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September Recap

Oh, the heady days of September. Kids put away their swim trunks and, bowed, broken, march back to school. Pumpkin spice infuses everything, everywhere, all the f*cking time. Department stores put on display their Christmas decorations, in defiance of good taste and good sense. I dabble in the occult, seeking to bend the very fabric of reality to my own dark ambitions. And the leaves change. Foliage!

September 2014 was a busy time here at the Oxford comma-challenged Books, Brains and Beer (hereafter “BBB”). The dizzying highs, the tragic lows…if blogging be the food of life, read on.


I attempted my first readalong, based on Karin Tidbeck’s short story collection, Jagannath. Due to unforeseen Real Life Events, the readalong, rather than the adorable, cooing newborn I expected, was birthed into the world a twisted mockery of all that is held dear by God and man. I may be exaggerating. In any case, there will be backfill throughout October, and the posts will then be present for posterity, and, I hope, future commentary. What I learned: In blogging, planning ahead of time is your friend.

September saw, too, the inauguration of a new BBB feature, You Can’t Do That in Book Blogging. The title of the series is an homage to the 80s television show You Can’t Do That on Television. (Lest anyone think I’m telling them what they can and can’t do. After all, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” according to Aleister Crowley.) I’ve enjoyed this feature because it permits me to talk with my blog buddies about the nuts-and-bolts of what we do. Topics so far have included post frequency and length and the age of the books one reviews. Have an idea for a future column? Or want to guest blog one? Make a note in the comments.

Nyctophobia, Christopher Fowler

Nyctophobia, Christopher Fowler

I reviewed Christopher Fowler’s Nyctophobia, to be published by Solaris in October 2014. Verdict: A spooky haunted house story with great imagery, it’s a good candidate for reading on an autumn evening, perhaps with a cup of tea by your side. I read City of Stairs, too, and am trying to find the time review it. I’m having difficulty only because I liked it so much. Damn my lack of objectivity!

I had the good fortune to hear Jeff VanderMeer speak at the Free Library of Philadelphia on September 25. He read from his most recent novel, Acceptance, and talked about jumping over alligators, much like the old Atari game Pitfall!, I imagine.

Finally, I celebrated the one year anniversary of BBB on September 23. Will I continue blogging? I’m not sure. But I didn’t think a year ago that I’d still be writing now.

I don't even like cake! Yay!

I don’t even like cake! Yay!

Onward, to October!