The Reading List is Set

Mrs. Wigglebottom slept through me reading aloud all afternoon. I don’t know if that’s a good sign or a bad sign. But I wanted to time everything and make sure that I wasn’t going to go over my limit.

So, here’s what I’ve settled on:

“We are Our Own Ghosts”–a story about a woman and a house and a disaster

“Sarah Clark”–a woman, the Devil, and Big Harpe’s Head

“Dodge City”–a ghost story along Murfreesboro Road

“Frank”–a zombie henchman teaches a woman to drive stick

The first part of the 1860 chapter of Remind Me of the Dreaming Dead. Basically, just Jack Macon’s funeral procession.

“The Devil Lives on Lewis Street, I Swear”–If my stories all take place in the same space, then the Devil spent much of the late 1700s falling tragically in love. Here’s the story of another woman and the Devil.

It did kind of make me worried that I’ve written nothing worth reading this year, and then I remember what’s in the hopper for October! I am so nerdishly excited for you guys to read that.

After Life by Rhian Ellis

I loved this book almost from the first word. It just never wasn’t terrific and sad and slightly creep. I don’t remember reading anything about it when it came out, so I’m glad I stumbled across it now. It’s set in a thinly-veiled Lily Dale and the main character is a medium. The writing is just delicious and, upon finishing it, it made me so heart-sick for my mom that I’m moping around doing laundry and missing her.

I’ve noticed more and more that paperback books have discussion questions in the back. I find them annoying, like blog posts that end in questions at the bottom. As if you want to have a pop quiz after reading a book like this.

But the worst part is that the questions are so… pedestrian. Like the first one is “What’s the significance of the title?” I mean, it’s a book about mediums. There’s a dead guy. If this is the first question you have about the book upon finishing it, I feel certain in saying that you probably didn’t like it very much.

And there’s a huge tell that whoever wrote the questions was certainly not the author and may not have even read the book–“Could this story have taken place anywhere else?” Um, yes. I venture to say very little would have had to change if they’d gone to Cassadaga, Florida or they could have just stayed in New Orleans. What a weird question.

Anyway, I’m nitpicking about the questions because the book is so peculiar and wonderful and sad that there’s not much other than that to say about it.

Bleh Eric Stewart Bleh bleh bleh

The Eric Stewart thing has temporarily broken me. I spent last night answering phone calls and emails from folks who were just… worn out… I guess is the best way to put it. It’s stupid at this point, but a lot of us keep hoping that there will be some kind of Tennessee Democrat who is folksy and personable and who wants to put people back to work and who is willing to find some way to put the best interests of the people of Tennessee first, and who actually likes the people who vote Democratic.

But no, it’s always some guy who is really nice in person and who seems to have everything going for him who then decides “Oh, I bet I could get more votes if I just signal my conservative bona fides.” and out we go. Not real Tennesseans.

The only solace I can take is that the Democratic party is going to undergo an enormous change in the next four years. Because, right now, the TNDP knows next to nothing about what the Democratic politicians we have left need to keep getting elected. The caucus will force the change. And that will have ripple effects. I hope, anyway.

In the meantime, how do you make political space for yourself in a state where even the Democrats are quick to disavow you?

I don’t know.