Monday, September 28, 2009

I Knew It Was Too Good To Be True

The title of this post refers to the fact that tonight I ran across another books and reading blog called "Time Enough At Last."  Shoot!  I suppose it was inevitable, given the significance of the title.  But the good news is, that other blog went defunct in March 2006, so it's high time the title was used again!  Onward and upward!

Speaking of onward, I simply cannot wait to use this picture:

Probably some of you are familiar with this image, which is from the famous WPA posters collection from the late 1930's and early 1940's.  A good many of them have to do with reading, and I love them all, but especially this one.  To me, it perfectly captures the feeling you get as the weather turns a little colder (and here in South Mississippi, the occurrence of cooler weather in October is a cause for general rejoicing) and you want nothing more than to be left alone with a good book, spooky or otherwise.

I like this one for September too, but it's too late to use it (sigh):

What kinds of things do you associate with Autumn and reading?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Salon

OK, guys, I am adding to my list of firsts as a budding book blogger (say that ten times fast -- and you'll sound really silly) and participating in my first Sunday Salon.

The Sunday

For the uninitiated, Sunday Salon is a virtual reading room where bloggers talk about what they are reading (click the badge above to go to the Sunday Salon home page and read more about it).

I have been reading two books, and I am not reviewing either one of them yet because I am not finished with them.  But they are both ones that I plan to keep on reading, although one is harder going than the other.

First up is a book I got from the library, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume 14.  It's a collection of horror short stories from various authors.  So far they have been a mixed bag, as you invariably get in a collection of this sort, but the best has been a story that is now something of a classic, as far as I can tell -- "October in the Chair" by Neil Gaiman.  It's a story about the months of the year sitting around a campfire, telling stories at a monthly meeting they have, and as the story opens, they are getting ready to hear October's story, which (of course) is a spooky little tale about a boy whom we know only as "the Runt" who runs away from home and meets up with a new friend named Dearly outside a graveyard.  It's a memorable story although it's very short.  I have never read any of Gaiman's longer works, but I know he is extremely popular.  This story makes me want to read some of his other stuff.  (If you have any suggestions, I'd welcome them in the comments.)

Another story I enjoyed from this collection was "The Wretched Thicket of Thorn" by Don Tumasonis.  It was a slow starter, but I enjoyed the way the author began with a sense of dread and kept it as a subtle undercurrent throughout the story, all the way to its unfortunate (for the characters) conclusion.  Suffice it to say, this story is a variation on the basic horror story theme: Don't open that door -- they open that door -- they pay for opening the door.  It's a story that definitely calls for a rereading, to catch the small touches and details that I probably missed the first time through.

The other book I am in the midst of is Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game and How It Got That Way by Philip Orbanes.   It's a history of Monopoly from its beginnings as a homegrown game from 1904 called the Landlord's Game.  The book is a whole lot drier than I thought it would be, but one very interesting thing about the book is the way the author weaves the social and political history of the time into the story of the development of Monopoly as a game (through its many incarnations, which were surprisingly many).  Guess what?  The political and financial climate of that time (the early 1900's) mirrors ours so closely as to be positively uncanny.  So that makes this a timely read as well.  Another interesting aspect of the book is the discussion of game history and development, told from the viewpoint of an insider -- the author served as a Vice President of Research and Development at Parker Brothers and also has judged many Monopoly tournaments.  All in all, although it is not exactly what I expected, I am eager to get further into the book at this point.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Fall Into Reading" Challenge 2009: My List

My main goal for this challenge (hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days) is to read some books that I have been interested in reading for a very long time. A secondary goal is to read books from my personal library (since a book that sits on a shelf and is never touched, let alone read, is worse than worthless, in my opinion). One or two of these books have been on my shelves for literally decades, so it’s high time they were read (since I can’t seem to get rid of them).

I decided to pick a single book from each of the following categories:

Non-fiction, Science: Adam’s Curse: A Future Without Men by Bryan Sykes (This one is actually not from my personal library. It suddenly popped into my head today as I was thinking about what I might want to put on my list, so I hunted it down and checked it out from the university library. I started it a year or so ago, and never finished it for some reason, so my goal with this one is simply to finish it.)
Non-fiction, History: Are We Rome?: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America by Cullen Murphy
Non-fiction, General: Monopoly: The World’s Most Famous Game and How It Got That Way by Philip Orbanes
Fiction, Short Stories: The Littlest Hitler by Ryan Boudinot
Fiction, Mystery: Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
Fiction, Horror: Floating Dragon by Peter Straub
Fiction, Humor: Snobs by Julian Fellowes
Fiction, Fantasy/SciFi: Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Fiction, Classic: A Death in the Family by James Agee

Optional goals: As I finish each book, I want to write some sort of review or thoughts about the book. They will probably not be very long reviews, but I think it will be good practice for me to do that.

Looking back over this, it strikes me that I have ended up with a very long list. I am not a fast reader when I am reading for pleasure, and I don't have a lot of reading time some days, as we have already established. But I like the organization of it. And there’s only 9 books on the list, and I have 3 months, right?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Library Loot -- September 19, 2009

So I am very new at this, of course, but I did go to the library today, so I have to do my first Library Loot! (In going to the library, I ignored the fact that I already have a TBR pile that would stretch to the moon and back.)

This book, Everything Matters! by Ron Currie, Jr., caught my eye and I had to pick it up. I am not familiar with this author (and Amazon says he has written just one other book), but the interior of this book sold me. It is formatted in an interesting and somewhat bizarre way, which I am sure is part of its unconventional storyline. I feel like I have been in a reading rut for quite some time, so I think this book will break me out of that.

This looked intriguing: You Are Here: A Portable History of the Universe by Christopher Potter. Very sciencey non-fiction, but as I leafed through it, many of the pages I alighted on had a rather "gee-whiz" flavor to them, and I am sucker for that kind of science book.

In honor of the upcoming spooky season, I had to check this out: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume Fourteen, edited by Stephen Jones. It's full of short stories, which are always seductive to me -- "Look, I can just read one or two and not have to finish the whole book! Of COURSE I'll add it to the pile!"

A very small list, I know -- but I just can't let myself bring a lot of books home from the library when there are SO MANY to be read in my personal library. I think I should make a definite reading list for the rest of this year. I don't feel up to doing challenges yet like so many other book bloggers do, but I'll get there!


This is a quick post to introduce myself and my blog. Having been inspired by the many excellent book blogs out there, and feeling the strong desire to blog about something interesting, I am starting this blog. If you are an avid reader and a Twilight Zone fan, you have already recognized the reference to the episode that shares the same title as this blog. (I really hope there are no copyright issues involved there -- I don't think one can copyright a title, however.) Here is a link to part 1 of the episode on YouTube, if you want to see it. In fact, I think I may have to watch it again soon!

Currently reading (almost finished): The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs