books

Haunting Horror: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Retold By Alvin Schwartz

scary storiesAs mentioned it’s not only Fall but October, and while I know I have a number of reads to get through this year, I wanted to actually read something out of the horror/thriller genre. After coming across this list of 50 Scariest Books, what better way to kick of this notion than revisiting a childhood classic? It’s been decades since I’ve read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I couldn’t get enough of the tales the books contained and the illustrations were perfectly creepy. I remember reading the whole series, but only a few stories remained in my head.
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Currently Reading: Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man)

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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© Image courtesy of L.A. Lanier’s Instagram (@thesquibbler)

I didn’t snag this one on a whim. It was recommended, and over the years I heard good things, but it took me a while to acquire simply because I kept forgetting when on the prowl for new reads and expanding my collection. I decided it would be next because it was more challenging at 580 pages than the other works I’ve read this month. I may have mentioned I’m not the fastest of readers, and because of this I can easily talk myself out of choosing a book to read. Anything beyond 400 pages starts to look intimidating and the “task” of getting through it can be overwhelming, especially if anyone else knows I’m supposedly reading it. And I just don’t trust myself  to be able to tackle the works within “reasonable” amounts of time. But the only way to help improve my reading speed is to keep reading and keep taking on those that take longer to digest, at least on the surface. So far, I’m a little more than halfway through, and pleased with the pace I’ve been going, almost to the point of proud. But that won’t happen until I can check it off as read. Invisible Man hasn’t disappointed either. The writing is far more engaging than I was expecting based on the synopsis and so well executed. Some paragraphs sing almost poetically while others push you to read more, and it makes me pause to reflect and consider things about myself and those around me. And really it’s just been the kind of book I need to read at this moment in my life. So if you were one of few that encouraged me to pick it up. Thank you.

Currently Reading: Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun)

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

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© Image courtesy of L.A. Lanier’s Instagram (@thesquibbler)

As part of the Advanced Placement English curriculum during my junior year (11th grade) of high school, we had the option of reading one of two plays. This and The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. I read the latter with no problem. I purchased both works, but never got around to reading A Raisin in the Sun. Unfortunately, I think some of the reason I didn’t select Hansberry was because there was this sense of you should learn more about your heritage. But when it came to the students it seemed as if ones blackness was called into question if you weren’t reading all of these prominent black female writers when given the option (Toni Morrison, naturally another). I certainly appreciated the fact that a southern suburban high school, gave us the option, and didn’t insist on only reading white American male authors. However, all the other females in my class of black heritage were reading it, and this notion of we’re going to determine who you are was a huge turn off. So, I resisted. Plus the synopsis for Menagerie appealed more to me. What amused me later, was when we watched film adaptations, these students were some of the first who seemed disinterested in either play. Further encouraging me to remove myself from this display of false pride flag waving. Years later, it’s still in my unread pile…until now. After reading one play I was in the mood for another and thought what better time to rectify this wrong that was no fault of Hansberry’s, but self-exploring adolescent circumstances.

If interested in a written review or just to hear my opinions on the work let me know in the comments or contact me 🙂

Currently Reading: Wole Soyinka (Death and The King’s Horseman)

Death And The King’s Horseman: A Play by Wole Soyinka.

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© Image courtesy of L.A. Lanier’s Instagram (@thesquibbler)

I acquired this book on a complimentary whim without any prior knowledge of the author. The cover design, name, and, admittedly, length helped. In the past, I’ve had the habit of trying to stick to recommended lists or authors I remembered from classes. As I matured I realized how limiting that can be, especially for someone who writes, when the majority of those included were renowned North American or English authors, and likely classics. Each time I had the opportunity to read beyond “my” culture, I found a great joy in it, and it’s something I continue and encourage. I also get a kick out of taking a chance and discovering new authors. I’ve made dozens of selections this way prior to my palm sized technology. Now when hitting up book stores, I utilize my cell phone to get a general idea of new authors, if there’s too much doubt, but it’s still just as exciting. Anywho, I don’t expect that by reading more diversely I’ll become some expert of experiences those in other countries face, their histories, or even truly understand what life is/was like, but it does make me feel more globally connected because it provides a wider scope of what it means to be human and not just [insert nationality].

If you’d like a written review or my opinion on this work, feel free to let me know in the comments or contact me. 🙂

Off The Shelf, Back in My Hands

Reading books for leisure is an activity I try to make frequent during the year. Like many, the more engaged I am by the work, the faster I’ll push myself to reach the end, and feel accomplished once I do. Unfortunately, I’m not the quickest of readers. Thinking about how long it may take to finish makes me feel as if I don’t have time to re-read books, no matter how good I thought they were.

Looking at my shelf of books read, if I were to choose one now, it would be Miranda July‘s No One Belongs Here More Than You. I purchased the book on a whim two years after it came out.  After recognizing the name from Me and You and Everyone We Know. I wasn’t sure what to expect from her writing, but once I started reading. I was smitten. Many criticisms accuse her of trying too hard to be “quirky” or “kooky.” I view her as far from traditional or typical. A characteristic that drew me to her to begin with. I didn’t have the impression she was going out of her way or otherwise trying too hard. Her style felt natural, open, honest. Aspects of her characters or the situations she placed them in resonated with various parts of me. Thoughts her characters expressed, might make people feel vulnerable for having them or ashamed to admit. I like that she encourages us to examine ourselves and the relationships we have. My reading of these stories coincided with a puzzling transitional period in my life. The timing might have made me more receptive to the content, but I doubt it affected the experience by much. It would be interesting to see how I feel about No One Belongs Here More Than You now. I haven’t followed her work as closely as I would like, so perhaps revisiting will put me back on track to exploring more.

A Daily Prompt