Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories—A Fascinating New Book of Stories by World Fantasy Award-Winning Author, Kelley Barnhill—A Must-Read!

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I just started this book and I am amazed at its quality and style, intelligence, and sophisticated sense of humor. I love the first story, “Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch”, so much, I had to say now: this story alone is worth the price of the book! So go, quick, buy it! 😊

Stories, good short stories with wit and creativity, are hard to find nowadays. I have always seen them as the best fruit, way at the top of the highest trees. The lower stuff is OK. Some of it is very good, even. But, it’s the upper-most fruit that is the sweetest and the sustenance you will remember most often.

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Art by Chris Buzelli for Tor.com.

From “Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch”…

The day she buried her husband—a good man, by all accounts, though shy, not given to drink or foolishness; not one for speeding tickets or illegal parking or cheating on his taxes; not one for carousing at the county fair, or tomcatting with the other men from the glass factory; which is to say, he was utterly unknown in town: a cipher; a cold, blank space—Agnes Sorensen arrived at the front steps of Our Lady of the Snows. The priest was waiting for her at the open door. The air was sweet and wet with autumn rot, and though it had rained earlier, the day was starting to brighten, and would surely be lovely in an hour or two. Mrs. Sorensen greeted the priest with a sad smile. She wore a smart black hat, sensible black shoes, and a black silk shirt belted into a slim crepe skirt. Two little white mice peeked out of her left breast pocket—two tiny shocks of fur with pink, quivering noses and red, red tongues.
The priest, an old fellow by the name of Laurence, took her hands and gave a gentle squeeze. He was surprised by the mice. The mice, on the other hand, were not at all surprised to see him. They inclined their noses a little farther over the lip of the shirt pocket, to get a better look. Their whiskers were as pale and bright as sunbeams. They looked at one another and turned in unison toward the face of the old priest. And though he knew it was impossible, it seemed to Father Laurence that the mice were smiling at him. He swallowed.
“Mrs. Sorensen,” he said, clearing his throat.
“Mmm?” she said, looking at her watch. She glanced over her shoulder and whistled. A very large dog rounded the tall hedge, followed by an almost-as-large raccoon and a perfectly tiny cat.
“We can’t—” but his voice failed him.
(2018, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)

Read Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch, free, here, at Tor.com:

https://www.tor.com/2014/10/08/mrs-sorensen-and-the-sasquatch-kelly-barnhill/

I’m on Story 2 now: “Open the Door and the Light Pours Through”, and it’s wonderul, too! I’m very glad to have discovered Kelly Barnhill, and I was eager to share her with you. You’ll love the authoritative voice, the thoughtful prose, the lovely characterization. And damn is that a cool cover!

I love to support great writers. Won’t you join me?

Here is Barnhil’s website and her post re: Dreadful Young Ladies. Following that link, is some info on the author and an interview, story synopses, &tc.—oh, and where to buy the book.

Magical.

🌱

Read Kelly Barnhill’s post about the new book, via Oh. Right. I have a new book.


About the Author

Books Newbery Caldecott

Kelly Barnhill is an American author of children’s literature, fantasy, and science fiction. Her novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon was awarded the 2017 Newbery Medal. Barnhill has received writing fellowships from the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board and was a 2015 McKnight Writing Fellow in Children’s Literature.

She is the winner of the Parents Choice Gold Award, the Texas Library Association Bluebonnet award, and a Charlotte Huck Honor. She also was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the Andre Norton Award and the PEN/USA literary prize. In 2016, her novella The Unlicensed Magician received the World Fantasy Award for Long Fiction.

In 2017, her novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon was awarded the John Newbery Medal by the American Library Association.

Barnhill’s books include The Unlicensed Magician, The Witch’s Boy, Iron-Hearted Violet, The Mostly True Story of Jack, and The Girl Who Drank The Moon, and several non-fiction titles for children.

Read more, here:

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“More Dark”—A Short Story by Laird Barron

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On the afternoon train from Poughkeepsie to New York City for a thing at the Kremlin Bar — John and me and an empty seat that should’ve been Jack’s, except Jack was dead going on three years, body or no body. Hudson out the right-hand window, shining like a scale. Winter light fading fast, blending the ice and snow and water into a steely red. More heavy weather coming, they said. A blizzard; the fifth in as many weeks. One body blow after another for the Northeast and no end in sight.

We were sneaking shots of Glenfiddich from a flask. I watched a kid across the aisle watching me from beneath eyelids the tint of blue-black scarab beetle shells. He wore a set of headphones that merely dampened the Deftones screaming “Change.” His eardrums were surely bleeding to match the trickle from his nose. He seemed content.

Another slug of scotch and back to John with the flask.

I thought of the revolver waiting for me in the dresser of my hotel room. I could hear it ticking. I dreamed about that fucking gun all of the time. It loomed as large as a planet-killing asteroid in my mind. It shined with silvery fire against satin nothingness, slowly turning in place, a symbolic prop from a lost Hitchcock film, the answer to the meaning of my life. The ultimate negation. A Rossi .38 Special bought on the cheap at a pawnshop on 4th Avenue, now snug in a sock drawer. One bullet in the chamber, fated to nest in my heart or brain.

My wife of a decade had mysteriously (or not so mysteriously if one asked her friends) walked out six weeks ago, suitcase in one hand, ticket to the Bahamas in the other. My marching orders were to be gone by the time she got back with a new tan. Yeah, I wasn’t taking the divorce well. Nor the fiasco with the novel, nor a dozen impending deadlines, chief among them a story I owed S.T. for Dark Membrane II, an anthology in homage to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. This last item I hoped to resolve prior to dissipating into the ether, but at the moment it wasn’t looking favorable. Still, when marooned in the desert and down to crawling inch by bloody inch, that’s what one does. Crawl, and again.

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“Gaslight”—A Short Story by Jeffrey Ford…

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We first heard about the child one evening at The Monday Afternoon Club from old Matterson, last heir to an empire of sweatshops. We’d been going round in a circle offering up stories of the supernatural to pass a dreary winter’s eve. The ones we’d come out with so far were of a pedestrian nature — the haunted governess, the young woman who sees her father in an art museum in Italy at the moment of his death three continents away, the romance of certain old shoes — but then it was Matterson’s turn, and the poor codger seemed to be experiencing some bout of internal distress. Well into his fourth whiskey and passing wind like a bellows in Hell, he came out with it, and when he did, he gave an unfeigned shiver, as did we all.

The tale held us captive in the face of its teller’s over ripe departures from decorum. Mr. Steel pinched his nostrils with thumb and pointer and begged a jot more speed in the telling. Matterson was not to be hurried, though. “All in due course,” he said, and paused to run his fingers through his prodigious side burns, like a pair of kittens, while from his southern hemisphere there issued a long slow ripping noise, proof that his trousers had seen their last. It was at this point that my man, Hubert, reached for a handkerchief. I’ll admit, I was also rather faint, but the lure of the harrowing saga won out over self-preservation, and I dare say we all, Steel, Hubert, Mr. Cipus, and myself, tears forming in the corners of our eyes, forfeited no mean parcel of our respective life spans to hear it.

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Tonight’s Reading—A Famous History of The Celts by Nora Chadwick (Penguin 1971) w/ a New Introductory by Barry Cunliffe…

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Details from the Gundestrup Cauldron, an ancient Celtic artifact fashioned of pure silver with sides carved in relief, which depicts druidic rites and myths otherwise unrecorded. The cauldron was discovered in a danish peat bog in 1891. It is thought to date back to the second century BCE.

 Preface to the 1971 Edition

7EF7BE3C-8141-4777-BEC3-BC573F8B84A1The Celts may be taken as a starting-point for a study of the long series of peoples whose arrival and settlement in Britain have contributed to its history. They provide a link between the prehistoric period—at the end of which they had emerged as the product of much cultural evolution—and the early historic period. The Celts in the prehistoric period had no writing, and so were unable to leave written records of themselves. We know of them from place-names, from the reports of classical writers–often their enemies–and from archaeology. For centuries they have been relegated to the remote parts of our islands, beautiful but somewhat inaccessible, and commercially and politically of little importance. In consequence their part in our history has been neglected. More recently, however, intensified archaeological research has begun to remedy this. A new appreciation of the Celtic peoples, both on the Continent and in the British Isles, has been gained through excavation and other archaeological techniques and has allowed a more accurate assessment of this ancient people, older than the classical Roman world, older than the history of Britain. In so doing it has given an added dimension to the distant past. It has emphasized that the art of writing was a relatively late acquisition as far as the contemporary recording of the history of early Europe and the British Isles is concerned.

We have been in the habit of thinking of the Celts as they were left by their Saxon and Norman conquerors, a somewhat backward and relatively thin population in the less accessible mountain highlands of Scotland and Wales. But this is only the end of the story which stretches much further back into the centuries before Christ. Earlier than this the Celtic peoples occupied at least the greater part of the British Isles. At the time of their greatest power and extent the political divisions of the land were Celtic, their rulers had Celtic names, their laws and institutions and their economy and way of life were all Celtic, from Scotland to Kent, and from the Aran Islands to the North Sea. Indeed, the Celtic peoples of the British Isles formed a part of the great Celtic peoples who occupied and ruled a large part of Europe before their conquest by the Romans.

It is with the origins and development of these Celtic peoples in Britain, their art and their religion –first heathen and then Christian –and their unique and individual contribution to European society that this book is mainly concerned, up to the time of the gradual transformation of their culture in parts of Britain, first under the Romans and later by the Saxons. The Celts of Britain and Ireland are not the earliest we know, nor are they the Celts of widest distribution. They are, however, the Celtic peoples about whom we know most, for they have left us the most complete picture of their civilization, having enjoyed freedom from foreign, especially Roman, conquest longer than their continental neighbours –and in parts escaped it altogether –and thus preserved their own culture in a purer form. Wherever relevant, however, some discussion of the whole background of the Celtic world is included.

I am greatly indebted to Dr John X. W. P. Corcoran, who read the manuscript in its final stages and made many valuable suggestions, as well as contributing additional material to chapters 5 and 6.

– Nora Chadwick, 1971


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The King

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(Tumblr)

My obsession w IT…

 

Meet Mr. Barlow, the Vampire from ‘Salem’s Lot…

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(cemeterydance.com)

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Mr. Barlow, ‘Salem’s Lot, Artist unknown (Pinterest).

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Mr. Barlow, ‘Salem’s Lot. Artist unknown (Pinterest).