Stuff is happening, as well as things

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

So sorry for the silence on my end.  I’ve been writing quite a bit, so much in fact that I have written myself into a corner.  Every Cradle Is a Grave came into my life as I was experiencing death and the rage and depression death brings with it.  I have written over 20,000 words about the book and, though I am well-known for my wordiness, that is a wholly inappropriate number of words to use to discuss a book.  I am self-indulgent but luckily I still have a bit of self-awareness and now I am spending time editing so that I can present my frame of mind regarding the book without substituting my frame of mind for the book.  I will have the discussion up early next week.

I will also have another “middle of the road” discussion up either tomorrow or Thursday.

I’ve been immersed in some interesting media and topics this week, one of which turned into a rabbit-hole.  I follow the “Unresolved Mysteries” subreddit and a German user posted about a murder I had never heard of and as a result I have been scouring the Internet, reading crappy translations of old German news articles, finding every detail I can about it.  In 1998, thirteen year old Tristan Bruebach was murdered in such a sexually specific and audacious manner that I cannot believe I had not heard of this murder before and I also cannot believe this was the sole time the murderer performed such a killing. But against all logic, it seems like that is the case.  Seriously, three decades of reading and studying and I have never heard of a murder like this, and there are so many strange details about Tristan, his activities before his murder, and the way he was killed that even seasoned professional criminologists are baffled by the case.

I’ve also been listening to the Michigan band His Name Is Alive almost non-stop.  I don’t know how to describe this sort of music and the band has continually evolved since the late 80s so it’s hard to pigeon-hole the effort.  The only constant member of the band is Warren Defever, with different musicians and singers coming and going.

A friend of mine in college gave me a mixed tape with “Baby Fish Mouth” on it but it was the early 90s, no iTunes and precious little Internet outside of university labs, and tracking down small, indie bands was harder then. I finally got a copy of the album, Mouth by Mouth, and every song was worthwhile, which seldom ever seems to happen. The singer on this track, Karin Oliver, performed with HNIA for several years but evidently is now an account manager at a marketing firm.

“How Ghosts Affect Relationships” is from the album Livonia, released in 1990. It wasn’t until this album got uploaded to YouTube that I could access it. I don’t know if it’s rare or if it’s just that I wasn’t thorough. This is the best song on the album, I think, and it’s a little musical knife in my heart.

“How Dark Is Your Dark Side” is not the best song on Xmmer, a 2007 album, but I listen to it over and over because I love the singer, Andrea Morici. There is something sweetly hypnotic about her voice on this track. I think she may be the best vocalist to work with Defever.

So that’s where I am. Buried in hyperemotional reactions to a book about antinatalism, searching for information about a savagely murdered child, and listening to experimental rock. See you soon with a short entry about two short story collections that disappointed me sincerely.

Checking in!

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I am at work on a discussion that is proving exhausting, but is strangely therapeutic given recent events in my life. I hope to have the discussion finished by the beginning of next week. At the risk of spoiling my upcoming review, Every Cradle Is a Grave: Rethinking the Ethics of Birth and Suicide by Sarah Perry is a book you need to get and read.  This book is a paradigm changer, and an important book for those of us who live in Western countries where it is difficult to discuss death intelligently, let alone suicide, let alone why suicide can ultimately be an act of great self-awareness.

I also received the latest Biblio-Curiosa edition, the excellent weird book/author ‘zine by Chris Mikul.  This issue focuses on children’s books and I can’t wait to read it.  Interestingly, I am also currently reading Mikul’s book on weird folk, The Eccentropedia: The Most Unusual People Who Have Ever Lived. The Eccentropedia caused me to start researching Eloise Bosquet, Baroness Wagner, a somewhat foul woman who brought a ton of drama and murder to the Galapagos Island chain, which then led to watching The Galapagos Affair on Netflix.

Adding to delays is that my book shift this year is taking longer than usual. At the beginning of each new calendar year, I make small changes to the ways my books are shelved, mainly because toward the end of the year Mr Oddbooks and I accumulate hundreds of new books, through gifts and Christmas shopping. These shifts entail emptying all shelves in order to clean them and then cleaning each book. I don’t know how many books we have because often books can get shelved before I document them, but I think we’re clocking in around 4,000 minimum. Given how easily distracted I have been, it’s taking me far longer to complete this task than anticipated.

I’ve also noticed that Pseudo Occult Media posted a few new entries in 2013. It looked like the site had been abandoned since 2010 so I hadn’t checked on it in a while, so these new entries were a pleasant surprise. I’ve referenced the site here before because even if one dismisses the notion that the Monarch Project has infested every tier of entertainment worldwide, the research that goes into the entries is something to behold. If you like people going on at length, which seems likely if you are reading here, Pseudo Occult Media will be right up your alley.  If nothing else, the author of the site shows how little originality there is in visual media. Once you read this site you’ll become annoyed at how often you see checkerboards, butterflies, Alice in Wonderland themes, faces half-occluded by hair or in mirrors, and broken mirrors in music videos, model spreads, movies and television.

Hopefully I will see you all early next week. Feel free to use the comments here to let me know what you’re reading/watching/listening to/avoiding.


This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I think by now all readers here know I am subject to periods of cyclical depression and torpor wherein this site goes silent. I’ve been struggling this year with various issues that have made it hard to concentrate but one of those issues is clearing up (passing a website I ran on to another person) and the fog is lifting. Perhaps it is a sign that my depressions aren’t as terrible as those others face because, lately, when they happen, I don’t really feel hopeless because I remember that wonderful feeling that comes when the depression fades. It feels like Spring. It feels like a small rebirth, a shedding of old, psychic skin. I just have to hold on until my brain chemistry relents.

As a result of my current Spring-time zeal, I have some discussions of interesting books in queue, among them books by Chris Mikul, Dennis Cooper, Peter Sotos, Bradley R. Smith, David Paulides, Alissa Nutting, Hollister Koop, Gabrielle Wittkop, Andy Nowicki, Karen Russell and Michel Faber. (edited because I borked Alissa Nutting first go around, and then edited again because I messed up Bradley R. Smith’s name because the suck is strong with me this entry…)

I’m currently dealing with a minor obsession with mutualism and have been struggling through Kropotkin, which I don’t really recommend to anyone who doesn’t have intractable insomnia. I’ve also found myself spending way too much time reading Brandon Darby’s Twitter feed and his articles over on Breitbart’s site and wondering exactly how much the human sphincter can stretch. I’m not linking to them because I also cannot recommend reading them to anyone except those who really like the taste of vomit in the backs of their mouths. So Google with caution.

What have you guys been reading, investigating, or doing. Share it all, no detail too small. See you Tuesday-ish.

Song of my week, and god bless Laura Jane Grace!

2013: The Year I Mostly Lost

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I can’t even think about doing all the end of year stuff that everyone who writes about books engages in come around mid-December. Because of Houdini’s Revenge and that site I launched looking into that way-weird woman who scams everyone online, I barely even read this year. Like I am embarrassed by the paltry number of books I managed to finish. It’s pretty shameful.

I intend to remedy this because I miss being able to read. All the research into the weird woman is wearing me down. I really miss this site. I will work on my other sites, to be sure, but IROB has always been my first love and I hate that I have neglected her so.

But I have no idea when business as usual will resume. I am typing this entry at 4:00 in the morning in the dark as my mother sleeps in her hospital bed. Some people could work in this situation, but I can’t. I’m popping acid reducer pills and thinking about re-reading the Harry Potter books because my brain is too tired for much else.

But life settles down. It always does. So I will be back when I can be back. Just keep me in your readers or bookmark me or whatever. I will be back, hopefully soon.

2013: The Year Wherein I Realized My Limitations and Ignored That Realization

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

So, I launched two websites this year: Houdini’s Revenge and Truth About Ruth. I enjoy writing for both of them and both of them require a ton of research on the front end and wonderful organizational skills on the back end. I can research like a champ but the sheer volume of comments and e-mails has been… sobering? a stark reminder of why it is a very good thing I never had children? It’s hard to say, but after spending 4 days doing nothing but responding to e-mails from TAR, I have to wonder if even a really organized person with excellent time management skills would have been able to cope.

At any rate, IROB is still my favorite of my three sites because it was my first real site and I feel really crappy that I have neglected it so much lately.

I have great stuff in the pipeline. In the next few weeks I hope to have up discussions of books by Kevin Akstin, Mikita Brottman, John McNee, Jon Konrath and others. I am working on an essay for another venture, a discussion wherein I apply the aesthetics of disgust to various bizarro novels. The Jim Goad ANSWER Me! discussion is also back on the table now that my “unpleasantness” is over. Not sure when that will happen but I am betting we’ll see it sometime in early 2014.  It’s going to be a monster in terms of sheer word count so I promise that it will be worth the wait, if only in terms of volume.

I also have what I hope to be a very interesting look at books about disappearances in the national parks system. David Paulides, a Bigfoot researcher and former law enforcement officer, wrote two really fascinating books (actually, there is a third I have not yet read) about strange disappearances in various parks and the institutional stonewall and incompetence he encountered when he tried to get information about many of these disappearances. This discussion will be for Houdini’s Revenge but a lot of readers here may enjoy it.

And of course I will be cranking out content for Truth About Ruth. I had no idea it would become this massive of a research effort when I launched the site, and as of right now I don’t know if I will ever see the end of this woman’s scams and machinations. It fascinates me and is very interesting to me, but it also stabs my life in the face. Surely, as an adult with a ton of time on my hands, I will find a way to balance all the things I enjoy doing online.

On a completely unrelated note, my birthday last month was pretty much just another day – I’ve never been much of one to celebrate my birthdays in a big way.  Dinner and book shopping is the maximum of what I am willing to do just because the clock ticked off another year. However, Mr. Oddbooks got me this:


It’s Captain Koons from Pulp Fiction, explaining the legend of the watch to my late cat, Adolph.  He commissioned it from Ruth Marcus, a woman who specializes in painting your pets with various celebrities.  Truly, this is the best gift anyone ever gave me.  He got it professionally framed and I plan to hang it tomorrow.  Adolph’s been dead for over three years and I still haven’t really gotten used to the idea he is gone.  He was a remarkable animal.  And he would have wanted to see a watch that spent five years up one man’s ass, two years up another’s.  And we all know how I feel about Christopher Walken.

I also wanted to thank everyone who recently used my Amazon Affiliate link when they made purchases on Amazon. I really appreciate it!

See you all later this week.  Let me know how you’ve all been doing!

The Bizarro Story of I by Wol-vriey

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book: The Bizarro Story of I

Author: Wol-vriey

Type of Book: Fiction, bizarro

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: There are many reasons…

Availability: Published by Bizarro Press in 2011, you can get a copy here:

Comments: This book may not be the best bizarro book I have ever read, but it employs one of the best mindfucks that I’ve encountered in this genre. And it’s amazingly simple. The protagonist is named I and the book uses a third person narrative. That really is a pretty simple device, but it forces the reader to pay attention because if your mind wanders the slightest, you find yourself reading a first person novel. But it’s not a first person novel. And you will lose track of that several times as you read this book.

It’s such a strange way to write a book yet so perfect I’m surprised I haven’t seen this before.

Here’s a quick synopsis, as well as anyone can summarize a book like this: I is married to a woman called Anorexia, who is the secret daughter and heir to a kingdom run by horrible, body-building weirdos called the Steroid Cowbiys. She is kidnapped one day and I goes on a quest to find her. He loses his mouth early on and is forced to type out his end of the conversations he has. The plot, like the name trope, is simple – man goes in search of his lady-love, who is in peril. As with all bizarro, the bizarro is in the details. There’s almost an Alice in Wonderland thing going on in this book. I genuinely do not have a chance in hell of explaining the details of this book with anything approaching brevity – they are just that involved and bizarre. I meets a weird little mouse thing called Chocolate Mousse, who corners the market on rat poison and warehouses it so it can’t be used to kill him. I meets a weird fish-woman hybrid called Girlzilla who helps him but also proves to be a bit strange in her own right. He does battle with the family of body-building weirdos and sort of saves his wife but his quest doesn’t end the way you would think. And of course, there is a whole lot more to it than that, but just think of it as a love quest sprinkled with characters that would have deeply disturbed Lewis Carroll.

This book is horribly edited. It would not have made my ten error cut off, but I had read it before I made that declaration, hence this review. But this was also one of the first books released by Bizarro Press. More recent offerings show a vast improvement in regards to editing. But still, this book has a lot of errors. I have to mention it because that’s just who I am. But those who tend not to notice these sorts of things are unlikely to find this book any worse than any other bizarro offering. Just getting this out of the way so I can discuss the rest of the book to my satisfaction.

The use of “I” as a name really is quite interesting because it forces the reader to interact deeply with the text. It reads completely naturally but in the middle of sentences I found myself wondering who the “I” referred to and remembered, “Oh yeah, it’s the protagonist’s name.” In a third person narrative, it should be all the clearer that all those mentions of “I” are referring to the title character but even as I read the last pages, I still had difficulty remembering that simple fact. 

What, now?

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I’ve been slacking off over here lately but this time I have a good excuse!  I swear!

I got sucked into a Munchausen by Internet/malingering/faker scandal and decided to launch a website looking into the situation because it is just that interesting. Since the early 2000s, a woman called Christina Iver-B* has been using various online ruses to prey on people for both attention and money.  I encountered her in an online watchdog group that kept an eye on misogynist, fundamentalist, evangelical religious movements, some of which I can comfortably call cults.  A plucky young woman called Ruth started discussing her flight from her ATI/Gothardite family and the many problems she faced as she tried to work her way back into conventional society, while begging for money because her life just never got on track.

Except she wasn’t a refugee from a violent, cruel, repressive religious family.  She’s a mother of four in her late 30s who has so many online identities that I have been researching for three weeks now and am certain there are many I don’t know yet.

This was completely up my alley and while it sucked up a lot of my time, it’s also invigorated my desire to write so now that I’ve got my crap together I hope to have more content up here.  Check back tomorrow for a discussion of a Bradley Sands book, as well as several other bizarro before I start transitioning into less genre-oriented odd books.

If you are interested in online scams, here’s my site looking into the mess Chris Izer-B* has caused.   If you are unfamiliar with this situation, you will need to read from the beginning.  Otherwise, see you tomorrow!


Regular posting resumes next week

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I had planned to have another “Bizarro Week” but the tepid turn out for the last one has convinced me to wait a bit before engaging in such an endeavor.  However, I still plan to discuss some bizarro in a lump, more or less.  Then we’ll leave basic bizarro and branch out into other books, and hopefully some non-fiction.  I miss discussing non-fiction over here.  But in the upcoming weeks, look for discussions of Bradley Sands, David Barbee, G. Arthur Brown, David David Katz, Kevin Astkin, and hopefully in July I can get back to discussing odd non-fiction as well.

I’ve been busy at work over on Houdini’s Revenge.  A mention on MetaFilter and an indignant conspiracy theorist resulted in an onslaught of new readers and all sorts of comment situations.  I thought running IROB for five years had prepared me for the worst that “creative” thinkers bring to the comment section.  I was wrong.  Oh, was I wrong.  Mr Oddbooks wants me to close comments,  but I am leaving comments open over there and just keeping my ban hand strong.  In five years of IROB I’ve had to ban two people, and one of them was unbanned later.  Not the case over on HRev.  In another two weeks, I think I will be in possession of a data set that will show a definitive link between Tor accounts and anti-semitism.  Maybe I’ll apply for a grant to complete a study, or maybe I’ll just smack myself in the head repeatedly with a copy of Modern Trolling.

On another note, I noticed some incoming links from a site called HTML Giant and found I had been referenced in a very interesting analysis of Tao Lin’s Shoplifting from American Apparel I am unsure if being “compellingly tedious” is a good thing yet the description delighted me.  It’s possibly the best description of what I do, now that I think of it.  But back to Lin.  Increasingly I feel less… offended by Tao Lin and warming toward his style or his schtick, or whatever it is he has going on.  And the article over on HTML Giant is very much worth a read so have a look if you have an opinion on Lin.

Thanks to all who offered support during my resent “unpleasantness.”  The situation is largely resolving itself and while one can never say never, I don’t see a similar problem cropping up any time soon.  I am working very hard to catch back up and an heartened that I have such great readers here.  Lurkers are awesome too because you raise your heads at just the right moment.   IROB’s readers rock!

See you next week!


What I Did This Weekend: or, Fuck My Life

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

So, for the four of you left who read here regularly, you may have noticed that the site was offline this weekend.   I had some… issues.

I am conflicted because I would like to tell you all what is happening but if I do, it may just get worse.  But before long, someone is going to have to go jail.  I’m not kidding.

Multiple DMCA notices were filed against this site and Houdini’s Revenge, all of them bogus.  Complaints were also made about the content I produce on IROB.   It was alleged that I have reproduced child pornography and wrote entries to incite people to commit acts of pedophilia and rape.  None of these complaints had any basis in reality (no shit).  My hosting company had limited choices because I was less than cooperative but they were on my side and all of this has been resolved in my favor.   Seriously, they were very professional and very sympathetic.

Because I am very tired I have cancelled ANSWER Me! week because I can only imagine the complaints that will get lodged if I discuss all four issues in the depth I prefer.

If you are a writer who suspects your work may have been twisted up in this mess, please know this nonsense was wholly directed at me.  There was no vendetta against any writer involved, and especially no vendetta against Jim Goad, whose work I planned to tackle this week.

I genuinely don’t know how I am going to get this weirdness to stop.  Mr Oddbooks and I have explored legal options but then we decided we couldn’t justify the hassle or the expense so we’re gonna lie low and hope it doesn’t happen again.  I plan to write here, probably next week, but I have a limited capacity to deal with much in the way of bullshit, which is why I collect books and write online rather than have a real job.  So we’ll see how this goes.

Also, while I’m feeling a bit testy, I need to let everyone who has sent me books to read know that I have made a decision about how I plan to handle the books that remain to be read.  If I count more than ten grammar, spelling and/or punctuation issues in your book, I won’t be discussing it.   It’s harsh but really, it’s not.  Lately a lot of the literature I have read has been difficult to appreciate because of all the errors, which makes me tired as I try to find ways to praise good ideas with crappy editing, and I need to recharge my mojo, which will be hard in a world without Ray Manzarek, but I’m going to give it a try (note: avoid using sentences like this one when you write books).  I’ll handle rejected novels quietly.  Thanks for your understanding. (Edited because I found a nicer way to say what I needed to say.)

ANSWER Me! Week Starts Monday

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Hey everyone, sorry to have been so quiet since the end of the NBAS week but I’ve been busy over on Houdini’s Revenge. In fact, I knocked out an attempt to debunk of one of the more involved “it was staged” theories regarding the Boston Marathon Bombings, as well as writing about some of the backpack theories. I hope eventually to amass a clearinghouse of all the theories, debunked (or confirmed – it could happen) and in some sort of order. For those who enjoy conspiracy theory, have a look.

I made an interesting decision about discussing ANSWER Me!, issues 1-4. I have been working on these discussions for months, almost a year. And when I say I “these discussions,” I really mean Issue 4, the infamous Rape Issue. I have never hit the backspace key more in my life. I have read almost all of Andrea Dworkin’s body of work to make sure that I have my ducks in a row if the Andrea Dworkin Lie Detector types show up. I have agonized over word choice, trying to make sure I conveyed the point I wanted to make without offending the usual suspects, even as I sort of want to call out the usual suspects (:cough:melissamcewan:cough:) for trivializing rape to the point even ardent liberals are sickened by their penny ante and Penny Arcade antics, making rape seem trivial as they wage war against fictional creatures committing impossible acts against cartoon characters that in no way represent any living person, past or present. And I will have to mention Peter Sotos. Sotos is a polarizing dude, and by polarizing, I mean I get rape and death threats when I talk about him. I can cope with that sort of shit – welcome to the Internet, Baby Girl! – but it can get a wee bit demoralizing.

All that agonizing has let me to this interesting decision: I am trashing everything I have written and will begin again on Saturday morning, cranking out text quickly and from a place of reaction rather than contemplation. When I am forced to write quickly, I have to stop dithering. When I stop dithering, I can say what I want to say and not worry about who may be offended or that people I want to offend may find my POV to their liking, which is almost as bad.

I may be cranking out Friday’s entry Thursday night but, even if it is rushed, it will be better than the tentative semi-turd I have right now. Hopefully raw writing will encourage raw and interesting discussions.

I had planned to host a giveaway for this themed week but I am 86ing it for two reasons. One, all of the ANSWER Me! books are out-of-print and the last I looked on Amazon, the affordable copies were in crappy condition (acceptable on Amazon means someone’s cat shat on it), all the reputable dealers want way too much, and easily half the listings were from dropshippers, the scourge of the online book purchasing experience. I could give away Goad’s other books but that seems weird since I’m not discussing them. Two, the last two giveaways I hosted had really lukewarm reactions. I’ve seen hundreds of people freak out at the chance to win a $10 card at a coffee shop and I had 26 entries for a $50 Amazon card, and those entries represented nine people. Maybe 10. I’m too tired to go back and look. At any rate, though I really like sharing the book love, there is a fine line between Sharing the Love and becoming That Girl Who Looks Like She Is Begging For Readers. I love you guys but I feel like I’m forcing my love down your throats. Which seems an appropriate way as any to end this entry that basically bemoaned my neurotic inability to write from the hip about rape.

Funny how that works.

Tune in Monday for ANSWER Me! week. It should be interesting.