Hi! How’s it goin’?
I got up early this morning and worked on the menu for our Christmas Eve party. Our secular tradition involves preparing only hors d’oeuvres (no meal per se), picking up Mogen David wine, making sure the bar is stocked for drinks, my homemade cookies and date nut bread from scratch are plentiful, and festive music (Mitch Miller, et al) is ready to go throughout our cottage. Then, at the party, all the Christmas lights and our tree are lit up, with just the softest ambient light in the hallways so no one bumps into walls. Getting ready for the party and looking forward to Midnight Mass makes Christmas Eve a welcome break from all the reading I’ve been doing lately.
A couple weeks ago, when I set a reading goal for myself, it was an imposing ambition.
Here’s what I accomplished, and I reached my goal:
• Rest in Fleece: Ghosts Tall Tales & Horror Stories by Jan Olandese
There are so many funny and ghostly stories, so many funny lines, and hysterical character names in this book, that I had to keep reading it to the end – without a break! Jan Olandese has that sense of humor I like – off-the-wall, the play on words, and best of all, the unexpected, sometimes warped, endings. If you like these kinds of tales, I recommend her books. You can’t go wrong. It’s the right thing to do. Check out her blog at Book ‘Em, Jan O.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
• This was an intriguing novella that captivated me, and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. On the surface, it’s a ghoulish, creepy tale—nothing more, nothing less. Conversely, it’s a story of the condition of mankind, the nefarious side of some people’s souls, and their systematic destruction of all around them, including themselves, and how their acrimony and bitterness has the potential to lead others down a path of the same, or similar destruction. This is very good reading, if you like this sort of writing.
• Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie was my first experience with her works. I first read this mystery in 1974, right before that movie version came out. This month, the re-read was a blast for me. I enjoyed every line, every paragraph, every chapter, and let me put it this way – I don’t tire of Christie’s writing. I recommend “Orient Express” if you like this sort of genre.
• Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh is a refreshing look into Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War. Leigh provides a plethora of primary sources, statistics, and a smattering of photographs in this must-read book. There is a lot here that we weren’t taught in school, or college for that matter, and this book helps flesh it out. Because of Leigh’s detailed references to primary sources, I found other books to read, such as Susan Dabney Smede’s 1888 publication, Memorials of a Southern Planter, which is on my to-read list. I highly recommend Southern Reconstruction.
Then I finished a few novellas by Bobby Underwood, one of was Night Run, which has parts that were pretty rough, specifically a disgusting rape recollection and the aftermath of said rape. There is a paranormal slant to this story. Although I enjoy ghost and paranormal stories, this book wasn’t my cup of tea because of the rape theme; I wish I knew that before I picked up the novella. Dark Corridor is tale of a former soldier who has no memory of his pre-War life, until something brings it all together and into the light. I think I’ve been here before, somewhere— A 1930s-1940s setting is No Holiday from Murder and Johnny’s Girl, and is a story within a story. The main characters, radio play writers, were on vacation in Hawaii, they couldn’t get away from real-life crime, and the real-life crime was inspiration for more of their radio plays. In Johnny’s Girl, there’s a controlling husband, a wife who escapes from what must be an intolerable marriage, and the mysterious man she meets. Holly is a gangster’s wife who leaves him, and he hires a Miami private eye to find her. Galveston has drugs, murder, cops, intrigue, tragedy, and a bit of romance. Life seems to be going along for Buford, although haunted by past tragedy, until he meets the delightful, and younger, Candace, who turns his world around. Nautica City is set in a 1960s California coastal town, involves a murder, a sheriff who recruits a group of kids to help solve the crime, aliens, and unexpected love. In Beyond Heaven’s Reach there is some steady action, a California scenario, and a paranormal premise. Lastly, in Passage to Tomorrow it’s two love stories that parallel one another, one in the past and the other in the present, and what ties them together is a long letter-story found in a bottle.
I’ll be taking a short break from any serious reading between now and the end of the year, and then it’s back to business. In the meantime, I invite you to read my all of my reviews in depth, and see my taste in books on my Goodreads author page.
Thanks for stopping by; I’m glad you did!
©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.