Grown-Up books!

One of the drawbacks to having a friend who loves to read as much as I do is that she takes me to dangerous places like libraries and book clubs. Thanks a lot, Southern Today Gone Tomorrow.

She invited me along to her book club last week and I figured I could handle one grown up book a month (I am swamped with plenty of other projects with deadlines). Before we went back to the meeting, we stopped to say hi to some of my old coworkers at the desk and damned if I didn’t walk away with two books before even getting the book club book!

Conversation with my old coworkers turned toAbraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter of all things. It was a great book and I enjoyed the movie.

I was shocked when the librarian told me there was a second book!!! Well, I had to have it. I really liked how Seth Grahame-Smith wove the fiction into the real history of Lincoln’s sad life. My library friend said the second book follows Henry, Abraham’s friend (and vampire) through major events in American history.

Again, I’m pointing out that libraries are dangerous places. In the process of grabbing The Last American Vampire I happened to see Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy on the next shelf down.

Except there were 4 books!!

Now, not everyone enjoys zombies. Or even post-apocalyptic books, but this series is amazing. Grant’s characters are well conceived and the entire post-rising world she has created is well thought out and intelligently written. There are plenty of suspense, conspiracies and espionage along with the zombies–but the books are not overly gorey or hyper-focused on the weaponry. To say I was ecstatic about Feedback is putting it lightly. I’m going to have to read her Parasite series ASAP.

And finally, yes, we made it to the book club. I didn’t get to read last month’s selection, but the discussion makes me think I should.

This month we are reading The Alice Network about a female spy ring during World War 1. It’s not my typical style, but isn’t that what book clubs are for?

I have finished Feedback and plan to start The Alice Network next…along with some family related projects, crochet for commissions and friends, and preparing for two children’s literature classes this summer. Libraries are dangerous places.



We are enjoying a visit from friends who love to browse flea markets and thrift stores. This is the only time my husband and daughter will go to those types of stores with me. I always see a lot of things I want, but I have to pass them by. Here are some of today’s Ones That Got Away.

It seems Johnny Lion was a series by Edith Thacher Hurd.

I loved reading Dennis in the Sunday comics. I am sure I read more than a few of his comic collections too.

This was one I really wanted. The book was $8 and the dust jacket was badly torn…but I still hope to become a circus clown one day when I grow up.

My husband pointed out the Gumby book. He had to quote Eddie Murphy’s Gumby from Saturday Night Live,

I’m Gumby, dammit!

My friend and I saw a vintage Paddington Bear stuffed animal too.

I might be wrong, but I think I had this Little Golden Book.

You know I’m a sucker for Sesame Street.

I wanted every book in this booth!

I think if I had to pick, I’d get Here, Kitty. So cute!

But the star of the day want a book–I know, it’s shocking. I finally found a vintage ceramic Christmas tree!!!!!!!!!

As you wish…

When I was a kid, my sister brought her best friend home with her from college, and that friend introduced me to the movie The Princess Bride. I was instantly swept away by this beautiful story packed with intelligent humor. A few years later, while on a visit to my mom’s favorite Buy/Sell/Trade bookstore, my brother found me a copy of the book The Princess Bride.

I own a paperback copy that is nice, but this is what I really want:

I found it at Target. My birthday is in about a month and a half. I’m really hoping I get my wish!

If you aren’t familiar with the story, either buy the book or borrow the movie. I would normally say that the book is better, but I think both are fabulous. The actors in the movie were the perfect choices and I wouldn’t change a thing about how the movie was made.

When I bought the paperback copy I own now, it contained a bonus chapter called Buttercup’s Baby. I didn’t read it. It has something sad in it about Fezzik (the giant portrayed by Andre the Giant in the movie.)

This book/movie was integral in my development as a bibliophile and book nerd overall. I must now share some Internet awesomeness about it.

This ⤵️ is my favorite quote from the movie.

Is case you really don’t get it, whenever Buttercup ordered Wesley around he would say, “as you wish” but what he was really saying was “I love you.”

My favorite monsters

Last night my husband and I watched a movie that got me thinking about my favorite monsters.

While I am not a huge Tom Cruise fan, I did really enjoy this movie. I’m sure I’ve mentioned my love for classic movie monsters before. And the best part of those monsters is that they are often inspired by classic novels. I did some digging online and Universal Studios is going to be creating a multi-movie dark universe featuring some of these stories; The Mummy is just the first of more to come.

The big surprise in The Mummy was Russell Crowe playing a doctor. Dr. Jekyll to be more specific.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde isn’t long, but it’s horrifying. Crowe did a great job in the role, I can’t wait to see the movie about Dr. Jekyll.

One of my all time favorite actors is going to be playing the Invisible Man–Johnny Depp.

I liked The Invisible Man book by H.G. Wells. It isn’t as ominous as some monster stories but its implications are intriguing.

My all-time favorite novel is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The monster will be portrayed by Javier Bardem.

I’m giving Universal bonus points for using the title Frankenstein’s Monster. It helps with a common misconception about who is the monster in the story (which is a topic of debate for another post.) The article said that there would also be a Bride of Frankenstein but there are no named stars. I hope they follow in the footsteps of the original and cast a redhead like Elsa Lanchester–the actress who created our iconic image of the bride.

I really wanted to have a book for every one of these movies, but I’m struggling with The Mummy. I could have sworn that I once read a short story by either Jules Verne or Robert Louis Stevenson that was about a mummy. I can tell you for sure that Bran Stoker wrote The Jewel of Seven Stars and it’s about a mummy. My favorite mummy novel is actually The Mummy or Ramses the Damned by Anne Rice.

Now I’d like to suggest that if these movies do well, that Universal add some great stories like Dracula

Or if Universal wants to surprise audiences, they could go with a female vampire like Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu.

And maybe a wolf-man, though some people will know that Stephen King himself said The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is nothing if not a werewolf story. I’d also consider The Portrait of Dorian Grey and The Island of Dr. Moreau great additions. Could something by Edgar Allan Poe be adapted?!? Give me time, I could think of plenty!

Which books would you like to see adapted to this dark universe?? I’m dying to hear from other classic monster fans.

The League of Regrettable Superheroes

Today’s book is not only a Thrift Store Score, it’s also for adults! I know, I’m just full of surprises today.

I am planning to start it tonight. I’ll give you the synopsis:

Look up in the sky! It’s a bee! It’s a witch! It’s….a giant eyeball?

You know about Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man, but have you heard of Doll Man, Doctor Hormone, or Spider Queen? In the League of Regrettable Superheroes, you’ll meet fifty of the strangest superheroes to ever see print, complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary.

I’m really looking forward to this book. Dr. Hormone?!? I will share some images from these strange, strange characters.

My only regret about this book is that I don’t have the follow-up, The Legion of Regrettable Super Villains.

I think I’ll be shopping for it on ThriftBooks!

1000 Black Girl Books

Most people enjoy reading books about characters like themselves, children especially. An eleven year old caucasian boy is more likely to want a book with a boy like himself as the main character than a book about a girl of a different ethnicity from the other side of the world. I’m not saying that it’s wrong for the boy to have that preference, quite the opposite. And since it is a perfectly acceptable desire, we should have books that cover the entire spectrum of people on the Earth.

Marley Dias has started a grassroots movement to gather books that have African American girls as the main characters. She astutely identified a need that was not being met, and decided to do something about it. You can visit the website to learn more about Marley’s cause.

I thought I’d share a few books that I love with African American girls as the main character:

I’ve written about the Gaither sisters before. I love these girls and their family!

Sharon Draper is a favorite author of mine, though Stella By Starlight is very different from Out of My Mind.

I started The Jumbies as an audio book and didn’t get it done. I liked the Caribbean folklore so I really do plan to finish it.

My daughter’s favorite American Girl is Addy, who is a runaway slave during the American Civil War.

One other book that I loved, even though it’s not a kids book, is Beloved by Toni Morrison.

If you enjoy historical fiction and a good ghost story, this could be a good book for you. But, and that’s a big but, it is graphic in describing the lives and deaths of slaves. It is not a book to take lightly.

Jack the Ripper

My family loves a good mystery. My husband isn't a reader, though, so the mysteries we share tend to be on tv. Right now we are watching s History Channel series about H.H. Holmes, a serial killer from Chicago in the 1890s.

Holmes is actually an alias, one of many, as this man was a con artist and committed fraud many times for money as well.

The series is based on the theory that H.H. Holmes could have also been Jack the Ripper. This theory has been put forward by his great-great-grandson. The grandson and a former CIA investigator are looking for clues to either prove or disprove this theory. It is a compelling argument and I think it has a strong basis in fact. We are only two episodes into the eight part series, so I can't tell you anything definitively.

What I can tell you is I have read books of differing theories on who the Ripper was.

Cornwell is the author of a bestselling mystery series. She believes in research and backs up her theories. She postulates that Jack the Ripper was a troubled impressionist artist who was known for painting odd subject matter. Walter Sickert followed the Impressionist art style and so would have painted things he actually saw.

This painting is called The Camden Town Murder, and the Ripper's last known victim was killed in her bed.

A second book I have read is
The theory here is that the man who was Jack the Ripper stopped killing because he was institutionalized after slitting his own wife's throat.

If I was going to pick one suspect based on these two books, I'd go with Sickert, but now I think H.H. Holmes could be him.

One of the things about this mystery is that I don't think we will ever conclusively prove who he was. Crime scene investigation was in its infancy at that time and the scenes were often contaminated by unwary gawkers and police officers. DNA could yield clues but I don't know that much of the evidence remains. There is a shawl from Mary Eddows being tested for the show but I doubt the blood is anyone but hers.

I wish I had more time to read other theories for comparison, but I just don't right now. I'll have to rely on the History Channel series to sate my curiosity for now.