What’s More Scary?

I have been in physical therapy for my hip for more than a month now and here’s the sad, sad thing. I don’t feel much different. I still have trouble sleeping a night (last night I woke up every two hours) and runs haven’t been that much easier. I managed over sixty miles for the month and finally finished the dreaded half (the one I have been babbling about for months now. Yeah, that one). I definitely made more time for the books. Here is the ginormous list:

Fiction:

  • Aristotle Detective by Margaret Anne Doody (finished in a week).
  • All Hallows’ Eve by Charles Williams.
  • Discarded Duke by Nancy Butler (finished in a week).
  • Beautiful Children by Charles Bock (AB / print). Word to the wise, don’t do it!
  • Breakfast on Pluto by Patrick McCabe

Nonfiction:

  • Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Peter Allison (AB / print; finished in less than a week).
  • Sense of the World by Jason Roberts (AB / print).
  • I Will Bear Witness: a Diary of the Nazi Years (1933-1941) by Victor Klemperer ~ in honor of Mr. Klemperer’s birth month.
  • In the Valley of Mist by Justine Hardy

Series Continuations:

  • We are Betrayed by Vardis Fisher.
  • Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman ( finished in four days).
  • Henry James: the Treacherous Years by Leon Edel (Can you believe I actually finished this within the same month?).

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina (read in four days).

The Stand

King, Stephen. The Stand. New York: Signet, 1980.

I think it goes without saying that The Stand is a super-long, super detailed book and the critical attention paid to character development and personality nuances plays a huge roll in its length. The other component to its heft is the fact it takes a long time to build up to the meat of the plot. The Stand contains three books, “Captain Trips”, “On the Border”, and “The Stand”. “Captain Trips” is the introduction to an influenza-like plague and its fast-paced spread of infection. You won’t look at another sneeze or cough the same way again after this. “On the Border” is convergence of the plague survivors; the good and the evil alike. They are all brought together by a shared dream of an elderly women. In the final book, “The Stand” the surviving society must take a stand on where their civilization will end up – on the side of good or evil? It’s drawn out to the point of ad-nauseam but the writing is fantastic.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from The Stand: “Denninger looked and acted like the kind of man who would ride his help and bullyrag them around but lickspittle up to his superiors like an egg-suck dog” (p 59). I just love the word bullyrag and lickspittle isn’t so bad either!

Book Trivia: Many different adaptations of The Stand exist. My favorite is a comic book series.

Author Fact: King used to haunt the halls at the University of Maine, Orono. He wouldn’t remember me but I served him coffee once in the Bear’s Den.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the lengthy chapter called “Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror” (p 213). I think Pearl intended The Stand to be horror.


A Lesson in Patience

Last night my street was crawling with children. Face painted, wigged out. Some grubby-greedy, some sweet. All yelling Trick or Treat in crazy costumes. I was prepared with the sugared, packaged, rot-your-teeth treats but that didn’t really matter. I don’t think any of them would have had the tricks if I didn’t. Adults banged drums (what’s up with that?) and talked loudly. Parents hung back while their children groped their way up my steps, their eyes wide and wanting. In the darkness I could just make out Batman and a ghost whispering. Everytime I opened my book the doorbell would ring. One little rabbit didn’t have a bag to put her candy into. She held out a paw with wistful eyes. Her mom showed me the ripped paperbag she was barely holding together. "It’s been a long night" she explained. Before she could protest I produced a cauldron for her little bunny (I tried not to think of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction ). I love this time of year. Love this wild night. You wouldn’t think it to hear me talk, but I love the costumes, the creativity of some of the parents. I love the kids who say thank you ever so politely and stare up at you wanting more. The kids! I like laughing at the ones who pause to check out the goods and compare. Two Patriots (Brady and Moss) traded candy bars before even getting off my porch. Lot and lots of kids carried Unicef boxes – wasn’t expecting that. Note to self: have the change jar close by to avoid cleaning out the wallet!
Speaking of cleaning out – I ran out of candy before kisa could come home with backup (working late again). I wasn’t all that prepared this year so I tried to make the goodies stretch by bagging them with plastic flies and glitter. Truth be known, I kinda wanted to be somewhere else this year.
Later, when kisa finally got home we walked around the neighborhood. Adults hung out on darkened, candlelit porches while kids continued to chase each other with loud shrieks of laughter. We let Manorabug Spuke glow until close to midnight. Maybe he’ll light the November night, too.

This morning after pancakes and coffee Halloween came down from my living room. All the ghosts, gargoyles, cats, owls, pumpkins, witches, monsters, skulls, spiders and bats. Each one carefully wrapped and packed. I’m leaving one pumpkin out to fill with change throughout the year. That will take care of the Unicef Trick or Treaters. After that, I’m off to find a new cauldron.


Meet Manorabug Spuke

Manorabug is a spin-off of Windorabug. With his lid on, he is a man with hair. Without the lid he looks more like a bug. He belongs to the sky with his two stars and crescent moon tattoos. Mr. Spuke gets his last name from the family of spookies (came from Ireland in the 16th century). They later changed their name to Spuke to avoid detection every 10/31.

Better pics coming soon!


October Is…

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October is Halloween! For anyone who knows me, Halloween starts on October 1st and runs for 31 days. This is the way it should be. I have a whole big box of Halloween stuff and every October 1st out it comes. Okay, so this year it was a little early. I bought a tiny skull completely off timeline, too! The skeltons, black cats, bats, witches, goblins, and of course, my fave – jack-o-laterns!
October is also another chance to slip away to Monhegan for a handful of days. Home Sweet Autumn Home. For music it’s Sean, of course. There are other trips, I’m sure. Just ask Joe.

For reading, here’s how it stacks up. For the Book Lust Challenge:

  • Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler ~ in honor of Anne’s birth month
  • Artimis Fowl by Eoin Colfer ~ in honor of National Fantasy Month
  • Big If by Mark Costello ~ October is the best time to visit New England
  • Carry On Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse ~ in honor of Wodehouse’s birth month
  • Crime Novels: American Noir of the 30’s and 40’s by Horace ~ in honor of Crime Novel month

That’s about it. Pumpkin Fest later. Big charity walk for breast cancer on the 26th. Natalie’s birthday…


Pushing September Out


I decided to push September out the door a little earlier than any calendar would suggest. Yeah, yeah. I have three more days, but who’s counting? Certainly not me. It’s been a hard month.

Truth be known I am always itching for October 1st. My Halloween has 31 days. My thrill time lasts all month. Better than Christmas. Don’t ask me why. I think it started when I was a kid. Mom would make these outrageous costumes (extremely elaborate, creative, funky…but on a frayed shoestring budget – we’re talking tinfoil and spray paint). My all-time favorite was a gigantic pumpkin made out of coat hangers, a bed sheet and lots of paint. I barely fit through doors, couldn’t sit down all that well and my face itched for days on end, but man! it was a cool costume. Another time sis and I were Miss Piggy and Kermit the frog. I remember being embarrassed by the ginormous breasts and blue eye shadow. We were a sight to see! Us kids would pile into the back of a pickup truck and bounce all over the island looking for treats while the older boys played tricks. Scary all the time they were worse on Halloween. Dusk brought eerie shadows to our faces as we tried to peer into plastic bags for goodies. Whoopie pies spilled from my mother’s kitchen as big as your fist. Apple cider simmering on the wood stove.

These days I don’t run around wearing orange and green paint pretending to be a vegetable from the patch. If I’m lucky I will get my kisa to take a walk among the trick or treaters so I can count the goblins. Every year someone on my block plays Nightmare Before Christmas on the side of his house. Candles glow from jack-o-lanterns on every stoop. Leaves crunch beneath our feet. There is some sort of magic in the air. I can’t really explain it. The sugar shacks start up their boils and put on breakfast feasts.
What I need to do now is find my way to the basement, locate the big box marked “Halloween”, drag it up to the living room, and unpack my spooky friends. Who cares if it’s still September? Who cares if I’m in the wrong month. It’s time to get back to the right state of mind.