Have a Bookish New Year too!
Paula S. Jordan
(just because it actually is in the dictionary; I didn’t expect it to be…)
All the way to Genua there were people who’d been duped, fooled, swindled, and cheated by that face. The only thing he hadn’t done was hornswoggle, and that was only because he hadn’t found out how to.
Making Money by
deprive of by deceit
syn: victimize, swindle, rook, goldbrick, nobble, diddle, bunco, defraud, scam, mulct, gyp, gip, short-change, con
ORIGIN: “to cheat,” 1829, probably a fanciful formation.
My bro and I attended the Academic Library Association of Ohio annual conference today.
There was cake!
It was a nice close out to my year-long career as a para-professional part time customer services librarian. I was asked to co-present a poster with a co-worker on the FIFA World Cup programming we did over the summer.
Our urban community college library showed the FIFA games on the large media screen during the World Cup.
Many of our students in the library are Somali and Ethiopian. They asked me several times in early June where we would be showing the games. Of course we would be showing the games, no question in their minds. Soccer is such a huge part of their lives that it just doesn’t compute that Americans don’t really care about the sport too much.
I brought that question to my co-worker, who also happens to be the only soccer fan in America, and she put together a lot of reference and instructional programming on Soccer as a portal question for library services, coordinated the Media Studio for the game broadcasts, and made a video.
I got the happy task of asking our students to write out the word for soccer in their home language. Many words are a variation on British “football”, of course, but the whole experience from the circulation desk was one of community building and giving ownership of the library to the students: making it their space.
It took everyone on staff to make the programming happen, from the librarian who narrates the video above, to the evening media studio worker who would every day post the new stats and game times.
The conference was a great day, spending a little more time with my colleagues before moving on to the new job on Monday morning.
Copyright 2014 by Paula S. Jordan
But not so.
There was a real live, er, undead one in Rhode Island, with a really eerie grave where no grass grows and the tomb stone “must be anchored down by a steel post.” Or so goes the story. Coins, shells, rocks, even printed prayers, have been left there as gifts for 19 year-old Mercy Lena Brown.
Mercy died in the deep winter of 1892 and her body was stored in an above-ground tomb until the ground thawed enough to bury her. When suspicions of vampires arose, Mercy’s body and those of her also recently deceased mother and sister were exhumed. The decayed condition of the other two bodies was enough to acquit them. But Mercy’s, having lain only two months in the freezing, above-ground tomb, was in perfect condition. It was reported, in fact, that she still had fresh blood in her veins. Proof positive that she was “feeding off the living.” So they cut out her heart and burned it on a stone.
In another instance, the body of a 50 year old man, buried around 1830 in Connecticut, was “completely rearranged” some time after death. The skeleton was beheaded, the ribs fractured, and the head laid on the chest with the thigh bones crossed beneath it as on a pirate flag.
And they weren’t the only ones. Rhode Island Folklorist Michael Bell has exhumed some 80 “questionable” burials, some from as early as the late 1700’s or as far west as Minnesota, but primarily in backwoods New England in the1800’s. He suspects there are many more.
But what raised such powerful suspicions among the good people of New England?
Turns out, the one linking factor among all the known disturbed burials is that they occurred around the time of virulent outbreaks of consumption (tuberculosis.)
People falling ill without explanation? Wasting away till death claimed them?
What would you think?.
P.S. It’s been suggested that one Bram Stoker, traveling in the United States with a theater company the same year as Mercy Lena Brown’s exhumation, may have taken note: Lena + Mercy = Lucy??? And a doctor attending at her exhumation as with Miss Brown’s?
P.P.S. H.P Lovecraft specifically mentions Mercy’s exhumation in “The Shunned House,” and includes a living character named Mercy.
Extensive analysis and commentary here:
The Great New England Vampire Panic, Smithsonian, October 2012
I finally compiled my TBR list. I’m hoping to get through these in the next year. I always find more to read on my kindle library too, but these are the ones I’ve been thinking about and I figure if I put them in a nice list I will remember to look at it and prioritize! I do own all of these books, so, realistically I should read them before buying yet another kindle book on sale. Just kidding. ;-) Also, I already started most of these. sigh. so this is more of a TBFinished pile!
My abbreviations are [HB] hardback, [PB] paperback, [K] Kindle
In no particular order:
~House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty [K]
~Ignition Point by Kate Corcino [K]—->this is my friend! read this! she’s good!
~Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Sea [PB]
~Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch [K] (kind of a re-read…turns out the audio book I listened to 4+ times was abridged! The horror!! But hey! Now I get to read this awesome book about the Gentlemen Bastards again for the first time.)
~Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch [K] (more Gentlemen Bastard adventures)
~Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss [K] (this is a re-read for when the new side story book comes out!)
~Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey [big fat PB]
~Icarus Rising by David N Pauly [PB]
~Wool by Hugh Howey (re-read 1-5, then read the rest, I think there are 8?)
~Great Gatbsy by F Scott Fitzgerald [K]
~PT Barnum by Kunhardt [HB]
~Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi [HB]
~The Doctor and the Dinosaurs by Mike Resnick
whew! wish me luck!
FOURTEEN TALES OF HORROR
THE DEBUT SHORT FICTION COLLECTION FROM MIKE ALLEN
FEATURING AN INTRODUCTION BY LAIRD BARRON
Available at: Kindle
Mike Allen has put together a first class collection of horror and dark fantasy. Unseaming burns bright as hell among its peers.
—Laird Barron, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All
Hey! after more than 18 months of preparation, Antimatter Press is up and running.
Our first publication is Bad Wizard by James Maxey.
It takes a lot to put a publishing house together, and a lot to put a publication together. On my end, I had three editors and an an illustrator for the project itself, plus the support of friends and family patient with me when I needed to talk about fears or more socially unavailable and stupid than I normally am.
James had a bevvy of wise readers helping him to shape the story. He describes that process here.
Antimatter Press has more to come, actually very soon, but for now, we present:
There were many good things that came out of Context 27. One of them was a large index card of scribbled titles making up a to-be-read list culled from panels and fellow readers. I ended up making a list of TBR and TBreR (to be re-read). These are classics, graphic novels, old faves, Star Trek novels, poems, novellas, but they have all been recommended by a person here at the convention. The availability on these selections varies wildly as does the reason for recommendation so I leave the treasure hunt to you. But rest assured! The folks recommending these were dribbling in booky love for these.
Full Metal Alchemist, Hiromu Arakawa
Pump 6 – Paolo Bacigalupi
Mirabella and Spin, Nina Allen
Uhuru’s Song, Janet Kagan
Defenders, Will McIntosh
Scale Bright, Benjanun Sridungkaew
City of Stairs and American Elsewhere, Robert Jackson Bennett
Afterparty, Daryl Gregory
The Last Policeman, Ben Winters
Pen Pal, Francesca Forrest
Santiago, Mike Resnick
Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock
The Integral Trees, Larry Niven
Ann Aguirre, new series
Jean Johnson, new series from DAW
Heaven of Animals, a poem by Dickey
Devices and Desires, K. J. Parker
The Knights of Breton Court, Maurice Broaddus
Shadows Fall, Simon Green
The Master Builder, Henrik Ibsen
The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers
That’s a long list. I’ll leave the TBreR list for next week.
Copyright 2014 by Paula S. Jordan
You might think of this post as a book review trailer, an early comment about a great read that will get more detailed examination sometime soon. Because it deserves it.
It is also a hint to writers looking for the secret to satisfying character creation and development: Read this book. This is the way it should be done.
There is no science fiction or fantasy about Jazz Funeral, by Julie Smith, only the magic of New Orleans and Jazz and the mysteries and foibles of the human soul in all its imperfection.
Ms. Smith’s infinite knowledge and talented depiction of human nature, aided and abetted by an unwavering devotion to honesty mellowed by endless sympathy, have produced here a tour de force: the most massively dysfunctional extended family I have ever run across in literature or out.
What is this family like? Occasionally loving, but most often consciously, stunningly cruel. Variously talented. Greedy, but occasionally giving. Or, poignantly, emphatically not all those things, but creative, generous souls too young or too insecure to escape the emotional tyranny of the family long enough to discover the never-normal but at least more normal world of New Orleans just outside.
It is important to note that each of the major elemental forces in this perfect human storm gets his or her moment of clarity, the revelation of causes (redemptive or not) where we readers may glimpse the reasons why, and occasionally the seeds of a more generous humanity waiting for one spot of sunlight to show them the way out.
I hasten to explain that there is much more to this book than the conflicts suggested here. There are imminently readable elements of love and laughter and friendship, as well as the mystery and suspense of unsolved murder.
Also, like the prize at the bottom of the box, there is Skip Langdon, a sterling, six-foot-plus, somewhat over-weight, female New Orleans police detective. Skip has her own complications, of course, but along with them come the skills and the heart to sort out at least most of this mess.
And over, under, around, and through it all are the incomparable, worldly-wise strains of New Orleans Jazz.