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* I finished Joy Williams' The Changeling yesterday....and I want to discuss it! Has anyone read it???? I am utterly without words....just completely gob-smacked. I can absolutely see why this book was allowed to go out-of-print. It is deeply flawed because there are simply too many clevernesses and not enough rationales. I think I know what happened. But...maybe not? If you are drawn to children and childhood - the magical bits that you view through the hole in the stone in your hand - then this is the book for you. The children's dialogues are ASTONISHING. Beyond the beyonds. This woman is Queen, no question...but her realm is all underground. I'm going to buy two of her collected short story volumes.

The Misanthropic Genuis of Joy Williams.

* Here's an interesting list I may explore shortly - The 10 Best Horror Books You've Never Read. The Light at the End is a 2.99 kindle read. I do believe Ghost Story by Straub is flawless...but I'm not one of the Geek Love fangrrls. I thought she was trying waaaaaaaaaaaay too hard and besides, Harry Crews had ALREADY WRITTEN THAT BOOK twenty years before and it's called The Gospel Singer. Believe me, when Geek Love was released we all rushed to read it....but then those of us who worshipped at the altar of Crews...gave it a big thumbs down. It wasn't really until the 90's kids showed up and found it in all its grotesque glory that it became a cult fave.

* I wrote for Idol this morning. It started off as a completely different story...which I think I will write soon. Maybe for a fairy tale submittal...but it morphed into a sibling story of a family business that traps them. I flashed on an image of two grown men in waders hugging it out inside an abbatoir and the story grew claws from there. Idol has been like pulling teeth for me this season, dreading dreading dreading and then the relief with the bloody gaping hole in the gum when the tooth is gone.

* I've been busy reworking the house. I need to get my craft room back up and running smoothly. I moved it out of the nursery in the master and into the teensy room on the other side of the house and it became a mass of piled tubs and cardboard boxes and shelves with my endless knitting books...and I can find NOTHING. My plan was to create a writing space in the nursery and that amounted to zilch because reasons. I now have some pin money set aside for real furniture and I hope to get both rooms done sooner than later. I do have The Viking on board as he's tired of the coffee table piled high with craft projects.

* What are folks reading, writing, watching?


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 31st, 2017 10:45 pm (UTC)
If you're going to read Skipp/Spector, my two recommendations would be "Dead Lines" (a really well-crafted novel-skeleton around a series of increasingly disturbing short stories), and "The Scream," for sheer entertainment value (it's a bit trashy, but it's also very much a slice of rock & roll culture, and a time-capsule of a moment when American parents were convinced that heavy metal was going to send their kids to Hell.)

(I've read "The Light at the End," but it's not a book I've ever felt the need to re-read, whereas the other two get brought out every 5-10 years.)

Same for "Geek Love" -- read it in the 90's, appreciated the taboo aspects and parts of the story, but it really came off as trying too hard to shock. It's the same problem I've always had with Marilyn Manson, TBH.

I'm not sure whether I've read "The Changeling" -- in high school, I read a book with that title about a claustrophobic winter-bound house, a deformed attic-dweller, and a pervasive sense of dread. I'm not sure it's the same book, though. Does any of that sound familiar, or am I thinking of something else, or getting the titles swapped?

I do like "Ghost Story," although "Floating Dragon" is my favorite by Straub. I loved the combination of his talents with Stephen King's in "The Talisman," which is one of my favorite books by either author.

"Swan Song" is a cut gem with a distinctive flaw (which may make it work more or less for you, depending on your thoughts on the matter.) It's been repeatedly compared to "The Stand," because of superficial similarities (doorstop-sized books about a supernatural showdown in a post-plague/post-nuclear America), but the books go in different directions from there. I love McCammon, and I'm delighted that a number of his formerly-out-of-print books are becoming available again.

It's possible that it could have used a little less length/tighter editing/smaller cast of characters, but it's hard to say who/what I would have cut out. And the descriptive passages are memorable, visceral, sometimes beautiful, and they definitely stick in your head. It's a book that creates a massively intricate behind-the-eyes visualization of life after megadeath.

"The Wolf's Hour" (werewolf vs. Nazis!) is a lighter read ("Swan Song" is bleaker, and that's saying something, but both books contain seeds of hope), and is a more straightforward tale . . . but, oh, the scenes in Russia, the White Cathedral, the perspective of our protagonist as a young boy in a world grown bewilderingly strange, before returning to his adult perspective.

. . . why, yes, I *do* have a horror-reading past, why do you ask? ;)

Jan. 31st, 2017 10:46 pm (UTC)
P.S. Thank you for the link to that list -- I'm going to have to check out a couple of the books that I haven't read, given that the writer's taste matches mine very well!
Jan. 31st, 2017 11:00 pm (UTC)
The plot description of Nick Cutter's "The Deep" reminds me a bit of Peter Watts' "Starfish" trilogy/quadrilogy (the last part was released as two paper books, because of page-count limits from the publisher.)

If you haven't read those, they're well worth reading. I have a fascination with deep-water science and horror (real and imagined), and the first book, especially, is fantastically original and vivid.

-- A <3
Jan. 31st, 2017 11:08 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha, perfect icon is perfect for a fascination with deep-water science and horror (real and imagined),
Jan. 31st, 2017 11:21 pm (UTC)
I couldn't help myself ;D

Jan. 31st, 2017 11:07 pm (UTC)
*wriggles* I was HOPING you would pipe up, A! Your knowledge is vast, m'lady. *bows low* Damn, I just kindled that vampire novel...ah, well. I will wishlist the other two.

Glad to hear that a child of the 90's agrees with the goth-culture of the 80's! :) She definitely has balls...no question...but yes, too hard. There's a whole list of punk-inspired novels that simply tried too hard. And I think Manson can go onto a likewise musical list...although I would also put Skinny Puppy at the head of that list and I think we disagree on that? Anyway, I forgive Warner because I would hit that guy like a freakin' freight train...

So, Geek Love. Trying to hard, but brave.

No, that's not this Changeling.

I think Ghost Story is scary and for me that's a huge plus with horror. But Floating Dragon is a flawless masterpiece and nothing comes close to it. I have long held that King lifted it for It. Which is also pretty damned good...but can never be Floating Dragon.

I am going to google your other recs!

Have you ever read the collection "Pigeons From Hell"?????
Feb. 1st, 2017 12:05 am (UTC)
I Kindled it, too -- I'm not saying "don't read it" (I don't remember it terribly well, and wanted to refresh my recollections, since I haven't read it since the 90's), I just really love the other two books I recommended by the same authors, and that one didn't stick with me.

I've read 5 of the 10 books on the rec list, and I bought 4 of the others ("The Girl Next Door" sounds like the exact type of thing that I can't make myself read.) I love e-books -- these used to be the kind of thing you could only pick up at random used-book stores at lucky times of the month!

(And, awww, thank you! *squish*)

Breaking out the Clive Barker icon here, hehe -- not all of the visual adaptations of his "Hellraiser" world are perfect, but this vision of Abigor is just amazing. I think it was an Alex Ross painting, IIRC?

Anyway, haven't read "The Damnation Game" in too long, so I bought that, too.

I love some Skinny Puppy and don't care for a great deal of the rest -- it's album-by-album, song-by-song for me. They have a huge body of work, and I'm a big fan of a portion of it. I agree that they sometimes fall into the trying-too-hard camp.

I have warmer feelings toward "It" than "Floating Dragon," mostly because the characters were more relatable (I first read "It" in 5th grade, while still a viciously-bullied child), and because the scenes of childhood and the dialogue were so flawless. I loved its sense of place and time, entirely separately from loving the horror story underlying the small-town and schoolyard dynamics.

I don't know about a collection -- I've read Robert E. Howard's short story, "Pigeons From Hell" (an interesting counterpoint to Lovecraft's "Medusa's Coil.") Was it a collection of his work?

Jan. 31st, 2017 11:02 pm (UTC)
Hope you can get the rooms done soon.

Not watching too much that really excites me. Still loving Elementary, Supergirl, Bob's Burgers. Really liking the new shows This is Us and Lethal Weapon. My husband and I are trying to catch up on American Horror Story.

Jan. 31st, 2017 11:04 pm (UTC)
Kira and I are huge fans of "Elementary" -- very much worth watching from the beginning, if anyone reading this hasn't been following it.

-- A <3
Feb. 19th, 2017 05:50 pm (UTC)
Definitely agree with that recommendation!

Jan. 31st, 2017 11:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks, S. I hope so, too! I'm committed now!

I have seen two episodes of Elementary and loved it but can't figure out how to watch it...I'll check amazon!

I heard the Hotel season was bad. The Sideshow season was terrible. What are they doing this year?
Feb. 2nd, 2017 04:10 pm (UTC)
The last AHS was a riff on the ghost hunter/ true haunting type shows, and was actually pretty entertaining. It wobbled in a lot of places, but it felt less like trying too hard and more like something new. There were the characters telling the story and then it would cut to the dramatic reenactment, so two sets of actors played the same characters, which was neat.
Feb. 19th, 2017 05:52 pm (UTC)
"Elementary" is available on Hulu.

I know the last season that just ended, the theme was Roanoke. I don't know too much about it.

Jan. 31st, 2017 11:50 pm (UTC)
I picked up The Child Thief at the library last week. It's a dark retelling of Peter Pan. I'm only about six chapters in and I can tell it's both wonderful and something I'll have to read in small doses. It reminds me a lot of Clive Barker who I have a similar reaction to. (Great, but I can only read one of his books a year. I could watch Hellraiser forever though. Go figure.)

This is the second week in a row that my Idol story has screamed "I'm part of something bigger!" to me. *headdesk headdesk*
Feb. 1st, 2017 03:32 pm (UTC)
Let me know your final thoughts on The Child Thief. I want to love Brom, with all my heart, and I own all his work...but he puts me in mind of Gaiman. He just isn't ultimately satisfying.

Jumping into my Idol reading today. I'm not surprised to hear that - you have a story(ies) you want to tell! That is really obvious!
Feb. 1st, 2017 01:50 am (UTC)
What happened to the secret "writing closet" idea? That one really intrigued me, though I'm not prone to claustrophobia, and that might be a stopping point for some people. :)
Feb. 1st, 2017 03:35 pm (UTC)
Heh, I had a secret writing closet when Kidling1 was a toddler! It was amazing. It was in the room she would take her mid-day nap in and I could go in there and write for two hours of absolutely my-own time! I wrote about it in the mini-season for Pupa!

Right now I have a nursery off the master bedroom that I have slated to become my writing workspace/home office. Office furniture is so pricey and I want to get it right. Also...the spin bike is in there, so it has to be multi-use!
Feb. 1st, 2017 02:50 am (UTC)
On your recommendation I just started Shardik. I'd re-read Maia and really enjoyed it despite some flaws. I couldn't read Shardik but, like The Silmarillion, which I also couldn't read, it's a wonderful audiobook. Some stories just need to be read TO you.

I'm also reading the Hamilton biography. C and I both fell in love with the musical so I thought I should read the source material. What an interesting life he had. And there are weird and interesting echoes of politics today that have been around from our founding.

Watching Penny Dreadful, which we had been saving to savor like candy. I think we on the 3rd from the last episode now. Like kittytoes we also watched The Magicians. It's kind of throw away but we enjoyed it. I heard good things about Search Party so we may try that next.
Feb. 1st, 2017 03:41 pm (UTC)
Are you sewing while listening to audiobooks? Now that I have my sonos set back up and the entire inside of the house is filled with sound...I want to try some!

Oh, Penny Dreadful, how I miss you! That show!
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )