week, so drop in.

Jan 2, 10:03 am

>14 BLBera: And to you, Beth!
>15 FAMeulstee: Happy New Year, Anita! I hope it's a good year for you.

Editado: Jan 2, 11:12 am

1. Muckross Abbey and Other Stories by Sabina Murray.

A collection of spooky short stories, each involving academia in some way. In "The Long Story", a doctoral student becomes lost in the foggy English moors and is rescued by an art scholar who lives nearby. She invites the student into her home, where she tells him about the death of her son. In the title story, a literary agent travels to a gloomy Irish village to help search for her old college roommate, who has gone missing from her honeymoon. In "Apartment 4D", a mother surprises her nearly grown children by recounting a horrifying story about the apartment she lived in when she was young and single.
Each story drew me in quickly. Murray writes about unsettling circumstances and spooky events, yet these work on another level too, that of people working out their relationships. It's a good read. 4.5

Jan 2, 11:08 am

Happy new year, Jennifer.

Jan 2, 11:12 am

Happy new year, Paul!

Jan 2, 3:48 pm

Happy New Year, Jennifer!

Jan 2, 4:17 pm

Happy new year, Lynda! Good to see you!

Editado: Jan 2, 4:56 pm

>16 mstrust: love the image, and that you are autumnal and spooky in your substack!

Here in NZ a tiki is a greenstone/pounamu necklace, like this!


Jan 3, 1:20 pm

Thanks! I can tell you that it takes some time to find a pic that represents, but I think I got it.
And thanks for showing that tiki! I've never heard of greenstone but it looks like maybe a cousin to jade. Is it considered a semi-precious?

Jan 3, 1:23 pm

Baby Teeth arrived last night, first of my Christmas orders, along with wireless earplugs. And Mike and I went out and bought a wheelbarrow of firewood this morning. Our temps are going to drop below freezing in a few days. I love the cold, yet wonder if my tomato and pepper plants will survive.

Jan 3, 4:11 pm

Happy New Year! Thanks for dropping by my thread!

Jan 3, 5:48 pm

>24 mstrust: yes, it essentially is jade. But the NZ variety is known here as greenstone/pounamu. It is precious/sacred to Maori, and there are various rules about its use. Including that you don't buy yourself greenstone, it is something that should be gifted. This is sometimes got around by giving your travel companion your cash/card to purchase it with, and then they hand you the item!

Jan 3, 6:05 pm

Hi Jennifer! It looks like your reading year is off to a good start! May you have many more great reads ahead.

Editado: Jan 4, 11:49 am

2. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh.

The narrator has it all, from the outside. She's young, thin, beautiful, and has inherited wealth. That she's a miserable wreck, cold and hateful, is mostly hidden from other people. She barely interacts with anyone other than college friend Reva, the only person who seeks the narrator's company, but in these encounters the reader wishes Reva would run and never come back.
The narrator, severely depressed, decides that sleep is the answer. She finds a terrible psychiatrist who is easily fooled into prescribing enough sleep medication to kill an elephant (these scenes are actually hilarious), and spends the year barely doing anything other than sleeping, watching Whoopi Goldberg movies and terrorizing an ex-boyfriend.
It's a page-turner. The narrator is an awful person, but through her backstory, we find that she was raised by selfish, neglectful parents and never learned empathy. Her desire to sleep for a year as a way of healing her painful loneliness is broken by the presence of Reva, someone so emotionally dependent on others that she even seeks out the approval of someone as cruel as the narrator.
The story has startlingly graphic sexual and scatological passages throughout, contrasting what you'd expect from a story of someone who wants to be left alone to sleep for weeks at a time, and the ending is bizarre, sad, and somewhat unexpected. I see that the book gets some bad reviews, but I found it to be unique and well-written. 4.5

Jan 4, 12:01 pm

We had a storm last night that was so windy that I ran out and brought containers of tomatoes and a Hungarian pepper inside. Then the wind got worse, so I made Mike help me carry some wine barrel planters under the porch. Then it got so bad that I said "screw it," and we carried one of my rolling plant carts inside because it's covered in ripening tomatoes and I couldn't stand the idea of losing six months work in an hour. They're all still in my den and I'm playing classical music to them.

Jan 4, 12:15 pm

>29 mstrust: my year of rest and relaxation has been on my radar for a bit, but your review brings it closer to actually being read. Thanks!

>39 mstrust: Wind like that is scary! You’ll have to report on the effects of the classical music and comfy den setting on the tomatoes!

Have a great day!

Karen O

Jan 4, 3:08 pm

I knew such a slight amount about the plot when I started, but I'd wanted to read something by this author. I think this was a good choice.
Luckily, only a young broccoli had damage from last night. I thought for sure my dill and basil were goners but we're going down to freezing this week so fingers crossed. I know it sounds kooky, but I've heard so many times that plants respond well to calming music, plus, our mechanic grows the biggest squash and cucumbers we've ever seen. When asked for tips, he said he talks to them.

Jan 5, 1:47 pm

Not counting this as a book, but it was a good read.
Two Women Walk Into a Bar by Cheryl Strayed.
This essay, available on Kindle, is about Strayed's often contentious relationship with her mother-in-law. The title refers to the moment her then-boyfriend's mother and her friends came into the restaurant where Strayed was a server, clearly to have a look at her, but things got off badly and throughout the years it became clear that marrying the only child of a single mother would be bumpy. And then her MIL got older, more fragile, but more rude too.
Married to an only child of a single mother myself, boy did I relate to some of the things the MIL said in this.

Editado: Jan 6, 12:11 pm

3. Killer Plants: Growing and Caring for Flytraps, Pitcher Plants, and other Deadly Flora by Molly Williams.

This book covers many poisonous plants, but the majority is about plants that capture their food, such as Venus flytraps, pitcher plants, flypaper traps, and rarer carnivorous plants such as the Rainbow plant. There are several that I'd never heard of, such as the waterwheel and sundew. The workings of the plants and how to care for them in a domesticated setting are provided, and if I was going to attempt that, this would be a handy guide. The illustrations are very cool, but I would have preferred photos. 3.5

Editado: Jan 6, 11:49 am

Found and starred your thread :)
Hope 2024 is kind to you (and hope your tomatoes enjoyed their music and are safe back outside)

Jan 6, 12:15 pm

Thank you, Chelle, and lots of luck this year to you too! I'm still babying my tomatoes, but last night got down to 36F. At least it's sunny right now ;-j
My new year's kick in the shin is my phone, which has decided I don't need to make or receive calls.

Editado: Jan 8, 12:46 pm

4. The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread by Don Robertson.

Set in Cleveland in 1944, this is the story of nine year-old Morris Bird III, who is a good athlete and a nice kid, though he unintentionally causes an uproar at school with "the salami sandwich incident" and allows the school bully to be blamed. Morris is an independent thinker, choosing a strange kid named Stanley Chaloupka as his best friend when the other kids think Stanley is weird. Morris is also loyal. When Stanley moves to a far away neighborhood, Morris tells him he will come see him, ditching a class field trip to spend the afternoon walking to Stanley's new home. He had expected to go alone, but at the last minute, he's saddled with taking his annoying six-year old sister with him and renting a classmate's wagon to pull her across town. Along the way the two bicker while encountering unusual and comedic situations. This is the story of a boy's daily life, and it reminded me of Jean Shepard's In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, the basis of A Christmas Story.
*SPOILER* And then, three-quarters of the way through, it was as if the story was passed to Stephen King, because a horror befalls Cleveland and Morris and his little sister have front row seats. The characters, including children, are decimated. It's rare to find a book that goes along as a humorous slice-of-life tale, then turns on a dime like this. If Robertson wanted to startle his reader, he did it. 3.5

Jan 8, 12:00 pm

We went below freezing overnight, and it was 30 this morning. I brought the tomatoes, peppers, carrots and some marigolds inside, and looking at this weeks temps, they may be here for a while.
What else? ABC has started airing "Only Murders in the Building", which I'd been wanting to see. We've also discovered "Toast in Tinseltown" on Roku. We loved "Toast of London", and this is a 2022 follow-up that has Toast in L.A. And we watched the new Chappelle special. We jump on those as soon as they appear.
I've signed the contract on an e-book that will include one of my short stories, along with the other winners in the Substack horror competition from a few months ago. It will be free to download when it's completed.
And Mike's friend brought us two giant bags of tangerines from his trees. I'm going to be baking.

Jan 8, 12:59 pm

I was poking around, seeing what's new in tiki products, and came across this home fragrance company making a line of Tiki Terrace. Turns out, a tiki terrace smells like coconut, lemon, orchid and vanilla.

Jan 8, 2:31 pm

Only Murders is great! Hope you enjoy it.

Jan 9, 8:22 am

I really do, and Mike likes it too. That's something out of the ordinary.

Editado: Jan 9, 8:32 am

The latest Autumn Lives Here is up. I have The Big Scary 10 of horror books & movies.

Jan 9, 6:43 pm

>38 mstrust: I wish I could get ABC! I don't have cable so I rely on an indoor digital antenna for broadcast TV. I can get NBC really well, I can get CBS most of the time, but I can only get ABC when the sun is in the northern hemisphere, roughly Easter to Labor Day.

Jan 10, 3:44 am

>38 mstrust: Congrats on the contract for the short story!!! Let us know when it's available!

>39 mstrust: And if I didn't already have soooo many candles in the house, I'd go get one of these. : )

Jan 10, 12:55 pm

>38 mstrust: Oh, no! Well, I don't watch much of the big 3, other than "Ghosts" and now this one. Sounds like it would be tough for you to get hooked on a show.

>44 Berly: Thank you! I'm looking forward to seeing it appear too, and I'll definitely crow about it when it does.
Candles. Me too. Before Christmas my sister asked if I needed scented candles and I replied by sending her a picture of my Autumn scented candles piled up on the hearth. Just my Autumn ones number about fifteen. She got me a candle anyway.

Jan 10, 1:28 pm

I mentioned in >38 mstrust: That a friend had given us two whopping bags of tangerines. More than 100. I made bite-sized tangerine sandwich cookies and sent more than half to the friend. I used tangerine juice in a chicken dinner the next night and squeezed the juice for breakfast.
Last night, Mike came home with a bag of big lemons from the same guy! I made lemon cupcakes this morning and I'll be using it in dinner too. I need to get some baked goods in the freezer fast.

Jan 10, 7:02 pm

>38 mstrust: Congratulations on the story contract!

Jan 11, 4:10 am

>38 mstrust: Congratulations, Jennifer!
...and when I hear about all the delicious things, I get an appetite...

Editado: Jan 11, 1:42 pm

>47 quondame: Thanks!
>48 SirThomas: Thank you!
I'm considering a steamed lemon pudding for tonight. It's baked with a bain marie so the bottom turns out as a sauce and the top as a cake.

Jan 12, 11:39 am

>49 mstrust: Yum! Congratulations on the story!
Looks kind of like Creme Brule.

Jan 12, 1:04 pm

>50 hredwards: Thanks, Harold!
You're right, it does, and I'm not one to turn down a creme brulee either!
I use a Jamie Oliver recipe called something like "English Steamed Pudding", and the cake on top it so very light. But I didn't end up making it as Mike had to work late. Instead, I did a pork fried rice (cauliflower rice) with tangerine juice and my own pickled ginger chopped up in it.

We had rain yesterday morning, an hour or two of sunshine, then gusting wind for hours. All afternoon. I surprised it didn't rip my dill and nasturtiums right out of the pots, but everything has survived. After having my tomatoes, carrots and peppers indoors for three days, they're back outside in the sun.

Editado: Jan 13, 12:20 pm

5. The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher.

When Lord Crevan appears at the miller's and asks to marry their daughter, no one can figure out why, but peasants are not in a position to say no. Fifteen year-old Rhea is not beautiful or talented, she just minds the mill, but the Lord tells her to arrive at his mansion in the woods, a place that no one in the village was aware existed. She discovers that the Lord has been married at least six times before, with five of the wives still living. The Lord is a sorcerer, and as wife #1 explains, he takes something of value from each wife. Rhea is determined not to be the seventh wife, because once married, the Lord has control over her life, death, or limbo.
This is a magical fantasy, part medieval, part modern. Usually not my kind of book, but I enjoyed it. 4 stars

Jan 13, 5:21 pm

>52 mstrust: So I know I read this. I neglected to add it to LT or any other record. I sometimes like T. Kingfisher quite a bit, sometimes a bit more or less.

Jan 15, 12:58 pm

I liked this one, not loved it, but it had a sinister atmosphere. It's just that I was 99% sure that there would be a happy ending, and I don't think her later works have that guarantee.

Jan 15, 1:04 pm

Most people think of today as MLK Day, but it's also my nephew Wade's birthday. He has not been a leader of people, in fact he rarely leaves the house. We celebrate anyway.

He's quite the bartender, and Mike and I infected him with a love of tiki cocktails. He's also into Hawaiian shirts, so that's what he got from us.

Jan 15, 2:15 pm

>55 mstrust: I hope your nephew has a wonderful birthday!

Jan 15, 5:53 pm

Thank you. He's having dinner with friends, so should be good.

Editado: Jan 16, 9:54 am

This week's Autumn Lives Here looks at the Women of Horror, including Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Darcy Coates and more. Also, listen and watch stories about unbelievable scammers. I love it when they get caught!

Jan 17, 12:52 pm

I'm hosting February's MysteryKit, True Unsolved Mysteries. Join in:

Jan 17, 1:01 pm

6. The Dinner by Herman Koch.

The narrator and his wife are meeting another couple in an exclusive, trendy restaurant that the narrator doesn't want to eat in, but the other couple chose it. He doesn't like anything about the restaurant, seeing it as snobbish and expensive. He also doesn't like the man of the other couple, who is stupid and snobbish. This turns out to be his brother. As the night wears on, the reader is given more and more reason to dislike our unreliable narrator, but we discover that the two couples have a very important matter to discuss over dinner, one that involves the future of both their families.
Taught and intense, these four diners should have been kicked out of the restaurant by the time the main course arrived. 4.5

Jan 18, 1:18 pm

What's happening:
I spent most of yesterday waiting for a cable guy to show, which he did, four hours late. But after 90 minutes of troubleshooting and calling two other coworkers in, we have new equipment and remotes, and a new system that I have to figure out, but it works!
Now I have to reset all my recordings.

A very good friend of Mike's died last week and nobody told him until yesterday. The man was 92, so not a shocking death, but he was at Mike's two-three times a week, everyone knew they were friends, and nobody said anything. My MIL had filled out the man's medical paperwork and was listed as a contact, and still, nobody called.

We're caught up on season 1 of "Only Murders in the Building". Really fun show.

Jan 18, 1:25 pm

>61 mstrust: I am so sorry for your loss, and for the lack of consideration for your husband in informing him of his friend's passing. I wonder if everyone assumed your husband had already heard the news from someone else? Still, it's better to say something than not for just this reason.

Jan 18, 5:40 pm

Thanks, Carrie. Just a strange situation, and the only reason we learned of the death was that my MIL happened to run into a mutual friend at Sprout's.

Jan 19, 6:03 am

>60 mstrust: I really liked that one too!
>61 mstrust: Some people are just insensitive, it's a sad thing that your husband had to find out this way.
I hope you have a great weekend anyway.

Jan 19, 11:38 am

I'll look for more from Koch. The Dinner is so interesting.
It seems like the heir to his estate just wanted everything done quietly. I googled and didn't find any announcement, but maybe that was because Mike's friend didn't have immediate family.
Thanks, Thomas, have a great weekend too!

I'm watching : "Society of the Snow" on Netflix, the story of the plane crash in the Andes that has been made with Uruguayan and Argentinian actors.

Jan 19, 11:42 am

Your plans for the weekend:

Jan 20, 3:10 pm

>66 mstrust: Sounds good! I need to pick up some supplies to try it out.

Editado: Jan 22, 1:16 pm

They're delicious!

I just found out about another big book sale in February, about 40 minutes away. On the grounds of a historical museum, this is an outside sale. I don't know if I'll go, as the VNSA booksale at the fairgrounds are the next weekend. That's the big, big booksale, the best weekend of the year :-D
I'm 3/4 of the way through the Grim & Mild Christmas podcast called "12 Ghosts", and I'm really happy the Prime has added the first season of "Northern Exposure". I just wish Prime didn't constantly freeze. It's the only streaming service we have trouble with, but it's almost constant freezing and buffering.
Other than that, I'm working on my Substack. A new one goes up tomorrow. Oh, and we went to a cactus sale yesterday and I got a purple Santa Rita (paddle-style) and a spiral totem-style. I don't remember the name.

Jan 22, 10:57 pm

>29 mstrust: wow, this one (My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh) sounds really interesting! I will WL it.

>53 quondame: lol- celebrate it anyway. I love it. We can't all be the highest of achievers, right?

Editado: Jan 23, 9:56 am

This week at Autumn Lives Here, I've made a thermos of ginger ale cocktails for my Gloriest Goriest members and we're headed to a scarecrow festival and the Library of the Dead.

Jan 23, 9:58 am

>69 LovingLit: Definitely counts as "interesting", but luckily, well written too!

Jan 23, 12:27 pm

>68 mstrust: I really liked 12 Ghosts. Creepy stories. Malcolm McDowall's voice was my favorite part I think. A treasure!

Jan 23, 4:04 pm

Well. That's a fun picture.

Jan 23, 7:08 pm

>72 hredwards: I finished it today and really liked it! I like McDowall too, and I think my favorite story was "Poor Mother", about the apartment being haunted by the woman's mother. I like a good haunting :-D

>73 drneutron: Ha! Someone really captured the feeling.

Editado: Jan 24, 6:34 pm

7. Phoenix Noir edited by Patrick Millikin

This collection of sixteen noir short stories placed in Phoenix and the surrounding areas by authors including Megan Abbott, Lee Child, James Sallis, Diane Gabaldon and other known writers. Some stories, such as Gabaldon's and Child's, are more traditional detective stories. Luis Alberto Urrea's has a modern Romeo & Juliet angle, and Abbott's is a fictionalized account Bob Crane's death in Scottsdale.
Good writing, though some of the stories just peter out to an unsatisfying end, and I skipped over most of Sallis' because it featured graphic child abuse that was gross.
3 stars

Jan 26, 11:25 am

Something simple to ruin your weekend plans:

Jan 28, 10:33 am

Happy Sunday, Jennifer! I bought My Year of Rest last year prior to my book ban going into effect. I’m looking forward to it.
I also love Murders in the Building. I’ve just finished reality show Squid Games and now I’m watching Beef on Netflix. I think you’d like it because of dark humor and psychological mayhem.

Jan 28, 10:42 am

Good morning, Lynda! Ooh, I hope you like "My Year..."!
We finished the first season the other night and it's so fun. Amy Ryan was very good in it too. (Side note: I went to the same high school Steve Martin did, and his photos, including as the Senior Prom King, were in a little glass case.)
I've watched the first episode of that reality Squid Games, but it just explained the premise. I'll get to more of it. And I watched "Beef" when it was a new release, and it was fun. They're both evil!
I'm rewatching "Mindhunter" on Netflix, and "Northern Exposure" on Prime. And "All Creatures Great and Small" and the Samantha Brown travel show on PBS just started new seasons.

Editado: Jan 28, 11:06 am

8. Recipes from the World of H.P. Lovecraft by Olivia Luna Eldritch.

A richly illustrated hardcover of recipes that are inspired by Lovecraft's stories and the man himself. A cookbook based on his own diet would likely surprise Lovecraft, as his poverty didn't afford many luxuries and his palate made donuts and cheese a favorite meal.
Each recipe has a fairly long introduction of how it's connected to the writer's life, along with passages of the short story that inspired it, or from a letter Lovecraft wrote in which he speaks about a certain food. This really is a cookbook to be read.
He loved ice cream, so there are a few recipes for that. And it's surprising that in the 1920s, when any ethnic food had to be sought out, Lovecraft liked spaghetti so much that he splashed out for it once a week, a great expense for him, and he was very proud to have tasted ravioli. This book contains multiple pasta dishes, such as a spaghetti attributed to Lovecraft's wife. Of course there are seafood dishes. You have to have tentacles in a Lovecraft cookbook.
It's a beautifully put together book that contains many recipes I'll try, like "H.P.'s Favorite Baked Beans", "Mi-Go Soup" and "Curwen's Spiced Cookies". 4.5

Jan 28, 4:42 pm

>79 mstrust: I have to track down this cookbook!

Jan 28, 5:08 pm

I think it's a really good one and hope you like it too!

Editado: Jan 28, 5:34 pm

9. Living Like A Runaway by Lita Ford

I can't say that I followed Ford's solo career that much, but I'm a Runaways fan and she was the guitarist. I've read Cherie Currie's book, along with Queens of Noise, so now I've gotten to Ford's version of the Runaways years. And any way you look at it, they were tough on these teenage girls who were breaking the gender barrier in rock music, traveling over the world and going from high school kids to being idolized in other countries, while being hugely ripped off by their manager. And I have to comment on how creepy men were around teenage girls in the 70s. There are people who should be in jail.

Ford discusses the difficulties she had at a time in the industry when she was one of just a handful of female musicians who had a name. If you're interested in the names and circumstances of the famous men she's slept with, she delivers more than you might have expected. But she also has a tendency to deflect blame, whether it's for damaging a stranger's car or being fired by Michael Jackson for "having too much credibility". She's had an interesting, fast-paced life, and once she became famous, she seems to have hung out with every famous rock star. Don't expect Hemingway here; she uses an awful lot of exclamation points and sounds amazed by everyone she meets, and even amazed by herself, but it feels like she actually wrote this book on her own. 3.5

Jan 28, 7:02 pm

Hey! We’re watching Northern Exposure too!

Jan 29, 2:06 pm

I love it! The locals are so odd.

Editado: Jan 30, 9:37 am

The new Autumn Lives Here is celebrating Poe, new book releases and jiggly cocktails. Plus, read about "Sahara Sue Doe", a cold case from the 70s that can still be solved.

Editado: Fev 1, 2:33 pm

10. Joe Gould's Teeth by Jill Lepore

Joe Gould was well-known among the Greenwich Village literati of the 1920s-40s, counting e.e. cummings, Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos and William Saroyan among his friends. For decades, Gould called himself a historian who was writing the longest book ever written, "The Oral History of Our Time". Some friends claimed to have read chapters, some even had bits that Gould gave for safekeeping, but when editors or publishers asked to see a manuscript, he dodged them.
A profile of Gould in The New Yorker in 1942 created an image of him as New York City's lovable, eccentric uncle, and Gould used this to his great advantage, constantly hitting up people in the literary world for money. The problem was, that when people cut off contact with Gould, his bad side appeared. He frequently harassed people for years.
Gould was a man of contradictions. He had many famous friends who believed he was a genius in the making, that once his book was published, he would be celebrated. But many people, including the author of The New Yorker piece, who had helped create his image of a friendly eccentric, came to believe there was no book, just a figment of Gould's grandiose imagination.
Gould believed in eugenics, even working as a field researcher, but was a hanger-on among the Harlem Renaissance. He was obsessed with Augusta Savage, a sculpture whom he stalked for decades, harassing her very badly and even roping his famous friends into keeping tabs on her. When one friend finally told him to leave Savage alone, Gould responded by harassing the man and his family non-stop, calling and sending vile and threatening letters, even addressing some to their child.
Gould had several stays in mental institutions, but even there, one psychiatrist said he was eccentric, not insane, while another said he was a psychopath. It depended on which Gould was present that day.
People have searched for the complete manuscript of "The Oral History of Our Time". Though he did not go down in history as a literary genius, Gould is credited with coining the phrase "oral history". 4 stars

Editado: Fev 2, 12:08 pm

11. The Mysteries by Bill Watterson and John Kascht

A slim hardcover fable, set in the Dark Ages. A community has always been afraid of The Mysteries, who live in the surrounding woods. No one has ever seen The Mysteries, yet the people know they are there.
The text is minimal, and the dark and grim illustrations are far removed from the Calvin & Hobbs style Watterson is known for. 3 stars

Fev 2, 12:22 pm

I've spent two days weeding out books on the shelves to make room for the huge haul I'll be bringing home soon. I have not one, but TWO upcoming book sales. I still have more shelves to comb through in my American Lit, History and biography sections.
I made a chocolate/chocolate cake last night from a Hershey's cookbook, and this morning I ran over to the nursery and picked up a Mortgage Lifter and Old German varieties of tomatoes. We had a lot of rain the continued all night, so everything's wet and muddy. I'll wait to transplant them.

Editado: Fev 6, 9:18 am

Autumn Lives Here has a warming cocktail to sip while we watch an old horror movie you've never heard of. And, an update on the legal wranglings of the Delphi murders.

Fev 6, 9:15 am

Not sure how I have missed your thread up until this point, Jennifer, but I will try and keep closer tabs on you from here on out :) Not sure if that is a threat or a warning, lol.

>88 mstrust: Cool about the book sales! I hope you can rake in some great books.

Editado: Fev 6, 9:25 am

Hi Stasia, I'll be happy to have you keeping an eye on me!
The book sale is always a glorious day where I. Clean. Up. There was supposed to be a warm up sale at a historical museum this past weekend, but they rescheduled because of rain. Rain that didn't happen and wasn't even forecasted. But I'm still weeding my books to make room for the new arrivals.

Editado: Fev 6, 1:04 pm

>87 mstrust: I knew The Mysteries was coming out, and that it would be in a vastly different style than C&H. I waffled on whether or not I wanted to read it, and I'm still kind of waffling, but I went ahead and placed a library hold for it.

>88 mstrust: Mmm, chocolate cake!

Fev 6, 2:21 pm

I read a library copy, and that was a good choice for me. It's a remarkable slim (large dimensions though) book with just a few sentences per page. The artwork is haunting though.
I agree, chocolate cake is great! But I'm working my way through a second delivery of lemons and oranges from a friend's prolific tree. I'm not exaggerating when I say we were given about ten pounds in oranges and twenty-five in lemons. They cover my dining room table from end to end.
So far: lemon crinkles, lemon curd, lemon garlic chicken, orange garlic pork chops, lemon air freshener and I'll be making lemon ginger cookies later today. I'm taking some fruit to the food pantry tomorrow.

Fev 6, 2:26 pm

Hello, how art thou?

Fev 6, 2:45 pm

Hi, I'm good!

Fev 6, 2:49 pm

Thats good! I just finished my day up at school, i hated every minute.

Fev 7, 11:08 am

Sounds rough.

Editado: Fev 7, 11:10 am

12. Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Charlie had been a financial journalist for a big newspaper, but as the industry slumped, he lost his job. Somehow he had failed to invoke all the advice he had written about, so now he was a substitute teacher and living in his father's house, his only inheritance. Then he sees on the news that his uncle has died, a man who was a titan in the parking garage game and who Charlie hasn't seen since he was five years old. The man had no other family and has asked that Charlie represent the family at the funeral. And so begins Charlie's new and unwanted life: unimaginable wealth and power that comes with the occasional assassination attempt.

It's a fun, goofy story of a dull life being suddenly and drastically changed, and finding out that some cats are hiding a secret. 4 stars

Editado: Fev 9, 11:42 am

Season 5 of Full Body Chills has been nominated for an iHeart Radio Award in Best Fiction Podcast. This is the season that included my story, "Sitting Up with Granny". The awards will be presented in March. Listen to SUWG:

Also, I'll be writing a guest post about true crime and horror books for the Substack "Novelicious". It's still far off from posting, but I'll link when it does.
AND, I'm still weeding books on my shelves to make room for the haul I'm bringing home from the VNSA book sale on Sunday. I need to bring out my rolling cart and check the wheels, decide on the shoes that can get me through hours on concrete, stretch out with downward facing dog and plank, practice karate chopping my books out of other people's hands. Everything must run like clockwork.

Editado: Fev 9, 11:47 am

Bruce the Shark tiki mug by Mondo. Comes with the 1st victim swizzle stick that spells "shark".

Fev 10, 10:18 am

That one’s great!

Fev 10, 12:57 pm

Isn't it? I usually don't go for the cartoony mugs, but I love Jaws and I like this one.

Editado: Fev 10, 1:30 pm

I'm reading several H.P. Lovecraft stories for rosalita's memorial, so far, The Call of Cthulhu and Pickman's Model. I know, you'd think I would have read these before now. TCOC is a mix for me, some interesting stories inside a not so interesting longer story.

And I've made a seed order this morning for my Spring sowing. The Blush Tiger tomato plants I started back in August are producing beautiful yellow fruit. I've gotten some nice Uzbek and Black Nebula carrots, the choy sum appeared suddenly and grew big enough in just a few weeks that I added it to a salad last night, and the dill is going crazy. I've been making pickle chips and can hardly keep up with it.
Today's order was for Tom Thumb lettuce, purple dragon carrots, corbaci peppers and Rezha Macedonian hot peppers (the name translates to 'embroidered').

Editado: Fev 12, 11:45 am

13. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

Widowed Florence Green has decided that she must do something with herself, and so opens a bookshop in her little English coastal town. She expects to just make enough to get by while providing some entertainment to a town that hasn't had a bookshop in a very long time, but the importance of the shop grows among the locals. It also makes quiet, polite Florence an enemy in the form of the wealthiest woman in town, and because she must, Florence finds that she's capable of standing her ground.
It's a slim book that is packed with a lot of story and some book talk, especially about the merits of Lolita. 4 stars

Fev 12, 1:00 pm

>104 mstrust:, >105 mstrust: BOOOOOOKS
I hope they will be good.

Fev 12, 8:53 pm

Hi! Happy New Year! After seeing you yesterday I realized I haven't jumped on my 75 friends' new threads yet.
Sorry that was me shouting at you as the line started moving! Looks like an excellent haul for you. I loved Little Fires Everywhere. I hope you do too.
I got 30 books for $55 so I'm happy. Now where to put them...

Fev 13, 12:07 am

>98 mstrust: Oooh! I love Scalzi. Might have to get my hands on that one...

>104 mstrust: >105 mstrust: Now I see why it was so important to make room! LOL. Nice haul.

>106 mstrust: Another good one. You are dangerous. : )

Editado: Fev 13, 9:21 am

It's a free week at Autumn Lives Here. Isn't it time you warned the kids about the Chomper?

Fev 13, 9:28 am

>107 SirThomas: After hauling them all home, I hope I find a few great ones too!

>108 PaperbackPirate: Ha! If I had a blank look on my face it was only because I was plotting my path of destruction!
I didn't notice, do you bring a cart or shopping bags? I'm lucky that Mike found me about an hour in and went through the check-out with a lot of my books, then came back in when I was ready to do a second check-out.

>109 Berly: I'd read Redshirts and liked it, but I had to grab this one because of the cover.
;-D Yes, all my reorganizing and weeding had a purpose! I've finished putting everything away except for the mysteries. That's going to be tough.
Hee hee, my plan is to make you buy moooooore...

Fev 14, 9:08 pm

>111 mstrust: Plotting your path of destruction! LOL!
I usually bring a cart. This year was the first year I took my IKEA RADARBULLE cart that I haul my school stuff around in. It worked out great. Held all of my books and my purse with room to spare, was easy to maneuver, and doesn't take up a lot of space.
Mike sounds like a good guy to have around in a book sale!

Editado: Fev 15, 1:40 pm

I haven't seen that IKEA cart before. I can tell you that I stepped inbetween a reseller and his giant cart that he'd planted along the aisle. He was blocking about five feet of books so nobody could get near him, so I pulled the cart away and stepped in, which made him really nervous :-D One year a reseller was on the floor scanning everything in a box and I ran over his legs with my cart.
Btw, I only bought ONE book this year that I later discovered I already owned!

What I'm up to:
Just finished the "Barbie" movie. Yep, hadn't seen it til now and it's fun.
On season 2 of "Mindhunters" on Netflix, and also watching the doc series "You Are What You Eat". Still watching "Northern Exposure" on Prime.
Reading Murder in Hollywood: Solving a Silent Screen Mystery for the February MysteryKit theme of True Unsolved Mysteries. This is about the murder of 1920s director Desmond Taylor. I'm also reading The Eyeball Collector and some H.P. Lovecraft short stories for rosalita.
And I have three varieties of tomatoes fruiting. I'm also getting more peppers, lettuce and carrots, a broccoli plant is getting very large (never grown that before so I don't know how long til the edible part appears) and a big container of nasturtiums looks like it'll send up blooms any day.
I made a little egg-less. butter-free chocolate cake last night that's pretty good. Very chocolatey and fluffier than you'd think.

Fev 16, 10:35 am

If you'd like to join in, the March ScaredyKIT is up. True Crime!

Fev 17, 1:44 pm

14. Murder in Hollywood: Solving A Silent Screen Mystery by Charles Higham.

In 1922, Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor was found dead in his bungalow. He'd been shot, then laid out neatly. Though the police investigated, even hounded Taylor's sketchy valet across the country until he finally killed himself, there were just so many moving pieces in Taylor's world of overlapping affairs and flings with both men and women, large amounts of money that were spent quickly, and his ability to infuriate people. As cold crime investigator Paul Holes says, know the victim and you'll get a better idea of who the killer is. In this case, it was obvious that Taylor knew his murderer.

Higham, growing up as the son of a director, knew or at least met many of the people who worked in Taylor's movies. In his research, he includes King Vidor, Betty Compson, Adolph Zukor, and most of all, the silent era star Mary Miles Minter, whom he believes was Taylor's killer. He backs his claim with damning evidence that was mostly kept out of the press at the time because Minter's mother was friends with the L.A. Police Commissioner, who made any fingers pointing at Minter go away. If true, it's an incredible story of high-level corruption that protected someone stupid who should have been in prison (things don't change, huh?), but even if Higham is wrong, the knotted up, libertine lives of the silent era moviemakers is quite a story. The prologue is the most entertaining I've ever read in any book, as Higham meets with his friend, famed director King Vidor in 1971 and they discuss the long ago murder of Taylor. This sends Higham in search of several actresses from the era, including delusional Minter, whom he describes as "Baby Jane". The elderly actresses all have their own version of events, and they all still harbor deep animosity towards each other over things that happened 50 years before. 3.5

Fev 17, 7:10 pm

>104 mstrust: >105 mstrust: That's an impressive haul! As I like to say, you are well prepared in case of a book famine. ;-)

Editado: Fev 19, 11:08 am

15. The Christmas Guest: A Novella by Peter Swanson

Ashley is studying in London for a year and she's so excited to be in England. When Christmas season approaches she expects to stay in her room alone, as she has no family left in America to go to, but surprisingly, Emma invites her to spend the holiday with her own wealthy family at their Cotswold estate. Ashley can't believe her luck, especially as she and Emma weren't close.
It's everything Ashley had dreamed of: a grand house, even though she's put in the servant's quarters, and Emma has a handsome brother who fulfills Ashley's hopes of romance. But this family's behavior keeps Ashley on eggshells, and going to the pub doesn't make it any better as the locals react to Ashley's presence.
At less than 100 pages, this novella mystery is mostly told in the form of Ashley's diary. Though she gets deeper into the strange lives of Starvewood Hall, believing she's unraveling the complex personalities bit by bit, she's just as wrong as the reader who believes they have the ending all figured out. This one is hard to put down and I'm glad I have another by the author already on the shelf. 4.5

Editado: Fev 19, 10:48 am

>98 mstrust: I am a John Scalzi fan but I have not yet gotten to that one. I must remedy this at some point. Thanks for the reminder, Jennifer!

>103 mstrust: Those tomatoes are lovely. I hope they taste as good as they look.

>104 mstrust: >105 mstrust: What a haul!

>106 mstrust: Dodging that BB as I have already read it.

>117 mstrust: Yeah, what about it? :)

Fev 19, 11:16 am

Hi, Stasia!
1. You're welcome, hope you enjoy it!
2. Blush Tigers have a strong, um, tomato-y flavor. Low acid, sort of smoky, sort of sweet. Delicious while still warm from the sun! I also have some beautiful little Purple Galaxy tomatoes growing and this is the second year I've sowed those, and a whole bunch of Terra-Cotta tomatoes that are still green.
3. I know, ha! Yet last night I found myself saying, "I should buy this book" and caught myself.
4. Then your work is halfway done!
5. Well, it's pretty great, IMO! I was interrupted while I typed the review. I try to work on the computer when Mike isn't home because he requires attention.

Editado: Fev 20, 10:24 am

This week at Autumn Lives Here, we meet W.W. Jacobs, the guy who made us all wish for a monkey paw. Then, do you believe in The 27 Club?

Fev 22, 9:02 am

>104 mstrust: I recognize some of those….

>113 mstrust: And severed them with your cart wheels, I trust…..That’ll teach them…. *insert evil chuckle here*

Editado: Fev 22, 12:53 pm

It is a long list, and hooray for me because I only bought one book that I already owned.
No, didn't sever them, though sometimes I'd like to have a Mad Max cart. Most people are very nice and polite. I just quickly rolled over his legs, which were blocking the aisle, and kept going like I didn't know I'd done it. I just heard a little "ugh". I feel like I'm providing a lesson.

Fev 22, 9:50 pm

>113 mstrust:
>121 CassieBash: LOL!
Serves them right!
I can't stop you from being here but I don't have to give you space either!

Fev 23, 10:35 am

Fev 24, 12:43 pm