Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Harry Potter's Answer

I've read all of the Harry Potter books, but only once. I've seen all of the Harry Potter Movies, but only once.

Please share a drink with us at the weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by the Altered Book Lover blog.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Jungle Jim

Jungle Jim (1948) is the first film in a series starring Johnny Weissmuller about an African adventurer. These are wonderful! And a perfect vehicle for a slightly older Weismuller who had acted his way beyond the near-naked Tarzan films. George Reeves is the bad guy in this one. I was a serious fan of these films and the TV series based on the same character when I was in elementary school and could watch them on television.

TCM has information.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Dream a Little Dream

Dream a Little Dream:

sung by Cass Elliot, who died on this date in 1974 at the age of 32 of a heart attack. She was my favorite from the Mamas and the Papas.

Here's an interview from two weeks before her death:

Here's a Johnny Carson interview with her from the May before she died:

The American Bandstand interview from 1969:

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Memphis Botanic Gardens Rose Garden

The Rose Garden has changed a great deal since I was young and is now more suited as a wedding or reception venue with all that concrete, but there are still some roses. I've done my best to show views without the large concrete plaza in sight.

The sights and smells of roses are sweet, and I haven't lived in a home with roses in decades. It's wonderful to have the Memphis Botanic Gardens here.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Tarzan and the Lost Safari

Tarzan and the Lost Safari is a 1957 Gordon Scott Tarzan movie. It was the first color Tarzan film and is of significance because of that. I'm a huge Johnny Weissmuller fan, and Scott leaves me cold.


Variety says, "Gordon Scott has the physique for the title role and does acceptably by it."

DVD Talk calls it an "entertaining Gordon Scott jungle romp" and says,
The movie is short on action and plays like a stage-bound television show, augmented by some beautiful African scenery and the expected cutaways to animal stock shots. The talented cast does what it can with a script with more unintentional comedy than usual.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Black Velvet

Black Velvet:

sung by Alannah Myles and released on this date in 1989.

lyrics excerpt:
Up in Memphis the music's like a heat wave
White Lightnin' bound to drive you wild
Mama's baby's in the heart of ev'ry school girl
"Love Me Tender" leaves 'em cryin' in the aisle
The way he moved, it was a sin, so sweet and true
Always wanting more, he'd leave you longing for

Black velvet and that little boy smile
Black velvet and that slow southern style
A new religion that'll bring you to your knees
Black velvet if you please

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Upstream Color

Upstream Color is a 2013 Shane Carruth science fiction film about people whose behavior is altered and controlled by a parasite. The plot sounds to me like a horror movie, and I'm not at all sure it isn't. It's an interesting exploration of influence and connection. If you need a clear, linear plot, skip this.

via Youtube:

The New York Times opens by saying it's
a deeply sincere, elliptical movie about being and nature, men and women, self and other, worms and pigs" and concludes with this: "With its fragmentation and mysteries, “Upstream Color” offers itself up as a puzzle as well as a philosophical toy that you can spin and spin until the cafe closes and kicks you into the night.
The Guardian calls it "invigoratingly freaky and strange, with a Death-Valley-dry sense of humour somewhere underneath". Slate offers a FAQ.

Empire Online concludes,
How to sum up? You have to make synapse-spark connections, interpret events to your own satisfaction, pick up visual cues (a long stretch of the film is dialogue-free) and be happy with not knowing all the answers (you know, like in life — but not in most motion pictures). A perfectly judged, strikingly beautiful film, but also a lunatic enterprise which invites — even welcomes — befuddlement as much as wonder. A true original.
Roger Ebert's site says it "might be described as an oblique romantic science-fiction mystery thriller" and that it "one of those movies that you either give yourself over to or resolutely resist. If not understanding something annoys you, you will struggle against it or simply disengage." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 86%.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Still Life with a Plate of Onions

Still Life with a Plate of Onions:

is an 1889 painting by Vincent van Gogh, who died at the age of 37 on July 29, 1890. See that wine bottle? That's my connection with a beverage as I join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Van Gogh lived a tragic life but left behind a body of work that delights and inspires each new generation. My favorite modern reflection on his life is actually a Doctor Who episode. It captures both the troubled state of his mind and the joy he has brought to the ages. Here's a short clip of the Doctor bringing van Gogh to a modern day gallery exhibition of his work:

It's silly, I guess, but this episode always makes me cry.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Mutiny on the Bounty

Mutiny on the Bounty is a 1935 film starring Charles Laughton as William Bligh and Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian. It's an entertaining adventure story, but is based on a novel and should in no way be confused with historically accurate information.


The New York Times has a positive review from the time of the film's release. DVD Talk has a positive review. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 94%.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Golden Spiders

The Golden Spiders is a 1953 Nero Wolfe mystery novel by Rex Stout. I'm working my way through this entire (and entirely enjoyable) series.

from the back of the book:
Nero Wolfe was almost as famous for his wealthy clients and extravagant fees as for his genius at detection. So why has he accepted a case for $4.30? And why have the last two people to hire him been ruthlessly murdered? Wolfe suspects the answers may lie in the story of a twelve-year-old boy who turns up at the door of his West Thirty-fifth Street brownstone. In short order, Wolfe finds himself confronted by one of his most perplexing and pressing cases, involving a curious set of earrings shaped like spiders dipped in gold. The case is all boiling down to a strange taste of greed -and a grumpy gourmand's unappeasable appetite for truth.
It was adapted as part of the television mystery series that starred Maury Chaykin as Wolfe and Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin. You can see it here:

I do wish that television series, with its perfect casting, had gotten more seasons.

Another adaptation of this book in a 1981 series starred William Conrad as Wolfe. It can be seen here:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Rancho Deluxe

Rancho Deluxe is a 1975 modern comedy western starring Jeff Bridges, Sam Waterston, Slim Pickens, Elizabeth Ashley, and Clifton James. Yeah. Not impressed. At all. I found it so tedious I didn't finish it.

via Youtube:

Time Magazine says, "It is so cool it is barely alive. First-rate ingredients and a finesse in assembling them do not quite make either a movie or a cake. At some point it is necessary to light the oven." Time Out says it "operates most noticeably, and in the main successfully, as a slickly packaged youth movie."

Roger Ebert gives it 1 1/2 stars and says poses this question: "whether Perry intended his film to be a comedy. The ads suggest that he did, and yet Tom McGuane's screenplay just doesn't have any laughs in it." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 69% and an audience score of 38%.

Friday, July 20, 2018

World Jump Day

Today is World Jump Day. First held in 2006, the idea was to combat global warming by getting enough people positioned so that when they all jumped simultaneously the Earth's orbit would change. There were, of course, those who wanted to counter the project with a Contra Jump.

For those without a sense of humor, there were actually sites debunking it as if people would've thought it was a serious endeavor.

Sadly, this event seems to have passed into forgotten history. I may jump anyway.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Memphis Botanic Gardens Butterfly Garden

It had been a while since I had been to the Botanic Gardens, so I picked a recent Sunday morning and went to see how the butterfly garden was doing.

It's a gravel path, and there's plenty of seating available.

There weren't many butterflies, but the day was not sunny so that might explain it. I went to check out the Magnolia Trail:

but that season has come and gone. The entrance to the Iris Garden was also lovely:

but again the season is past to see the irises in bloom. The roses were lovely, though, and I'll post those photos soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Suicide Club

Suicide Club is a 2002 Japanese horror film. There is a lot of blood here, but it seems to me at root a tragic story of alienation and loss.

Moria gives it 2 out of 5 stars, saying it "starts promisingly" but that the director "has as little idea as to what is going on as the entirely baffled audience does." HorrorNews.net says, "Suicide Club, while a powerful film, is rich in it’s ability to focus in the power of youth culture." Horror Freak News recommends it.

Time Out concludes, "None of it makes any real sense, but it sure does keep you watching." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 50%.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hip, Hip, Hurrah!

Hip, Hip, Hurrah! (1883):

by Danish painter Peder Severin Krøyer. I think it's a suitable celebratory work of art given our observance today of the Tea Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering reaching the fine age of 5, which is forever in blog years. I lift my own glass (ginger ale Amazon link)

and give you Elizabeth, who along with Bleubeard has hosted us through these several and happy years.


Please join the celebration.

Monday, July 16, 2018


Edith Wharton

Afterward is a 1910 ghost story by Edith Wharton. Wikipedia describes it as "an ironic ghost story about greed and retribution". It begins,

"Oh, there is one, of course, but you'll never know it."

The assertion, laughingly flung out six months earlier in a bright June garden, came back to Mary Boyne with a sharp perception of its latent significance as she stood, in the December dusk, waiting for the lamps to be brought into the library.

The words had been spoken by their friend Alida Stair, as they sat at tea on her lawn at Pangbourne, in reference to the very house of which the library in question was the central, the pivotal "feature." Mary Boyne and her husband, in quest of a country place in one of the southern or southwestern counties, had, on their arrival in England, carried their problem straight to Alida Stair, who had successfully solved it in her own case; but it was not until they had rejected, almost capriciously, several practical and judicious suggestions that she threw it out: "Well, there's Lyng, in Dorsetshire. It belongs to Hugo's cousins, and you can get it for a song."

The reasons she gave for its being obtainable on these terms - its remoteness from a station, its lack of electric light, hot-water pipes, and other vulgar necessities - were exactly those pleading in its favor with two romantic Americans perversely in search of the economic drawbacks which were associated, in their tradition, with unusual architectural felicities.

"I should never believe I was living in an old house unless I was thoroughly uncomfortable," Ned Boyne, the more extravagant of the two, had jocosely insisted; "the least hint of 'convenience' would make me think it had been bought out of an exhibition, with the pieces numbered, and set up again." And they had proceeded to enumerate, with humorous precision, their various suspicions and exactions, refusing to believe that the house their cousin recommended was really Tudor till they learned it had no heating system, or that the village church was literally in the grounds till she assured them of the deplorable uncertainty of the watersupply.

"It's too uncomfortable to be true!" Edward Boyne had continued to exult as the avowal of each disadvantage was successively wrung from her; but he had cut short his rhapsody to ask, with a sudden relapse to distrust: "And the ghost? You've been concealing from us the fact that there is no ghost!"

Mary, at the moment, had laughed with him, yet almost with her laugh, being possessed of several sets of independent perceptions, had noted a sudden flatness of tone in Alida's answering hilarity.

"Oh, Dorsetshire's full of ghosts, you know."
You can read it online here or here.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

42 Bird

Turn the number 42 into a picture of a bird:

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mildred Pierce

Mildred Pierce is a 1945 film noir directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth, and Butterfly McQueen. You can't like every movie, not even every highly praised classic, and I don't care for this one. It has too much of the noble, sacrificing woman to suit me.

The New York Times has a mixed review from the time of the film's release. Variety says, "The dramatics are heavy but so skillfully handled that they never cloy." Slant Magazine gives it 3 out of 4 stars calls it an "intense melodrama" and says, "Though all of its craft is accomplished, Mildred Pierce never gets deep under one’s skin the way it ought to."

Empire Online concludes with this:
Wow! It may not be art or good taste, but throbbing melodrama doesn't come with more conviction. Even to those usually turned off by the tough Crawford, Mildred is compelling.
Filmsite.org has an extensive plot description and describes it as "a classic, post-war film noir mixed with typical soap-operish elements of the woman's melodramatic picture or "weeper," including a strand of a typical murder mystery". BBC gives it 4 out of 5 stars and praises Joan Crawford. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 83%.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Glorious Heresies

The Glorious Heresies is a 2015 debut novel by Lisa McInerney and won both the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and the Desmond Elliott Prize. Reading about these people living at the bottom in hard times could be too bleak to bear, but the writer has a way with words that turns these sad cases into real people. A TV miniseries is planned.

from the book jacket:
From Lisa McInerney, hailed by The Irish Times as "arguably the most talented writer at work in Ireland today," comes The Glorious Heresies, a searing debut novel about life on the fringes of Ireland's post-crash society.

When grandmother Maureen Phelan is surprised in her home by a stranger, she clubs the intruder with a Holy Stone. The consequences of this unplanned murder connect four misfits struggling against their meager circumstances. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father, Tony, whose feud with his next-door neighbor threatens to ruin his family. Georgie is a sex-worker who half-heartedly joins a born-again movement to escape her profession and drug habit. And Jimmy Phelan, the most fearsome gangster in the city and Maureen's estranged son, finds that is mother's bizarre attempts at redemption threaten his entire organization.

Biting and darkly funny, The Glorious Heresies presents an unforgettable vision of a city plagued by poverty and exploitation, where salvation still awaits in the most unexpected places.
The quotes that jumped out at me:
who can forgive what they haven't already judged?
She was well aware that she lived in the past but, she decided, it was because she'd been left there.

The New York Times has a positive description. The Telegraph calls it "powerful" and concludes, "There must be some hope yet, though, for a country that can still produce writing as powerful as this." The Guardian closes by calling it "an irrepressible volley of unrehearsed words from a brand new throat."

The Irish Times opens its review with this: "Biting, moving and darkly funny, The Glorious Heresies explores salvation, shame and the legacy of Ireland’s twentieth-century attitudes to sex and family". Kirkus Reviews concludes by saying, "This is a colorful, ambitious first outing that recalls Dylan Thomas’ comment on Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds: “Just the book to give your sister, if she is a dirty, boozey girl.”"

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Lifeforce is a 1985 British science fiction film directed by Tobe Hooper and starring Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, and Mathilda May. Patrick Stewart is in this. Yes, Patrick Stewart. Wikipedia says,
the film portrays the events that unfold after a trio of humanoids in a state of suspended animation are brought to Earth after being discovered in the hold of an alien space ship by the crew of a European space shuttle
It's based on the novel The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson. Henry Mancini did some of the music. It bombed at the box office but is more appreciated today.


The New York Times has a negative review from the time of the film's release. Slant Magazine gives it 4 out of 5 stars and opens with this: "Underneath its sci-fi horror trappings, Lifeforce is a romantic comedy with a splash of gothic longing for flavor."

Roger Ebert says,
"Lifeforce" survives and, as far as I am concerned, it plays much better today than most genre films of its time, not to mention those being produced today. It may be tasteless and lurid and demented beyond belief but, I for one, would take its glorious excesses over the turgid ones offered up by Peter Jackson''s apparently-never-ending take on "The Hobbit" in a heartbeat. Now that enough time has passed since its initial failure, perhaps it will now finally be able to attract the audience that it has always deserved.
HorrorNews.net opens by saying, "If you’ve never seen this movie it’s the one with the nude space vampires." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 67%.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Route 64 Diner

We went to the Route 64 Diner in Bolivar, TN, to celebrate the 4th of July. The property has a couple of gazebos outside with picnic tables:

but it was a bit hot for that, so we went inside to eat. The interior is adorable:

You order at a counter, and the food is brought to the table. I had the regular hamburger, onion rings, and a coke. Delicious!

The menu is online here. Between that delightful experience and the #SecondCivilWarLetters, it was such a fun day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Silence Day

Today is Silence Day, the day on which followers of Meher Baba maintain a 24-hour period of silence to commemorate the day he began the silence he maintained until his death 44 years later. Since it's the day for Tea Stands for Tuesday, I'll invite you to share a cup of tea with me as I look into a religion foreign to me.

From Wikipedia:
Meher Baba said that his silence was not undertaken as a spiritual exercise but solely in connection with his universal work.
Man's inability to live God's words makes the Avatar's teaching a mockery. Instead of practicing the compassion he taught, man has waged wars in his name. Instead of living the humility, purity, and truth of his words, man has given way to hatred, greed, and violence. Because man has been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this present Avataric form, I observe silence.
I'm not a follower, but I don't have to believe it to find it interesting, and I have always been interested in other people's religious beliefs and practices. If you're curious about him you can find more information at the Avatar Meher Baba Trust, including books by and about him. There are quotes by him at Wikiquotes. I admit a fondness for this one:

Here are a couple more that appeal to me:
Be pure and simple, and love all because all are one. Live a sincere life; be natural, and be honest with yourself.
To love God in the most practical way is to love our fellow beings. If we feel for others in the same way as we feel for our own dear ones, we love God.

I remember him as better known in the 1960s, and I don't see much mention of him now. There have been documentaries covering his life and claims, such as this:

"He gave no importance to founding any organization in his name, advocating no particular method of meditation or other practices associated with the popular image of Eastern masters. He stressed only love for God."
Now, I'll go visit the Tea Stands for Tuesday gathering already in progress. Please join us!

Monday, July 09, 2018

The Wild Swans

The Wild Swans is a 1962 soviet animated film based on the 1838 Hans Christian Andersen tale with the same name. I loved this story during my childhood and still do. Surely you remember it... but if you don't you can read it here. It begins,
Far, far away where the swallows fly when we have winter, there lived a King who had eleven sons and one daughter, Elisa. The eleven brothers, Princes all, each went to school with a star at his breast and a sword at his side. They wrote with pencils of diamond upon golden slates, and could say their lesson by heart just as easily as they could read it from the book. You could tell at a glance how princely they were. Their sister, Elisa, sat on a little footstool of flawless glass. She had a picture book that had cost half a kingdom. Oh, the children had a very fine time, but it did not last forever.

Their father, who was King over the whole country, married a wicked Queen, who did not treat his poor children at all well.
This adaptation is not exactly like the story as I remember it, but close enough.

Senses of Cinema has a detailed consideration and says,
The Wild Swans has received relatively scant scholarly attention. However, it deserves closer scrutiny because of its marriage of daring, experimental stylization of the flat drawn image with Disney-influenced naturalism and melodrama. The resulting aesthetic tensions, while not always creatively successful, make for a remarkable historical document of a pivotal transitional moment in Soviet animation.

Sunday, July 08, 2018


Back in the far distant times, we had debt. We've had credit card debt, car loans, a mortgage, etc. Years ago we decided that debt was dangerous, put us at the mercy of others in a way that we didn't like, and prevented us from saving. And the interest! It's hard to buy things and then pay more in interest than the item originally cost.

I discovered Dave Ramsey on the radio back in the early 1990s and found it supportive and helpful. He had an organized plan, and I bought a book and adapted his suggestions for our situation. At his website, he has instructions on getting out of debt using the "debt snowball" where you take the smallest debt and devote available resources to it until it's paid off. Then you devote those resources to paying off the next debt.

There are other Get-Out-Of-Debt programs, but sometimes it feels like those programs are actually selling something rather than providing help. Resources that give specific instructions without hyping low-interest credit cards are better. ListenMoneyMatters.com has articles on How to Destroy Your Debt. Time.com has it boiled down to 3 simple steps and offers reviews of the best books on the subject. The Art of Simple website connects living debt-free with living simply. The first two steps at The Balance are reflecting on how you got into debt and changing your spending habits.

It seems to me it doesn't much matter which system you use as long as you devote attention to it and commit to not borrowing more. I will say I'm talking reasonable levels of debt here. I can't imagine what it must be like to have the kind of medical debt some people have, for example.

Once out of debt, we were able to save up to replace our current cars. That's a glorious feeling, I'm telling you, to be able to write a check for a car. Not having those big monthly payments for cars and mortgage makes it so we can live more easily on less income. During this period of reduced income with no certainty it'll ever increase, it's such a comfort to not be burdened with debt.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Cameron Mitchell

When I was young, I was a big fan of the western tv series The High Chaparral, which starred Cameron Mitchell. He was my favorite character in the show, and ever since then I've watched for him in movies. He died on this date in 1994 of lung cancer when he was 75 years old.

I have blog posts on these of his films:

They Were Expendable (1945)
Death of a Salesman (1951)
Flight to Mars (1951)
Les Misérables (1952)
Inside the Mafia (1959)
Three Came to Kill (1960)
Blood and Black Lace (1964)
The Last Gun (1964)
Minnesota Clay (1964)
Knives of the Avenger (1966)
Ride in the Whirlwind (1966)
Maneater of Hydra (1967)
Nightmare in Wax (1969)
Rebel Rousers (1970)
Haunts (1977)
Without Warning (1980)
Killpoint (1984)
The Tomb (1986)

Here are the opening and closing credits for The High Chaparral:

Friday, July 06, 2018

Silky O'Sullivan's

The Son-In-Law treated The Daughter and me to lunch at Silky O'Sullivan's, a storied restaurant with resident goats -yes, goats!- on Beale Street. We sat on the patio:

and had hamburgers, and they were delicious!

You can read the full menu here. The service was perfect, topping off a delightful outing. It's wonderful when you can wholeheartedly, without reservation, recommend a restaurant. I do have to say Memphis has many restaurants like that.

This video of one of the goats was taken several years ago:

This is the view we had along the Mississippi River on our way to and from the car:

You can park closer, of course, but we enjoy walking in downtown Memphis.

Thursday, July 05, 2018


Companeros is a 1970 Zapata western directed by Sergio Corbucci and starring Franco Nero, Tomas Milian, Jack Palance, and Fernando Rey. The music is by Ennio Morricone. It takes place during the Mexican Revolution. The talent involved in this makes it worth checking out.

Slant Magazine gives it a positive review and says, "Aside from its palpable merits as a brilliantly mounted genre offering, Compañeros is virtually unique among this otherwise heterogeneous wild bunch because it so explicitly takes as its subject matter the philosophical and ethical nature of revolution." DVD Talk says, "As a production, Compañeros is fairly elaborate. The Techniscope photography is very attractive, and the whole enterprise is graced with a typically quirky Ennio Morricone score." SpaghettiWestern.net concludes, "often appears in Spaghetti fans' top ten lists and it's easy to see why. It is 2 hours of out and out viewing pleasure in anyone's language. Whether you think it's a real western or not."

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Fourth of July Picnic

Fourth of July Picnic is a 1957 novella by Rex Stout. It was first published in Look Magazine. You can find it in the book And Four to Go, a collection of four stories. Nero Wolfe is asked to give a speech at a picnic, with the people asking him saying "they simply had to have the man who was responsible for keeping Rusterman's the best restaurant in New York," and Wolfe finally agrees. One of the speakers is killed on the site during the event.

There's a list of mysteries that take place on July 4 at this link.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Tea Steeping

This article says you should steep tea different amounts of time depending on your goal. To sum up:

Suggested steeping time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds to 5 minutes
Suggested steeping time: 3 to 5 minutes
Suggested steeping time: 1 to 3 minutes

I steep my tea, whether loose or bagged, for 3 minutes. It looks like I have my bases covered!

I think I'll take my tea out on the patio and sit in that rusty chair:

Join me? We might see a hummingbird at that red Pentas plant.

I'd invite you to come to the weekly Tea Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth. All are warmly welcomed. Visit the links to check us out, or just jump right in, sharing a drink-related post.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Mystery Ranch

Mystery Ranch is a 1932 western film with mystery/horror elements. I watched this online, but not a trace of it remains. I can't even find a trailer. There's a 1934 film by the same name readily available, but that's nothing like the 1932 film. I kept delaying posting this, hoping it would reappear, but I've given up. It's well worth a watch if you can find it. I'm sorry I can't help with that.

TCM has information. 366 Weird Movies describes it as "a Gothic western, often looking more like an early thirties horror film than a western" and says, "Mystery Ranch (1932) is suspenseful to the nail-biting level, has a great action sequence, is aptly scored, and climaxes with a great end for the villain."

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects is the 2006 award-winning debut novel by Gillian Flynn. The main character has just finished treatment for self-harm after years of cutting words into her skin. I enjoyed this one better than the others of Flynn's books I've read, and if you want to try this author I'd definitely recommend Sharp Objects. Child endangerment just isn't a subject that I like to read novels about, and I only read them because they were being much discussed and I was curious. A TV mini-series is expected to air this year.

from the back of the book:
Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the  half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims -a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story -and survive the homecoming.
I woke up that morning, hot and bored, worried about the hours ahead. How do you keep safe when your whole day is as wide and empty as the sky? Anything could happen.
"Okay, let's see... light conversation. Swing-set conversation." Richard scrunched up his face to mime thinking. "Okay, so what's your favorite color, your favorite ice cream flavor, and your favorite season?"

"Blue, coffee, and winter."

"Winter. No one likes winter."

"It gets dark early, I like that."


Because that means the day has ended. I like checking days off a calendar -151 days crossed and nothing truly horrible has happened. 152 days and the world isn't ruined. 153 and I haven't destroyed anyone. 154 and no one really hates me. Sometimes I think I won't ever feel safe until I can count my last days on one hand. Three more days to get through until I don't have to worry about life anymore.

"I just like the night."

The Guardian says, "in my opinion, Sharp Objects is hands down the best Gillian Flynn novel to date."

Kirkus Reviews opens a positive review with this: "A savage debut thriller that renders the Electra complex electric, the mother/daughter bond a psychopathic stranglehold" and closes by calling it "Piercingly effective and genuinely terrifying."

Publishers Weekly has a positive review, saying "she relives her disturbed childhood, gradually uncovering family secrets as gruesome as the scars beneath her clothing. The horror creeps up slowly, with Flynn misdirecting the reader until the shocking, dreadful and memorable double ending."

I have also read these other of her books:

Dark Places (2009)
Gone Girl (2012)