Bargain Bin Gothic Romance

Fountain

Lou Marchetti

Flashing My Shabby Knickers At This Apathetic Stone Fountain And Other Mundane Tales Of Desperation And Revenge

 

Esteban Maroto

Esteban Maroto

Just A Quick Detour Through This Graveyard In My Filmy Négligée And Other Tales Of Efficiency, Intrigue, and Intimatewear

 

Lou Marchetti

Lou Marchetti

Indulging My Perverse Paramour’s Fucking Tweety Bird Fetish Bullshit And Other Twisted Tales Of Terror And Tomfoolery

 

George Ziel

George Ziel

Surely This Rusted, Unlocked, Antique Gate Will Foretall That Hideous Fiend And Other Naive Tales Of The Rich, Beautiful, And Privileged

 

Harry Barton

Harry Barton

What The Fuck Are You Looking At, Tree? And Other Salty Tales Of Irksome Annoyance

 

Robert McGinnis

Robert McGinnis

A Poot In The Night; Or, How I Escaped The Clutches Of My Roguish Captor With Naught But A Gut Full Of Tacos And Refried Beans

 

Harry Barton

Harry Barton

I Think I Left The Asparagus Risotto Simmering Gently On The Stove, and Other Spine-Tingling Tales of Culinary Consternation 

 

George Ziel2

Just Casually Harvesting Some Grain While The Murderer Gains On My Head Start, And Other Thrilling Tales Of Terror

 

Lou Marchetti

Lou Marchetti

Funeral Plot Options And Why It’s Never Too Soon For End-Of-Life Planning, A Tale Of One Woman’s Practicality And Preparedness In The Face Of Immeasurable Horrors And Murder Most Foul

💀 Looking for more absurdity?
Try Kiss Me As The Undead Armies Approach And My Talking Skull Weeps Diamond Tears

💀 Looking for more gothic romance?
Try Embracing the nightside; An interview with My Love Haunted Heart
Or How To Wear A Gothic Romance Novel

Nightmares On Vinyl

Cadabra Records Hound of the Baskervilles

Spoken word horror on vinyl? Yes please! Take a peek at my interview with Cadabra Records’ Jonathan Dennison over at Haute Macabre this week and hasten your eerie October feels with a fearsome tale from their extraordinary catalog of offerings.

See below my ever-expanding collection of Cadabra releases! We had the Dracula album playing (voiced by Tony Todd), as we passed out candy to adorable trick-or-treaters last year. I daresay their parents were not impressed with us.

Cadabra collection

Currently {August 2018}

raritan

August arrives, as it always does, thrumming with the ceaseless drone of cicadas, the looming threat of hurricanes, and a recurring, tender ache in my heart. A strange, soft, sadness for something that never was, wistfulness for certain places best left to exist in memories, a nostalgic sentiment for a timeline in which I, myself, should never have existed.

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These photos were taken almost seven years ago, as I was packing up bits and scraps of a life I’d never fully settled into, preparing a return to a place I never believed I would call home again. Nostalgia is a funny thing, strange and sad, wily and dangerous. Even as I was snapping these photos, I was already seeing the place, and my memories of it, through rose-colored lenses. But that rosiness was never a true thing. Good times did not happen here. I look at this fence today, and recall the beauty of the river beyond, and it’s so easy to think, “how lovely is the lazy current, the fiery glow of August’s setting sun”, and it occurs to me, stark and sudden, how often I despaired, and imagined throwing myself in that very same river. These are terrible, melancholy thoughts, and I have learned throughout the years that nostalgia is no true friend of mine.

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Mathyld (whose loveliness and talents I have recently written about, here at Unquiet Things) fashioned this Lionhearted talisman for me, back in 2011, when I knew I must make a decision that would change –everything– for me. Containing bits of labradorite, rutilated quartz, turquoise, and blue chalcedony, I clutched it for luck, I cradled it for protection, and I channeled all the confidence and strength that I could glean from its tiny, glimmering contents. It took no small amount of bravery and fortitude to walk away from that life, and I needed every bit I could get my hands on.

In the years that have passed, in the place that I am, I have found more love and wonder and satisfaction than I ever dreamed I’d have the courage to grasp. It’s funny to think that this situation, too, may change. That sooner or later the August shrieks of ancient insects will be too distant for my ears to discern, that I may trade the stunning semi-tropical savagery of annual hurricanes, for…well, whatever comes next. What is next? Where is next?  I’ve got some thoughts, but we’re not quite there yet.

cannisters saws

Meanwhile, I’m not going anywhere immediately, so that means we’ve got time to enjoy some rusty old treasures in the form of my late grandmother’s ceramic kitchen canisters, which we finally dusted off and filled with, well, you can clearly read on the canisters themselves what’s meant to fill them. And who am I to defy the word of Canister?

Also recently installed is my late grandfather’s workbench in our garage! Which I will probably never use, though it is wonderfully comforting to know it is nearby. But why do we have so many saws? Yikes. Better not ask too many questions, I reckon.

nobody pool

Typically I like to spend at least one weekend every summer at my sister’s house, during which I do nothing but luxuriate in her swimming pool from the first light of dawn (which is sometimes difficult to gauge through her black out curtains) until midnight –and quite frequently, beyond. In times of yore I drank margaritas all day to celebrate my one day of #mermaidlife hedonism, but as I’ve gotten older, the cocktails have become more and watered down until we’ve simply decided that our middle-aged bods and their glitchy digestive tracts prefer just plain water and ice as accompaniment to our aquatic interlude.

Schedules throughout this June and July were too crazed for our pool date, but I’d be damned if I let the summer go by without it! Thankfully it finally happened this past weekend, although, sadly, the weekend was mostly rainy. I did get in some night swimming, and got to swan about it my Nobody dress, which is probably not intended as a bathing suit cover-up, but eh, whatever. You can’t see it underneath, but my swimsuit is this one, in black, from Modcloth; I’ve had it about four years now and it’s held up pretty well–but considering I only wear it once every 365 days, it had better!

Dragula

Last month my BGF came to visit for a weekend, during which time we lazed about in our pajamas, ate a massive amount of junk food, and watched season two of Dragula in its entirety. Oh my lord, the insane alien baby realness in episode four! It was the perfect stay-in-and-make-poor-decisions weekend, and, as a bonus, she introduced me to Claws, which after having watched Sons of Anarchy, Peaky Blinders, and at least one season of Vikings, was exactly what I wanted. I’m so tired of seeing these shows about men and their macho gangs, doing all sorts of terrible, testosterone-fueled shit to keep their families together–I wanted to see a gang of strong females doing all kinds of terrible shit! I didn’t expect that it would come in the form of feisty co-workers at a nail salon, but that’s what makes it so unexpected and great. I believe that Claws may be what I was hoping for…and the bonus is that the show’s setting is Manatee County, and it contains all of the dumb craziness that could only take place in Florida. (I realize it’s actually filmed in New Orleans, though.)

I haven’t been keeping track of the visual media I’ve been consuming as thoroughly as I have in recent years, but here’s a quick rundown of some other things I have seen over the last month. If I were doing one-word reviews, I’d give them all a yes, even the bad ones (you can tell by the list which one that might be) because I think sometimes there are just things you kind of have to see. Atomic Blonde and Inside Out were my standout favorites, for what it’s worth. And The Great Mouse Detective, though a little silly, was worth it, just to hear Vincent Price as a villainous singing rat.

-The Disaster Artist
-The Room
-This Is The End
-Sharp Objects
-Atomic Blonde
-Antman and the Wasp
-The Great Mouse Detective
-Inside Out
-The Incredibles
-Coco

It’s just that time of year, I guess. Summer, for myriad reasons–some which return yearly, and others always in flux- always just gets me to feeling some kind of way. I’m muddling through, though.  We’ll get there. Where “there” is no longer summer, I guess.

“What I Can’t Live Without”

Julius Bramanto, Market Maiden

I have a confession: I’m a little bit obsessed with celebrity shopping, and the things famous people purportedly “can’t live without”. Amongst other outlets which probably report on such crucial issues, NY Mag has a recurring column about this very thing, and from this I can find out what kind of stuff that notable individuals such as Salman Rushdie or Tituss Burgess or Rupaul love– from the luggage they travel with (and they all seem to have an opinion on luggage) to the superior $50 toothpaste they use, or even learn that they buy bulk Shirataki noodles (ew!) and Crystal Light (really??) and Glade plug-ins. Wow. I mean, what’s the point of even being rich if you are still buying Glade Plug-ins?

I remember thinking, when I was younger, that I wish someone would ask ME what I couldn’t live without. At the time it was this horrifyingly green, kiwi-flavored gloop from The Body Shop called “Born Lippy”, which apparently they still sort of sell, but at a deep discount; probably because it’s really gross and no one ever buys it anymore. It turns out that in the span of time since that initial musing, no one, ever, not even once, as asked me what I can’t live without. Can you believe it? Super rude, right? To be passed up for such a thing?

I decided I’m not waiting any longer, and I’ll share with you right now the ten things I love and can’t live without (in no particular order). Take that, NY Mag! One day you’ll be sorry that you overlooked this lady and her goldmine of interesting stuff!

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1. My feet are always cold, so I’m perpetually on the hunt for super cute socks. Featured here are my current faves, some Totoro socks, found on Amazon.

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2. Dermalogica Ultra Calming products. I know I’ve mentioned this several times before, but it’s taken a while to find something that (mostly) works for my skin, and works mostly consistently. Somewhere in my mid-30’s, my skin went from being slightly oily but mostly well-behaved to very sensitive, easily irritated, and red/inflamed and kind of a pain in the ass. I’ve found a few things over the years that seemed to work well…until they didn’t. The Dermalogica line is one I have been using for two years now and seems to do the best job that it can.

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3. Vanity Fair high cut briefs. I have the occasional fancy bra & panty set, but for the most part, my unmentionables are not something I need to be bothered with. I want black, I want bulk quantities, and I want to reach into my underwear drawer in the dark and know that every time I am going to get exactly what I want. I also sometimes want to go twenty days without going laundry, so I buy A LOT of these things at once.

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4. Punjammies from Sudara. I have a weird relationship with pajamas. I love the bottom portion, but the top portion feels like it’s trying too hard. Or maybe I feel like I’m trying too hard when I wear a full pajama set. I’m just not that person. I feel like pajama people probably use their planners religiously and are super serious about scrubbing their toliets. Nope, not me! I usually end up wearing pajama bottoms and a favorite, worn-in oversized tee to bed at night, and in a weird instance of actually being interested in a Facebook advertisement a few years ago, I learned of the sari pajama pants from Sudara, a company who has a really good story, and whose products I ended up loving so much that by now I have four or five pairs.

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5. While I would not say I am candle-obsessed, I am certainly fragrance obsessed, and ever since moving away from my childhood home (which smelled like an unfortunate combination of cat-pee and cigarette smoke) I vowed I would always have living space that smelled nice. And the Baies candle from Diptyque is the nicest smelling candle I have ever had. “The scent of a bouquet of roses sweetened with black currant leaves” is how it is described, and it’s kinda weird, because I don’t typically like rose-scented items, but this is a fresh, ghostly rose, and if I could only have one candle for the rest of my life, this would be it.

 

Dracula and Rebecca

6. Dracula by Bram Stoker and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. There are few few books that I can read over and over and over again, but these two are definitely at the top of the list. The cover art shown here graces the copies I have on my shelf, though I am ashamed to say that the Dracula book I have also contains Frankenstein– and I have never read Frankenstein all the way through. I am especially sorry to admit this to those whom Frankenstein might be on your “I can read this book over and over” list.

jewels

7. Interesting jewelry. Ever since I was a small child, dressing up in my grandmother’s costume jewelry, shiny adornments were very important to me. I figured no matter how plain and boring you might feel in the faded Sanibel Island tourist tee shirt that your mother made you wear to school that day, the opal pendant you swiped from your Mawga’s jewel box and which secretly hung beneath the cheap cotton material made you feel glamorous and special, and very, very, pretty. I put it back, FYI. I felt awfully guilty about that. I have a roving eye when it comes to gems and treasures, but some of my favorite artisans are Flannery Grace Good, Chase & Scout, bloodmilk, and Arcana Obscura, and I am rarely without a trinket or talisman from at least one of these jewelers on my person.

perfumes

8. Perfumes. I realize these itemizations are going slowly going from very specific product recommendations to more open-ended concepts, but as a further to no. 5 on this list, I well and truly could not live without perfumes and fragrances for reasons I have written about here and which I further discuss here. I am always trying new things and finding new scents to love, and here is a grouping of both recent favorites and long-time beloveds: The Holy Mountain by Apoteker Tepe (discontinued), Comme des Garçons ‘Series 3 Incense: Kyoto, Morocco from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and Laveau from Seance perfumes (I know this is a photo of Dearly Departed, but it’s what I had to work with!)

bill safi

9. A black tee shirt. Or, well, several dozen, if you peek into my drawers. (I write more on this, here.) A black tee and jeans/skirt is my basic uniform, and if I am not wearing that I’m probably wearing a black tunic/dress and leggings. I especially love when my favorite artists produce wearable versions of their creations and I’m always quick to grab one. This tee from Bill Crisafi, however, was a gift that someone else grabbed for me. Thank you, BGF, you know me so well!

honeycrisp

10. Honey Crisp apples. Wow, what a boring thing to talk about, right? But I was wracking my brains to think if there was anything I ate everyday, and food is a super important part of any list that I might be a part of, or putting together. And it’s true, I do eat an apple every day. I generally don’t care for fruit because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Apples, for whatever reason, are the only fruits I can tolerate, and the honey crisp ones are my favorites. I eat them because I figure even if I’m making horrible nutritional choices the rest of the day, well, at least I ate an apple? Also, I read that apples are helpful for those who experience acid reflux, something about them being a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and it is thought that the alkalizing minerals may help relieve symptoms of acid reflux. Are you also a boring old broad who suffers from this affliction? Aside from medications (which is really a last resort for me in any situation), how do you remedy this?

Becky Munich

Bonus material! I asked my partner what he thought were some of the things I couldn’t live without, and his responses were so perfect. I guess he knows me pretty well.

  • Art . Aw, man, how could I forget that? Pictured above are some strange florals I just purchased from Becky Munich
  • Rainy, gloomy days.
  • Spooky stories. I told him I already listed Dracula and Rebecca, and he was like, “who’s Rebecca?” O_O
  • Popcorn. YES! This is my anti-apple treat. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Polyvore (RIP). Or sites that let me play with fashion that I can’t afford. Right now it’s URSTYLE
  • Music. Right now it’s the Atomic Blonde soundtrack, and I’m sure he’s heard me singing aloud I Ran by A Flock Of Seagulls for weeks now

I’m thinking of making this a regular column and perhaps harassing some of my favorite people to tell me about their favorite things! What do you all think?

Links Of The Dead {July 2018}

Skull Collection I by Dimitri Tsykalov

Skull Collection I by Dimitri Tsykalov

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in or related to the Death Industry recently.

This time last year: Links of the Dead {July 2017} | {July 2016}

💀 Megan Devine Shares Thoughftful Insights On How To Help A Grieving Friend

💀 Funeral ads banned by Transport For London over ‘widespread offence’

💀 191 Years After His Death, the Poet William Blake Is Getting a New Tombstone

💀 The crime scene investigator’s ‘murder bag’ was created because of this horrific murder

💀 Dead gorgeous: ancient sarcophagus held mirror, cosmetics

💀 The Mystery of End-of-Life Rallies

💀 Putting death on the school timetable

💀 A Dreamer’s impossible dilemma: where to die?

💀 The Horse Skulls Hidden in the Dance Floors of Ireland

💀 The Tragic, Forgotten History of Zombies

💀 Flowers for the Early Medieval Dead

💀 What the Provincetown AIDS Memorial Leaves Out

💀 Natural Burials Are Rising And That’s Good For The Planet

How To Wear A Jumpsuit

How-To-Wear-A-Jumpsuit

How To Wear A Jumpsuit“…is never a phrase I thought I’d seriously be typing out for you, but, well, I can be wrong sometimes, and here we are.

Over at Haute Macabre right now you will find several suggestions for wearing this head-to-toe one piece wonder, and some totally realistic situations for which they may be appropriate!
This ensemble in particular I can vouch for; the jumpsuit is from Aakasha, the kimono is very inexpensive on amazon, and I own a bag very similar to this one from Baba Studio.

Non Fiction For The Senses

Royal Art Of Poison

Last week in a brief discussion spurred by a book about the bizarre digestive by-product from whales used as a fixative in fine fragrances, Tanya and I came to the enthusiastic conclusion that we needed an outlet wherein we could discuss this weird little gem and other such titles.

Out of this discussion, a new book club was born! Non Fiction For The Senses is “a virtual book club to indulge in non-fiction books about all things relating to the senses, mostly focusing on the history, lore and science around them, as well as books celebrating obsessions with anything like perfumes, potions, intriguing sounds, textiles and textures, and delicious foods. (No cookbooks, though, unless almost exclusively narrative/historical, with barely any recipes.)”

Since we both had our eyes on The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul, we decided that would be the one to kick things off, and we’ll most likely get discussions underway in the next few weeks. Perhaps around the beginning of August, to give everyone time to procure for themselves a copy of the book.

Do you have an infectious curiosity concerning precious things, fancy obsessions and sensual fascinations? If so, peek in on our Goodreads group and request an invite–we’d love to read some fancy books with you!

On Bobby Pins, And Other Things They Do Not Tell Us

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I’ve never really understood the great love for bobby pins. I knew that many people thought them to be an important, even crucial, tool for styling their hair, but I just didn’t get it. Whenever I tried to use a bobby pin, I’d end up using all 50 of them from the package, and no matter how many I used or how tightly or viciously I jammed them into my coils or rolls or twists or buns or braids, they’d all eventually slip out, and my one hundred pounds of hair would be left hanging lopsidedly on my head.

Well, as it turns out, I was using them the wrong way. Not just the wrong technique, mind you, but they were literally oriented the wrong way. On a bobby pin, there is a straight side, and there is a bumpy/rippled/wavy side. (However you might call it. One side is straight and flat, and the other is not.) I don’t know why it does not say so on the packaging, but, the general consensus is* that the wavy side is to face down, against your scalp when you pin your your hair; the ribbing is designed to grip hair and lock it into place.

How am I only just now learning this??

I feel like there’s things in life that people never tell you, and that somehow you’re just expected to know (but how??) and this is definitely one of those things.

Am I the only one? Have you all been using them wrong, too? Or are there other, basic things that you learned late in life, which you could have been doing better or more correctly, if only someone had told you about it? Let’s pool our knowledge! It’s never to late to learn something new.

* I hesitate to say there is one right way to do something. I’m sure that some very professional, deft-fingered stylists can use it the other way, and it’s just fine.

 

Support And Honor Women: Fuck Cancer Benefit Auction Today!

fuck cancer auction

Women are the gateway:
Guardians of the heart,
Keepers of the hearth,
Weavers of the womb,
Sisters of the moon,
Healers of the bones,
Holders of the tomes.
Women are the world.

When I learned that my creative friends were coming together today with a benefit auction to support artist Heather Jean Skawold’s (@Callunajean on instagram, and of DellamorteCo.) mother in her fight against Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer, I thought that the very least I could do was give it a signal boost over here at Unquiet Things. I lost my own mother to cancer back in 2013 and know the feelings of frustration and helplessness that families, friends, and loved ones experience when someone beloved to them goes through such an ordeal. Anything you can do, even the smallest things, are helpful in keeping those feelings of hopelessness at bay…and if you are supporting a worthwhile cause, well naturally, that’s even better.

Elle of Chase & Scout jewelry (featured previously at Unquiet Things) shared the following with me about this wonderful endeavor…

“@Callunajean has been sharing posts about her mother who had just been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, including sharing posts of shaving off her own hair in support. For those that don’t know @callunajean, she is the art director for @dellamorteco and the artist and designer behind @saintcalluna. When Calluna posted about her mother’s diagnosis, another friend had just wrapped up a benefit auction on her IG and I was in the process of putting together a milestone giveaway – I realized I’d much rather do something with true impact. I asked Calluna if she’d be comfortable with it, and we decided to try it out. Calluna and I reached out to our own friends in the community whose artwork resonated with us and I think we have put together a fantastic package.”

Included in the auction are:

+ From the heart, Calluna hand applied silver leaf to a @dellamorteco anatomical heart vase, it’s one of a kind and truly spectacular

+ Signed silkscreen prints of powerful and magical women from @poisonappleprintshop

+An absolutely gorgeous velvet dress collar by @inthechalkgarden

+Pin and a pair of those-to-die for snake-handled scissors from @thecreepingmuseum

+An amethyst and sterling adjustable snake ring from @chaseandscoutjewelry

Starting now, just place a bid in comments of this instagram post (I’ve already bid, come say hi!) and they will be accepting bids through Saturday night. The highest bidder will be contacted with an invoice, and once paid items will ship via fedex ground with signature. The donation will be made to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance.

Donate to a worthy cause and bid to win a collection of art you’ll love for life!

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Currently {7.12.18}

Cereal

I feel myself sinking into my yearly bout of summer malaise and The Morbs. All I want to do is sit on the sofa with a bowl of cereal and a glass with more ice than iced tea, and a big stack of books. I’m feeling less than productive…though truly, if I look at the past three weeks, I’ve gotten quite a bit accomplished. Perhaps I’m pushing through the ennui and heat-induced existential angst, even if it doesn’t feel like that’s what is going on.

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Usually when July rolls around, it’s time for our yearly re-watch of The Lord Of The Rings series. We curl up on the couch with the AC running at full blast, and we watch little Frodo and Samwise and Gandalf and all of their adventures, even though we know them by heart after these many years. The only other movies I can do that with are the Harry Potter series–and while I wouldn’t really consider these my favorite movies, they are the only ones that I can watch over and over and over again. I find them immensely comforting for frazzled nerves and burnt out synapses.  I guess I can also re-watch Soapdish and Hedwig and the Angry Inch on loop forever, but they don’t provide the same soothing experience. Do you have any films on your shelves that you could watch once a year for the rest of your life and never grow tired of them?

Corset 1 Corset 2

Speaking of things that soothe of comfort…lately I’ve dipped my toe (or my waist, really, hur hur) into corsetry. Earlier this year when I stuffed myself into a pair of strangulating Spanx, an interesting benefit beyond flub containment was that I found the torso-pressure really comforting. Like a firm, prolonged hug. Fast forward a few months, and a few of my close friends mentioned that they had purchased corsets, and in the process of seasoning them, (the initial, light and brief wearing of them to get them to nicely conform to your body) they noticed similar mental health benefits. Naturally I couldn’t be left out of Corset Salon, so I purchased one as well, to give it a try. Pictured above is the Mesh Waspie C-201 from Orchard Corsets. I can’t find much in the way of scientific evidence touting corsets as a method of anxiety control –although I suspect it works similarly to the very popular Gravity Blanket in this regard–but what can I say? It works for me. I do notice that I’m able to slow down and breathe (ironically) when I am corseted up. My heart isn’t pounding a mile a minute, like it usually does all day long for no immediately discernible reason. For some reason it calms me. If you’ve got an explanation, I am all ears.

books

Though I did not revisit my side-quest reading challenge from last summer, I have come up with another idea to keep up the pace in my goal to read one hundred books this year. I discovered an email from 2016 wherein I shared with my friend Maika the books I planned to read that summer. Looking back, I maybe read one of them, and no doubt that’s because I was still catching up on the summer reading I had planned for the previous year! My mission this July, should I choose to accept it, is to read the following books that I listed in that missive from June 13, 2016. The Joan Aiken book is a funny thing; I had originally seen a mention of Joan Aiken in the Weird Fiction Review Blog’s review of The Monkey’s Wedding. I was terribly intrigued but then shortly thereafter lost the link to the blog, forgot the blog’s name and definitely forgot both the title of the book, as well as the author. This blog is one I find and lose again quite frequently over the years, and for some reason it never occurs to me to bookmark it, which is silly, because it is a vast treasure trove of future reading ideas! You should remember to bookmark it for yourself.

 

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