M is for (Books About) Murder #atozchallenge

For A to Z 2018, my theme is Books About ____. If you’re stopping by from your own A to Z blog, feel free to leave a link. If you need help with how to do that, you can look here.

If you’re someone looking to read a lot of great blogs, here’s the link for the A to Z challenge.

If you’ve been to my blog even once, you probably saw this coming. What can I say? I like horror, books about serial killers, crime dramas… honestly, most of my favorite things have someone ending up dead. (In books, not real life, obvs.)

The list of books I loved about murder could probably be a mile long, but I’ve limited myself to three. You’re welcome. (That doesn’t mean we can’t discuss others in the comments.)

The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym of JK Rowling) (mystery): I wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved Harry Potter, of course, but after abandoning A Casual Vacancy in the middle of a sentence because I just couldn’t deal with it one more word, I was apprehensive. The Cuckoo’s Calling was a solid mystery, complete with an interesting private investigator and his plucky secretary. The characters were fresh and fun, making up for a lack of blood. Body count: 1

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, edited by April Genevive Tucholke (YA horror anthology): I always keep notes on my favorite stories in anthologies, and I actually had to limit myself to only five because there were so many good ones. All of the stories were retellings of something else. There’s a fantastic story with the white rabbit and a different kind of tea party, a story with a girl who hunts serial killers, a Hades/ Persephone retelling, and many others. Sometimes the main character was the “victim,” sometimes the killer. This is a must-read for fans of YA horror. Body count: too many to keep track of

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson (horror): I’ve loved Shirley Jackson ever since I read her short story, The Lottery, in high school. For some reason, I didn’t read this book until earlier this year. It’s a weird book, told in a dream-like way. It took me most of the book to make sense of what was happening, but it was worth the journey. Shirley Jackson is a master of horror. Body count: 4

What’s your favorite book about murder?

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2018 Book Challenges- Week 3

I’ve not made much progress on reading this week. It’s not a secret that I’m somewhat disorganized and a lousy housekeeper.

We moved into this house three years ago and still weren’t completely unpacked. My sister-in-law and her husband arrived on Saturday night, and I decided to clean up. Like for real. Finally get it all done.

I’ve tried other methods in the past, scheduling time to tackle it a little at a time, things like that. But it doesn’t seem to be how I work. I’m better at starting a task and staying on it single-mindedly. So… that’s why the poor progress on reading.

But to be honest, I always forget how much I love things to be clean and organized. Maybe they’ll actually stay this way!

Popsugar Challenge

(4/50) No progress

While I Was Reading Challenge

(0/12) No progress

The Unread Shelf

Total: 1

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson– I cannot believe I’ve never read this. I’ve loved her short story, The Lottery, ever since I read it in high school. I’m not sure what I expected with this book, but it wasn’t what I got. It was an interesting psychological study. Jackson’s grasp on the worst in humanity is what makes her frightening.

5 Classic Books

(0/5) No progress

Miscellaneous Reading

None

2018 Running Total: 7

Have you made any progress on your TBR or book challenges?

The Top 10 Worst Things About Reading

I love to read, and will read anything, anywhere, anytime. But there’s a dark side to it too, that no one talks about…

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My overflow “bookshelf”

  1. So many books, so little time. If I read all day every day, (In my dream world), I still wouldn’t be able to read every book I want to.
  2. Every second away from a book I love is TORTURE. Okay, so you know how sometimes you read a book, and it’s good, but you’re okay when you have to put it down? But then sometimes you read a book, and you resent every single second doing everything else, because adulting? Yeah, that.
  3. Not being able to meet the characters in real life. I mean, I guess it’s okay when we’re talking about Hannibal Lecter, but I really wish I could meet Wavy from All the Ugly and Wonderful things, or Anita Blake from the Laurell K. Hamilton books.
  4. Not knowing how I’ll feel about a book prior to reading it. Sometimes, I read a book and I don’t connect, but it’s not terrible enough to put down. And then I’m done, and it never got better, and I’ve just wasted all those hours. Or worse, having stuff to do, but picking up a book knowing I only have a half hour to read, and then falling in love with it and not accomplishing anything because I HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK. It would be nice if I knew ahead of time so I could plan my life accordingly.
  5. Book hangover. I was in this wonderful world, and I was living there and hanging out with my new best friends, and life was amazing. And then… real life. Ugh.
  6. Not having the book in multiple formats. I now love audiobooks. But I “read” audiobooks much slower than physical books. And when I really love an audiobook, I wish I had a physical copy too, so I could just race through and finish. Conversely, I’m reading a wonderful physical book, and I have to run errands or something or clean up or whatever. Why can’t I just plug my headphones in?
  7. Eyestrain. Seriously. There are some nights when I go to bed that my eyes feel like they’re on fire. On the recommendation of my eye doctor, I now use drops every night before bed. It’s helping. You’re welcome.
  8. When authors get information wrong. There is nothing that drives me crazier than bad information in the middle of an otherwise good novel. I get that sometimes authors take artistic license, and that’s fine. Dandy. A-ok. But when I can tell that the author just didn’t do his or her homework, it makes me want to call them up and say, “Have you heard of this thing called Google? No, avoid Wikipedia. Avoid news outlets too. Yeah, that website’s good. Excellent. Now please check all your references with me before you write anything else. Glad we understand one another.”
  9. People don’t talk about books the way they do about TV. I got my haircut recently, and the lovely stylist wanted to talk about TV shows, asking for my recommendations. And while I said I love The Walking Dead and Big Bang Theory, I would much rather have discussed The Female of the Species, by Mindy McGinnis (so good!) or The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena (Meh… overrated). I want to talk and gossip about characters like they’re real people.
  10. The TBR is never-ending. I’m finally reading Holding Up the Universe, by Jennifer Niven (so good!) and in it, she mentions Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived In The Castle. It’s been on my TBR forever. Now I’m going to have to bump it up in the queue. And other books will now be neglected for a little while longer. (sad trombone noise)

What are your “worst” things about reading?

Related posts:

Can I really say I “read” an audiobook?

My Reading Habits

 

 

H is for Happy Money

UnknownI think that Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, is the first (and perhaps only) non-fiction book to make the list.  I say “perhaps only” because I don’t have all my posts written yet, and there are one or two that are in competition for a letter slot.

The Haunting of Hill House lost to Happy Money in this case.  Sorry, Shirley Jackson.

Anyway, back to the point.

I’m a bit… frugal.  I buy a lot of my clothing at Goodwill, and feel that secondhand stuff is almost always as good (or better than) new.  Maybe that’s a legacy from my grandparents, who sold antiques and reproductions at flea markets.  (And my uncle, who currently runs Holly Hill Antiques… hey, it’s another H!)

Pretty much the only things I spend money on are books and notebooks.  I really love notebooks.  And pens.  Oh, and I love my laptop, but that’s not really something I regularly spend money on.  Seeing a theme yet?

Anyway, in Happy Money, the authors call on research that disputes the age-old claim that money can’t buy happiness.  Actually, it can.  But not if you buy stuff with your money.  Cars, houses, furniture, etc. won’t buy happiness.

In order to purchase happiness, one must buy experiences.  Those experiences depend on what each individual likes.  For me, I love any experience that involves going somewhere and seeing something new.  Bonus points if it’s something natural.

Because I’m frugal, I used to feel at least somewhat guilty about spending money on vacations or for consumable experiences, like concerts.  But after reading this book, I realized that the happiness I got from these experiences was an investment in my future.

If an experience has the ability to absorb all my attention, to transport me, to enrapture me, then it’s a good value.  I recently saw David Gilmour in concert.  It was relatively expensive, traveling to Los Angeles to see him at the Hollywood Bowl.  (He wasn’t playing locally.)

It was a show unlike any I’ve seen before, and live music is always better than pre-recorded music.  The Hollywood Bowl is an outdoor venue, and the music filled the air.  People sang along with songs, the drunk guys behind us bumped into us every 37 seconds and spilled beer on my backpack, and the electricity made my heart race.

I’ll never forget it.

There are a lot of things that are needs, and a lot of things that are wants.  In my opinion, experiences fall somewhere in between those two things.  Because experiencing things, both positive and negative, are what living is all about.

Maybe that’s why I love to read so much.  Each book is a little vacation, a new experience, a different way of seeing the world.  And that, my friends, is priceless.

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
-Dale Carnegie