Stairway To the Wall

images.jpgAfter the death of William Wirt Winchester, his wife Sarah inherited vast amounts of money including a sizable interest in her deceased husband’s firearms company. She also received a spiritualist warning that as long as the construction on the family palace in San Jose continued, she would escape death, possibly from the ghosts of those killed by Winchester repeating riles.

I first heard of the Winchester House in grade school when a student shared the story about stairways to the ceiling and doors in the walls with no rooms on the other side. Several years later on a family trip to San Francisco we drove past the house but didn’t take the tour. Years after that I saw the house again, standing in the midst of typical suburban sprawl: strip malls, multi-cinemas, car dealerships.

Continue reading

Snip, Snip, Snip

download.jpgThe landscaping crew picked up all the leaves in the yard the other day. I was resting in bed, listening to Progressive Radio and wondering about deadly viruses crawling on my eyeshade when the ratcheting cacophony of leaf blowers and lawn mowers started the windows to rattle and my teeth to tinkle .. in the jar on the bathroom sink.

Picking up the leaves is a good thing. Otherwise I am forever searching for Ricky’s dog poops which tend to blend into the ground foliage and lay waiting for an innocent foot. But for whatever clichéd reason, I was reminded that my reading pace has been accelerating lately: is it fallen leaves or the blind Fury?

Continue reading

It’s November Already?

images.jpgI might be jumping the gun a little bit here but realizing that November only has 30 days and that I hope to read, amongst others, Gaddis’s The Recognitions, Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo, and the final volume of Dos Passos’s U. S. A. Trilogy, The Big Money, I decided needed an extra day or two.

So I stopped reading from the October list, moved most of the titles from October to November (to at least suggest I still intend to read them) and dropped in several new titles I had been considering for the November pool. Thus, some old and some new but moreover a commitment to reading a few of the big fat ones that have eluded me too long.

Continue reading

Books On Fire

images.jpgFollowing my own advice, this month’s reading pool is a combination of genre fiction, best-sellers, and classics. It maybe a little light on classics but August needed to be balanced. I can’t really recommend a couple of these books because I have not verified their quality but rather I was intrigued by their title or a short description I might have read in a catalogue. I believe I’m actually more often disappointed by what are generally considered “good” books than I am by these unknown and often eye-opening texts. Give them a try (but balance them with solid classics).

Will I be forced to add any of these titles to my Worst reading list? Last month’s Death of Virgil was a strong candidate but other readers certainly will not agree. Maybe it should have made my Most Painful list instead?

Continue reading