I am so sorry about the long break I had to take. As I mentioned in the entries I had to take down, some heavy stuff happened. What happened did not harm me, my home or loved ones, or even this site, but unfortunately a long silence on my part was needed to make the heavy stuff stop. It appears to have stopped, thank heavens. Basic human decency prevents me from discussing openly what happened, but if this cryptic paragraph piques your interest and you need to know what happened, just drop me an e-mail. All I ask is that it not be discussed openly here or anywhere else.
Now that I am back, I come with some changes to this site and some interesting news.
First, I have some upcoming themed weeks to announce:
May 6-10, I will have a New Bizarre Author Series week. I plan to discuss five of the most recent batch of NBAS books and will be giving away copies of the books (or their monetary equivalent for those who may already have the books) to one lucky person. I’ll post the rules for the contest the Friday before it starts. For disclosure purposes, while four of the authors I will discuss sent me the books to read, I am purchasing the copies/Amazon card I plan to give away and have received no funding or free copies to give away from the publisher or authors. I hate that I had to type that out, but there you go.
May 20-24, I am having ANSWER Me! week. I’m still writing it so I am unsure how the days will divide out, but I will spend the week discussing all four editions of ANSWER Me!, spending more time on the infamous “Rape” ‘zine. I also plan to have some sort of Goad-related giveaway, but am unsure what I will offer because the ANSWER Me! omnibus is out-of-print and I have yet to find like-new copies for a reasonable price. I am hoping Jim himself issues these as PDFs for sale, but that likely will not happen before I post this discussion, so I suspect I will offer new copies of some of his works still in print. Same disclosures apply for this giveaway except that Goad only sent me the “Rape” edition to read.
Later in June, or possibly July, I intend to have a compendium week. I have several “weird” encyclopedias and have my eye on a couple more and think it would be fun to have a week of nothing but interesting lists and compendiums on weird topics, like the strange fate of famous corpses or famous eccentrics.
So that will be fun and in-between I hope to have just regular discussions.
Now for the changes. I will no longer be accepting review copies. At all. From anyone. What I prefer instead, from here on out, is that anyone with a new book out that you think would be a good idea for this site just drop me an e-mail and make me aware of the book. That way I can purchase it myself, which will remove a lot of the READ IT NOW urgency I feel when someone sends me a book, and it will help me maintain a bit more site integrity. I say integrity because when people send me books, I find it hard to give negative reviews even when the book may sorely deserve it. I know many may say I should just review and let the chips fall where they may but I am not able to do that. The only authors who contact me with book suggestions that I will read with any urgency will be the New Bizarro Author Series, and even then I still want to purchase the books myself.
Not only will this help me in terms of site integrity, but I am again overwhelmed with review copies. When I have so many review copies to read – most of which are fiction – it makes it hard for me to engage in the book explorations that were the genesis for this site. I used to find the most incredible books at independent and used book stores and the desire to share them was overwhelming. But lately my ardor to discuss books has waned because of the sense of obligation I feel to those who have sent me books. I think it shows, too, in the sort of writing I do. I want to get back to that place of visceral delight that weird books bring me.
If I have already accepted your book to review, no worries. I will still do it, though I cannot guarantee it will happen in a timely manner. And if you have an e-mail to me that pre-dated this entry, again, no worries. I will also accept and read those books. But from this date forward, no more review copies. Just drop me an e-mail about what you’ve got going on. If I like the sound of the book, chances are I will buy it and get to it far faster than I would in my current set-up. And no one feel bad or think you burdened me – you didn’t. All these review copies are still a gift to me and I marvel that people trusted me with their works to this degree. I’m just too weird myself for this to continue to work. I still recall a reviewer who told me I would probably never receive a review copy or if I did, count on getting very few books. The author response to this site has been amazing to me and I appreciate it and still definitely want to hear from you when you publish a book you think will be great for this site.
I’ll still discuss conspiracy theory and paranormal books here, but I decided Houdini’s Revenge would be a better place for people to comment on my discussions of supernatural books and conspiracy books. In almost every entry I wrote here that deals with any form of conspiracy theory, people with a lot of knowledge about those theories had a very hard time confining their comments to the book. Most conspiracy theory is expansive and extends far beyond the words in a single book and after a while I felt like a jerk for asking people to stay on topic with the book and book alone. Over on Houdini’s Revenge, people can talk about any aspect of the theories they think are important.
I have plans to do a lot of writing in the near future. I hope those who have managed to stick around during my unexpected (and wholly unenjoyable) hiatus find something between the two sites that appeals to you. Much love to you all!