260 Following

Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

Currently reading

Emerald Station
Daoma Winston
Progress: 157/428 pages
Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
Nancy MacLean
Progress: 134/574 pages
The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance
Northrop Frye
Progress: 43/200 pages
All the President's Men
Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
Progress: 73/383 pages
Women's Gothic and Romantic Fiction: A Reference Guide (American Popular Culture)
Kay Mussell
Progress: 17/157 pages
The Looking-Glass Portrait
Linda Hilton
Really Neat Rocks: A casual introduction to the rocks & gems of Arizona and the lapidary arts
Linda Hilton
Progress: 61/61 pages
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Jon Krakauer
The House of the Spirits
Isabel Allende

Reading progress update: I've read 157 out of 428 pages.

Emerald Station - Daoma Winston

The identity of the serial killer was pretty obvious, and therefore no surprise.


Some of the explanations for why people are doing things, however, make no sense.


For example:


If Gareth believed there was a risk of inherited insanity, why did he apparently just shrug it off after the murderer's death and go ahead to consummate the marriage and have children?

(show spoiler)


The web of relationships is going to get further complicated, I suspect, with revelations of out-of-wedlock children and half-siblings and secret twins.  Which brings up another example of things that make no sense.



If Neil Kennelly knew Anna Yarrow gave birth to Nealanna, why didn't he know about Dale and provide likewise for him?


(show spoiler)



Ah, well, I'll continue to read.  It's an entertaining story, if highly far-fetched, but then, what gothic isn't far-fetched?



Reading progress update: I've read 105 out of 428 pages.

Emerald Station - Daoma Winston

We finally learn the date is 1890.

Instead of downsizing . . . .

Edging Women Out: Victorian Novelists, Publishers, and Social Change - Gaye Tuchman

I bought a book.  ThriftBooks had it for $7 and the Kindle edition is




Um, no.


This was one I used when writing my honors thesis on romance novels, and I had photocopied a lot of pages, added a lot of notes, and the Post-its were sticking out all over the place.  Creating a PDF file would have been next to impossible without re-writing all the notes, so I said the hell with it and ordered the used copy from Thriftbooks.  When it arrives, I will neatly transfer all my notes and then pitch the photocopies.

Reading progress update: I've read 61 out of 428 pages.

Emerald Station - Daoma Winston

Nealanna Yarrow is seventeen.  Raised in Cornwall, she comes to London to care for her ailing mother.  Nowher mother has just died, leaving Nealanna nothing. A solicitor, Mr. Calloway, and a physician, Mr. Davis, are the only other two people in Nealanna's life at the time of her mother's death.  They introduce her to Mr. Neil Kennelly, a fabulously wealthy American who proposes that the penniless, but pretty, Nealanna marry his son Gareth.


And of course no one tells Nealanna . . . anything.  When she asks questions, she gets few answers.  Those she gets are evasive and/or incomplete. 


Unlike some of the pulpier gothics, this story has some substance -- it's 428 pages long, for crying out loud! -- and the writing is solid.  I would have liked to know more precisely when it's set, however.  We have horses and carriages in London, but the Cunard liner for the crossing to America suggests late nineteenth century at least.  The passing reference to Waterman's pen would have left the casual reader in the 1970s at a loss; only with the Internet could I quickly determine the date for Waterman's invention and founding the company that still bears his name is 1884.


I read one of Daoma Winston's books many, many years ago, but I couldn't even tell you which one it was. 

Halloween Bingo 2018 -- Update 001

I'm ashamed of myself, but maybe by putting my humiliation on display, I'll be prompted to do better.


Two books read so far:


9/5/2018      Carnival Moon

10/13/18      The Seance


I'm playing with Photoshop Elements, so my squiggly graffiti lines are red for books read, and I haven't figured out what to do for all the books that have been called so far.  I'm workin' on it.


Cover artist "Gladden" - R. Scott Gladden

After the Torchlight - Diane Carey

This could become a "thing."




The link it to an auction of one of R. Scott Gladden's original oil paintings that looks an awful lot like a romance novel cover.  The signature in the lower right corner matches that on several books I own, including After the Torchlight, one of the gothics from the workshop box.



While scrolling through some of the other paintings on the auction site, I came across this:








Halloween Bingo - Baker Street Irregulars

The Séance - Joan Lowery Nixon

What works as a young adult mystery often just doesn't cut it for an adult reader.


But that's the point.  This is for younger readers who aren't going to be as critical as someone with.more experience and knowledge specifically about mysteries . . . And human nature.


I nonetheless enjoyed reading this. Figuring out who the killer was wasn't all that difficult, though the author set up numerous potential killers, any of whom would have been believable.


whether I've broken out of my slump remains to be seen.

Reading progress update: I've read 67 out of 172 pages.

The Séance - Joan Lowery Nixon

Hmmmmm. . . . .


So Lauren is admitting, very suddenly, that she knows more about Sara's plans than she's ever let on before.  This feels contrived.  Why would Sara have told her?  Sara known Lauren doesn't like her or approve of what she does?  Makes no sense for Sara to tell her anything, or for Lauren to reveal that knowledge like this.

(show spoiler)



Hmmmmm. . . .

Perhaps the brightest I've ever seen

Halloween Bingo 2018 - Baker Street Irregulars

The Séance - Joan Lowery Nixon

From the official Rules:


5. Baker Street Irregulars: mystery that involves children/teens in crime solving.


I have been in a major reading slump for months.  I know the reason, and there's nothing I've been able to do about it.  Powering through hasn't help; not even long-time comfort reads have shaken it.  So I'm going to try this, from my box of forgotten gothics, and see what happens.


Can I get a bingo in 17 days?  Can I get a black-out in 17 days?


We'll see.

The New Used Book Store

It's called Mostly Books by Mary Ann.


I stopped in this morning on my way to the post office.  It was pouring torrential rain, to the point that the driveway into the parking lot was a raging flood.  I drove through it at a slow crawl and still gushed water all the way over the roof of the Blazer.


Mary Ann was sitting at the front desk, playing with some sort of electronic device that emitted a little chirp every few seconds.  With one exception, this continued the entire half hour I was in the store.


She is white-haired, a little frail.  I'd guess her to be in her mid-70s at least.  She seemed cheerful enough, but didn't offer any real introduction to the store, other than to say non-fiction was in the front and fiction in the back.  That's when she got up to turn on the lights in the back, and for those few brief moments the electronic chirping ceased.  After the lights were on, she went back to the desk and the chirping resumed.


The front area of non-fiction is much larger than the back fiction section.  A lot of books on travel, local and international. Lots of do-it-yourself books, on woodworking, building log and adobe homes, pottery, and so on.  (For some reason or other, "craft" books are in the back with the fiction.)  One whole section is devoted to religion, dominated by Bibles and other Christian literature but with a smattering of Eastern religions and even a little "New Age."  There was a brand-new Angel Tarot deck in a sealed package that I almost bought.


Another large section contained Western Americana - cowboys, pioneers, Native American culture and history.


Beyond those broad categories nothing was sorted in any kind of order.  Looking for a book on building an adobe house?  I saw at least four of them, but they weren't next to each other.  They were separated by books on making your own mission-style furniture, backyard barbecue pit, or potter's wheel, raising chickens, and laying brick.  Alphabetical by author?  Are you kidding?  In the religion and philosophy section, Thoreau was next to Gandhi was next to St. Thomas Aquinas was next to Norman Vincent Peale.


Fiction fared little better.  She had a good supply of what looked like newer paperback westerns, but that's not my thing so I didn't give them more than half a glance.  I found the romance section, where at least the authors were separated by last initials, but no further.  I'd guess 90% of the romances were single-title historicals, the rest being long contemporaries.  I saw one paperback copy of Madeleine Brent's Stormswift identical to the one I have, so I didn't grab it.  No Whitneys, no Holts.  There was no section allocated to gothics.  (Let me know if anyone wants the Brent.  I have to go into town again on Monday and will see if it's still available.)


Mysteries were not in any kind of order at all, nor were science fiction and fantasy.


There were boxes and boxes and boxes of unpacked books in a side area.


I was in the store for half an hour.  I saw no signage other than a piece of pink paper taped to the end of one shelf.  An arrow pointing one way said "crafts," and the arrow pointing the other way said "mysteries."


The few books I took off the shelves had no prices on them.  Nor did the tarot deck.  I saw no signs indicating whether this was a place to trade in books for a discount on purchases or what.  Many of the books were obvious library discards; there were a lot of what I'd call "antique" books, older than 1940.


All in all, it was a disappointing experience.  I may go back when I have more time, but I'm not expecting much.

I'm wondering how many . . . .

The Séance - Joan Lowery Nixon

. . . Halloween Bingo squares I could fill with just books from my gothic box discovery today.



Just to add the cover for my 1975 edition.

The Waiting Sands - Susan Howatch

Treasure trove? Don't quite know yet.

There are about 20 boxes of books in the workshop.  I know some of the boxes contain old westerns and there's at least one with old science fiction/fantasy/horror.  By "old" I mean pre-1990.  I already know where there's one with old mysteries.  The rest are general fiction, some non-fiction.  I haven't touched any of them, except the one box of mysteries, since moving here 12 1/2 years ago.


I don't know why I didn't think about the gothics until 2:30 this morning.


Most of the boxes are relatively inaccessible.  I'd have to move other things out of the way to get at them.  Only two boxes are out in the open, one on top of the other.  The one on top -- a copier paper box -- is starting to fall apart.  When I lifted the lid, all the joints came open.


Inside that first box are between 80 and 100 gothics. 


Yep, the first box.


The books are dusty, so I'll have to take a couple of rags out there and clean them up.




Cover artist -- Darrell K. Sweet?

Too Many Candles - Marjorie Eatock

Sweet was much better known for his science fiction and fantasy cover art, but this gothic romance cover looks like his work, too.  I can't see anything on the scanned cover, but there may be something on or inside the book itself.  It's too dark to go out to the workshop and look right now.

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning --The slump at the end of the world?

A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller Jr.

I don't know what category this might fall under for Halloween Bingo, but I found it along with a whole bunch of other "forgotten" books on the back of a shelf in the workshop.  I'm trying to clean out . . . stuff.


My apologies to everyone for unloading some personal shit here over the past couple of weeks.  I'm going to truncate the pornography post and save it to my personal file, but I want to leave your comments visible, so I won't erase the whole thing.  I value your input enormously.


I've lost track of a bunch of books that were listed on my personal inventory spreadsheet and now I can't find them in the locations they're supposed to be.  I worry less about specific editions than I do about specific locations, especially when it means I burden myself with unnecessary duplicates.  I found two of those this morning, and they are already in the car awaiting my next trip into town so I can drop them at the library.