Being the musings of a Yorkshire lass living in the USA. I'm a book geek, bird nerd, grammar Nazi, and hockey nut. Sarcasm is my default setting.
One old man sitting here that Sunday, he put his finger right on it, the reason nobody can sleep; he said, 'All we've got out here are our friends. There isn't anything else.' In a way, that's the worst part of the crime. What a terrible thing when neighbors can't look at each other without kind of wondering!
Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans - in fact, few Kansans - had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking downs the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there. The inhabitants of the village, numbering two hundred and seventy, were satisfied that this should be so, quite content to exist inside ordinary life - to work, to hunt, to watch television, to attend school socials, choir practice, meetings of the 4-H Club. But then, in the earliest hours of that morning in November, a Sunday morning, certain foreign sounds impinged on the normal nightly Holcomb noises - on the keening hysteria of coyotes, the dry scrape of scuttling tumbleweed, the racing, receding wail of locomotive whistles. At the time not a soul in sleeping Holcomb heard the, four shotgun blasts that, all told, ended six human lives. But afterward the townspeople, theretofore sufficiently unfearful of each other to seldom trouble to lock their doors, found fantasy re-creating them over and again - those somber explosions that stimulated fires of mistrust in the glare of which many old neighbors viewed each other strangely, and as strangers.
"The game you know as cricket," he said, and his voice still seemed to be wandering lost in subterranean passages, "is just one of those curious freaks of racial memory which can keep images alive in the mind aeons after their true significance has been lost in the mists of time. Of all the races in the Galaxy, only the English could possibly revive the memory of the most horrific wars ever to sunder the Universe and transform it into what I'm afraid is generally regarded as an incomprehensibly dull and pointless game."
Words of wisdom from Slartibartfast.
After the complete blah of my last read, I decided a little bit of light relief was in order. So I'm going with a book from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series.
My copies of the first two books which I bought in the early eighties are literally falling to pieces, which makes trying to read them rather difficult as pages keep dropping on the floor. My copy of Life the Universe and Everything is in slightly better condition, so that is the one I will be reading.
And this is what I think of when I visualise the screen version of the books. Yes, I am that old.
Calder is a Fetch, a ghost who escorts souls from their "earthly shells" through the Death Door toward a waiting boat to Heaven. While each soul sees him differently, Calder knows himself to be a young man of 19 who died more than 300 years ago. Obsessed with a beautiful woman who tends a dying child, he breaks his sacred vows and enters the earthly world at a pivotal time and place: Russia, on the eve of revolution. Occupying the body of Rasputin, he enters into an intimate relationship with the imperial family, before and after their executions. As the action-filled plot, bound by the complex and sometimes confusing rules surrounding "Fetching," makes its twists and turns, Calder finds himself on a round-the-world journey with the embodied ghosts of Anastasia and Alexi, the hemophiliac tsarevich, in search of a key that will enable them to reunite with their family in Heaven. Meanwhile, the spirit of Rasputin and a host of malicious lost souls follow in hot pursuit.
I read Laura Whitcomb's A Certain Slant of Light for the 'Young Adult Horror' square in last year's bingo game. I enjoyed it and considered the sequel for this square. But I can't resist books set during the events of the Russian Revolution, so thought I'd give this one a punt instead.
It must be getting on for 40 years since I read this and teenage me thought it wasn't just creepy, but it was disturbing as well. It's dated now, but it's still as creepy as ever.
And thanks to this book, I always surreptitiously check out everyone's grocery carts when I'm in the supermarket. Neatly packed carts are a dead giveaway.
"That's what they all were, all the Stepford wives: actresses in commercials, pleased with detergents and floor wax, with cleansers, shampoos, and deodorants. Pretty actresses, big in the bosom but small in the talent, playing suburban housewives unconvincingly, too nicey-nice to be real."
Run Joanna, run!