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 - Terror in a Small Town

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences - Truman Capote

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!

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Terror in a Small Town

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences - Truman Capote

Great writing and a well chosen title. This was an unbelievably brutal crime, and it doesn't make for easy reading.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Terror in a Small Town

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences - Truman Capote

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.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Terror in a Small Town

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences - Truman Capote

This was recommended by my local independent bookseller when I mentioned how much I'd enjoyed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

 

It's been sitting unread on my shelf for a few years now, so I reckon it's about time I read it.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Aliens

Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams

And that was just the light relief I needed.

 

Damn, I miss Douglas Adams. His views on deadlines are very similar to my own.

 

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Aliens

Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams

"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.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Aliens

Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams

I've often wondered what anyone who wasn't born or brought up in the UK made of this book. I mean you can't get more quintessentially English than cricket. Heck, it confuses the life out of me, and I'm from Yorkshire.

 

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Aliens

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) - Douglas Adams The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide, #2) - Douglas Adams Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams

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.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Supernatural

The Fetch - Laura Whitcomb

Nope. Didn't enjoy this one at all.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Supernatural

The Fetch - Laura Whitcomb

This is a bit blah to be honest. The concept is great. Supernatural shenanigans involving the Romanovs; I mean what's not to like?

 

But it's all a bit flat. I would normally categorize Calder as 'too stupid to live', but seeing as he's already dead, it's a bit tricky.

Halloween Bingo 2017 - Supernatural

The Fetch - Laura Whitcomb

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.

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' .

 

 

 

Currently reading

Holy Fools
Joanne Harris
Progress: 208/368 pages
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Susan Cain
Progress: 70/368 pages
The Shining
Stephen King