The Living Dead

Dateline: Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Filing Review: The Living Dead by George A. Romero & Daniel Kraus

First, I do not do zombies. I did watch some of Romero’s films from 1979 to 1981. Since then, I have entirely avoided the genre. My take on zombies, terrifying creatures I refused to admit had existence, believing that would allow me safety. I know, ostrich, I can run with the birds.

I went to the library a few weeks ago and found this new release. I mused perhaps it was time I let an expert better familiarize me with ghouls. 

This book defied my expectations. It did not scare me with the monsters but with the degeneracy of some of the human characters. This book is a significant comment on humanity and so timely in coming out in the pandemic.

It is one of the very best books I have read in recent times. The final chapters were so unbelievably well-done that I was in tears for many pages. 

I do not think a five-star rating does this book justice. Go ahead, indulge me, and let me say it is a ten. You should read it. I highly recommend it. It is a bit long, though, maybe plunge into it over a couple of weekends.

A full-post review, you know I loved it.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Reading, Going On

Less than a month since my last check-in with the books of the moment, but I have done a bit of voracious reading, so I am opting to do this now. Seven titles seem enough in my estimation.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories Kindle Edition by Susanna Clarke, who you may remember from Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, or maybe not. I read it and loved it, so I was happy to see this collection, which did not disappoint. Do not expect these somewhat otherworldly tales to be usual fare. The book is 257 pages, and I found it distinctly satisfying, so I gave it a five-star rating.

The Vine Witch Kindle EditionThe Glamourist (The Vine Witch Book 2) Kindle Edition by Luanne G. Smith, Volume One and Two of Three, which I discussed my not usually doing series, but, this is worth it. These I borrowed on Kindle Unlimited. Both books are wonderfully detailed and beautifully written. The novels are engrossing. Having 263 and 282 pages, respectively, there is not too long an engagement. I only wish The Conjurer were available now. Both books are five-star reads.

Find Me (Inland Empire Book 1) Kindle Edition by Anne Frasier, this is another Kindle Unlimited read. It is a bone chiller. If you are the type to sit up all night with books, I see you doing it with this one. It is not to be taken lightly, or with the lights down low. Just look at the cover, hmmm. I give it five-stars for its 271 pages. It is another series book. I am taking a break before I revisit that author’s mindscape.

Touch Kindle Edition by Clare North, okay, I warned you about the last one. This one is a psychological thriller that never lets up. What if consciousness were transferred simply by touch? What if the person next to you were not who they used to be? It is very well done, and so well written. You might find it hard to lay aside for usual things. It is 439 pages but seems so much shorter than that, and it is undeniably a five-star read.

The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin Kindle Edition, this is a Kindle Unlimited selection of 724 pages. There is a wide range of stories included. All are very satisfactory, and some are extremely strange. On occasion, I decide I should read something classic because you know, it is traditional. This did not disappoint. In Sci-Fi, you cannot find a much more acclaimed female writer than Ursula K. Le Guin. My rating is five-stars, and I have decided to seek other books in her repertoire.

Dark Tales Kindle Edition by Shirley Jackson, who you may recognize because of her story, The Lottery, which was weekly reader fare when I was a teen. The story is well-known. Shirley Jackson was one of the most talented horror writers ever. I much admire her work. Some of the tales in this collection are not nail-biters, but all are at least quietly unsettling and disturbing. She shows that you do not have to write slashers to make a reader check that the doors and windows are tightly locked. This is a swift read at 204 pages, and as a five-star recommendation, it should not be missed.

One note, on the fact I am generous with five-star ratings: I am a highly selective reader and I rarely begin a book that I am not fascinated to read. I read a fair variety, but I also have writers I know by prior experience. Most often when I count off stars it is due to poor editing, not content.

You will find I slip into the fantastical, I need the escape. I hope you found the little trip into my literary tastes to your liking. Until next time, READ, READ, READ. If you want to write, you must read like your life depends on it.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

 

Small Pleasures

Last weekend my mentor arranged a few hours away from his overwork, and we went shopping. This was partly because his schedule prevented our spending time on my birthday, which would not have worked for me either. I copy edited that day.

We went to Dollar Tree, and I fell for the store—everything a dollar, yes, my precious. Now, honestly, this entered my certification as a “personal money trap” to be avoided by me.

He told me to look around, and he went to get specific things. This was not a good place to turn me loose, no.

Anyway, among the things I got, the miniature organizer above. I lived with all my finds a couple of days without unpacking them. Then I took a selection of pens and put them in the organizer. The second day of looking at it unembellished, I got stickers and changed its personality.

It is so sweet that he got those few goodies for me. It does not take a lot to make me happy, a trip to a Dollar Tree with one of my favorite people.

I bet some of you know what I mean.

As a prompt, tell about a small thing that made you feel on top of the world.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Beginning an Experiment

The environment on social media has become increasingly toxic, and as the election nears, I expect that trend to escalate. I am taking some time off, or at least decreasing my time investment, on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

I waste a lot of time on those generally. You may, too. I have some goals that will involve time expended, so I hope to recover a few hours here and there.

This does not preclude future engagement, it is just a sabbatical. I need to know if those influences are harming my attitude and reinforcing negative habits. I have reason to believe that time on social media is not a positive contribution to life.

I will be here because this is my forum. Hopefully, the readership will increase, but my commitment to posting daily will not abate. It is a vow I made to myself, contingent on none other. I wanted to work again like I did in the past, so far, I have exceeded my expectations. I believe I am doing good work, possibly improving with practice.

If you are distressed by postings, disturbed by attitudes, find yourself wishing the ads did not ruin your surfing, perhaps you should consider taking some time off from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well. I am not saying everything about them is terrible, but I think there is evidence that taking a close look at our consumption is prudent. I am making the break for now.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Literary Games

I became a reader and writer simultaneously at age three. I quickly began to employ color and text and illustration together. I found in poetry a heart like unto my own and have written it continuously. I guess my hope to be a publisher was born on my mother’s knees or perhaps in the floorboard of the Buick with the dash lighting shining down on my pages.

The dreams persist.

Reading is my favorite form of entertainment, with my rarely watching television. I usually steer away from series, but I have been drawn into a few lately. The idea is commendable, but the execution leaves much to be desired. I am one who becomes immersed in a book or books. It is most disappointing to be prepared for the continuation of a tale and find that it will be a year before you can learn the rest of the story. Not an easy acceptance for a poet who must complete a whole composition in the space of a page or a bit more.

Sometimes I will circumvent the imposition by waiting until all the volumes are complete to read them, but with current works, that is hardly possible. I lately did this with Tolkien’s masterpieces again. Someday I will open the shrink-wrap and dive into Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, I suppose. I begin to wonder about it because I have had those books over a decade. There is also The Game of Thrones, which I have in series and read two volumes from the library, but have yet to break the shrink-wrap on the collector’s edition.

Bibliophiles can be characters. My family tries to encourage me to dispense with some of my literary collection, and I blatantly refuse. I find my books are comforting, and the possibilities they contain, make me feel life is still an adventure. The missives from other minds are great consolation when the world becomes difficult.

I should think with fifty-four years at the vocation, I would have some idea of how to relate to readers, but I often wonder that others must be so unlike myself. Even so, I continue. I write every day and read a wide variety. I have thought l should make some provision to get out into the world and find some worthy subjects for photographic composition. I tend to be dull and remain close to home, which may not be the worst thing with a worldwide pandemic. My dogs and I are company and family.

The Vine Witch and The Glamourist by Luanne G. Smith have me wishing The Conjurer was not to be released next year. The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith is another I am considering following up.

I wonder, those of you who are readers, what do you like? Are you a series person? Writers, have you been at the craft for years, or are you new with beginner mind?

World symmetry
Captured in quaint syllables,
An eagle on wing.

***************

Sheltering in place
The world no more freedom’s space,
Dreams are not contained.

***************

I see you, a smile,
Broad as day, deeper than night,
Come join in delight.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan