Lizzie Borden took an axe

Like just about everyone else, I find other people fascinating, especially when they do things I cannot fathom.  Like turning Lizzie Borden’s home into a bed and breakfast.  If you don’t live near Massachusetts, perhaps you didn’t grow up with the charming jump rope rhyme about Lizzie Borden whacking her parents to death with an axe.

Wherever you live, now you can delve into the world of the Bordens in Sarah Schmidt’s new book, See What I Have Done.  And if you finish reading it and think, gosh, I’d like a bit more darkness in my life, go spend the night in one of the murder rooms.  Please then tell me all about it so I can question you like the thwarted anthropologist I am at heart.  Double points if you read the novel while staying in the house.
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It’s not called Yes-vember

It’s thirty-seven degrees and raining, and the puppy keeps eating her own poop and then puking it onto my carpet.  My husband is working from a cabana on the beach in Florida this week, before flying to California.  When he sent me a photo of his notebook next to the sands and glistening ocean, I asked if he was looking for a divorce.

Ah, November!  If you are also wondering what the point is of this not-October not-December month, here are some suggestions to avoid November in style.  Vacationland by John Hodman will get you laughing, Missing You, Metropolis by Gary Jackson will inspire you and, since it is a slim volume of poetry, enable you to feel superior to those around you for reading excellent, erudite modern poetry.  And if you’re feeling the need to steer into the skid of November and want to depress (and impress) the hell out of yourself, then by all means read Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward.

As for me, having finished all of those, I will get back to unapologetically living in the world of Jodi Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s series, the first of which I reviewed here.  I’m not going to write them all up, as they are pretty similar.  I do not care; it’s November, and they are my chosen escapist therapy. Enjoy yours. Continue reading

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Books you can read by flashlight!

Well hello there, gentle readers.  It’s been a while, due to October over-scheduling, various school-induced illnesses, and a random storm that knocked our power out for four days.  (When it came back on, I made another donation to a charity helping out in Puerto Rico.)

Flashlights swooping, we have sallied into November, and the exciting chaos that is National Novel Writing Month.  (NaNoWriMo to its friends.)  The challenge is for people to write a novel  (50,000 words) over the month of November.  According to their website, almost 400,000 people participated last year, with over 34,000 completing the challenge.  Will you walk out of it with a bestselling novel ready to be published?  Of course not.  But you’ll have set a habit, got some words down, and become inspired.  I’ve done it (and completed the challenge) five times, and I’m diving in again this year.

Before I return to the world of my novel, I thought I’d drop by here with a few books.  A cornucopia of reads; I’m not even going to pretend they have something to do with each other.  They are of good use on a dark November evening, even if you have to read by flashlight.  Five delights for you: Animals Strike Curious PosesNo One Can Pronounce My Name, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Just One Damned Thing After Another, and Going into Town. Continue reading

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Do you like a good seasonal read?  Of course you do.  It’s like pumpkin spice for your head, but without all the god-knows-what-sweetners.  I’m hoping to get to some more spooky reads this month, but for now you all will have to settle for a book of ghost stories I picked up at the bookstore (total impulse cover-driven buy, not ashamed.)  Ghostly Tales: Spine-Chilling Stories of the Victorian Age.  I’ll be back later; I’ve got costumes to make, people.

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