Category Archives: Book Reviews

Ghosts, Shadows, Empties

Ghosts and Empties by Lauran Groff (2015)

Tuesday’s short story, April 26, 2022

READING FICTION BLOG

 

Have you ever walked, or driven, around your neighborhood and found yourself staring into the windows of houses or apartments? Or on a train when it slows down to travel through a town, do you try to see inside the windows? I’ve been doing this for years and imagine the people who live there. I guess I was looking for evidence of normal life, or maybe seeking to observe something secret. Or maybe just the writer in me, looking for material. It is fun to snoop!

 

 

Lauren Groff writes a little adventure of the mind in Ghosts and Empties. Our character, a woman who is tired and worn out—“a woman who yells”—takes an evening walk and makes some intriguing observations. She brings her shadow with her that “lags behind me, gallops to my feet, gambols on ahead.”

 

What is she looking for here? In some ways, she becomes her own ghost reflected in her world.

Read it here at the New Yorker Magazine:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/ghosts-and-empties

Listen to Author Lauren Groff read Ghosts and Empties, 22-Min:

 

 

Lauren Groff is the author of six books of fiction, the most recent the novel Matrix.  Her work has won The Story Prize, the ABA Indies’ Choice Award, and France’s Grand Prix de l’Héroïne, was a three time finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and twice for the Kirkus Prize, and other literary prizes. She was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.

(Nine Stories)

 

Visit Grof’s Amazon Book Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Lauren-Groff/e/B001JS4QVG

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 250 short stories by more than 150 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month. 

 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Greylock Wins the Gold Medal

Hello to All My Readers of My Published Fiction and my Followers Here at Reading Fiction Blog!

I am happy to share this news with you that my supernatural mystery Greylock has won the Gold Medal at Global Book Awards, 2022.

The category, of course, is Supernatural and Occult (“quiet horror”). Global Book Awards  is named one of the “Top 29 Book Awards” in 2022, along with the Hugo Awards, Nautilus, USA Best Books, Feathered Quill, Eric Hoffer Awards, IBA, Readers’ Favorite International, Chanticleer Book Awards, Book Excellence Awards, Page Turner Awards, and others by Scott Lorenz of Westwind Communications.

U.S. Review of Books: “Cappa’s latest is nothing less than a mind-boggling mystery … always keeping an elusive edge to her characters’ personas—a plot replete with all the wonderful trappings of a romance-laced mystery with unexpected twists and turns. Greylock has the potential of being earmarked as another award winner.” RECOMMENDED by the U.S Review of Books.

I’ve been writing mysterious novels for over 10 years and Greylock has exceeded my expectations. Besides the Gold Medal, Greylock achieved  the prestigious Best Book Award Finalist in 2017 by American Book Fest, and, garnered the Chanticleer Book Award in 2015.

 

 

 

Book awards play an important role in an author’s life and in readers’ lives. The recognition of a book’s quality and its merits encourages reading, which grows the imagination and the thinking process. And, of course, reading feeds the success of the literary industry. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”

I thank all my readers and The Global Book Awards for honoring Greylock. As my writing career progresses (I am working on a fourth novel and more short stories) in fiction, I feel so blessed with the loyalty of my readers.

My other two novels have enjoyed book awards as well. The Bronze Medal from Readers’ Favorite International Awards for The Dazzling Darkness. The coveted Eric Hoffer Book Award, and, the Silver Medal from Global Book Awards for Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural.

Bronze, Silver, Gold. My muse has been hard at work. She is my clever friend and my passion. And sometimes she is my ghost. I think I see her dancing right at this moment.

 

 

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Book Moments Three, May Sarton

Book Moments Three, May Sarton, April 19

My morning tea with May Sarton

 

The topic today is silence. On page 75 of  At Seventy,  May says that she is …

“beginning to feel like a camel in sore need of an oasis. The oasis is silence. I woke up in the night starving for silence, for time alone here.”

May often addresses the inner chaos vs. the inner order and the struggle it presents from day to day. She is well known by her readers to work in her garden of flowers with plants to clear the senses and compose the mind.

“There is a special August silence in the heavy air. The birds do not sing. The ocean sighs in the distance. The whole tempo slows down.”

The kind of silence she seeks requires solitude. A good deal of May’s poems are about variations of silence that she treats as sacred to her well being and to her creative work. If you know some of her poems, you might be familiar with After Silence, The Silence Now, After a Winter’s Silence, The Land of Silence, and her most popular …

Halfway to Silence

I was halfway to Silence

Halfway to land’s end

When I heard your voice.

Shall I take you with me?

Shall we go together

All the way to silence,

All the way to land’s end?

Is there a choice?

May Sarton’s house by the sea in Maine.

Flowers are “silent presences” in her house in every room—as she writes in so many of her journals.

 

 

Visit May’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/May-Sarton/e/B000AQ48TS

 

What thoughts do you have about the sound of silence? If you found a portal to a deep silence, would  you enter or shy away?

 

Book Moments Four, May Sarton, May 3, 2022

 

Please leave a comment, LIKE, or share if you are enjoying.

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Author of the Week, Algernon Blackwood, March 14

Author of the Week,  March 14,  Monday

Algernon Blackwood

(Short Story Writer and English Novelist of Mysteries and Supernatural)

 

“Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil.”

“But the wicked passions of men’s hearts alone seem strong enough to leave pictures that persist; the good are ever too lukewarm.”

“Ritual is the passage way of the soul into the Infinite.”

 

 

Algernon Blackwood (1869 to 1951) was one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre. His two best known stories are The Willows and The Wendigo. His first book of short stories, The Empty House (1906) was when he became a full-time fiction writer. Later collections include John Silence (1908), stories about a detective sensitive to extrasensory phenomena, and Tales of the Uncanny and Supernatural (1949), 22 stories selected from his nine other books of short stories.

Today is Blackwood’s anniversary of his birth, March 14, 1869.  As fiction readers we love to pay tribute to authors on the birth or death dates as a memoriam by reading their work.  Blackwood’s mysterious tales and atmospheric ghostly stories  bring our imaginations into other worlds. He is a master at going deep into the psychological elements of ghosts and the element of human fear and desire. His stories are a treat into vintage fiction!

On this blog, I have featured seven of Blackwood’s stories (In the Index of Authors’ Tales above). He is a worthy favorite of mine. You won’t be disappointed.

Interview with Andrew McQuade about Blackwood’s Fiction: http://satanicpandemonium.blogspot.com/2012/12/algernon-blackwood-interview-with.html

 

Audio of Algernon Blackwood Reading Pistol Against a Ghost. A quick story that will make you smile! (7 minutes):

 

 

And here is audio of The Wood of the Dead (35 minutes):

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Algernon Blackwood’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Algernon-Blackwood/e/B001IO9NQO 

There are a number of Blackwood’s stories free on Kindle.

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays once a month at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 250 free short stories by over 150 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary or classic authors. Audios too. 

Comments and Likes are welcome!

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Sunlight on the Grass

Tuesday’s Short Story, February 22, 2022

On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning

by Haruki Murakami,  Sunlight on the Grass Anthology

Why do we need stories? Author Robert McKee says that “stories transform life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience” and that this “work of art unites meaning and emotion … heightening your awareness and delivering a sureness of your place in reality.” 

In this short tale by Haruki Murakami, love becomes a miracle. Lovely, right? But will this dreamy moment ruin reality? Here, we go into that odd space that only Murakami can bring a reader, into the occasion of love plus imagination plus reality. Plus modern society’s romantic standards and our conscious prejudices.

We have the longing of a young man in search for his 100% perfect woman. He’s quite chatty in his thinking when he suddenly discovers this woman on the street in April. A cosmic miracle? Does he grab the event with both hands? Would you trust such perfection? Or is it only the idea of perfection? The risks in the modern fairy-tale-ish adventure won’t let your remove your eyes from the page until you’ve read the last line.

Read the short story (20 minutes) here at Genius.com:

https://genius.com/Haruki-murakami-on-seeing-the-100-perfect-girl-one-beautiful-april-morning-annotated#note-3756495

Listen to the audio (15 minutes). Just wonderful!

Haruki Murakami is a Japanese novelist. Haruki has received several noted awards for his fiction and non-fiction works. He was also referred to as one of the world’s greatest living novelists by The Guardian. Norwegian Wood (1987) is an extremely popular novel among the Japanese youth and abroad.  Murakami, an iconic figure of postmodern literature is known for his unreal and humorous work on the loneliness and empty mindedness of Japan’s work dominated generation. He now resides in The United States. Some of his favorite novels are F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, and Franz Kafka’s, The Castle.

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

Monster Librarian

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Author of the Week, Susan Hill, February 7

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   February 7   Monday

Susan Hill

(Novels/Short Stories, Mystery and Ghost Fiction)

 

“Ghost stories … tell us about things that lie hidden within all of us, and which lurk outside all around us.”

“I wrote ghost stories because I’d always enjoyed reading them, and they seemed to be fizzling out… I don’t take them terribly seriously. It’s like a cake, with ingredients.”

“Though they don’t always have to be set in fog, weather is incredibly important in ghost stories. As is suspense: you’ve got to turn the screw very, very slowly.”

“I have only read very classic traditional English ghost stories, other than Henry James, who wrote some magnificent short ones as well as the longer ‘Turn of the Screw.’ He, Dickens, and M.R. James are my influences.”

 

 

Dame Susan Hill, Lady Wells, DBE is an English author of fiction and non-fiction works. Her novels include The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror, and I’m the King of the Castle, for which she received the Somerset Maugham Award in 1971. Other awards include Whitbread Novel Award for The Bird of Night (1972); and the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for The Albatross (1971), a collection of short stories.

Her Simon Serrailler Crime Mysteries are popular novels, beginning with the first in the series The Various Haunts of Men.

Reviews:

“A gripping whodunnit and a subtle study of the mind of a psychopath”  Daily Mail 

“I loved this book. Masterly and satisfying” Ruth Rendell 

“This book must be judged as a potential successor to the great sequences of detective writing by PD James and Ruth Rendell…excellent” Daily Telegraph 

“She has the priceless ability to construct a solidly-researched narrative that keeps the reader turning the pages”  Independent  

Interview with Susan Hill speaking about wickedness, her dark new novella – and why she would never read the latest Man Booker winner.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/25/susan-hill-books-interview

Interview about ghost stories:

 

Here is the trailer for The Small Hand, a short story by Susan Hill

Visit Susan Hill’s Amazon Book Page: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Hill/e/B096X8W23Z

 

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author

on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over

200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors, audios too.

 

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Jasper Peacock, A Short Story, New Release

JASPER PEACOCK, A Short Story

January 10, 2022

I am happy to announce my new release!

 

Welcome art lovers, to the Art of Darkness. 

Fans of The Twilight Zone will enjoy JASPER PEACOCK, a short story flavored with Rod Serling’s Night Gallery themes. You might even hear Serling’s voice-over on the last page.

“You’re traveling through another dimension—a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind.”

Jasper Peacock is an accused murderer. Ben Samm is a struggling art journalist who doesn’t believe in ghosts, haunted dimensions, or supernatural powers in art—until he meets the famous painter Jasper Peacock. Ben is desperate to get a revealing interview about this genius’s award-winning portrait Rabbles, a horrific devilish-pointed figure—the reported living muse who inspires the artist.

Rabbles resides inside Peacock’s isolated Hampshire estate in the country where Ben conducts the interview. When the meeting goes awry, Peacock coerces Ben into his attic studio. Here the supernatural dimensions of Jasper Peacock’s artistic creations not only threaten to seize Ben’s mind, body, and soul, but reveal Rabble’s dark menacing powers.

This is not your ordinary painting on a canvass; this is a mystery of light and shadow that needs cracking. Does Ben have the courage to resist the force of the almighty Rabbles?

“Jasper Peacock” was originally published by Coffin Bell Literary Magazine, 2019.

Some early reviews:

“Is Horror ever Magical?” Don’t the two neutralize each other’s possibilities? And yet … ‘The invisible becoming visible and then invisible.’ Paula Cappa writes with a supernatural cadence, not just an inexplicable rhythm: she writes in a way that makes the unseen real (and logical) … in a way that the merely physical world could never approach. And her paranormal mysteries do induce—relentless—horror.  —Rob Dunbar, author of The Pines and The Streets.

“This marvelously dark, immersive tale draws you in with icy fingers until you’re enveloped in horror by the end. You’ll never look at art the same way again.”  —Teri Polen, scifi, horror, and fantasy author of Subject A36,  The Gemini Connection, and Sarah.

“Like so many of her stories, author and multiple award winner Paula Cappa has mightily captured an understanding of the world between reality and the paranormal. Jasper Peacock is a tale of the supernatural and mysterious underpinnings. It is also astounding in its imagery. The evil antagonist in this stellar tale is clearly visible through Ms. Cappa’s words. His unbearable behavior is evident from the start, but is he or is he not the murderer of his wife, Cassandra? Paula Cappa is at the top of her craft with this tale. She captured the supernatural and exposes the world of the unexplored. Jasper Peacock is an exhilarating read.”  —Linda Spear, mystery author of corporate thriller The Ice Man Checks Out, and I Know You By Heart. Also, When It Hurts, Inside a Pain Management Doctor’s Office by Sabrina Shue, M.D. and Linda Spear (release date February 2022).

Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer Gives Paula Cappa 5 Stars: “A talent that will draw even those who are not keen on supernatural stories into her fold.”

You can find this new release on Amazon.com, a Kindle Single.

Also available on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1124420

 

While many of you know my novels and short stories here at Reading Fiction Blog, this story JASPER PEACOCK became an exploration in writing a chilling narrative that would take the reader into another dimension of mind, mystery, and imagination. What powers reside inside this country estate in Hampshire? Only the key to your imagination will unlock the mystery.

 

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Author of the Week, Michael Cunningham, November 29

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK    November 29

Michael Cunningham

(Literary, Novelist and Screenwriter)

“I revise constantly, as I go along and then again after I’ve finished a first draft. Few of my novels contain a single sentence that closely resembles the sentence I first set down. I just find that I have to keep zapping and zapping the English language until it starts to behave in some way that vaguely matches my intentions.”

“Here’s a secret. Many novelists, if they are pressed and if they are being honest, will admit that the finished book is a rather rough translation of the book they’d intended to write.”

“Literature is, inescapably, an act of seduction, whether the writer hopes to seduce millions with a story of an adolescent vampire in love, or a handful of readers, who are willing to take a darker, strange, more enigmatic ride. Which involves a certain element of what I’ll call: You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.”

 

Michael Cunningham (born November 1952) is an American novelist and screenwriter, best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999. He is a senior lecturer of creative writing at Yale University. His fiction includes A Home at the End of the WorldFlesh and BloodSpecimen DaysBy Nightfall, and The Snow Queen, as well as the collection A Wild Swan and Other Tales.

Interview with Michael Cunningham at University of Iowa (20 minutes):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trailer for film The Hours:

 

Visit Michael Cunningham’s Amazon Book Page: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Cunningham/e/B00456O74U 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

 

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Night Sea Journey Wins Silver Medal

Night Sea Journey Wins Silver Medal at Global Book Awards

September 20, 2021

I am pleased and honored to receive the Silver Medal for Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural at Global Book Awards.

Book awards benefit the entire reading community and promote the appreciation of literature. Thank you to the literary judges for their recognition and support. Night Sea Journey has been out for several years and is still selling.  From U.S. Review of Books, their review: “Stunning and absorbing plot on par with—if not better than—a Dan Brown novel. Truly an outstanding read, Night Sea Journey is one book that is hard to put down!”

In 2015, Night Sea Journey won an Eric Hoffer Book Award. Their review: “This romantic fantasy is propelled by gorgeous language and imagery…angels and demons…The grime of inner city Chicago, the tranquility of the Rhode Island coastline, and the depths of a phantasmagoric ocean are the stages for this conflict.”

 

SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW ★★★★★ posts “NIGHT SEA JOURNEY is like reading a Dan Brown book with a wicked twist: it has real demons. Readers will be taken on a continual thrill ride, impossible to put down, a fast-paced thriller.”

 

Thank you to my readers who have consistently read my mysteries and short stories!

 

Buy on Amazon.com

 

On Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/275962

 

On Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/night-sea-journey-a-tale-of-the-supernatural-paula-cappa/1114109942

 

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Author of the Week, Anne Morrow Lindberg, July 12

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   July 12

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

(Aviation Pioneer, Diarist, Fiction, Nonfiction, Inspirational Author)

“The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask.”

“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable.”

“It is only in solitude that I ever find my own core.”

“I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.”

“Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906 to 2001), an American author, aviator, and the wife of Charles Lindbergh is the author of the book, Gift from the Sea (considered required reading for every woman in modern society), a bestseller filled with raw emotions on love, happiness, solitude,  contentment, and the path to spiritual harmony. Becoming whole is a dominant theme in many of her works.

“Don’t wish me happiness
I don’t expect to be happy all the time…
It’s gotten beyond that somehow.
Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor.
I will need them all.”
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

She wrote  five volumes of diaries and letters from the years 1922-1944.  North to the Orient and Listen! the Wind, Anne Lindbergh is the author of 11 published books (including children’s books). They include Earth Shine, in which she wrote of being at Cape Kennedy for the first moon-orbiting flight and how that Apollo 8 flight and the pictures it sent back of Earth gave humankind “a new sense of Earth’s richness and beauty.”

Interview with Anne Lindbergh at NPR:

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5232208

 

Podcast by Reeve Lindbergh, Anne’s Daughter:

 

Fiction:

 

Dearly Beloved (A June wedding sets the scene as the family and guests follow the familiar marriage service. They are stirred to new insights. But for the mothers of the bride and groom, and for friends and relatives, the sight of the young couple and the words of the minister evoke more troubling thoughts and deeper questions.)

 

 

 

 

 

 The Steep Ascent (Etched in the pattern of flight over France, the Alps, Northern Italy is the story of a young couple, an English flier, and his wife, who is pregnant. One shares first the mother’s last-moment doubts and regrets as she faces last things, particularly the last evening with her five-year-old son).

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Lindbergh’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Morrow-Lindbergh/e/B001H6S0UI

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Leave a comment

Filed under Author of the Week, Book Reviews, family fiction, fiction, fiction bloggers, literary short stories, literature, novels, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short story blogs