#TheReadingQuest TBR

#ReadingQuest TBR

August 13th -September 10th, 2017

    Alright, my bookish comrades, it’s that time again: time for me to embark on a read-a-thon that I, in all likelihood, will only partially complete by the communally agreed upon deadline. Past failures seem to be a poor deterrent for me, though, since I’ve participated in three “read-a-thons” this summer without completing my TBR piles for any of them…and here I am, starting a fourth. I’m not a glutton for punishment. I’m just an optimist. Yeah, optimist–let’s go with that.

    This time, various members of the wider bookish internet community will be embarking on a little project known as “The Reading Quest,” created by the lovely Aentee of the blog “Read at Midnight.”  The gifted CW of “ Read, Think, Ponder”, provided the art for the “Quest Board” that guides the read-a-thon. (You can get all of the details in the link below). There a four potential “paths” along the board:

 

Knight

Mage

Bard

Rouge

   Here is the link to the full info post on “Read at Midnight”https://readatmidnight.com/2017/07/29/thereadingquest-sign-up/ 

My Chosen Path: The Bard

My TBR for “The Bard Path”:

 

A Book with A TV/Movie Adaptation: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

A Fairytale Retelling: Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue (A collection of short stories re-imagining various fairy tales as LGBTQ narratives).

A Book Cover with Striking Typography: Irish Fairy and Folk Tales (Publisher: Fall River Press).

A Book Translated from Another Language: Sappho’s Poetry (Translated from Greek)

A Banned Book:  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The inherent homophobia of the Harry Potter series

This makes me miss my days as a Lit Theory student. This is for any Potter fan that enjoys reading critically, with depth and thoughtfulness. I love the Potter series, but I enjoy a critical approach when it’s well expressed, and this is a great example of that.

No es un verbo

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I feel like every time I talk about Harry Potter I have to start the conversation with, “I love Harry Potter, but…” in the way that one talks about a relative who used to get us good birthday gifts but now we realize are a bigoted piece of shit. It’s a too accurate comparison, since I’ve always felt that this series played as big of a part in my childhood as my family did. And, just like with many of my relatives, my relationship with the Harry Potter series is strained by the fact that I’m a woman who likes women, and JKR, like these subtly and not so subtly homophobic family members, doesn’t seem to like queer people very much.

To be fair, Joanne K Rowling doesn’t seem to like abuse victims, fat people, people of color or the mentally ill very much either…

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Why Is Everyone So Emotional About Trump’s Election?

I notice that many Trump supporters are confused as to why so many people are frightened, after the results of the election. Please read this post from a friend of mine, a half Mexican woman working in the mental health field. It may help you understand why so many people are so upset right now–and it’s better to hear it from the POV of real Americans, and not just from the media:
“Today is difficult day to be a mental health counselor. One of the most important things we do in the room is bring hope to others, and right now I don’t know how I’m going to push through just how devastated I am in order to do that. Those of you who know me know that I’m a pretty optimistic and sunshiny person, and I just don’t have access to that part of myself right now. I am Mexican, and a woman, and it’s a hard reality to face to know that half the country does not believe that I am worth as much as they are.

The thing that keeps me getting through this day is seeing all of your support and love for each other during this troubled time and to see you declare your solidarity with individuals who might be going through a more difficult time than yourself. I’m so proud of your response, and so proud to count myself among your friends.

As a favor to me, if you are able to and you see someone who is having a hard time today please let them know that you see them both as a person and someone who has value in this world. If you aren’t able to, please allow yourself to be comforted by others, and take the space you need today to care for yourself. It might not feel like it, but you matter. Despite what the outcome of this election was and how you feel the world sees you and your worth, you matter to everyone around you, and you have value.”

“Kingdom of Silence”: A Short Fiction Morsel

 

 

Rose Galway had always had a gift for timing. She managed to get under the awning and get her key out of the lock in the library door just as the rain swept in over the artificial landscape behind her. She knew that “artificial” wasn’t, technically, the truest word: the dark green leaves and brilliant purple blooms covering the concrete square of imprisoned earth a few feet behind her were as alive and vital as anything else that might happen to grow in the untended ground along ignored stretches of freeway; but something about those little shocks of vibrancy in what was supposed to be a desert landscape always felt a little false to her. If nothing else, that had the distinction, in Rose’s mind, of being the most natural instances of unnaturalness she had ever seen.
It was just past five o’clock. The incoming storm and the early evening hour were just enough to make the light switch to one side of the door one with the shadows. Rose slid her fingers along the cool surface of stucco until they stumbled over plastic, washing the room in white florescent light. The harsh glow bounced off of the dark polished wood of the front desk, and Rose dropped her bag on the nearest chair without taking her eyes away from the small envelope that just managed to miss being caught in the glare of the light’s reflection.
Rose leaned against the heavy polished wood and smirked as she opened the envelope: a cream-colored, Rose covered thing with a pink flap.
“I’m a little surprised she didn’t perfume it before she left,” Rose muttered, removing the index card inside and reading it softly to the empty room. “Rosie–the new donations are in the back, boxed up against the wall. The re-shelves are on the cart. You know what to do.”
Rose shook her head as she returned the note to its envelope. “If she knows I know what to do, then why does she bother leaving these?” Every night, a card with unneeded instructions; and every night, Rose read it and dropped it in her bag on her way out. She decided that there much have been some unexamined comfort in the ritual for both of them. She tossed the envelope back on the desk as she pivoted toward the back room.
Tall bookshelves, mostly oak, scattered with a few pine, cast their light shadows on the worn green carpet. Ever since she was a child, walking the lines between these shelves had given her the sense of being enveloped in the sweet silence of thick, fragrant trees. Her finger tips wandered upward from her side and brushed over the top edges of musty, thin pages; and down comfortable, warn spines like seasoned hands tracing the face of a lover.
This place belonged to the college now. She had to remind herself, every so often; the memory of the family decision–the meeting that had been held while she was away at school–always stung her. But it was good to remember the facts. The place wasn’t theirs, anymore. But, whatever the deed said, some part of Rose would always belong to it. There was no more she could do about that then there was anything she could do about the deed that her grandmother had signed, or Dr. Sylen’s first visit to the property that summer, when he had seen the building from the street and come in to “have a look around.” Sometimes Rose wished that he had first seen the place at night…then that contract might have been harder to sign. But grandmother had plugged up that hole in the negotiation–she had made him agree that only maintenance staff would be allowed in the library after eight PM. Then she had pulled the necessary strings to insure that that building’s “staff” would be comprised entirely of the family. Rose didn’t want to think about what would happen when they ran out of relatives to employ.

Rose paused near the center of a long shelf and reached behind five red leather bound volumes and pulled out a small notebook. As she turned her back, there was a low, dry scratch behind her. She pivoted in time to force the red volume back into its place before it managed to leave the shelf. She glanced down at the thin white numbers glowing on the screen in her pocket.

The rain had found its voice, rhythmic and insistent against the stone and glass of the roof by the time she settled in behind a walled in wooden desk at the back of the long room. Its steady hum settled around her, filling in the background as she bent over the page. It should have been just enough to help her ignore whatever other rustlings might wind themselves around the little circle of silence that the emptiness and the warmth and the thick glass created.

()

Ryan Hayes had always had a gift for embracing opportunities; and he had been watching the lights and shadows in the windows long enough to recognize the loose padlock on the library’s back door as an opportunity. He pulled down in one hard motion on the slightly rusted lock, and didn’t flinch as it broke off with a low snap. There was no need to bother with formalities; in fact, the front door would likely attract more attention. There were man made annoyances that would barge into the quiet.  She would be listening for that. Back here, the dull snap of the old lock giving way could have been the storm forcing a branch against the building. There was very little chance that his choice of opportunity would ruin his entrance.

He took a step into the library’s back room and blinked into a sudden dullness. There was even less light here than there had been out in the growing storm. The low, quiet glow of the yellow light met him like the stern guard of an old sentinel. It was the kind of light that made the room look uneven and almost sickly; the sort of light that did not want you to stay. The door at the other end of the short room, just visible beyond the two thick book cases that made the space narrow and cast even more shadow on the faded green carpet, the suggestion of bright white fluorescents framed the entrance to the main room of the library. He slid into the soft shadows between the shelves and watched the outline of white light in front of him, feeling suddenly, strangely, like an actor taking deep breaths and drawing his courage in the comforting darkness behind the stage before gliding out into the lights and the music and the noise. A jolt of adrenaline, sweet of sharp, shot through his body and lifted his pulse. In its own way, it was only right, that the muscles in his stomach should tighten with anticipation and his teeth should clinch with the rush of it; but there was confidence in his tensed limbs, not fear. He had been rehearsing for this moment long enough to earn his stage. And he would win his audience over, whatever that took.

()

Rose had nearly lost herself in the glow of the page and the undulating voice of the rain when a low, rhythmic thud on the carpet behind her pulled her awake. She eased her pen down onto her book, taking a deep breath as the air behind her grew warm with life. A sudden, irrational spasm of adrenaline made her fingers grow cold as a smiling, gentle face entered her eye line and she felt her body jolt backward against her will.

“Good lord!” Her voice sounded almost perverse to her own ears as it cut into the near perfect peace of the long, empty room. *No—not quit as empty now.* She felt herself pulled into the reality of the moment like a hand dragging her up from cool water. The boy with the round face raised his hands as he stepped back. There was a familiarity in the gentleness of his smile that only served to confuse her more.

“I’m so sorry,” he was almost laughing, but there was no malice in it. “I wasn’t trying to scare you—I thought you would be closer to the front desk. I did not think you would even hear me come in.”

“Ok,” Rose answered, turning away from the desk. She sat sideways, wrapping her arm around the back of the chair as the moment settled over her, bright and loud, leaving her swallowing against the sudden dryness in her mouth and the near painful fluttering still dying down in her chest. “Since you brought it up, let’s start with that, then. Just how the hell did you get in here? Was a locked front door too subtle a message for you?”

“Wow.” The young man took another step back, but the apologetic smile on his face was edging into a smirk. The amusement in his eyes briefly made her wish that she had picked a heavier hardback from the history shelves before sitting down. “Please, don’t shoot. I didn’t have a chance to try the front door; the rain kind of trapped me in back…and this is a public building, isn’t it?”

Rose felt a sudden stinging somewhere near her diaphragm. She averted her eyes from his for a minute, feeling her face grow warm.

“Oh, right–Technically, you have a point.” The admission still had a defensive edge, but her tone softened a bit as she looked him in the eye again. “I guess I still forget that sometimes.”

There was a flicker of gentleness in his eyes that edged Rose off balance.

“Nothing to be sorry about,’ he muttered. He sounded a bit distracted as he took a hesitant step closer to her desk. She blinked into his stare, feeling her fingers grow cool when she noticed that he did not return the gesture.

“What?”

“Nothing,” he answered quietly, tilting his head a bit as he continued to study her face. “It’s just that that smile looks a little forced.”

Rose pointedly matched the smirk he had offered her a moment ago and leaned away from him toward the low light of the shelf behind her.

“Really? So, you know what my expressions are supposed to look like, now? You know what, buddy? The state might own this building, but my grandmother still built it. I think that gives me just enough clout to toss you out on your soaked hide—and you are quickly wearing out your welcome.”

Rose watched him quirk a light eyebrow and that feeling of leaning too far left on a tight rope settled over her stomach again.

“So you are a Galloway. I thought so—you had to be.”

The realization that it wasn’t a question made Rose’s lungs feel a little bit heavier, just for a moment.

“Yes,” she answered. She swallowed against a sudden strange tightness in her throat and prayed he did not see. “And your point is?”

He took another step toward the desk. Rose pushed her chair backward as he half-sat on the edge of the table. She felt her teeth clench as she watched him watch her, trace the movements of her face. His eyes were a perfect veil of contemplation. In full view, he was hidden from the world.

“I like your smile, Rose.’ When he spoke again, his voice was soft. “The real one, I mean.”

Rose took a slow, deep breath. Willed her face to remain hard. Pressed her gaze into his like mortar meeting glass.

“What was your name, again?”

“You smile more here than anywhere else. I’ve noticed that. It’s nice.”

His voice was earnest, imploring, sliding over her like cool silk. Rose was calculating how quickly she could move from here to the door of the back room when something fused in the back of her mind, the new spark demanding a final piece of understanding.

“Why would you assume I was a Galloway?”

This time, it was his turn to blink.

“I’m sorry?”

“You know my first name—sure. Whatever. I assume you’re a student here. So am I. The school’s not that big.” The series of calculations in the back of her mind had presented her with this scenario moments before, as a gesture of comfort. It wasn’t much more effective hearing it aloud. “But where did you get Galloway?”

He edged in closer.

“You forget that this place,” he glanced up toward the glass in the ceiling, “doesn’t belong to you. You have to be a Galloway.”

The growl of the rain above their heads had been growing steadily. Rose listened to it beat against the glass, aching to crawl its way inside.

“So, that’s what you think of us? That’s sweet, thank you.”

Ryan paused as his ear caught an intrusion; a quiet rustling just below the rhythmic pounding of the rain.

He smiled; a half-formed thing that felt oddly grotesque in the harsh florescent light.

“It’s not your fault,” he answered. “Not really. No more so than any other child like you. You’re Fiona Galloway’s granddaughter. You’re used to having everything to yourself.”

Have leaned forward, resting his weight on one hand. Rose clinched her teeth, but found that her muscles would not obey the command to move.

“I’ve been watching you a long time—I can’t help but watch you. I see you—I see you better than the others do. You love this place—you’re used to it being all your own. I understand that. You aren’t crazy, like they say you are. You just need to learn to share. I think I could teach you that. I think I could teach you a lot of things, Miss Galloway.”

The use of the formal moniker made Rose’s stomach churn. She was seconds from a reply when she caught a new sound under the rhythm of the rain; a low, deliberate rustling from somewhere behind his back. He gaze shot over his shoulder, and she bit down on her bottom lip in the hope of smothering a sudden smile.

It wasn’t fast enough. Ryan smiled, too.

“There,” he added softly, “I knew you’d come around.”

His warm, rough fingers brushed her temple, and edged lightly down the side of her cheek. Rose’s smile broke over her face as the dry, determined rustling that she had learned to love from childhood grew louder.

He smirked, his fingers lingering in the strands of hair near her face.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing,” Rose’s gaze drifted over his shoulder. Her muscles relaxed as she watched the whips of white shadow grow, and develop shape. The form of King Arthur collected itself behind a shelf, its sword growing solid in its hand; the outline of her great grandfather emerged from the shelf to Ryan’s left, as Rose listened to the fifth volume of the Galloway family history drop from its shelf with a low thud. Rose let Ryan’s voice fade into the background as the figures of women in corsets and men in doublets walked forward, soundless, converging on Ryan’s back. He wouldn’t hear them; not yet. But her ear had been taught to love them; her eye had been trained to perceive them long ago.

“You really shouldn’t have done that,” she said finally.

He blinked.

“Done what?”

She forced her gaze back down to his.

“Touched me,” she answered simply. “That was a bad idea.”

Again, that smirk. She would only have to put up with it for a little longer.

“Give me a little more time, and I think you might change your mind about that.”

“I doubt it.”

“Really? Why?”

“I don’t need you to teach me anything, Mr. Hayes,” she answered. “I’ve had plenty of teachers, already. You’re right; Galloway’s do love this place. And this place loves us, too.”

 

 

“Born to Sweep the Light”: A Short Fiction Moment

Author’s Note: The following is an excerpt from a novel in progress, that I thought would work well as a short story.  Hope you enjoy!

Voices hummed in the warm den behind her, and somewhere in the background, the porch grumbled under the weight of footsteps. Rose wasn’t exactly sure how much time had passed; how long before Willa would come out to make sure that she hadn’t passed out in a bush somewhere? She drew in one more breath of cold air, letting it burn her lungs, savoring the sting of vitality. She had just decided to go in and pull Willa away from the vicinity of the kitchen when she felt the tug on the hem of her skirt. For just a moment, her conscious mind went blank. Something in her sub-conscious told her body not to move. Another low moan from the floorboards somewhere on the opposite end of the porch served to push her surface thoughts back into high gear. Don’t let the dark and the alcohol play with you–that could have been anything. “Don’t jump to conclusions.”

Rose gripped the porch beam as a sudden hard tug on the edge of her hair forced her head backward. she reached up to massage the whiplash induced knot at the base of her neck with her finger tips. “Ok…so maybe that one wasn’t my imagination.” Rose The voice was delicate –and small–most likely the developing vocal chords of a child. But more than that, it was clear; the kind of non-electronic, intelligent voice phenomenon that would have Tara and Brittany groping for their cameras and popping the Champaign, and it was inches from Rose’s side. Rose. Listen. Not there. Not there Stay. Stay Lana Mama– Rose–don’t… The air seemed to grow warm and close. Rose’s throat tightened and her body went still as their voices closed in around her. They tugged at the edges of her understanding, demanding their audiences, bleeding their confessions all over her. Not here…in back… Andrew. Stop Andrew.

The longer she stood there, the more clearly their voices pieced together. She wasn’t sure if her presence was making them bold, or if she was just tuning in to them; if some dormant inner ear was stirring awake against her will. The louder they became, the more Rose felt like a deer trapped in a hunter’s crosshairs. They all had their piece to say: so many voices competing for her ear that her mind began to fill with static, each new appeal grabbing for a piece of her psyche. But only one of them, besides the bold little girl who had started the mess, was brave enough to touch her.

Rose felt something brush the fingers of her right hand. Whoever it was, she could feel it–them–right in front of her. It was an odd, unwelcome extra sense that she had hoped she had left behind her in high school, the way some girls leave behind their awkward shyness and unwanted birth noses. What–no, technically, who–whoever had touched her was still very close, probably still standing on the other side of the porch rail divide. rose lifted her gaze from the floorboards and stared straight ahead into the dark. The shape wasn’t as well defined as some she had seen.

When Rose had been younger–around seven, or maybe ten–she had seen them as full bodied manifestations. This one wasn’t quite that well defined: just as shape that was just detailed enough to look human. But Rose could feel the long, soft fingers on hers, just as surely as if she were staring down at them. Rose The voice was definitely female, and firm, insistent. Rose, please, you have to tell Anna…

“No,” Rose slammed her eyes shut, raising her hands, palms out, on either side of her, like a shield against their pleas. “NO. I won’t tell Anna or Andrew or Lana anything. I can’t. I–I’m so sorry. Please, stop. I can’t help you.” Rose could feel most of them step back. The air around her became more even in temperature, and strangely clearer. More breathable. The beehive in her mind began to quiet a little. She could feel the tide of their sorrow swell over her, sticking in her throat and tearing at her heart, and then recede. She felt a familiar stab of insane guilt as the little girl in the red dress let go of her skirt. The only one who didn’t step back was the one who had touched her hand. If anything, she felt closer, pushing into the boundary between them. Rose, please–please tell Anna– The soft creak of a floorboard just to Rose’s left seemed to pull her body back into the warm light of the house behind her. The voice was as clear as any of the others had been, but the air that fell on her cheek was warm.

“You can feel them, too, can’t you?” Rose looked to her left into a pair of warm grey eyes. “And hear them,” she answered, more softly than she meant to, “and sometimes see them. But you know that.” Rose realized with an inward jolt that the insistent presence in front of her had abruptly pulled away. The young man with grey eyes offered Rose a hesitant smile.

“Yeah. I guess it’s our fault for being so close to their territory, hu?” Rose slid her hands up the length of her arms, pressing the impression of her fingers into her flesh.

“Maybe,” she answered finally. She angled her gaze back toward the night, suddenly unwilling to look him in his boyish face. “Not that I can exactly blame them. I’d probably do the same thing in their position.” Rose swallowed as her stomach threated to roll, then receded. “Although, the entire damn world kind of feels like their ‘territory’, sometimes.” Rose heard the soft chuckle to her left, but she didn’t turn to look.

“To us, yeah–I guess it would.” She let the ensuing silence grow long and uncomfortable enough that he felt compelled to fill it. “It really is nice to see you again, Rose.” The gentle sincerity in his voice surprised her enough to make her meet his eyes.

“Yeah…nice to see you, too, Owen. Really.” She felt an odd jolt in her stomach as she realized that she meant it. Owen took a side step toward the railing and slid his hands into the pockets of his slacks.

“Even better to see you back in the game. You always did have a great ear for this stuff. Has Ella recruited you for her investigation into the cemetery yet?” Owen watched Rose’s face become a careful, cold mask, and took an instinctive step back.

“…And you just had to ruin it, didn’t you, O?” Owen blinked. “What? What did I say?” Rose rested a slightly shaky hand on the cold railing and turned to claim his eyes. “It’s not a game, Owen. It never has been. And I’m certainly not back in it.”

Owen sighed. “You’re still on that kick. Rose, I know what happened was a big deal, but I still think you’re wasting–”

“I really should go find my date. I have kept her waiting too long, already.”

Owen was still forming his next thought when Rose turned and pushed her way back into the house, losing herself in the crowd and the light.

 

Method: A Flash Fiction Story

We all have our own ways of patching up the holes in the world. Seth and I have slightly different approaches to this kind of thing. I don’t think he’ll approve of my approach today, but I tell myself it doesn’t matter as I speed up to take the ramp off of the freeway. Sometimes, being a good sister is its own kind of twisted hell.

I kind of knew this was coming the day that I saw the first headline drift across the Wayland Post’s Daily Top Five. I skimmed it, and let the ugly details secure their hooks in me: “unnamed illness increases sensitivity to light…third degree burns result from normally innocuous exposure…exposed flesh begins to break down and take on infection within hours…five Wayland residents hospitalized…ICU.”

The first name that came to me was Seth’s. I knew he would have seen it by then; would have already pulled out stacks of Mom’s old medical journals and his own books about Black Plague physicians who were just a little too committed to their study of the disease. He would be mapping out his next bright idea. My phone rang before I could pick it up to call, and I sat and listened to Seth on the other end of line. Seth, breathless with the force of his Plan. Seth, telling me all about how he would save the world. How he would help stop this new Plague before it started.

Nothing I said after that could change his feverish mind.

()

Seth leaves the map tucked into the crack on the lower edge of my doorframe: a ripped section of California Highway One, with a faded red line running through it. I tape the scrap of map to my dashboard, securing it just within line of vision, and spend the day following that red line until it reaches beyond the end of the freeway. It runs ahead of me off the pavement, through a wide, worn stretch of dirt road. I brush the map with my fingertips like a blessing bauble over a doorway, and I follow the red line onto the road between two endless sheets of barley.

 

It takes me longer than it should to find the little motel on the side of the dirt road. I guess maps can only do so much; especially when you don’t really want to go where they’re taking you. It’s full dark by the time I make it to the door of Room 10. Inside, everything is a faded blue, glowing in a dusty -feeling yellow light. The air in the room smells synthetically clean, like standard hotel air conditioning has just been running.

Seth is lying on the bed. He turns toward me at the squeal of the opening door.

“Ivy,” I can feel the effort it takes him to speak. I can see the hot, dark red of the flesh beneath his skin. Uneven borders of skin retreat from islands of exposed flesh on his face, his hands, his arms. I wonder how long I have until I will be watching the infection set in. He swallows, and I can see the effort of it in the muscles of his neck. “You shouldn’t be here. It’s dangerous.”

I step inside and shut the door. No need to scare the other guests. If we’re quiet, I might be able to get him out of here without anyone seeing.

“It’s been seven hours since I last heard from you. This is why you left me the map, wasn’t it?” Seven hours since he stole a sample vile from Mom’s lab, and drove it out here. The camera capturing the progress of his “experiment” is still set up in one corner of the room. “I’m taking you to a hospital.”

“No—not yet.”

“We’ll get there quick. I drive like the dead, when I have to.”

He tries to push himself up by the heels of his hands. A sharp gasp of pain pushes him onto his back.

“No hospital.” He takes a deep breath. “It’s too soon–”

“No one’s going to find the vile,” I snap. Acidic bile rises into my mouth. “I’ll get rid of it.” He blinks at me for a long, agonizing minute, and then looks back at the camera.

“That’s coming with us.” I speak before he can argue. I won’t waste any more time arguing about his precious research. “But we’re going.”

“It’s not enough,” his throat sounds dry. “This is only the beginning of the process. The next stage–“

“–won’t be on camera.” My voice is cold, clinical. I realize all at once that I spent the drive convincing myself that this stupid plan wouldn’t work. I had expected to find him pacing the room, frustrated about the failed experiment, but fine. Safe. I realize now that I had been feeding myself fairytales. Of course it worked. Of course he would succeed in doing harm, while he was trying to do good.

He opens his mouth to argue–probably to tell me that I’ll waste his research if we leave now, that he needs just fifteen minutes more, just thirty minutes, and then he’ll go –and I pull a narrow glass bottle from my jacket pocket.

“You can come with me willingly, leaning on my shoulder, or I can carry you out in my arms. Either way, you’re coming with me, right now.”

He starts to say something–something about contributions to history, and helping mankind, and being worth the risk–but I’m getting the Latex gloves out of my inside pocket. Taking a napkin from the side table and adding a line of homemade chloroform to its center (Seth isn’t the only one who can do research). I slip one hand behind his head. I kneel there and pray that he doesn’t breathe too deep, that my proportions were right, that I’m doing this right, as my will wraps itself around his.

 

“Tome Topple” Approacheth: A Foray into Epic Fantasy

Between the dates of June 5th and June 19th, 2016, the lovely and engaging Samantha of the YouTube channel “Thoughts on Tomes,” will be hosting (hostess-ing?) a two-week, “read-a-thon.” “Tome Topple,” is intended to encourage those with brick-sized books on their TBR piles to tackle the ink-and-paper beasts, and emerge triumphant (or, at least, with a TBR pile that is a book or two lighter). I have never participated in a “BookTube” read-a-thon, but I’m gearing up for this one. I am looking forward to the opportunity to dig into the plump, juicy books that have been patiently waiting on my shelves for longer than I like to think about; most notably, Gorge R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, series. It took me over a month to read, A Game of Thrones, mainly due to the fact that: A. Epic Fantasy is not my go-to genre, and it has a particular type of “flow” that takes a little getting-used-to; and B. the trade paperback edition of A Game of Thrones, has about four times the page count of a typical book on my shelves. So, we’ll see what kind of a dent I can leave in A Clash of Kings (or what kind of dent it leaves in me) in the span of  that two weeks.

As is tradition with Booktube read-a-thons, “Tome Topple” will involve a few mini-reading challenges over the course of the event. The guidelines of a regular read- a -thon might discourage “doubling up” (i.e. selecting one title to “cover” two or more challenges), but, since this one is focused on larger books, a bit of “double dipping” is understandable, and even encouraged. With that in mind, I am currently trying to settle on three books to cover a total of five challenges: two “tomes” of at least 500 pages, and one shorter book, just in case I need a rest between the bug -killer volumes. The current itinerary looks something like this:

“Tome Topple” Challenges:

  1. Read more than one, “big book” (500 pages or more):
    1. “A Clash of Kings,” by Gorge R.R. Martin
    2. “The Woman in White,” by Willkie Collins
  2. Take a graphic novel brake:
    1. “Blue is the Warmest Color,” by Julie Maroh
  3. Read a big book that is part of a series:
    1. “A Clash of Kings,” by Gorge R.R. Martin
  4. Read over 500 pages in one week
  5. Read an adult novel
    1. “This Present Darkness,” by Frank Peretti

If you have any doorstopper books that you’ve been meaning to get around to, and you would like to join the fun, Sam of “Thoughts on Tomes”, and her associates will be hosting reading sprints via social media during the read-a-thon. Check out Sam’s announcement video below for the lowdown: