To a week of gratitude


I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but it’s been a cold, dreary week, here.

Viruses keep popping up like a bad penny.

We’re busy, and we’re tired.

So, we’re gonna go ahead and call it . . .

Early holiday here at The Bibliophile’s Adventure’s Club.

We figure we’ll just take a few extra days to be thankful — for blankets, and books, and warm beverages with a splash of whiskey. You know, the good stuff.

We’re also thankful for you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for continuing to have faith in us. We’ll get our act together one of these days, surely.

In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to you (yes, even those of you outside the US)!


The Sandman series


Never let it be said that reading can’t catch you a man.  Now, whether or not you want to catch that man (quick, throw him back!) is another story altogether.

Mr. Neil Gaiman, despite being one of my all-time favourite authors, is going to be the death of me, as a large number of his books have been responsible for “rando” men in my life.  This particular instance was brought on by his classic graphic novel series The Sandman.

I recently shared with an acquaintance, a friend of a friend really, that I owned the entire Sandman series, all ten books.  When he expressed his desire to read them, I enthusiastically offered them up–my poor sacrificial lambs.  What can I say? I get excited whenever anyone wants to read, particularly when someone wants to read Gaiman.  When the acquaintance asked to borrow the books a few days later, I imagined a quick swap over a beer.  In reality, the speedy exchange into a gracious, though very unwelcome, sneak date over dinner (his).

But the books . . .

I feel as though they should inscribe the front of each of Gaiman’s book with the following: Aspiring authors, take heed.  Those who wonder how worlds are woven and created, watch the master at work.

Morpheus / Dream / the eponymous Sandman takes center stage in this series, accompanied by his Endless immortal siblings, as they manipulate and tool with humankind in the dream world.  Dreams permeate the waking world more often than we give them credit.  What would happen if you hid things, such as secrets, objects, treasures, in your dreams?  What if, as you dreamt, you could shape the waking world?  What if you could control everyone’s dreams? Within the world of Dreaming, Gaiman creates an entire kingdom of dreams for Morpheus to rule over and for dreamers to love, live, and kill.  There is, as often in dreams, evil and there is goodness, all mixed together.  And when we think about how broad, wide, and all encompassing this kingdom is, we get a little peek into Gaiman’s own head.

So it’s not necessarily a coincidence that Morpheus / Lord Dream looks a bit like @NeilHimself: a dark, lanky, brooding character with masses of unruly hair. Women fainting in his footsteps. Classic Gaiman.

Unfortunately, my fellow comic book borrower was neither dark, lanky, nor brooding and I wasn’t fainting at any point of the evening.  At the end of the book exchange, without thinking, I foolishly told my “date” to enjoy and maybe we could discuss the books when he was finished–to which he responded, “Yes, and we can go out for drinks again!”

Commence thumping forehead against wall.


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SnowQueenSnow Queen print by Emily Balivet

Yeah, I’ve got nothin’.

The weather went from glorious, to frigid in one fell swoop. So I decided it would be a splendid idea to partake in a good winter cold. If I’m not sneezing, I’m blowing my nose. Add a sore throat to the mix and I’m positively pathetic.

To ease my misery, I decided there’s only one thing to do . . . snuggle in with a good book. Mainly, In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.

Of course, that means other things had to go by the wayside–checking news feeds, for instance.

That being said, I have nary a clue as to the goings on in the book world. So if I’m missing something big, do feel free to share . . .


Black Bart “the poet”


His name was Charles Earl Bowles. He was born in Norfolk, England in 1829; when he was two, he emigrated to the United States with his family.

Throughout his life he was a brother and a son, a husband and a father; he was a prospector and a soldier.  But he’s most known as the gentleman bandit.

You see, he never struck it rich in the gold mines. So he decided to get his hands on the gold another way: by robbing Wells Fargo stagecoaches–twenty-eight of them, to be exact. He wore a long linen duster and a bowler hat (covered with a flour sack with holes cut out for his eyes); he carried a shotgun, though he never fired a shot. He would approach the stagecoach on foot (he suffered an equinophobia) and would politely ask for the moneybox.

On two of his holdups, he left poems . . .

On the August 3, 1877 stagecoach traveling from Point Arena to Duncan’s Mills:

I’ve labored long and hard for bread,
For honor, and for riches,
But on my corns too long you’ve tread,
You fine-haired sons of bitches.

—Black Bart, the “po-8″

And on the July 25, 1878 stagecoach traveling from Quincy to Oroville:

Here I lay me down to sleep
To wait the coming morrow,
Perhaps success, perhaps defeat,
And everlasting sorrow.
Let come what will, I’ll try it on,
My condition can’t be worse;
And if there’s money in that box
‘Tis munny in my purse.

—Black Bart, the “po-8″

Black Bart happened to be a villain in a dime novel story called The Case of Summerfield. A villain who just happened to rob Wells Fargo stagecoaches.

Those two poems, attributed to Black Bart, and the moniker stuck. From that point forward he was known as Black Bart the poet.

His last holdup took place on November 3, 1883. He got away, but not before being shot in the hand and leaving behind incriminating evidence. Eventually, that robbery led to his arrest and four years in San Quentin.

Upon his release from prison, one reporter ask if he intended to rob more stagecoaches. “No, gentlemen, I’m through with crime,” he said. Another asked if he intended to write more poetry. Bowles laughed. “Now, didn’t you hear me say that I’m through with crime?”

In the Field

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Happy Halloween!

If the day managed to creep up on you, and you haven’t a clue what you might dress up as, here are a few literary costume ideas, from Writer’s Relief’s Pinterest board.  Of course, you could simply grab some chocolate and hide out with a good scary tale.

In the meantime, here are a few bookish news items from the week:

In Memoriam, The Paris Review celebrates the life and work of poet Galway Kinnell.

Powells is giving away 23 signed editionsWho doesn’t love free books? I don’t even want to know . . .

Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future, is set to make a comeback. Stories of the British comic strip hero will be reprinted next year as part of his 65th birthday celebration.

And if you’re looking for a little Halloween something-or-other . . .

Let me sleep: A Halloween ghost story by Dave Shelton (The Guardian Childrens books).

Scary Moments in Human/Robot Relations in NonChronological Order (McSweeneys).

10 Novels that are scarier than most horror movies.

Not Scary Just Drawn that Way: Great Comics for Halloween (NPR).