Horror Shorts #ReadAThon Week

Halloween is one of my favourite times of the year. In previous years, I made October the month of scary movies, but with my new little guy, I really don’t want to put on a horror movie to watch in the background during the day and who can stay up at night when they’re old and caring for their child? I know, I know, I’m a grandma.

This year I knew I couldn’t let Halloween pass without some horror in my life, so I thought I’d pick up a book or something … until I came across Flavorwire’s list of the 50 Scariest Short Stories of All Time (thanks to Quirk Books for sharing!). What better way to get some delicious horror into my life at this time of year than with a short story! Perfect for someone who doesn’t have huge chunks of time to read.

I thought I’d make even more fun of it and have a whole WEEK dedicated to reading some horror short stories — and thought maybe I’d invite my readers to join me!

Short Story Read-A-Thon

This week I’m hoping to get through at least 10 of the stories. Some of these I can listen to, or listen through YouTube, which works for me. The original Flavorwire list had 50 stories but I picked out the ones where they included a link to the story (since I’m cheap like that and like things easy!) … and out of those ones I picked out the ones that looked the most interesting. Hopefully I can get two a day done and be good and spooked by the end of the week!

Care to join me? Why not sign up at the link below:

Here are my choices of stories I’m going to try and read:

  1. The Infamous Bengal Ming by Rajesh Paranesweran (Listen HERE)
  2. Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman (Read HERE)
  3. The Veldt by Ray Bradbury (Read HERE)
  4. The Other Place by Mary Gaitskill (Read HERE)
  5. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates (Read HERE)
  6. The Signal Man by Charles Dickens (Read HERE)
  7. The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs (Read HERE)
  8. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe (Read HERE)
  9. The Road Virus Heads North by Stephen King (Read HERE)
  10. Casting the Runes by M. R. James (Read HERE)
  11. The Dunwich Horror by H. P. Lovecraft (Read HERE)
  12. Out of Skin by Emily Carroll (Read HERE)
  13. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Read HERE)
  14. The Green Ribbon by Alvin Schwartz (Read HERE)
  15. Miriam by Truman Capote (Read HERE)
  16. Dial Tone by Benjamin Percy (Read HERE)
  17. Le Horla by Guy de Maupassant (Read HERE)
  18. A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner (Read HERE)
  19. The Landlady by Roald Dahl (Read HERE)
  20. The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis by Karen Russell (Read HERE)
  21. Silent Snow, Secret Snow by Conrad Aiken (Read HERE)
  22. The Babysitter by Robert Coover (Read HERE)

All of these are from the Flavorwire article, PLUS I think I have a few of my own somewhere to read, including the short that Neil Gaiman released last year!

If you have any recommendations of really good horror short stories, be sure to comment below!

Are you going to join me in my week of horror short stories? 

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Musician Turned Author Turned Queen of the World {A Love Letter to Amanda Palmer}

When I decided to write a blog post about a favourite (and new to me!) musician, I wondered what I should call it. Surely a post wouldn’t be enough … maybe a gush? A love letter? Regardless, I knew that when it comes to books and music and all things beautiful, one name comes to mind these days.

Amanda Palmer.

Or, should I say, Amanda Fucking Palmer.

I’ve been a piano player for years and I remember people always saying that they loved The Dresden Dolls and that I should too because Amanda plays the piano in it. I always told people yeah, I’ve heard of them, but no I don’t listen to them. I figured they were a Tori Amos rip off and just never gave them another thought.

Then Ben Folds happened.

I kind of love Ben Folds, and have for years and years. I remember sitting in front of our tiny television waiting for Tori Amos to come on the Glastonbury Music Festival. This was back when TV was live and I waited and waited for her to come on. As I was waiting, Ben Folds Five came on the TV. They played The Last Polka and I fell completely in love with them. So naturally I listen to everything Ben says.

So when Ben said, “Listen to Amanda Palmer!” I had to listen to him. This was her album produced by Ben, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. I listened to it over and over again and liked some of the songs on it and onto the shelf it went. Then I heard about Theatre is Evil. Actually, I heard about this album for QUITE some time and just never listened to it. Then I put it on my computer and had it going in the background and all was good until Trout Heart Replica came on and I had to stop what I was doing and turn up the music. I listened to that song over and over again. Then I realized that I had to listen to the whole album.

My love for Amanda EXPLODED at that point. I listened to Theatre is Evil on repeat in the car — and still do, MONTHS after first really listening to it — and immediately bought all of The Dresden Doll albums. Fell COMPLETELY in love with it all.

I knew that Amanda was married to Neil Gaiman (my bookish true love) and had to look up everything on YouTube that they’ve done live. I listen to them signing and reading together on their album, An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. I sing Amanda’s songs to the boy. He sings along in the car.

It’s ridiculous, this love, I tell you.

Now she’s written a book.

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I’ve watched Amanda’s TED Talk on YouTube many, many times and it was when I signed up to be a tea consultant that I really watched it. It was all so true and real that it made me cry watching it. We never ask anymore. We think we can do it all ourselves. We think people will just say no. But there is no harm in asking — and sometimes that asking can lead to a yes.

Amanda’s book, The Art of Asking, comes out next month and I’m super excited to read it. I’m still working my way through everything she’s ever done — her music, her videos, her art, her writing. She writes amazing blog posts, posts avidly on Twitter and Facebook, and she’s not afraid to get personal. Being a musician, I have a great respect for her because she is all about SHARING her music for free.

If you’re looking for one new author to read this year, read Amanda. If you’re looking for some amazing music, listen to Amanda. If you want to have your heart fall to pieces and cry your eyes out, just watch the following video. I promise there will be not one dry eye in the house and it’s because of the beauty, the honesty, and the sadness of it all.

SO happy to have found such an amazing artist and I hope that she keeps creating beauty for many years to come.

Have you listened to Amanda Palmer? The Dresden Dolls? Are you planning on reading The Art of Asking? 

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{Reading With Little One} Sharing a love of reading — is it supposed to be hard?

goodnight moonBefore my son came along, I knew that he was going to be a reader. At least, I hoped and hoped and hoped that he would be. One of the first things I bought for him was a book — Goodnight Moon — and since then we’ve gotten even more books!

Surprisingly, I find I’m still trying to incorporate reading into our lives by:

  1. Actually buying books for him. I’m excellent at going online and finding great books for me — but I rarely look at sales for him. Especially for books he might want to read as he grows up. Even when we go out, I always have to remind myself that if mommy gets a few books, he should get at least one! Of course, we should also be using the library, but baby steps … I can barely remember where I put my phone some days, let alone remember to return the library books.
  2. Actually remembering to set aside a reading time for the two of us in the day. Sure, I’ll read my book when he naps or when he goes to bed. But during the day we can get so busy that I forget that we should still be sitting down and reading together.

I was reminded of all of this today when we were at one of his weekly programs, Books for Babies. We had been to the same program when LO was about 3 months old, but he was still super little and wasn’t totally interested in what was going on. Now, he’s almost 11 months and he crawls over into the facilitators lap whenever she reads a story. He loves the touch and feel books and anything with a lion on it. He loves animated voices and singsong verses.

That got me thinking that we really should be doing more of this at home!

I mean, I call myself a reader and we barely read during the day! What’s wrong with this?!?

I always thought that reading with my child would come naturally, since I was a reader myself, but just like everything else I do during the week, I realize that I need to set aside the time and form a habit of doing it. He’s not old enough to come up to me and ask for a book, so I never have that prompt — and how is he going to ask if we never read during the day? I thought it would be easy, but I still need to work at it.

Currently, we read at night before bed — the same 6 books in rotation, all bedtime books — but we have stacks and stacks of other books that I would love to read to him. The other day I talked about how I was having trouble getting the motivation to read and blog lately — despite really, really wanting to do both! — so it’s even harder for me to remember that I have a small child who loves the fun that books bring. And I really don’t want him to only associate reading with bedtime.

Language is so important at this age, so getting into the habit of reading out loud, turning the pages, reading animatedly, and being excited about what we’re reading should really be number one on my list! Even if he’s playing with something else, I can still try and get that excitement about books. How can he get excited about it if all he sees is mom reading a book quietly? I have to show him that reading can be fun!

How do you read to your kids? Did you think it was something that would come naturally? Did you find you had to work at it? Any tips for a new mom trying to raise a reader? 

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