Friday, September 30, 2011

RIP Read 1: The Devil in the White City

I spent most of September trying to get through The Mysteries of Udolpho but when I was only one third of the way through after almost three weeks, I threw up my hands and threw down the book. I needed something to get me back on track and so I picked up The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Thank you to everyone who recommended that I finally read this one! It was just what I needed.

I'm not going to write much about this book because many of you have already read it and others will probably be at least a bit familiar with it. For those who aren't, the long and short of it is that it tells the parallel stories of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago at the end of the nineteenth century and the exploits of H.H. Holmes, a serial killer and all-around creep in sheep's clothing. Larson takes a little bit of liberty and really creates a narrative with the facts that he unearthed to make it a compelling read. (He explains why he did so in the end notes and I accepted his reasoning even though it bugged me a bit while reading.)

My only complaint (and why I gave it 4.5 stars on LibraryThing instead of 5) is that I love science and wanted to read more about Tesla and less about architecture. I know that it would have been a heftier tome if Larson had included everything possible about the fair but I was just a bit sad that the amazing things that were happening at the Exposition were glossed over. Even the first electric chair (thanks a lot, Edison) was only given one sentence.

But, of course, I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested and it certainly made a chilling RIP read. The evil that men do is always worse than any fiction.

Avoiding life insurance policies that benefit relative strangers,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fragile Things Group Read: Four Stories

This week just flew by and I totally was not able to do the story-a-day thing. Still, I wrote about each piece after reading it and that seems to have worked okay (except for a lack of good "absorbing" time).

Again, minor SPOILERS so be aware --


From the introduction: "A wodwo or wodwose, was a wild man of the woods." And while it's a very interesting word, I think the key word in the title of this short piece is "Going" because this is really a poem about the transition from a "regular" life to the escapism and communion of the wodwo lifestyle. The narrator talks about what he is leaving behind and the hardships of starting to live off the resources in the forest. At one point, you almost think he will give it up and head back but then he realizes that the spiritual gains outweigh the physical trials. This is a very thought-provoking piece and is an interesting addition to this collection -- though it certainly exposes a few "fragile things".


There was nothing wrong with this story. But I don't like Santeria or zombies and so I didn't really like this either. It was well written but it wasn't for me. It just made me sad and uncomfortable. It's strange because I like fantasy magic A LOT but this particular flavor of New Orleans magic, the kind that is always associated with evil and never with good, just seems pointlessly dark to me -- kind of like the bitter grounds left after brewing strong, black coffee.


The most puzzling thing about this story is the title. Interestingly (and according to the introduction), it wasn't Gaiman's title for the piece. He called it "Afterlife", which makes much more sense to me. This is a brilliant little story that truly proves a well-known quote --
"We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell." -- Oscar Wilde

This was one story that I wanted to re-read again now that I've finally read American Gods because it's supposedly set in the same world. It turned out to be incredibly disturbing and revolting. I didn't remember much about it as I was re-reading it, which means I probably put it out of my mind, trying to not absorb any of its darkness. Though there were many dark and violent things in American Gods, there was nothing quite like this and for that I'm glad. I'm wondering if there will be anyone in the reading group that truly likes this story.

Hoping for something bright and beautiful next week,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Coming Soon! Northwest Bookfest 2011

Was anyone else unaware until recently that the Northwest Bookfest has been resurrected this year and is happening on October 1 and 2 in Kirkland, WA? Well, it has been and it is!
Maybe it’s our cloud-cover. Maybe it’s the Northwest lifestyle. Maybe it’s the creative climate of our region. For whatever reason, Seattle continues to be – possibly more than anywhere else in the nation –a place of voracious readers and talented authors.
The 2011 Northwest BookFest, to be held October 1 and 2, promises to feed the appetite of both in grand style. This year’s theme – what else? – It’s Raining Books!
With generous support from the City of Kirkland, King County Library’s Kirkland branch, Kirkland Performance Center, Teen Center, and Peter Kirk Community Center, this family event will draw thousands to Peter Kirk Park and the aforementioned buildings.
The schedule is up and there are tons of panels and bookish activities, even book-related theater (did you know about Seattle's own Book-It Repertory Theatre?). There are also workshops for writers, which I think is a fantastic idea as our area seems to breed creative souls. I love that the King County Library System (2011 Library of the Year!) is one of the sponsors and is having presentations at the Kirkland Library, reminding attendees of the great resources that are always available in our community.

I hope that this is a permanent revival of the Northwest Bookfest and I hope to see some of you there! I have no idea what portions we will be attending but I know that we will be there.

Gathering for the love of reading,

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Release: The Flint Heart

The Flint Heart is a unique release because it's not actually Katherine Paterson (our current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and author of the sob-inducing Bridge to Terabithia) & John Paterson's story. The original author was Eden Phillpotts, an early-20th century writer and poet who loved setting his stories in his home region of Dartmoor and who happened to be friends with Agatha Christie. This is an abridged version of his 1910 story, paired with the fantastic illustrations of John Rocco (illustrator for the Percy Jackson series and some beautiful picture books).

The titular "Flint Heart" is exactly what it sounds like -- a stone talisman that hardens the heart of the wearer. It was created in the Stone Age to help a soft-hearted man become chief of his tribe but, as is usually the case, it held more power than he bargained for and the man became a violent tyrant. The charm was buried with him, only to be dug out of a cairn by a kindly Victorian farmer. Soon after, the farmer, Billy Jago, also becomes an insufferable boor who mistreats his wife, children and neighbors. Billy's children, especially his son Charles, believe that their only chance of receiving help is from the local fairies and it is to them that they turn. And so, we follow the Flint Heart through many sets of hands (and paws) as it creates mischief in Dartmoor.

This was a fabulously Victorian tale. There are moors and fairies and all sorts of wonderful and fantastical details. One might balk a bit at the part where the children must impart their knowledge on another creature and, of course, the boy teaches math and history and the girl teaches needlework and poetry but, again, it's a late Victorian tale! The illustrations really enhance the book and I wish that my review copy had them in color like the gorgeous one here of a belligerent badger --

I would love to see more Victorian tales come back into fashion in such a brilliant way as this. This story was honest and heartwarming and I really just enjoyed reading it. I'm sure that Z will enjoy it as well (he already thumbed through it and was really into it) and it will definitely make a good bedtime story. There is also supposedly a film version in the works, produced by the Paterson's son. And, if you're interested, you can read the original tale online (which from a brief browse also seems utterly charming).

Remembering to have a good Point of View,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

BBAW Giveaway Winner(s)

Congratulations to the winner of our $20 Out of Print Clothing gift certificate --

And, I've been thinking about Out of Print's mission and want more of you to be able to place orders with them to help Books For Africa so I chose two more winners to receive $10 certificates each --

Erin of Erin Reads!
Eli Squared of Eli to the nth!

And to everyone else, please consider shopping at Out of Print Clothing or even just supporting Books For Africa with a donation.

(Winners, this will be an e-mailed gift certificate to the e-mail address you entered with and it says they are delivered within 1-2 business days.)

Thank you to everyone who entered. I hope you had a fantastic Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

Wearing it well,

Fragile Things Group Read: Four Fragile Things

Continuing on (and featuring another of the covers that this collection has been published with) ...

(Please know that there might be minor SPOILERS in this post.)

First, I would like to say that I did, in fact, go back and read The Fairy Reel out loud this week and it made a difference. I understood it a bit better and now I want to listen to Neil himself read it as well.


And I also read The Hidden Chamber out loud and I still didn't entirely understand it. Originally I didn't really remember the tale of Bluebeard though. And then I went and looked up the Bluebeard story and it made a lot of things clearer once I remembered what it was about. The ghosts are the Bluebeard character's previous wives and the piece is addressed to the current (and final?) one. It's strange to have such a violent man speaking with such a calm and rational voice -- even setting free a butterfly that has strayed into the house. But then you realize that it's not a calm voice but a cold and creepy one. And that he actually tells the woman that it would be best if she ran before ... well ... ::cue finger across the throat motion::


I think I was tricked by this story again. You start by reading the writings of a somewhat shoddy author who seems to have an incredibly over-active imagination and who writes mainly in clichés of the horror genre. Then you see the author's own life interspersed -- and it's a life of clichés and ridiculously horrifying happenings! This was one of Neil's early stories, one that was tucked away in the attic for years. Should it have stayed in the attic? I don't think so. Though it's not a brilliant gem, it's amusing and is just the slightest bit thought-provoking. And I smiled a bit when the fictional author mentioned the novel I am currently still reading, The Mysteries of Udolpho (seriously, it's been over two weeks and I'm barely a third through). If this sort of novel is his reality, I truly feel for him! And, oh, the Poe! There are at least a couple of references to different Poe pieces in the story. Yay! My Poe Fridays have finally paid off.


In the introduction, Neil tells us that this story "had the unsatisfying advantage of being perfectly true". I think it's perfectly satisfying because I don't believe a story needs any length or depth to be affecting, only a sense of personality and tangibility. And this, his true ghostly encounter, is a moment that he relates perfectly, that sends cold tingly sensations down your arms and spine. Are there many things creepier than a malevolent gypsy apparition?


This is another ghost story that is told in the first person. I have to admit that, just like the first time I read it, I came out of it not quite knowing what happened. Who was the storyteller? Why did he draw a door with a red knocker? What exactly happened to the old man and his brothers? What was the deal with their father and his devilish "playhouse"? How could they be ghosts when he, at least, was still alive many years later? I'm hoping that someone else really understood this one because I just can't wrap my brain around it! It's very atmospheric and spooky but also a bit unsatisfying -- like some of the story was missing. I do feel a bit better, though, knowing that Neil kind of feels the same way (from his web journal, March 2003) --
"Michael Chabon's McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales is out in the shops as well. I'm less happy with "Closing Time", which is a ghost story, perhaps, about childhood. It's not a bad story, but it does, on rereading, feel more like a preliminary sketch for something, rather than the thing itself."
Heading home after last call,

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Best Way to Celebrate Bloggers

The best way to celebrate bloggers is, of course, to meet some more of them! Today and tomorrow I'll be heading into the city to meet some lovely bloggers, publicists and authors at KidLitCon. I'm nervous (as usual) but I know I'll have fun once I'm there. I'll try to get some pictures but that's something that I always seem to forget in the moment.

If you want to follow along, I'll be tweeting the experience. I'm @webereading if you don't already follow me. Just look for #kidlitcon!

Still deciding what to wear,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BBAW Giveaway: Gift Certificate to Out-of-Print Clothing

I'm really excited about my giveaway for BBAW this year and wish I had a chance at winning it too. I'm going to be giving away a gift certificate to Out-of-Print Clothing! I love their shirts and I love their mission --
In addition to spreading the joy of reading through our tees, we acknowledge that many parts of the world don't have access to books at all. We are working to change that. For each shirt we sell, one book is donated to a community in need through our partner Books For Africa.
So, if you would like to win a $20 gift certificate toward a tee-shirt, sweatshirt, iPhone case or eReader jacket, just fill out the form below -- no following or comments required. My only request is that only bloggers enter this one. And to help out our international entrants with the higher shipping cost, I will make it $25 if you win and are not in the U.S.!
There are options for men, women and children so I'm sure there's something that you or someone you know would love. Entries are due by Saturday September 17, noon Pacific and the winner will be announced soon after.

Thanks to all bloggers and good luck,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Blogger Appreciation Week Begins Today

For many reasons, I wasn't excited by Book Blogger Appreciation Week this year. I haven't been keeping up with my own blog as well as I want to and I haven't been commenting on the blogs I read as much as I should. I was planning on sitting out on this week altogether. And yet, as the week has approached, I couldn't help but think how lucky I am to have become a part of the book blogging community. I hope that I have contributed something worthwhile so far and I can honestly say that there are bloggers out there who have had a lasting effect on me.

Today's post is actually supposed to be about Community and those bloggers who have "made book blogging a unique experience for you" so it fits in with the only thing I really want to accomplish this week -- to thank book bloggers (in a meaningful way) who have made an impression on me. This may get a bit mushy and so I apologize in advance.

First, I want to again thank Jenny of Jenny's Books for reminding me that blogging should be fun. Her witty and sometimes hilarious posts are always a blast to read. She fills her posts with sugar and vinegar in equal measure, as honesty dictates. She has also reminded me that loving a children's author is nothing to be ashamed about. Sometimes we get caught up in wanting to be taken seriously and forget that we will be respected more for being honest than for having the proper reading list.

But I also want to thank Karen (of Books and Chocolate), Danielle (of A Work in Progress), Jane (of Reading, Writing, Working, Playing), Jenny and Teresa (of Shelf Love) and Amanda (of Dead White Guys) for reminding me how much I love the classics and for constantly bringing new ones to my attention. They may not be the flashiest titles in today's reading world and we might already know how they end but they are still beautiful novels and are well worth reading (sometimes again and again).

And for helping me expand the scope of my reading, I want to thank Natalie (of In Spring it is the Dawn), Bellezza (of Dolce Bellezza), Leeswammes, Iris (of Iris on Books) and Zee (of Notes from the North). They make international fiction accessible and have led me to books that I would never have found on my own. Natalie has been especially influential in introducing me to the world of Japanese fiction that I had been missing out on for so long (and she's an absolute sweetheart). Now I'm eagerly awaiting the release of 1Q84 this fall!

I want to thank Carl (of Stainless Steel Droppings) for hosting the best challenges in the entire bookblogging world. I might not still be blogging if it wasn't for the RIP Challenge! And you have to appreciate any challenge that insists on nothing more than having fun.

For being my friend in the kidlit world that I sometimes dabble in (and hope to be much better about going forward), I want to thank Danielle of There's a Book. She's not only one of the sweetest bloggers out there but she might just be the hardest working one. I'm incredibly sad that she won't be at the Kidlitcon this weekend!

I also want to thank Selena (currently of Luxe Hours) and Cecelia (of Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia) for the meet-ups this year. Part of the joy of the book blogging community is when it spills over into the real world. Both of these ladies are smart and fun to hang out with and I can't wait to do it again!

The other joy of the community is when you are able to discover other joint interests and celebrate them together and so I want to thank Tasha a.k.a. Heidenkind (of Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Books) for being the fearless leader of our Saturday night Hitchfest group. I also want to thank all of the other #hitchfest crew for being an awesome bunch to spend an evening with while watching (and sometimes mocking) the brilliant films of Alfred Hitchcock. (Anyone is welcome to join us on Twitter -- 10pm ET Saturdays!)

And I really, really want to thank Eva of A Striped Armchair for being a curious reader. She reminds me that there's nothing wrong with picking up a book that you know nothing about. You might be annoyed with it and put it down early, but there's also the chance that you will find a new favorite author. Eva also always reminds me that we are all dealt a different hand in life and go through our ups and downs. The mark of good character is that after the downs, you stand up, dust off the cobwebs and start walking again. Thank you for always coming back, Eva!

And finally, I want to thank Tif (of Tif Talks Books) and Jenners (of Life ... With Books). It is my biggest regret that I haven't been able to meet either of these gals in real life yet because I have truly come to consider them as friends. It doesn't matter whether we share almost the exact same reading tastes (Tif) or have almost no reading in common (Jenners). I can always count on them for comments (even if Tif's come a bit late sometimes ;)) and support. They're both very resilient and strong people and I envy them in many ways.

There are so many other bloggers that make this a world that I'm loath to leave and, just because I haven't listed you here, it doesn't mean that I don't want to send out a big THANK YOU to you as well.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fragile Things Group Read: Introduction and Three Fragile Things

I'm very excited to begin my second reading of Neil Gaiman's short story collection Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders with this RIP Challenge group read.

From Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings:
There are 32 short stories in Fragile Things, counting the introduction. Those of you who have read a Neil Gaiman short story collection know that it is a special treat to read the introduction. Not counting Sunday, September 4th (because that is almost upon us), there are 8 Sundays during the R.I.P. Challenge (Sept 1 through Oct 31st). The plan will be to read 4 stories per week and post about them on each Sunday throughout the challenge. The Fragile Things reading will officially begin on September 1st and this first week will include the:
Introduction, A Study in Emerald, The Fairy Reel and October in the Chair.
We will post about these stories on Sunday, September 11th.
My goal is to read only one story a day and write about it that same day so that I can really give a good amount of thought to each piece (we'll see if that happens!). This was the first of Neil's writings that I read in October 2008 (brief thoughts) and I'm guessing that, now that I know him and his style better, I will have different views on some of the pieces (although I will probably love many of the same ones!).

I placed my hold again at the library but then thought that, since this is a second reading, I would just try to find a good copy of the book to own. I was very lucky to find a used hardcover with the beautiful cover above that looks as if it has never been read! So, without further ado, let's start with --


In about 20 pages, Neil Gaiman visits the circumstances behind all of the pieces in the book -- whether they were written for anthologies or gifts, in a brief flash of inspiration or after years of aging in a box in the attic. There's even a short story within the introduction that couldn't find a home elsewhere. What I've found most interesting about Gaiman over the past few years of reading his blog is that he is able to relate the smallest things in life in a way that makes it all seem magical. I think that it's because he believes in the magic of everyday life. You may be doing something mundane or run-of-the-mill but that doesn't change the fact that you are the only person doing it at that moment, in that place, in just that way. I think this is one of the "fragile things" that Gaiman tries to define in the introduction to this collection.
"I believe we owe it to each other to tell stories. It's as close to a credo as I have or will, I suspect, ever get."
"Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds' eggs and human hearts and dreams, are also fragile things, made up of nothing stronger or more lasting than twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks. Or they are words on the air, composed of sounds and ideas--abstract, invisible, gone once they've been spoken--and what could be more frail than that? But some stories, small, simple ones about setting out on adventures or people doing wonders, tales of miracles and monsters, have outlasted all the people who told them, and some of them have outlasted the lands in which they were created."

As a marriage of Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft, this story is pretty straight-forward. There are beasts in caves and the world has been ruled by tentacled monsters for seven hundred years. And, of course, there are mysteries to be solved and Sherlock Holmes is still on the case. And this story proceeds in a fairly predictable manner -- until right before the end when something rather shocking is revealed and it elevates the story to a whole new level. I remember feeling this same way the first time I read the story but somehow had forgotten the twist. I find that the "fragile things" in this story are one's assumptions.


This is a poem of regret at a foolish choice made as a youth. It's simple and sad but also a bit sterile somehow. I'm hoping that other readers have something more to say about it.


This story is quintessential Gaiman. The voice, the topic -- it's exactly what you get in novels like American Gods and The Graveyard Book. In fact, this story was born of the same idea for The Graveyard Book and it shows. It's an archetypal sort of story but at the same time it seems entirely unique. He personifies the Months in such a way that you can actually see them sitting, together in a wood around a campfire, telling stories and bickering. In fact, I went searching to see if the story happened to exist online and came across these illustrations (by artist Mike Sgier) of April and June and these of May and October (from the Tumblr called Pochemuchka) and they are just as I imagined them -- showing that Gaiman's storytelling is so vivid that most readers will actually see these characters the same way in their minds. And the part of the story about a young boy who feels unloved and runs away from home is heartbreaking. I can't recommend this story enough if you want a small taste of Neil Gaiman's work.

I'm already glad that I decided to participate in this group read. I'm experiencing these stories in a different way than I did the first time, especially October in the Chair which I could barely remember but now wanted to read again immediately. This is going to be a wonderful journey.

Until next week,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Release: The Map of Time

This summer I read The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma but have been putting off writing about it for a long time. I don't know if it was my high expectation for the novel (because of the rave reviews, the subject matter--time travel, Jack the Ripper, London, H.G. Wells and much more--and the fact that it was a work in translation from Spain) but it ended up falling short of being a stellar read for me.

I don't want to tell you anything about the story because it really is amazing the way it all unfolds and the scope is rather large and impressive. So much of it was unexpected and really quite smart. And yet I said that it wasn't all it could be, right? This is because it is mainly a collection of long narratives told by various narrators. I kept thinking "don't tell, show!" and it became a bit boring to never be in the action of the story. There were also a few things of a sexual nature that were thrown in for shock value that I didn't think were entirely necessary and one part was just plain gross. Overall, though, I think that this is one worth reading (and maybe worth reading again). I will also inevitably read whichever is the next novel to be translated from this author.

Finally, I wanted to mention the endpapers of the book which are absolutely gorgeous (as is the cover) and were a special treat every time I opened the book. Sometimes I found myself just staring at them and trying to discover new details. If you walk by a copy, be sure and take a peek inside! This picture I snapped for Twitter doesn't even do them justice --

Wondering what is real,

Friday, September 2, 2011

"He was called Smith and was twelve years old."

Months ago, I ordered a book from Powell's (I think it might have been Tom's Midnight Garden) and the site suggested I also buy Smith by Leon Garfield. They had a copy for $2.95 (it's still got the tag so that's how I know) and it sounded like my sort of thing even though I had never heard of it or the author. It also had this cool cover by Brett Helquist (whose art you may recognize from the Series of Unfortunate Events books) so I went for it. Then I let it sit around for a while until I grabbed it this summer and was transported to a Victorian world every bit as vivid and heartwarming and tragic as any Dickens.

It's been a couple of months since I read the book so I'm going to pull the summary from the Powell's site --
This brilliant, picaresque novel follows the adventures of an illiterate young ragamuffin known only as Smith. Smith picks the pocket of a stranger, only to witness immediately the strangers murder. Smith's booty from the theft is an Important Document, no doubt worth quite a lot to somebody, which is proved by the pursuit of Smith by two very shady characters. Smith artfully dodges them and winds up in the odd company of a wealthy blind man, who takes Smith into his home and provides him with an education. But this new comfort is lost when Smith himself is suspected of the very murder he witnessed. Smith was a Boston Globe--Horn Book Honor Book, winner of the Phoenix Award, and a Carnegie Honor Book.
If I had to give Smith one of those strange mash-up tags I would say it's "a YA version of Dickens with all the tragedy and redemption of Jane Eyre". What it really reminds me of is Charles Palliser's The Quincunx, which I loved but which also broke my heart along the way. The nice thing is that this is a book for younger readers and so it has a happy ending. The way it takes to that ending, though, is full of servants, highwaymen and dangerous figures hidden in dark alleys. I was so in love with it that I recently bought another of Garfield's books, Black Jack. Sadly, many of his books are out of print (this one was written in 1967) and so I'm going to have to do some work to find them. I think it will be well worth the effort.

New to me is new enough,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Imbibing Peril Yet Again! (RIP Challenge VI)

'Tis the season again, my old chums, for me to take you on a journey through books that feature the ghostly, the macabre, the perilous and the downright spooky -- the sixth year of Carl's wonderful RIP Challenge! This year, I am making this a true challenge for myself. I have chosen only classics and non-fiction from my own shelves to make my list. These are books that I pass over regularly because they take longer to read. I'm tired of them leering at me (what can I say -- they're true RIP candidates) each time I go to choose my next book. So, over the next two months, I will attempt to read as many of these fiends as possible so that they can be moved from my bedside TBR shelves down to the near-infinite stacks of the already read.

This year's possibles:

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale
The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks by John Curran
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum

The Monk by Matthew Lewis
The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green
The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins
The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe (my first read this season)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Classic Short Stories
The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories, edited by Michael Cox
The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales, edited by Chris Baldick
The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime, edited by Michael Sims
The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime, edited by Michael Sims

As you can see, I need to make use of some of the dollars I've given to Penguin and Oxford! Of course, I might want to sneak in another book or two (or ten) that aren't such weighty reads and, as always, I have plenty to choose from. These were just the closest ones to hand that I could bring together for a picture.

And, finally, Carl recently posted about a couple of group reads for the season that I'm also planning on participating in --Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things short story collection through Sept and Oct (which will be a re-read for me) and The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson in October.

So that signs me up for Peril the First (or as I usually call it, the Infinite Peril, since I always read more than four books), Peril of the Short Story and Peril of the Group Read. I'm sure I'll also do a bit of watching for Peril on the Screen but I'm not sure how much I will write about. I'll decide that as I go along!

Are you going to join the RIP Challenge VI this year? I'm sure that there's at least a few of you that I've tempted into it over the years!

Breaking out in goose flesh,