October 31, 2016 · 6:11 pm
Trick or treat! To celebrate Halloween, I re-visited the classic horror story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Listened to it while working out last week and enjoyed it a lot more than I did when I was a younger reader!
My first exposure to this classic story came by way of the annual Halloween episode of The Wonderful World of Disney and clips from the animated version of this story. The images from those clips interested me enough to seek out the original story as a young reader — and to not necessarily love it.
Now that I’m a little (OK, a lot!) older and with an audio reading featured on last week’s Audible Channels, I decided to visit the story again. This time, I came away with a whole different appreciation for the story. Continue reading →
October 25, 2016 · 1:21 pm
This week’s edition of Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) is all about Halloween. Last year, I chronicled by ten favorite stories by Stephen King. This year, I thought I’d look at ten of my favorite, spooky, Halloween-related stories from all varieties of media. Continue reading →
October 20, 2016 · 2:54 pm
“It was after listening to Maurice tells his stories that I had become a firm believer that if anyone who wanted to know anything at all about humanity, all they needed to do was work a while in a restaurant.”
An intriguing short-story collection, J.L. Baumann’s Food for Thought offers up seven different regulars at Bo’s restaurant from The Deacon who works in construction, hails from Louisiana and thinks that everything is better back home to Pete the car salesman who comes in daily to break up the “droll monotony” of his existence. Bo’s interactions with his clients, staff and other members of the community drive each of these stories. Baumann expertly creates a world of unique, recognizable characters, all of whom are driven not only by their need to feed their physical hunger but find sustenance of another kind in Bo’s booths, tables and counter.
In many ways, Bo’s will remind you of the television show Cheers with a cast of quirky, endearing characters. Baumann finds motivations for each of person we encounter and we, along with Bo, learn a few interesting things about humanity. Whether it’s the determination of Didi to cook for Bo or the health inspector who used world class white gloves to ensure everything is up to code, Baumann has crafted a restaurant that makes you feel at home. There are even a few interesting surprises along the way to help keep things interesting and the characters and stories authentic.
I feel like after spending these seven stories in this world that I’d had a full, complete meal. I wouldn’t be averse to having another meal at Bo’s, though.
October 18, 2016 · 2:24 pm
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks us to ponder characters names we’d give to children. When we were pondering names for Shortcake, we debated a lot of names from our favorite fictional universes. Here are a couple of our favorites (that we didn’t use). Continue reading →
October 6, 2016 · 3:33 pm
Three couples got together for a barbecue one sunny afternoon. But instead of a delightful, fun social event, the barbecue ended up a turning point for all six people involved and the fallout still ripples through each person and their various relationships.
I’d read several of Liane Moriarity’s previous novels before diving into Truly Madly Guilty and found them all to be page-turning stories of “small scale” crimes. Like many of her other contemporary mystery writers, Moriarity’s work dwell less on the actual crime itself and more on the impact it has on the characters involved.
And while circling around the crucial event, jumping between before and after the pivotal moment, worked in the other novels I’ve read by Moriarity, the pieces never quite came together here. Instead of being riveted by the hints being dropped about something monumental happening that fateful afternoon, I was left feeling like the story and the characters are all treading water as we wait for some of the revelations to start coming out.
Once we finally get to what happened that afternoon, I had pretty much checked out of the novel and only really staying around to see if my assumptions about what happened were correct. After really enjoying several other novels by Moriarty, I have to admit I came away from this one feeling a bit disappointed. It’s not enough to keep me from reading more of her works or trying her next novel. But it is enough for me to chalk this one up as one of the more disappointing books I’ve read this year.
October 4, 2016 · 3:13 pm
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks us to look at the dark side with our favorite villains. I’ve decided to narrow the focus a bit to my favorite adversaries faced by Spider-Man.
- The Scorpion. Marvel Tales reprinted much of the Stan Lee/Lee Ditko run of early Spider-Man comics when I was actively reading and I loved them. And while the Scorpion isn’t considered in the upper pantheon of Spidey villains by many, I loved his first appearance and the fact that he could go toe-to-toe with Spidey and almost best him.
- Doc Ock. He unmasked Spidey, he married Aunt May….what didn’t Doc Ock do to torment Spider-Man?!? Added bonus: He’s the villain in my favorite superhero movie of all-time Spider-Man 2.
- The Lizard. Spidey is easily one of the most angst ridden of any superheroes and his conflicted emotions about having to battle the Lizard (he was a scientist who was trying to help himself and the Lizard was an unwanted side effect) always put an extra layer on their battles.
- The Green Goblin. Considered by many to be the quintessential adversary for Spidey, the Goblin is fun, interesting and exciting. Like the Lizard, there’s a personal connection to the identity of the Goblin that causes all kinds of angst for Spidey.
- The Hobgoblin. The identity of the Hobgoblin drove much of the on-going back story during the time I read Spidey comics. His unmasking was a pivotal issue and one I remember well.
- The Vulture. Another classic from Lee/Ditko and one I am intrigued to see come to life on the screen in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming.
- Man-Wolf. A lot of this has to do with the Power Records recording version of this story that I listened to about a billion times growing up. J. Jonah Jameson’s astronaut son picks up a rock on the moon, has it made into a pendant and turns into a werewolf. Typing that I realize it sounds cheesy as all get out, but with the read-along record and sound effects, it made a huge impression on me at the age of six.
- The Spider Slayers.
- The Kingpin