Ventipop #229 :: A Glimmer, The Study of Dreams & Windex Tears

THESE ARE THE MOST INTERESTING, HUMOROUS AND INSPIRING THINGS I FOUND ON THE NET THIS WEEK. IF YOU ENJOY, PLEASE SHARE WITH A FRIEND.

Laugh. Think. Feel.


2 Patrons…and Counting

You may have noticed, I removed all ads from Ventipop when I rebooted the site last month. So…the only revenue I receive is from “Buy Me A Coffee” link on the homepage and the “Become A Patron” link on the top of every page of Venti. Last week, I received a coffee and gained my 2nd Patron which is a monthly contribution. (Thanks Lisa!) I don’t expect it, but it sure is appreciated and good people affirming when it happens. If you can click one of those links and give even a little, it helps offset the costs associated with the site.


Working in a mirror factory is something I can totally see myself doing.
— Anonymous

Ask For Rick Astley…and Ye Shall Receive


Recommendations

Charlesgate Confidential is terrific.
— Stephen King

Book Recommendation - Charlesgate Confidential by Scott Von Doviak

A breathtakingly clever, twist-filled narrative that moves from 1946 to 1988 to 2014 and back again. Charlesgate Confidential is a tremendous modern-day pulp story that combines fact, fiction, legend, and baseball. It reads like an unassisted triple play and is so fun.

I’m not usually attracted to this genre, but even the Wall Street Journal gave it a good review so I decided to check it out. Read it in almost one sitting. Von Doviak does a fantastic job of creating setting, tone, dialogue and characters for each distinctive decade. From the 40’s rat-a-tat-tat rapid fire made-guy dialogue to the 1980’s record shop, big hair-trying to get laid in college narrative to the present day detective looking for treasure storyline, Charlesgate Confidential is a throwback and a flashforward joy of a read all-in-one.

 
Charlesgate Confidential
By Scott Von Doviak
 

Album Recommendation - There’s Always Glimmer by Gia Margaret - Official Site, Featured Song “Groceries”


…The Best Tradition of All


Giving the Gift of Gift Guides

I used to put out a Ventipop Gift Guide, but then I decided my gift to the world would be to stop putting out another gift guide into the world. There’s already way too many of them. But here are my favorite go-to Gift Guides:


Tom Cruise & Christopher McQuarrie Explain The Proper Way To Watch Action Movies On Your TV


Movie Trailer of the Week


Inappropriate Non-PC Comment of the Week

This little gem ran through my brain as I was attending my daughter’s choir concert tonight: “I'd like to start a choir that stars only kids with speech impediments.”

Sway bells wing, aw you wistenin’?

In da wayne, snowis gwistenin’…

Seriously, who wouldn’t be entertained by that?


Pause-vertising

Pause-vertising is the latest attempt by advertisers to get tv viewer’s eyeballs and ears on their commercials. Ads that only run when you pause a tv show while streaming. "Imagine an ad for soda or beer that comes on the screen just as you decide to stop the action during a run of an episode of Black-ish on Hulu to go to the kitchen for a snack, or a pitch for toilet paper that begins to move in the moments before you choose to halt the video stream for a bathroom break," reports Brian Steinberg. "And yet, there’s no guarantee viewers will welcome 'pause-vertising' any more than they do the current crop of 30-second pitches." Read more about Pause-vertising…here.


Snaps & Buckles & Japanese Things…


Science, Bitch!

JAXA new research center

JAXA new research center


Interview of the Week

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel started season two this week. Here’s an interview with the starring actress Rachel Brosnahan. “[Frances McDormand] said something to me that I will never forget, that there seem to be 27,000 new products a day out there to alter your face… but that your face is a road map to your life and to everything that has made you who you are up until that point. And why would you ever want to erase any part of that? That every line on her face is every smile she’s ever smiled and every tear she’s ever cried and frown she’s ever frowned. And she wears them with pride.”


Fall Asleep In Two Minutes

This military secret formula for falling asleep in two minutes is said to work for 96 per cent of people after six weeks of practice.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Relax the muscles in your face, including tongue, jaw and the muscles around the eyes

  2. Drop your shoulders as far down as they’ll go, followed by your upper and lower arm, one side at a time

  3. Breathe out, relaxing your chest followed by your legs, starting from the thighs and working down

  4. You should then spend 10 seconds trying to clear your mind before thinking about one of the three following images:

  • You’re lying in a canoe on a calm lake with nothing but a clear blue sky above you

  • You’re lying in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room

  • You say “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” to yourself over and over for about 10 seconds.


A Beautiful Thing

Can a Windex ad move you to tears?

Nah.

Um.

Maybe.

In a world that has decided that it’s going to lose its mind, be more kind my friend. Try to be more kind.
— Frank Turner

-xxx-

Ventipop #227 :: Thank You America, Life Cereal & A New Way To Read

umbrella.jpg
 

“Sometimes A Gift Is More Than A Gift”


Tsundoku

The Japanese have a word for the unread books that pile up on your desk or nightstand or all over your house: “Tsundoku.” It literally means “reading pile.” As used in this sentence: No home is truly a home without many tsundokus.

tsundoku-600x379.jpg

Life Tips from Jay: A New Way To Read

I’ve read more books this year than I have in a very long time. And I’ve also read more books written by authors I’ve never read before. I’ve accomplished this literary feat by refusing to read critical book reviews and staying away from reading book synopsis or even book jackets. I’m sure this sounds like book blasphemy to the readers out there, but I’ve never enjoyed reading more by simply refusing to know what a book is about before I read it. Critical reviews give way too much away often from a skewed opinion-filled viewpoint; after all, that’s their job. And book jackets are often misleading or give away too many crucial plot points.

My advice to discover new books is to listen to family and friends talk about something new they’ve read, follow your favorite authors on Twitter or bookmark your favorite literary sites on the internet. Anytime you hear anyone mention a book in a positive way, just make a note and add it to your “To Read” list. When the time comes for a new book, whip out the list, don’t do any additional research to discover anything else about the book. Just get it and open to the prologue or page one and start reading. Trust me, knowing nothing beyond someone I respect has stated they enjoyed a book is an invigorating and motivating new way to read. It’s re-ignited my love of reading and helped me discover new exciting authors. So go forth, lick a finger, open a book without expectation or pre-conceived notions. It’s scary but so worth it.


Mesmerized by Animated Mid-Century Book Covers

So much respect for Henning M. Lederer. He masterfully animates minimalist mid-century book covers. If you’re into this, there are more of these videos here.


“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Life Cereal

There was a man in the grocery today. His hands were shaking. He seemed confused.

Off-balance. Wobbly. Not old. Not young. His shirt was torn at the elbow. Plaid shirt. Worn. Torn at the elbow.

Staring in an aisle of cereal. Seeing nothing. The world moving around him. He was still. Except for the shaking hands.

I thought he was going to fall. Swaying like a brittle tree in a strong wind. My hands outstretched to catch. To brace the inevitable fall.

“Sir, do you need help?”

A turn of his head. Slowly. To me. Eyes focusing. Recognition coming. Re-entering the world. A rocket-ship landing. An alien recalibrating to human form.

The societal dances. The pirouettes we perform.

A glitch. A jerk of the lips. A twitch. A mouth evolving to smile. Eyes faraway and glazed to present and friendly.

“Sir?” I repeat.

So feint. A mere whisper.

“My wife always did this.”

I ask, “What is it you are looking for?”

A blanket of sadness drapes, envelops him. He fades. Stares.

“I don’t know.” He says. “I don’t know…”

And he’s gone again.


Mental Yoga or Favorite Long Reads of the Week

  1. Aeon - Believing without evidence is always morally wrong

  2. The New Yorker - How To Control A Machine With Your Brain

  3. The New York Times - 100 Notable Books of 2018


Movie Streams - The Ballad of Buster Scruggs on Netflix, Cam on Netflix


Bits n Pieces

  1. ‘Something beautiful amid total disaster.’ - The Camp Fire and the salvation of London the cat

  2. I may or may not have watched this more than once.

  3. The Layaway Angel - A man walked into a Vermont Walmart and paid off everyone’s layaway bill.

  4. Shoe Company Takes A Stand - Why TOMS is taking a stand to end gun violence.

  5. iOS 12 Update - My favorite new feature by far is “The Space Bar Trick"

ios-12-spacebar-trackpad-mode.gif

International Corner

  1. Northern Ireland - Who is the woman in green?

  2. Finland - ‘We Are Smarter Than That’: Finns Hilariously Mock Trump’s ‘Raking’ Solution

  3. Britain - Brexit chaos could cause Britain to run out of Mars bars in two weeks.

  4. Germany - This is a statue in Berlin titled “Politicians Discussing Global Warming”:

glob-warming.jpg

Apple Holiday Ad :: “Share Your Gift”


Essential Holiday Links

Holiday+Color+Palette.jpg

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody

-xxx-

The Best Thing I Saw Yesterday

Athletes. Comic Book Characters. Movie Stars. Even Singers.

We routinely hail these people as "our heroes" when asked about role models. 

Writers? 

Not that often.

But if you were an avid reader from a young age, writers are very often the very people that shape you, protect you, shield you, embolden you and define you.

The best thing I saw yesterday was Amanda Palmer's striking video paying tribute to author Judy Blume with "a last-minute, very locally-supported (THANK YOU NEW ORLEANS!) video-homage-birthday-card". Ms. Blume turned 80 yesterday.

Amanda Palmer "Judy Blume"

Amanda also wrote a Huffpo essay called "Why Judy Blume Matters". Here's a snippet of the article:

"We live in interesting times. Women are currently scaring the bejesus out of people by doing something very non-dramatic and mundane: Telling It Like It Is. You wouldn’t think that would be so threatening. And yet, women in this culture are insidiously stalked by two questions: “Is it just me?” which is always closely followed by her dark twin sister “Wait am I crazy?” All day and night, everywhere you work, play, drink and have sex, you wonder: Is it just me? Wait am I crazy? You just don’t know unless someone else tells you how it is. Lately, all around the world, women are starting to compare notes and realize that wait, no, it isn’t just us! No, we aren’t crazy! It’s a massive relief, to be honest. We thought maybe we were crazy." - Read the full article
 

The video is jarring, emotional, honest and awesome. Why don't more authors get the recognition they most certainly deserve for the positive influences in our lives?

Thanks, Amanda.

 

...The Best Thing I Saw Yesterday: 

 

Stream or Download "Judy Blume" on Bandcamp

 

Support Amanda Palmer on Patreon

 

Follow & Support Amanda on Twitter / Official Site


Pattern Recognition, Interesting Stories from the Book World

I want to go get a self help book, but I want someone to go with me.
— Jay Estes

Pattern Recognition

Here was my not-so-deep deep thought of the day: I think it's exceptionally strange to think of your favorite books as words organized into a particular order to form a sentence. And then those sentences are arranged in a specific order that constitute our favorite books. Therefore, our favorite books are merely exact patterns of words that appeal to us for some reason. Words in an order telling a story. Jumble those words, the entire plot dissolves into nothingness. Strange. What if our favorite authors become our favorite authors merely because we somehow subconsciously enjoy the order of their word pattens. Their words and sentences have a rhythm we are accustomed to. We have a built-in pattern recognition which makes their writing familiar and reassuring. So, even though a writer releases a new book, we as readers of their work, can still pick up on the hidden beats within the pattern of their words; like hearing a new song from your favorite singer...new music around the lyrics, but the voice is there and that's what we love. Or maybe, as my friend Andy suggested, I need to stop drinking the bong water. Here's some interesting stories from the book world:

Interesting Stories from the Book World

On Tuesday, Nigerian-American writer Tomi Adeyemi succumbs to tears as she holds a copy of her first novel, Children of Blood and Bone, for the first time.


Capsule Beds Tucked Behind The Bookshelves

If you've ever wanted to curl up and get cozy in bed while still inside a bookstore,  then Book Tea Bed is for you.  Read your favorite book plus get a cup of herb tea to help you relax.

There is a place in Tokyo where you can enjoy this amazing and unique kind of accommodation! Book Tea Bed has two branches within Tokyo where you can stay and experience this totally relaxing place.


The Latest Craze: Book Trailers

Book trailers are becoming more and more prevalent and popular. Video is the main reason more and more of us are becoming illiterate, so it's refreshingly ironic that video is the platform of choice to get more peeps to read. Many of the book trailers I've seen are hilariously awful, but some are disturbingly entertaining as well and get you to actually want to read the book! Discover your next read on TrailerShelf.com. Here are a few I like:


Italy's Mud Angels

Courtesy: Andrea Belgrado

Courtesy: Andrea Belgrado

In November, 1966, disaster befell the city of Florence. The Arno – the river that runs through it and that is traversed by the city’s historic bridges – flooded its banks. Some of the worst areas of flooding were in Florence’s historic center, damaging national treasures such as the Piazza Santa Croce.

During the flooding, many documents that recorded the city’s history going back nearly a thousand years were immersed in water that not only contained the mud of the river’s banks, but also oil and other pollutants. In 1966, people observing the damage and knowing the threat to the history of the city, and, therefore, Western Civilization, descended on the city. These “Mud Angels” were thousands of young people who were motivated to try to help.


Book Notes Music Playlists by LargeHeartedBoy

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton EllisKate ChristensenLauren GroffT.C. BoyleDana SpiottaAmy BloomAimee BenderJesmyn WardHeidi JulavitsHari Kunzru, and many others.


New Career Choice: Literary Jeweler

My only options coming out of college with a mass communications degree was "DJ", "Junior Copywriter" or kind of any entry level job ever. So many options. But I had no idea "literary jeweler" was even a thing. If only I had known. Jeremy May takes layers of vintage books and transforms them into wearable works of art.


Books On Vinyl

HarperAudio, the audio imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, will produce a series of vinyl and digital audio titles in 2018, responding to the success of previous vinyl publications Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. The vinyl series will be distributed by Wax Records, an independent record label that specializes in unusual vinyl releases.

The series launches April 18 with the publication of Wild Horses Vinyl Edition + MP3 by Joe Hill, performed by Nate Corddry. Other vinyl editions scheduled for this year include A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni, and The Monarch of the Glennand Black Dog (American Gods sequel novellas) by Neil Gaiman.


Book Your Calendar

Keep up with the latest and greatest in books. The New York Times Book Review has curated a calendar of must-know literary events in 2018, including new books, festivals, film adaptations, and more. Just enter your phone number, get a text, click subscribe and all the literary events for the year are added to your calendar.


More Book Related Stories:

25 Scary Good Books :: #5 - #1

25-scary-good-books.jpg

#05. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is the only non-fiction book on this list. Capote researched six years before writing the true story of the savage murders of the Clutter family. This book disturbed me on an entire other level when I first read it many years ago. With the scariest, most horrific and gruesome books, you can always calm down and feel better by reminding yourself it's just a book. It's fiction. In Cold Blood is saddening, maddening, sickening and mournful. And there's no way out of those emotions as you read it.

In Cold Blood
$9.15
By Truman Capote

#04. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Making this list, I've realized I read a lot of explicit and inappropriate books at a very young age. The Exorcist is another one I really should have waited until I was much older to read. I saw the movie and then read the book. The movie certainly made me want the hall light left on, but the book had me afraid in the daylight. I remember having to parse out the pages of the book. "I'll read five pages tonight then if nothing really bad happens, I'll read five more." There are layers to the book which enhance the story more so than in the movie. Most critics of The Exorcist cite the blasphemy of religion, but the book I think builds a good case for the sanctity of religion in the fight against evil. It's not only until the priest in the story reaffirms his faith that Regan's evil is exorcised. The priest's internal struggle with his faith, one could argue, is as scary as the possession itself. There certainly are twisted and disparaging religion elements in both the book and movie, but that's the point of a terror project; and terrorize both reader and viewer Mr. Blatty certainly does better than most any other book ever written.

The Exorcist
$5.99
By William Peter Blatty

#03. Ghost Story by Peter Straub

There's nothing more haunting than regrets from our past. Ghost Story by Peter Straub is a cornerstone of the horror genre's foundation. Many other authors have written their stories from the blue print of Ghost Story, but not many have ever managed to duplicate the unnerving, masterwork of horror achieved by Peter Straub. Simply put, Ghost Story is just a damn, unsettling read. You feel like a dead hand is going to reach from under your chair and run a bony finger up your leg at any moment. The story takes place in the fictional town of Milburn, New York, and is told from the alternating points of view of five old men. They call themselves the "Chowder Society" and gather periodically to reminisce and share ghost stories. When one of them dies, the terror just mounts and mounts. Ghost Story is a book full of rich, haunting imagery that will settle like cement in your soul. 

Ghost Story
$10.81
By Peter Straub

#02. 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King

Much like Ghost Story, Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot is full of horrible, unrelenting images I will never get out of my head for as long as live. 'Salem's Lot holds a special place in my heart because it was the first book to ever really petrify me, and it was the book that first sparked my love of reading. I knew Superfudge was awesome fun, but I didn't know spooky, heart attack inducing fear could be fun too until this book. The small town setting, an evil moving in to take over, the town banding together to fight evil vampires; all vintage King. The evil of the mind really runs wild in the spaces King leaves in the narrative. I read this under sheets with a flashlight. Heart racing. Sweating. Determined not to look at my window for fear of fanged family friends floating outside asking me to invite them in. It's not all blood and guts. It's more whispers in the dark, shadows in the periphery, thirsty lips grazing your neck. You know, fun.

'Salem's Lot
$6.60
By Stephen King


#01. By Reason of Insanity by Shane Stevens

The creepiest book I've ever read is Shane Steven's By Reason of Insanity. It's one of the best serial killer crime stories of our time. I read this book over twenty years ago. I still compare every other book in the genre to it. It's the gold standard for me. The main character, Thomas Bishop, is evil incarnate and yet Stevens sets up the readers inside his sick, twisted brain and somehow manages to evoke sympathy for him. The realization of the sympathy and empathy for someone/something so evil is one of the most horrific things about the book. You're not rooting for him to kill, but you understand why he's doing what he's doing. This isn't only the best horror book I've ever read, it's one of the best books I've ever read period. It's unrelenting, harrowing, captivating and genuinely frightening. You will not be able to put it down. But be prepared for an ending that will leave you shocked, satisfied and screaming "Oh, My God!" over and over again.

Grind #106 :: Literary Links for Book Loving Lurkers

AKA // Imaginary Bookstore, Typewriters & Tittles //

Tom Hanks perusing our Imaginary Bookstore. That's me on the right.

Tom Hanks perusing our Imaginary Bookstore. That's me on the right.

In this literary edition of the Grind, let's close our eyes and pretend we're in a dusty, old gnarly bookshop hanging out with the motley crew of Mark Twain, Tom Hanks, John Steinbeck, Wile E. Coyote, Christopher Moore, Neil Gaiman, Kathleen Norris and Cormac McCarthy. The sounds of a creaky floor in our ears and the scent of burnt coffee in our noses. It's a good conversation centered on the best book adaptations to movies, ways to read more, the best books of 2016 and the best upcoming books this spring. There's a lively debate on the most beautiful libraries in every state and a discussion about a grad student recently discovering a lost Walt Whitman novel. Each of us recommend books we bet no one in the group has read. It's a good day. Just a group of people talking books.

But then Steinbeck starts piping up about racism and bigotry and Hanks gets obsessed with typewriters and Gaiman wants to know what the dot atop the letter i is called, and we all realize there's something really, really wrong with Christopher Moore. It's all downhill from there. And just as we bat our eyes open, we hear a high pitched, "Beep! Beep!" and the whole illusion gets blown to holy hell as Wile E. Coyote sets off a few crates of TNT. Our imaginary bookstore is a pile of smoldering kindling.

Good thing I wrote it all down for you. Enjoy this edition of the Grind. I'm off to read The Fireman.

Beep. Beep.


THE LINKS


Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier.
— Kathleen Norris


To read all the books in the British Library at a rate of five a day would take 80,000 years.


 

The dot above the letter i is called a tittle; which is also where the phrase "To a T" comes from..."To a Tittle," meaning to the smallest detail. Now you know.


"Danger, Food Guy! Danger!"

"Danger, Food Guy! Danger!"


...The Last Drop

Grind #106 :: Literary Links for Book Loving Lurkers ~ Fin.

-xxx-


The Good Press :: Wrapped Up In Words, Beautiful Books and The Glow

People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
— Elizabeth Kubler Ross
Thanks-Giving Square :: Dallas, Texas

Thanks-Giving Square :: Dallas, Texas

Literally speaking, we're back to the subject of books today on Ventipop. The Good Press :: Wrapped Up in Words (our wine and legs literally adorned with stories), Beautiful Books (a list of them) and The Glow (a new song by Matt Pond PA). It's a mellow kind of day. Warm your hands around a mug and get your read on. And may your Patronus not be a stoat. Cheers.



This song is dedicated to the early, dark evenings of a 1980's Ohio and my family that lived there. (Matt Pond PA is one of the great unknown bands. Their new album Winter Lives came out last Friday and is fantastic. Get to know them.)


Only an illiterate Grinch would not like this gift.

Only an illiterate Grinch would not like this gift.


Ninety-Nine Stories Of God by Joy Williams is exactly what the title says it is; a collection of very short-stories about the supreme being in wonderfully twisted situations from the mind of Williams herself. It's already a featured read on many 2016 Top Ten Lists. It's so fun and simultaneously thought-provoking; not to be missed.

Wry and playful, except for when densely allusive and willfully obtuse, Ninety-Nine Stories of God is a treasure trove of bafflements and tiny masterpieces.
— The New York Times
Quietly splendid. . . . I believe in art, and Ninety-Nine Stories of God feels like prayer to me.
— Boston Globe
I would follow the trail of Joy Williams’s words―always beautiful, compelling, and so wise―anywhere they led.
— Chuck Palahniuk, author of CHOKE and FIGHT CLUB


I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart.” ~ Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
History was like an old house at night. With all the lamps lit. And ancestor whispering inside. To understand history, we have to go inside and listen to what they’re saying. And to look at the books and the pictures on the wall. And smell the smells. But we can’t go in, because we’ve been locked out. And when we try and listen, all we hear is a whispering. And we cannot understand the whispering, because our minds have been invaded by a war. A war that we have won and lost. The very worst sort of war. A war that captures dreams and re-dreams them. A war that has made us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.” ~ The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
 

  • Hardcore comic book fans probably already know about ComicList.com where all comic book release dates are conveniently listed by publisher. And over at FreshComics.com, release dates are listed with covers and a brief synopsis of each new edition.
  • If you need to know when the next book in a series is going to be released, head over to Fictfact's Book Release Calendar.
  • If you're into Romance Novels, check out this page which breaks down romance novels into very specific sub-categories. Apparently, "Priest Heroes" and "Nurse/Doctor Heroines" are things.
  • There's also XOXO After Dark which teases itself as "a community site offering the best in romance, urban fantasy and women’s fiction".
  • My hope would be I could finish the book before I was too drunk to understand the ending: Pairing Wine & Literature, Italian Book Bottles wrapped in short stories.


...The Last Drop

One Good Thing. The Washington Post is offering free subscriptions to students, military and government employees. Here's the step-by-step process sign-up process.


The Good Press :: Wrapped Up In Words, Beautiful Books and The Glow ~ fin.

-XXX-

25 Scary Good Books :: #5 - #1

If you missed it, we're counting down Ventipop's 25 Scary Good Books.

25-scary-good-books.jpg

#05. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is the only non-fiction book on this list. Capote researched six years before writing the true story of the savage murders of the Clutter family. This book disturbed me on an entire other level when I first read it many years ago. With the scariest, most horrific and gruesome books, you can always calm down and feel better by reminding yourself it's just a book. It's fiction. In Cold Blood is saddening, maddening, sickening and mournful. And there's no way out of those emotions as you read it.

In Cold Blood
$9.15
By Truman Capote


#04. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Making this list, I've realized I read a lot of explicit and inappropriate books at a very young age. The Exorcist is another one I really should have waited until I was much older to read. I saw the movie and then read the book. The movie certainly made me want the hall light left on, but the book had me afraid in the daylight. I remember having to parse out the pages of the book. "I'll read five pages tonight then if nothing really bad happens, I'll read five more." There are layers to the book which enhance the story more so than in the movie. Most critics of The Exorcist cite the blasphemy of religion, but the book I think builds a good case for the sanctity of religion in the fight against evil. It's not only until the priest in the story reaffirms his faith that Regan's evil is exorcised. The priest's internal struggle with his faith, one could argue, is as scary as the possession itself. There certainly are twisted and disparaging religion elements in both the book and movie, but that's the point of a terror project; and terrorize both reader and viewer Mr. Blatty certainly does better than most any other book ever written.

The Exorcist
$5.99
By William Peter Blatty


#03. Ghost Story by Peter Straub

There's nothing more haunting than regrets from our past. Ghost Story by Peter Straub is a cornerstone of the horror genre's foundation. Many other authors have written their stories from the blue print of Ghost Story, but not many have ever managed to duplicate the unnerving, masterwork of horror achieved by Peter Straub. Simply put, Ghost Story is just a damn, unsettling read. You feel like a dead hand is going to reach from under your chair and run a bony finger up your leg at any moment. The story takes place in the fictional town of Milburn, New York, and is told from the alternating points of view of five old men. They call themselves the "Chowder Society" and gather periodically to reminisce and share ghost stories. When one of them dies, the terror just mounts and mounts. Ghost Story is a book full of rich, haunting imagery that will settle like cement in your soul. 

Ghost Story
$10.81
By Peter Straub

#02. 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King

Much like Ghost Story, Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot is full of horrible, unrelenting images I will never get out of my head for as long as live. 'Salem's Lot holds a special place in my heart because it was the first book to ever really petrify me, and it was the book that first sparked my love of reading. I knew Superfudge was awesome fun, but I didn't know spooky, heart attack inducing fear could be fun too until this book. The small town setting, an evil moving in to take over, the town banding together to fight evil vampires; all vintage King. The evil of the mind really runs wild in the spaces King leaves in the narrative. I read this under sheets with a flashlight. Heart racing. Sweating. Determined not to look at my window for fear of fanged family friends floating outside asking me to invite them in. It's not all blood and guts. It's more whispers in the dark, shadows in the periphery, thirsty lips grazing your neck. You know, fun.

'Salem's Lot
$6.60
By Stephen King


#01. By Reason of Insanity by Shane Stevens

The creepiest book I've ever read is Shane Steven's By Reason of Insanity. It's one of the best serial killer crime stories of our time. I read this book over twenty years ago. I still compare every other book in the genre to it. It's the gold standard for me. The main character, Thomas Bishop, is evil incarnate and yet Stevens sets up the readers inside his sick, twisted brain and somehow manages to evoke sympathy for him. The realization of the sympathy and empathy for someone/something so evil is one of the most horrific things about the book. You're not rooting for him to kill, but you understand why he's doing what he's doing. This isn't only the best horror book I've ever read, it's one of the best books I've ever read period. It's unrelenting, harrowing, captivating and genuinely frightening. You will not be able to put it down. But be prepared for an ending that will leave you shocked, satisfied and screaming "Oh, My God!" over and over again.



Grind #74 :: A Spiderweb of Literary Links & Scary Good Books

When you hear the wind, rain and leaves whipping around outside and your house smells like Folgers and Vicks VapoRub had a baby, it's safe to assume Autumn has fully arrived. We're only nine days out from Halloween, and I'm in full fright mode with today's Daily Grind :: A Spiderweb of Literary Links and Scary Good Books.

Little cream, little sugar, little Vicks VapoRub...yum.

Little cream, little sugar, little Vicks VapoRub...yum.

We've got links to book recommendations, author's favorite books, books you can't put down, independent book stores are NOT going down, a bookstore road trip, a stairway to heaven and we kick off Ventipop's Top 25 Scary Book Countdown. Today, we have books #25-21.

Stay inside, huddle up with loved ones this weekend if you can, maybe grab a good book, a cup of coffee and some Vicks and go to town. Enjoy.


Something Wicked This Way Comes

As Hallow's Eve approaches, this is a good list to get us started: "16 Books That Will Give You Nightmares." How many have you read?



Stairway to Bookworm Heaven

A creative mother decorated her staircase with her favorite book covers, and it looks really amazing:


J.K. Rowling Loves This Book

What could be more flattering than receiving a message from J.K. Rowling which reads, "This is the most I've ever laughed out loud at a book." This is the book.



Independently Wealthy

Independent book store openings have risen 21% between the years of 2010-2015. After years of losses and closings, the decimation of the mom and pop corner bookstore are on somewhat of a comeback. Amen. And the very thing that was presumed to be the cause of their extinction, is the very thing that's helping bring them back to life: the Internet.

Rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.



Party Up Top, Library On The Bottom

"There used to be parties in the apartments on the top floors of New York City's branch libraries. On other nights, when the libraries were closed, the kids who lived there might sit reading alone among the books or roll around on the wooden library carts—if they weren't dusting the shelves or shoveling coal. Their hopscotch courts were on the roof. A cat might sneak down the stairs to investigate the library patrons." - From Atlas Obscura: "Inside the New York Public Library's Last, Secret Apartments"

 




You Had Me At "Bookstore Roadtrip"

From Ojai, California to Charleston, West Virginia and everywhere inbetween. Buzzfeed maps a road trip to 19 Beautiful Bookshops in America.


Black Marks On A White Page

Brainpickings attempts to answer the question, "Why Do We Read?"

The 6-Fingered Man Reads

Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Genius Christopher Guest dishes on his 10 favorite books.


...The Last Drop

Today, we start our countdown of Ventipop's 25 Scary Good Books.  I'll spoon feed the top 25 in 5 book increments in the next few Grinds heading into Halloween:

-XXX-



Daily Grind :: Too Many Books & Not Enough Time

My wife and I often reminisce about our life before we had children. We especially enjoy talking about our weekends pre-kids. A time when sleeping until noon was not out of the question, and oftentimes was our preference. A golden-age when time turned to honey in the peace of our apartment; the only sound, the turning of pages as we read our books. It was a magical era when we had both the time and quiet on our side. Sentences were suckled, plot twists were savored and final pages were read and re-read. It was a beautiful thing...while it lasted. 

Now, we have two kids who can best be labeled as "busy". That's what most people say after they babysit them. Their hair is usually sticking out awkwardly in one direction, their eyes are blinky and twitchy as they say something kind like, "Your kids are really...busy." They are energetic. They are talkative. They are funny. I love them. But - they never shut up. I'd say I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world, but eight straight hours of quiet sounds very good to me.

If I could reach into my wife's body and steal anything from her, it would be her ability to read through anything. She has a singular focus that amazes me. If a fire alarm went off as she read the climax to a Nora Robert's book; the next thing I'd be reading would be her eulogy. I can't do that. I have to have complete silence. No music. No ticking clocks. Even rain puts me to sleep or makes me have to pee...or both...hopefully not in that order.

The only time it's quiet in my house now is when everyone except me is asleep. Combine the lack of quality reading time with the fact I'm a slow reader, and you get the reason why the list of books I have read this year is an arm's length shorter than the list of books I want to read. I have a stack of books on my nightstand, a list of books in my Amazon cart, queued eBooks in my OverDrive account and books on hold at the library. Also, Ventipop readers seem to love the book posts more than any of the others I publish. So, I keep discovering more & more books I want to read. Once you grow up and have a family and kids and responsibilities, there are just too many books and not enough time. My kids ask me if I'm afraid of dying. I'n not afraid of dying. However, I am afraid of dying before getting the chance to read all these damn books.


ventipop-stephen-king





...The Last Drop

The Ostrich Pillow is the only way I can recreate my pre-kids apartment environment:



Daily Grind :: A Treasure Trove for Book Lovers


There's a chill in the air lately as fall begins its slow roll over the countryside. I hate winter but I love the seasonal changes; especially summer to fall. This time of year, I get the itch to grab a book, the thicker the better, go away from the world and sink into its pages and just get lost. Today's Grind is a treasure trove for book lovers as I go in search of new reads, old reads, reading accessories and essential insults to throw back at your co-workers for those times when you must be in the presence of other people instead of your book, blanket and coffee.

Now go away, I'm reading.





Print is drool & coffee resistant.

Print is drool & coffee resistant.



  • "Mold was famous for writing the names of his children, and later on, me, in the grass with weed killer while we slept. “The fairies have been,” he’d say over breakfast. “Let’s go and see what they’ve been up to.” - An excerpt from Sophie Dahl's fascinating profile, "My grandfather Roald Dahl, the magician".
  • Between June 2015 and June 2016, one author made $95 million and outgrossed the second highest grossing author by about $75 million. The highest paid author is not who I thought it'd be on the list of the world's highest paid authors.
  • Superheroes used to just be in comics. Now, they rule the movies. They rule TV. But this article contends the best superheroes are not on screens; the best superheroes are in books.

...The Last Drop

-XXX-


Daily Grind :: Books, Then Kindness...VOL. I

 

We sure do enjoy having our opinions validated, and we light up like a little kid on Christmas morning when someone 'Likes' a something we post on social media. Vice versa, if we don't like something someone says on Twitter, we block them. If someone posts one too many grandiose family snapshots on Facebook, we unfriend them. We live in a world where "unfriending" is an actual thing. Ahh, the good old days when churches just excommunicated people. I guess the modern equivalent to excommunication would be to delete a contact from our smartphone. (Insert audible gasp here.)

If we only converse with like-minded people, imagine the one-sided conversations twenty years from now. As my seven-year-old likes to say, "Boooooorrrrriiiiinnng." Every book we read is a chance to learn from another person. An opportunity to embrace something different; to live another's life if only for a brief moment.

Today's Grind is all about books and acts of kindness. If books lead to understanding, then respect, patience and kindness shouldn't be much farther down the path...right?  Here's hoping the art of conversing with those that oppose us isn't on the endangered species list just yet.



Can't afford scratch off lottery tickets anymore? Visit a library to feed your scratching addiction.

Can't afford scratch off lottery tickets anymore? Visit a library to feed your scratching addiction.


A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves —- a special kind of double.
— Toni Morrison

  • I didn't even know the Wright Brothers had a sister or that she played a pivotal role in the success of her brothers and the creation of the airplane. Readers can get to know more about Katharine Wright in Author David McCullough's new book "The Wright Brothers".
  • A teacher in Texas instituted a new homework policy and it has gone viral.

  • A simple act of kindness resulted in a $500 tip on a $0.37 bill for one deserving waiter. 
  • Korean artist Jungho Lee captures the wonder book lovers feel when opening to that first page. That feeling never goes away even as an adult. His surreal, fairy-tale like paintings make me want to grab a cuppa and a comfy chair and brick thick novel:



...The Last Drop



Daily Grind :: Books, Coffee, Music & Locked Doors

Good to have you back, my Pretties. In today's grind the convo circles around literature, screen addiction, beverages of choice and then right back around to bookcases. We finish things off with our first featured song in over a week. Sorry 'bout that. 

We begin by talking about how important first impressions are; especially in literature. Can you name any of these opening lines from some of our most famous books?

"It was a pleasure to burn." ~ ?

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." ~ ?

"When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home." ~ ?


ventipop-books-coffee-music

iPads and TVs and Phones...Oh My.

iPads and TVs and Phones...Oh My.


  • Remember the simple joy of sitting down to dinner with people you love? Enjoy this timely and poignant ad by IKEA of all companies:

Books and Drinks and Locked Doors



  • The Bookworm Rug is a great addition to your library of many leather bound books. It's also available as a tote bag, clock, throw pillow, beach towel, throw blanket, duvet cover or leggings.
Careful someone doesn't steal this this rug out from under you...Bukowski, Murakami...

Careful someone doesn't steal this this rug out from under you...Bukowski, Murakami...



I'll have a lot more music coming your way this week. Promise. But for now, how about a little slow, quiet acoustic song to start the week. This is a newer one by Michael Nau off his latest record Mowing; it is titled "While You Stand":