Books, hockey, and a bucketful of snark

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. 

Halloween Bingo 2017 - American Horror Story

The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

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.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - American Horror Story

The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

"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!

Halloween Bingo 2017 - American Horror Story

The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

Are you a Stepford Wife? Take this quiz and find out.

 

Your husband is out at a ‘Men’s Association’ meeting. Do you:

A - Change into your comfiest leisure pants, grab a six-pack and watch Thursday Night Football

B - Ring your mother and complain about him being out all the time

C - Wax and polish the family-room floor

 

You need to go to the supermarket. What do you wear?

A - Purple velour leisure suit

B - Jeans and t-shirt

C - White gloves, summer dress, and coordinated jewelry

 

What sport do you play?

A - Rugby

B - Marathon running

C - Tennis (those white outfits are just so cute and don’t show the sweat)

 

What hobbies do you enjoy?

A - Drinking beer and eating nachos is a hobby, right?

B - Kick-boxing.

C - I don't have time for hobbies. This house doesn't clean itself you know

 

Mostly ‘A’: Oh honey. You need to stop channeling your inner Waynetta Slob, and get yourself a decent haircut. And try wearing some lipstick once in a while. And fumigate the house while you're at it. 

 

Mostly ‘B’: You’re like Calamity Jane before her makeover. You just need to do some extra housework, and put a little more care into your appearance. We suggest getting up at 4:30am to give yourself plenty of time to get it all done. 

 

Mostly ‘C’: Congratulations. You are a perfect Stepford wife. Admittedly your windows sparkle more than your conversation, but there is no outfit that can't be coordinated, and no floor that doesn't need polishing. Now put on that cute little sun-hat and get yourself to the supermarket.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - American Horror Story

The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

Last summer the husband and I strolled up to the local ice-cream parlour after spending the morning working in the garden. I was covered in soil, had dirt under my fingernails, my hair was stuffed under a baseball cap, and I was wearing my oldest clothes which were absolutely filthy.

 

A man and woman walked past and I noticed that she was breathtakingly gorgeous. Not a hair out of place, beautiful tailored white pants teamed with a pretty floral blouse, and meticulously applied make-up.

 

Husband heard me sigh, and he looked at me and said, "I'd rather have a woman who can manhandle a bag of mulch, than one of those high maintenance Stepford wives any day."

 

Reader, that's why I married him.

 

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Chilling Children

The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

…we have lived so long in a garden that we have all but forgotten the commonplaces of survival…If you want to keep alive in the jungle, you must live as the jungle does.

 

The Day of the Triffids may be better known, but my favourite Wyndham book has always been The Midwich Cuckoos. It was the first book of his I ever read, and I thought it was decidedly unsettling. All the inhabitants of a quiet English village lose consciousness for 24 hours and not long after it is discovered that all the women of childbearing age are pregnant... 

 

And do the children grow up to be fine upstanding members of the community? Well when you've got white-blonde hair and glowing golden eyes, not to mention a hive mind, telepathic powers, and you can compel people to drive their cars into trees, or shoot themselves, you're not going to waste your time with the village amateur dramatic society are you?

 

The book was filmed in 1960 as The Village of the Damned (ignore the 1995 remake; it was crap).

 

 

And brilliantly parodied by The Simpsons with 'The Bloodening' .

 

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Chilling Children

The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

"Now the important thing about the cuckoo is not how the egg got into the nest, nor why that nest was chosen; the real matter for concern comes after it has been hatched - what in fact will it attempt to do next. And that, whatever it may be, will be motivated for its instinct for survival, an instinct characterized chiefly by utter ruthlessness."

 

 

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Chilling Children

The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

There is no conception more fallacious than the sense of cosiness implied by “Mother Nature”. Each species must strive to survive, and that it will do, by every means in its power, however foul -unless the instinct to survive is weakened by conflict with another instinct.

 

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Chilling Children

The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

Cuckoos lay eggs in other birds' nests. The clutch that was fathered on the quiet little village of Midwich, one night in September, proved to possess a monstrous will of its own. It promised to make the human race look as dated as the dinosaur.

 

Yeah, I know 'Chilling Children' hasn't been called yet, but after reading various comments about The Day of the Triffids yesterday, I decided I couldn't wait any longer to re-read one of my favourite books.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Ghost

Thin Air - Michelle Paver

Ooh, I did enjoy this creepy little tale. Lots of chills, and you're never quite sure whether Stephen is really being haunted or if he's just suffering from altitude sickness.

 

And I loved the descriptions of the clothing and food. Paver has obviously done her research into the climbing expeditions of the 1930s, and they're a far cry from today. No breathable fabrics or energy drinks in those times. Woolly jumpers, mugs of hot tea, and peach brandy seemed to be what kept these climbers going.

 

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Ghost

Thin Air - Michelle Paver

Lunch is Plasmon biscuits with tinned pâté and Kendal Mint Cake.

 

Hah! Have now got such a craving for a piece of Romney's Kendal mint cake. I always carried a slab of the stuff in my rucksack when I was a teenager. Admittedly, the mountains of the Lake District weren't quite as high as the Himalayas, but it was very welcome when I got to the top. 

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Demons

First Grave on the Right - Darynda Jones

"Still this whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual. Or a diagram of some kind. A flowchart would have been nice."

 

Personally, I would go with a spreadsheet. You can't go wrong with a spreadsheet. Especially one with pivot tables and a few VLOOKUPs.

 

I enjoyed this a lot. Charley Davidson is a very likeable heroine. She's sassy and snarky, and she knows she's pretty hot and isn't afraid of using it to her advantage. But she also has a big heart and wants to help people which tends to get her into a whole lot of trouble. And the fact that she's a grim reaper and can talk to dead people means that trouble is always close by.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Demons

First Grave on the Right - Darynda Jones

It looks as if this could be used for a number of squares, but I'm going with 'Demons'.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Free Space

Wildfire -  Ilona Andrews

She stepped closer, slid her arms around his neck, stretching herself against him, and kissed him on the mouth.

 

That was going too far. Half of me felt heartbreaking sadness at her desperation and the other half wanted to run over and punch her in the face.

 

Personally, I'd go for the punch in the face option.

 

 

I've thoroughly enjoyed this departure from the world of Kate Daniels, and there's enough of a teaser at the end to make me think the Andrews will be continuing the adventures of Nevada and Rogan.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Free Space

Wildfire -  Ilona Andrews

"I understand that you and Connor have a relationship," Rynda said. "But I need him more than you right now. I hope you understand."

 

 

You're a better woman than I am, Nevada Baylor. I would have scratched her eyes out.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Classic Horror

The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde - Oscar Wilde, Vyvyan Holland

"in every first novel the hero is the author as Christ or Faust." Oscar Wilde

 

And Dorian is definitely Faust. Pacts with the Devil never end well for the protagonist.

 

(I'd actually forgotten just how high the body count is for such a short novel. Lady Bracknell would be appalled.)

 

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Free Space

Wildfire -  Ilona Andrews

Yes, there was eyeball rolling from my husband when I returned from the library tonight. But I don't care. These books are great fun and I can't wait to get back in to the world of Nevada and Mad Rogan.

Currently reading

Glass Houses
Louise Penny
Broken Homes
Ben Aaronovitch
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Susan Cain
Progress: 70/368 pages
The Shining
Stephen King