Bingo Call: 9/28/2019 – Paint It Black

Reblogged from: Obsidian Blue

 

Paint It Black: Any book with a cover that is primarily black or has the word black in the title, was written by a black author, or relates to rock and roll music.

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1959748/bingo-call-9-28-2019

Halloween Bingo 2019 PreParty — Question for 08/09 (Day 9): Book Suggestions for the New Squares? Part 1: "Paint It Black"

Today’s prompt is for favorite horror reads; that not being much of my thing (outside, perhaps, the gothic classics and anything more edifying or funny rather than scary), I think I’m going to leave that prompt to Char, Bark’s Books (aka Bark at the Ghouls), and the site’s other horror fans.  Instead, I’m going to catch up on the prompt from the day before yesterday — I’m really, really excited about the new squares.

This is going to be another multiple-post reply … because come on, these covers are just too beautiful not to give them a space of their own!

                                                      

 

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1934086/halloween-bingo-2019-preparty-question-for-08-09-day-9-book-suggestions-for-the-new-squares-part-1-paint-it-black

 

All 61 squares revealed: 1 through 18 (New Squares & Horror)

Reblogged from: Moonlight Reader

 

All of the new squares (and scares) have been revealed, and I got these posts put together over the past few days, so I’m ready to reveal ALL OF THE SQUARES!

Buckle up, butter cup.

A note on book lists: where we have already got a working book list, I’ve linked to it. However, word of clarification: the rules have changed a bit in the last 3 years – so not every book on the booklists is necessarily a horror, supernatural, mystery or suspense book. If it shows up on a booklist it has been approved for game play on that space and is “grandfathered in” to eligibility.

The new categories don’t have a book list associated with them yet.

I am going to do this in three posts, because they are going to be very long! You’ve seen the 9 new squares:

  

1. Dark Academia: Any mystery, suspense, supernatural or horror that takes place at a school – high school, college, boarding school, etc.

2. Dystopian Hellscape: This is a multi-genre square! Any book that relates to the fictional depiction of a dystopian society, such as The Handmaid’s Tale or The Hunger Games, would qualify!

3. International Woman of Mystery: This one is fairly obvious and is a twist on the “Terrifying Women” of years past – the only question is what does “international” mean? Basically, it means international to you – the reader. I’m in the U.S., so “international” means women mystery authors from Europe, South America, Asia, etc…

  

4. Psych: Psychological thrillers, plot twists and suspense, unreliable narrators and other mind-fuckery. And, as an aside, any Halloween Bingo book that takes place within or related to an insane asylum, haunted or otherwise, would qualify!

5. Truly Terrifying: Non-fiction that has elements of suspense, horror or mystery, including true crime, both contemporary and historical. Examples would be The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, or The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson. If you have another idea, run it by me – just remember that it has to fit into the general Halloween Bingo criteria of mystery, suspense, horror or supernatural!

6. Paint It Black: Any book with a cover that is primarily black or has the word black in the title, was written by a black author, or relates to rock and roll music.

  

7. Stranger Things: this is a twist on the past 80’s Horror square with elements of the television show  – any horror that has supernatural elements, portal/parallel universes, government plots gone awry or is set or was written in the 1980’s.

8. Film at 11:  The idea for this new space comes courtesy of Linda Hilton! Generally, in order to qualify for Halloween bingo, all books must fit into one of the general genres of horror, mystery, suspense or supernatural. This space is filled by any Halloween bingo book that has been adapted to film or television. For extra fun, you can watch the adaptation – although this is an optional add on!

9. King of Fear: You can read anything written by Stephen King or Joe Hill, or recommended by Stephen King (as long as the recommendation is otherwise eligible for Halloween Bingo).

 

The “horror” squares:

  

10. Genre: Horror: Anything that qualifies as horror. Book list linked here.

11. Southern Gothic: horror set in the Southern part of the United States; Book list linked here.

12. Modern Masters of Horror: horror published in or after 2000. See horror booklist – notes identify sub-categories.

  

13. Fear Street: 1980’s and 1990’s vintage pulp-style series horror, targeted to teens, such as Point Horror, Fear Street and horror fiction that is written/published primarily for a YA or MG audience. Examples would include The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. Book list linked here.

14. Terror in a Small Town: any horror book where the action primarily occurs in a small town or village. Examples would include: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, It by Stephen King. Book list linked here.

15. Slasher Stories: books that share the tropes of classic slasher movies: teen characters, indestructible killers and/or multiple victims. Book list linked here.

  

16. Classic Horror: horror fiction that was published prior to 1980; Book list linked here.

17. American Horror Story: horror set in the United States. See horror booklist – notes identify sub-categories.

19. Stone Cold Horror: this is a late addition because I had too much YA horror, so I combined a couple of categories into Fear Street & needed something else for the horror genre! Horror that takes place primarily in a winter/cold/snow type setting.

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1933537/all-61-squares-revealed-1-through-18

Halloween Bingo 2019 PreParty — Question for 08/03 (Day 3): Favorite Ghostly Tales?

     

As I said in my first pre-party post, I’m not much of a horror reader, and the ghost stories I like almost all either feature a ghost who is the author’s messenger for some larger point, or they’re chiefly characters who have had such an impact on another character’s life, or on a given place, that their “ghostly” presence is in effect like a lasting shadow of their living presence.  Or, of course, we’re really just talking fairy tale — or satire / parody.

It goes without saying that this definition includes Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, The Chimes and The Signalman; as well as the likes of:

* Aladdin from 1001 Nights (the genie is at least a kind of ghost, right?)
* A.S. Byatt: The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye
* Wilkie Collins: Mrs. Zant and the Ghost
* Henry James: The Turn of the Screw
* Naguib Mahfouz: Voices from the Other World: Ancient Egyptian Tales
* Toni Morrison: Beloved
* Terry Pratchett: Wyrd Sisters
* Otfried Preußler: The Little Ghost (a wonderful children’s story about not fearing “the other”)
* Anne Rice: Violin (the last book by her that I read before she turned BBA)
* Theodor Storm: Der Schimmelreiter (The Dykemaster)
* The ghost stories of Edith Wharton (wonderfully atmospheric)

… and of course …

* Oscar Wilde: The Canterville Ghost

 

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1929914/halloween-bingo-2019-preparty-question-for-08-03-day-3-favorite-ghostly-tales

Peter Grainger: An Accidental Death


The British Police Procedural Is Alive and Well

… and I have found yet another favorite new series!

Never let it be said that there are no great new voices in British crime writing, and on top of that, two of my most recent discoveries — Joy Ellis’s Jackman & Evans series and Peter Grainger’s D.C. Smith series — are set in an area not (yet) written to death, the bulge on England’s East coast consisting of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex (though chiefly Norfolk).

A big shout-out to Mike Finn for recommending Peter Grainger’s writing — I have few things to add to his spot-on review, so I’m going to hand over to Mr. Grainger himself instead, who was interviewed about his writing (by Deborah Crombie, no less) and then answered additional readers’ questions here:

http://www.jungleredwriters.com/2018/02/peter-grainger-two-terrific-british.html

(Also, let me just comment that whoever turned Mr. Grainger down at several traditional publishers and pushed him into self-publishing instead needs to have their job credentials reviewed.  Grainger can write rings about plenty of traditionally-published writers and then some.)

The setting of the D.C. Smith series is King’s Lynn, which I visited the year before last, so I can personally attest to how well Mr. Grainger “nails” the town and that particular corner of the Norfolk coast:

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1852545/the-british-police-procedural-is-alive-and-well

Ngaio Marsh: Five Assorted Roderick Alleyn Mysteries

A five-volume foray into Ngaio Marsh’s Roderick Alleyn series: next to Agatha Christie’s, Dorothy Sayers’s, Margery Allingham’s and Patricia Wentworth’s one of the major Great Detective series of the Golden Age; taken together, these five writers are unquestionably the era’s “Queens of Crime.”  (I own print versions of all of Marsh’s novels, too, and pulled those in addition to the audio recordings.)


                                   

Of the five novels revisited, Death and the Dancing Footman had previously been my favorite novel and it continues to be so; it’s a slightly wacky country house locked-room mystery, where a group of guests with previously-existing antagonisms are invited to a house party … with predictable effects; and it certainly doesn’t help that the house is snowed in and thus locked off from its surroundings.

Death and the Dancing Footman is an intra-series sequel of sorts to Overture to Death, which is set in the village closest to the manor where Death and the Dancing Footman is set in turn, with the vicar from Overture to Death briefly making a reappearance as Alleyn’s and his wife’s host in Death and the Dancing Footman.

Marsh’s writing particularly shines where it focuses on characterization, and there are two settings — in addition to country house mysteries — ideally suited for this: village settings and the theatre. Overture to Death is a nice example of the former, Opening Night (published as Night at the Vulcan in the U.S.) of the latter. In Overture to Death, village jealousies and intrigues culminate in a rather cleverly-constructed “murder by piano” (with a built-in service revolver) on the day of the opening of the local amateur theatricals’ latest production.



Opening Night is set in London’s West End, at the (fictitious) Vulcan Theatre, which had already been the setting for Marsh’s second Alleyn novel, Enter a Murderer; and it concerns the “death by greasepaint” of an actor who has made one enemy to many in a cast of bickering performers; plus an idiosyncratic and irrascible playwright.  (The actor manager of the Vulcan is rather obviously modeled on Laurence Olivier — and he is not the only leading actor appearing in Marsh’s novels with whom that is the case.)  As Marsh herself was, first and foremost, a highly-reputed theatrical director who had built an especially solid reputation for her productions of the plays of William Shakespeare, this particular milieu was second nature to her, and consequently her portrayals of actors and the world of the theatre are a special delight to read — and a character’s aptitude at quoting Shakespeare is a near-infallible indication that he is likely one of the “good guys.”  (Obviously, Alleyn himself speaks Shakespeare fluently.)

Opening Night is, again (and very losely speaking), an intra-series sequel of sorts to Surfeit of Lampreys (in the U.S., published as Death of a Peer), where the death of the wealthy Lamprey family patriarch brings Alleyn into an investigative encounter with the dead peer’s quirky, chronically impoverished family — one of whose sons, as a result of the encounter, eventually seeks employment with the Metropolitan Police and returns as P.C. Lamprey in the later novel.


Artists in Crime, finally, is the novel where Alleyn meets his wife-to-be, the feisty, self-assured painter Agatha Troy.  Again, as Marsh (in addition to being a director and writer) was also a trained painter she could speak from experience when writing about Troy, who would become one of the series’s greatest assets and a great complement to “the nice detective” Roderick Alleyn.

Of the audio versions I listened to, I preferred the four read by Anton Lesser to the one by Benedict Cumberbatch (Artists in Crime): While Lesser clearly knew and appreciated the material, Cumberbatch did bring his considerable talent to bear, but it was rather obviously “just a job” to him and he knew nothing about the series.  This showed most obviously in his pronunciation of Alleyn’s name: Marsh had named her inspector for Elizabethan actor Edward “Ned” Alleyn, the star of the Lord Admiral’s Men (the chief competitors of William Shakespeare’s King’s Men), whose name was pronounced ALLen — and Marsh was adamant that this was how her inspector’s name was to be pronounced as well.  Anton Lesser knew and respected that — Cumberbatch didn’t, and to a fan of the series, it was seriously jarring to hear him saying All-EYN over and over again, particularly given the frequency with which the name appears.

 

BookRiot: Happy 200th Birthday, The Nutcracker!

The Nutcracker - E.T.A. Hoffmann,Maurice Sendak,Ralph Manheim At this time each year, thousands of little Claras across the world pull their Victorian nightgowns over their heads, lace up their toe shoes, and prepare to take their place on stage in one of the most coveted roles for an aspiring ballet dancer. But the history of Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet goes beyond twirling Sugar Plum Fairies and pirouetting Rat Kings.

The character we’ve come to know as Clara originally appeared in a story written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816, by the name Marie Stahlbaum. At a holiday party thirty-odd years later, the legendary Alexandre Dumas told his own version of Marie’s surreal fever dream at a party after being tied to a chair by some of his daughter’s friends who demanded they be told a story. The resulting version of Hoffman’s fairy tale was less dark and more suited to a young audience. That was the version that Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky adapted nearly 50 years later for a performance at the Russian Imperial Theatre.

The original performance sold out on opening night (December 18, 1892) and a holiday season has not since passed without a curtain rising on a gorgeous Christmas tree, in the midst of being decorated by the Stahlbaum family and their friends.

 

Happy 200th Birthday, The Nutcracker!:

 

Original posts:
bookriot.com/2016/12/14/happy-200th-birthday-the-nutcracker
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1505737/bookriot-happy-200th-birthday-the-nutcracker

Merken

Merken

Halloween: Incidental Opera

The Bride of Lammermoor - Walter Scott, J.H. Alexander, Kathryn Sutherland … well, sort of.  I’m not sure whether Bonn Opera actually had Halloween in mind when they scheduled the opening night of their production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (based on Walter Scott’s Bride of Lammermoor) – it’s not overly likely, though I wouldn’t put it past them – but it of course fits the topic admirably, and thus made for a very nice post-blackout final accord to the Halloween book bingo for me …

 

… even more so as starring in the title role was Julia Novikova, who debuted in Bonn a few years ago and has since enjoyed a rather impressively successful career, which at a very young age has already taken her, inter alia, to Vienna and Salzburg – and who, of course, gave a phantastic performance as Lucia.

(Ms. Novikova in the “mad scene”)

 

No video of her as Lucia yet, but here she is with the “Moon Song” from one of my all-time favorite operas, Dvorak’s Rusalka

… and for the German speakers, here’s a brief portrait from her debut season at Bonn Opera.

And this, finally, is the famous “mad scene” from Lucia di Lammermoor with Natalie Dessay starring as Lucia (I much preferred Ms. Novikova’s version, though):

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1490341/halloween-incidental-opera

Merken

Sherman Alexie: Reservation Blues

Reservation Blues - Sherman Alexie

Well, more angry than spooky, actually, but anyway … Robert Johnson is running from the devil (“the Gentleman” in the book) and ends up on the Spokane reservation.  Afraid that “the Gentleman” might hear him if he plays his guitar, he hands it over to a young wannabe storyteller named Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who proceeds to form a rock band named Coyote Springs with two of the tribe’s other misfits and, later on, two young women from the Flathead reservation.  The guitar, which very much has a mind of its own, helps them as long as they’re playing reservation and small-town gigs, but when they’re flown out to The Big City (New York) to sign a record deal, they (literally) have a meltdown and fall apart in more senses than one.

 Alexie can be poignantly funny if he chooses to be and he does handle the supernatural elements of the story well (these also include the magical powers of an Indian healer with whom Robert Johnson ultimately finds refuge, and bits of the of course rather bloody 100+year-old Spokane / U.S. military history that impinge on present events) – unfortunately, though, his tale gets bogged down by a huge amount of anger, which ultimately achieves the opposite of the story’s presumably intended effect: Rather than evoking interest and critical thought (as had, in my case at least, Alexie’s short story collection The Toughest Indian In The World), this book made me think more than once, “Man, get that chip off your shoulders and move on!” and “Why am I reading about this bunch of losers to begin with?”  Or maybe, it’s just that I can take short story / bite-size morsels of Alexie much better than one huge chunk – even if I end up gobbling down the bite-size morsels all at the same time, too?!