Bookish Mysteries and Conspiracies

Hi everyone! I’m heading out of town this week so hopefully I’ll get some reading done. Since it is October, however, I decided to compile a list for you all about real life crimes and mysteries surrounding famous authors and/or their novels. I’ll leave links with more information if you find yourself intrigued. Let me know if I missed any or if you have a favorite. I love true crime as much as I love fictional crime.

The Life, Death, and Drama of Edgar Allan Poe: Poe, my favorite author lived a life that was just as macabre as any of his stories. Did he predict a real life ship wreck? Was his death a suicide, an accident, or a murder? Who paid tribute to him years after his death? To this day, we may never know the real story behind the godfather of gothic fiction.

The Disappearance (and Discovery) of Agatha Christie: In December of 1926, famous mystery author Agatha Christie disappeared in the early hours of the morning for eleven days. She remembered absolutely nothing and was found in perfectly good health. Many have speculated as to what happened but no one knows the answer except Christie herself. (Note: Doctor Who did an episode about Christie’s disappearance called “The Unicorn and The Wasp.” I highly recommend it.)

Did Shakespeare Even Exist?: This is quite possibly of one the oldest and most famous author related-mysteries. Is it possible that the greatest playwright of all time never actually existed? Theories range from Shakespeare being a collective group of people, a single female author, or even the pseudonym of Sir Francis Bacon. The topic is still up for debate.

The Voynich Manuscript aka The Most Mysterious Book Ever Written: Named after its discoverer, the Voynich Manuscript is a codex written in an unknown language and filled with illustrations that seem to be of an alien planet. Many have tried to decipher this book but no one has been successful. Who (or what) wrote the Voynich Manuscript?

The Disappearance of Ambrose Bierce: Years before Christie disappeared and reappeared, Ambrose Bierce took a trip to Mexico and never returned. Most known for his psychological horror stories, Bierce captured America’s imagination during the Civil War then he vanished into thin air. No one knows what happened to him and his body was never found.

Was Albert Camus Killed by the KGB?: Albert Camus, author of The Stranger and a Nobel Prize winner, was killed in a car accident on his way to visit his family, or was he? A new theory has emerged that Camus was killed by the KGB after publishing an article that criticized Russia’s military. Is there more to Camus’ death or was it simply a tragic accident?

The Book Sent by the Angels Themselves: John Dee, famous mathematician and occultist, found the Book of Soyga. This manuscript consists of 40,000 randomly distributed letters and, when decoded, reveals magic spells, astrological charts, and alchemy. Dee claims to have contacted the archangel Uriel in order to reveal the secrets of the book. Also, legend has it that anyone who decodes the book will perish in two-and-a-half years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die: Reviewing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Hi everyone! I’m back from a much needed Spring Break and I am counting down to graduation at this point. I had a different review planned as I wanted to do a review of Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. That one will come eventually but I managed to get a hold of the electronic version of one of Thompson’s most famous novels. Hunter S. Thompson has always fascinated me and I really wanted to read one of his novels. I can’t do any justice explaining what Hunter S. Thompson was like as a person so I will leave some links below with information on him. In the meanwhile, I will tell you how I felt about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. 

Based on real events in Thompson’s life, this novel follows the drug addled and lurid journey of Raoul Duke, a jaded journalist, and Dr. Gonzo, his erratic attorney with a penchant for getting in trouble with the law. The two begin an odyssey to the Mint 400 motorcycle race in Las Vegas and find themselves in the midst of the ugliness hidden in Sin City. Thompson’s semi-autobiographical novel examines the fall of the counterculture of the 1960s and the reality behind the infamous “American Dream.”

Thompson’s novel was just as wild to read as I thought it would be. It’s not necessarily a stream-of-conscieneness type novel but it isn’t terribly coherent as far as the plot goes. Granted, the narrator is on every single recreational drug that he and his attorney could get their hands on. Within the drug-fueled action of the novel, there are some slow and thoughtful moments that offer an excellent insight into the culture of the early 1970s with Las Vegas being the perfect backdrop for American consumerism. Its fascinating how Duke deals with his inner turmoil as well as the navigating a landscape that doesn’t accept his authenticity. The one thing I truly enjoyed about the novel was how authentic it felt. Thompson’s feelings are made loud and clear with Duke as his mouthpiece. This novel is definitely hard to read at times as it jumps about and has some graphic descriptions of Duke’s hallucinations. If you enjoy unique narrations and an honest look at the American landscape, then I recommend this novel for you. I can definitely see myself reading this again and I might want to check out the movie. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a wild ride that delivers in its emotional and mental depth.

General Information on Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s Daily Routine

Interview with Hunter S. Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

 

Current Favorites: Podcasts Edition (Part 2)

Hi everyone! I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts. Therefore,  I decided to do another blog more of the podcasts I’ve discovered. Personally, I like to listen to podcasts while I’m working and I’m sure some of you like to do the same. Here are some suggestions if you’re looking for a new podcast or two to enjoy.

Alice Isn’t Dead – From the creators of Welcome to Night Vale, “Alice Isn’t Dead” follows the journey of our unnamed narrator as she decides to become a truck driver in order to find her wife Alice, who she once presumed to be dead. If you’re looking for a perfectly twisted and weird serial then this podcast is for you. I really enjoy this one, as I am a mystery junkie. You don’t have to be a fan of Night Vale in order to enjoy this series but it definitely holds up to the same level of weirdness if that’s what you’re looking for.

Alice Isn't Dead

Crime in Sports – Are you a sports fan? Well I’m not but this one definitely peaked my interest. Created by the same hosts as “Small Town Murder,” this podcasts explores the lives of athletes from various sports who fell from grace so hard that it’s mind boggling. You don’t need to know anything about sports in order to enjoy this podcast but, if you do have sports background, then this podcast is definitely for you.

crimeinsports_300

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text – I had to include a Harry Potter related podcast on this list and this is the one that appeals to my inner English Major. Join Vanessa and Casper as they delve into the series and analyze it chapter by chapter. This podcast provides a meaningful and thoughtful conversation about the magical books we all know and love.

Harry-Potter-and-the-Sacred-Text

Spirits – It’s time for some boozy talk about mythology, legends, and folk lore. For you fans of all things paranormal, supernatural, and alcoholic, then I recommend this podcast. It’s fairly light-hearted but still informative. Grab some wine and sit back as your hosts discuss legends from all over the world.

spirits

Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know – Get your tin foil hats ready before you listen to this podcasts that explores the strangest and most interesting conspiracies. Whether it’s a government cover up, alien invasion, or questionable death, this podcast covers it all. You might be just a little more paranoid after listening to one of these episodes but, I guarantee, you will be fascinated the entire time.

stuff they don't want you to know

That’s my part two. There are some more podcasts coming out in spring that I’m looking forward to that I might do individual reviews on. In the meanwhile, let me know if there’s any podcasts you enjoy that I might not know about or if you like any of these ones.

 

 

 

The Intergalactic Book Tag

Guess who’s back with another book tag? It’s me because I’m bored and haven’t read anything new lately. I don’t know why but I keep getting myself into books that take me forever to finish. How about we kill some time with a book tag? I got this one from Comma Hangover

Space – Name a book that is out of this world, or that takes place in a world from its own

the martian 2the-colour-of-magic-2Neverwhere-GalleyCat

The Martian takes place on Mars, so you can’t get much out of this world then that. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series takes place in a topsy-turvy world that exists on the back of a turtle. Neverwhere is set in a magical world located under London that completely different from the London we know.

space 1

Black Hole – a book that completely sucked you in

the night circusamerican gods

I will continue to peddle American Gods as I could not put that book down when I first read it. The Night Circus was also a intriguing book that I quickly fell into.

black hole

Lightspeed – a book that you are anticipating so much that you wish you could use light speed to get to it.

turtles all the way downorigin

I realize that these authors are very decisive but I’m excited for these books regardless.

warp drive

Nebula – A book with a beautiful cover

doctor who books

All of the books in the 50th anniversary series of Doctor Who books are gorgeous. I should note that I own all of these and they are great books.

doctor who theme

Multiverse – Name a companion series or spinoff  that you love

Heroes of Olympus

I absolutely loved The Heroes of Olympus series. It was the perfect add on for the Percy Jackson series and I loved the addition of Roman mythology

doge space

Gravity – Name your favorite romantic pairing that seem to have a gravitational pull to each other.

achilles and patroclusliz and darcy

Achilles and Patroclus from The Song of Achilles are a wonderful couple that are so dedicated to each other. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy also have an undeniable attraction to each other without it being sappy.

space 2

The Big Bang – A book that got you started on reading.

Dragon Riderharry potter 1

Let’s just get Harry Potter out of the way because most of us got started with reading. I do remember absolutely loving Cornelia Funke and I loved The Dragon Rider in particular.

chris pratt

Asteroid – Name a short story or novella that you love

edgar allan poe collectionfragile things

Poe and Gaiman have written some of my all-time favorite short stories.

space 3

Galaxy – Name a book with multiple POVs

draculaGame of Thronesthe girl on the train.

These book all use multiple POVs beautifully and I definitely recommend them all.

Spaceship – Name a book title that would be a great name for a spaceship

the odyssey

Not The Odyssey but I think a ship called The Odysseus would be cool.

spaceship

That’s the end of this particular tag. I hope at least a few of you enjoyed this and wish to do this tag as well. Have a good day!

 

 

The Doctor Who Book Tag

I’m a big old Whovian so I’m tagging all of my fellow Doctor Who fans to do this tag. Shout out to Becoming Bookish for making this tag. I greatly appreciate it.

The Classics – A book that still fits into YA literature

I’m going to have to say To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I recently reread it for class and I can see how it holds up the test of time. It may not be my favorite but I do appreciate it.

to kill a mockingbird

4th Doctor

The Ninth Doctor – A book you feel is underrated

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller definitely deserves more attention, if you ask me. Feel free to read my review of the book.

the song of achilles

ninth doctor

David Tenant – A book series that was very hard to say good bye to when it ended

I feel like I don’t need too much of an explanation so I’m just going to leave the picture of the cover down here.

Deathly Hallows cover

Tenth Doctor

Matt Smith – A book that made you smile

The Lost Hero from the Heroes of Olympus series absolutely made me happy. I love the sense of humor that Riordan has that he uses in the books.

The Lost Hero

11th Doctor

Rose and Ten – A ship that never sailed

I was pissed that Miles and Alaska never got a chance in Looking for Alaska by John Green. Looking for Alaska

tenth doctor 2

Weeping Angel – A book that you blinked and it was over

The first time I read The Great Gatsby I breezed through it and was sad I did that. Now, that I’ve reread it I love it and it’s one of my favorites.

The Great Gatsby

weeping angel

Daleks – A book you want to eliminate

I may have books I don’t like but I don’t have any books I would completely destroy.

Dalek

Bow ties are cool – A bandwagon you jumped early on

I actually read most of The Song of Fire and Ice novels before Games of Thrones became super popular.

Game of Thrones

11th Doctor 2

Run you clever boy, and remember – A book with a clever plot twist

I would have to say that Redshirts by John Scalzi had some really great plot twists that I enjoyed. (Check out my review of that one also)

Redshirts_John_Scalzi1

10th Doctor

Raxacoricofallipatorious – A book with names that you found really hard to pronounce

The Golden Compass tripped me up when I first read it.

the golden compass

9th Doctor

The TARDIS – A book that took you back in time

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak paints a really vivid picture of WWII era Germany and it was fascinating to read.

thebookthief_2

tardis

I hope you all enjoyed this tag and I look forward to seeing other people’s answers.

 

Book Scandals: They’re more common than you think

I just came across a pretty wild story regarding a YA novel titled Handbook for Mortals. If you google search the book, a pretty legit looking cover pops up and even an Amazon link. Seems normal, right? Well, the problem is that no one had ever heard of this book. It became the number one best seller on the New York Times and displaced Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give. Since this story is so wild, I’m going to leave a link to it here and link some other stories about literary scandals that may involve the content of the novel, the author, plagiarizing, or any number of issues. I feel like this will be fun to read for any of you that might be interested.

Note: I cannot guarantee that these links will provide all of the details but I will make sure the sources are decent and that they contain as many facts as possible.

The Handbook for Mortals: A best selling book that never existed – You YA lit lovers are going to love this story

A Million Little Piecesor the book that fooled Oprah – Making it onto Oprah’s book list would be a big deal for any author. James Frey received this honor for his “memoir” about a twenty three-year-old drug addict and his recovery. Unfortunately, much of the events never even happened.

The YouTube Ghost Writers – For anyone of you who are up to date on internet stars, you know that a wave of autobiographies of these creators hit the shelves and have sold in the millions. Well, some people were so desperate to cash in that they secretly hired ghost writers in order to get in on the market. (Each word in this title is a different link btw)

Poe v Longfellow – This is an old one but a good one that involves two famous of the most famous American authors accusing each other of plagiarism.

The Curse of The Catcher In The Rye – JD Salinger’s most famous novel has been tied to many infamous crimes, including the assassination of John Lennon, the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer, and an assassination attempt on former US President, Ronald Reagan.

Decoding The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown is most well known for his thriller novels that take on the mysteries of the Roman Catholic church. His most famous novel, however, tackled these already debatable topics with inaccuracy in most of the story. (I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t like these books as a kid)

Lolita In The Middle – The narrator of this novel is a pedophile and then it goes downhill from there.