Category Archives: READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa

Dropped Dead

Creeping Siamese by Dashiell Hammett (1926)

Tuesday’s Detective Tale   May 24, 2022

A man stumbles into the Continental Detective Agency. He drops dead on the floor.  Stabbed in the left breast, the man’s wound is staunched with red silk—which seems to be a sarong.

If you love crime stories with ace detectives, then you must be a fan of Dashiell Hammett. This story is a cool little plot puzzle with imaginative clues. Good one!

“Hammett did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before.”  Raymond Chandler.

 

Read the short story here:

Click to access Hammett_Creeping_Siamese.pdf

Listen to other short stories by Dashiell Hammett (Creeping Siamese is not available in audio).

We like to remember Dashiell Hammett as the inventor of hardboiled detective fiction with brutal realism and wry humor. Hammett worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency for eight years before he began writing his stories.  His first short story was published by The Black Mask in 1923.

 

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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Author of the Week, Mark Z. Danielewski, May 9

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 9

 

Mark Z. Danielewski

(Supernatural, Ghosts, Horror, Thriller, Contemporary Fiction)

 

“My interest is in how meaning is communicated via language, and I believe the shape, positioning, even the colour of the language has an effect on meaning.”

“Write what you love. Love will hold you through the hard times and hold the world during the good times.”

“We all create stories to protect ourselves.”

 

Mark Z. Danielewski  (born  1966) is an American fiction author.  He studied English Literature at Yale. He is known for his debut novel House of Leaves, which won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. His second novel, Only Revolutions, was nominated for the National Book Award. He wrote the novella The Fifty Year Sword.  Danielewski’s work is characterized by experimental choices in form, such as intricate and multi-layered narratives and typographical variation.

Read The Guardian’s interview with Mark “House of Leaves changed My Life.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/apr/02/house-of-leaves-changed-my-life-the-cult-novel-at-20

 

Watch a chat with Mark, Los Angeles Times:

 

 

 

Visit Mark’s website: https://www.markzdanielewski.com/

Browse the “Index of Authors’ Tales” tab 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. Please follow me or stop in.

Comment or click LIKE!

 

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Book Moments Four, May Sarton

Book Moments Four, May Sarton, May 3, 2022

Anniversary of May’s birth date, May 3, 1912

My morning tea with May Sarton, filled with sunlight. This moment reflecting May’s thought “to live in eternity’s light, not in time.”

 

 

I am at the end of At Seventy, A Journal.  I have over 35 volumes of May Sarton’s books on my bookshelf, with several still to read.

May writes that she listens to Mozart Piano Concerto E-Flat Major, No. 9 (as I am listening to this music too). She conveys her feelings about nature, her garden, flowers,  birds, rhythms of the seasons, and light. These themes, her companions really, are in all her journals and poetry.

“I look out at the rain, the narrow winding path through the golden grasses to the gray ocean, and rest in it. I am as close to heaven as I am to hell all these days as summer turns to autumn.”

I especially love her description of flowers:

“My eyes rested on a blue jar containing crimson cosmos and lavender Michaelmas daisies, color as brilliant and starling as a clash of cymbals against the white walls.”

 

On page 305, May tells us about her muse. “Poetry does not happen for me without a muse.”

During the November entries in this journal, she mentions that a muse means intense preoccupation …

“I am fully aware that the presence of a muse literally opens  the inner space, just as November light opens the outer space …

“With this muse, to make every effort to live in eternity’s light, not in time.”

She has often claimed that her muse is a woman who “focuses the world for me.” For some artists, the muse is metaphorical or can even be an actual person. For May, her muse seems to be both.

It has been well documented in May’s writings that she considered Juliette Huxley to be her living muse.

 

I think May had many muses and at different levels. She mentions the influence of  Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Julian Huxley, S.S. Kolteliansky, Florida Scott-Maxwell, Anne Thorp, Susan Sherman, and especially Jean Dominique and Louise Bogan. I think perhaps even her dog Tamas and cat Bramble have had their play as muses in her life.

In one of her poems, she discovers her misunderstanding Of The Muse.

Of The Muse (excerpt)

When I was young, I misunderstood The Muse.

Now I am older and wiser, I can be glad of her

As one is glad of the light.

We do not thank the light,

But rejoice in what we see

Because of it.

What I see today

Is the snow falling:

All things are made new.

 

Let us leave it here, finishing off these Book Moments as if savoring one of May’s delicate dinners: Belgian endive salad, a loaf of French bread, and a glass of Beaujolais. She has fed us all so well!

 

 

 

You might like to read her interview at the Paris Review:

“The thing about poetry—one of the things about poetry—is that in general one does not follow growth and change through a poem. The poem is an essence. It captures perhaps a moment of violent change but it captures a moment, whereas the novel concerns itself with growth and change. As for the journals, you actually see the writer living out a life, which you don’t in any of the other forms, not even the memoirs.”

https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/3040/the-art-of-poetry-no-32-may-sarton

May died at the age of 83 in 1995. She is buried in Nelson Cemetery,

Nelson, New Hampshire.

 

Book Moments, May Sarton, April 4, 2022

Book Moments Two, May Sarton, April 7, 2022

Book Moments Three, May Sarton, April 19, 2022

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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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Author of the Week, Charles L. Grant, April 11

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK  April 11

Charles L. Grant

American Author and Editor

(Short Stories and Novels: Quiet Horror and Dark Fantasy)

 

 

Grant was esteemed for building foreboding atmosphere, a slow burn of dramatic tension in his plots, settings, and characterization. His trademark is a story steeped in palpable dread with high suspense, yet without descriptive bloodshed or graphic violence. Thus, the beauty of  quiet horror. Grant wrote 70 novels, 150 short stories, and edited two dozen anthologies. A master in this subgenre that is still popular.

Grant is revered by Stephen King as an “autumnal writer” because the reader closes his book with far more than a scare. We read his stories and receive a deep sense of  awe, intelligence, and the imaginary that rises far above most other writers in the genre.

Charlie Grant will give you a story so memorable, you’ll want more.

 

“I like to set up as real a situation as possible, then twist it just enough and bring in whatever I want to bring in. It is more startling and entertaining to use real people with real-world problems.”

“The goal is not to scare people, just make them uncomfortable. I work to make you really, really nervous, so that it will take you a long time to get over it. I want to make you see shadows where there is no light to cast them.”

“If all the world’s a stage and all the people players, who in bloody hell hired the director?”

When asked why horror is so popular, he replied “It is a safe way of looking at death.”

Charles L. Grant (1942 – 2006)  received the British Fantasy Society’s Special Award in 1987 for life achievement; and he was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, Nebula Awards and three World Fantasy Awards.

The Shadow Series is ten anthologies, including short stories by Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Robert Bloch, and many others. The first five novels he wrote didn’t sell but he went on to achieve great success and admiration. In cinematic terms, Grant is thought to have more likeness with the horror film classics of Val Lewton and Roman Polanski—Grant’s work strong on hinting at madness and violence, a writer certainly gifted at suggestion and subtleties. He and his wife, editor and novelist Kathryn Ptacek, had lived in a 100-year-old haunted Victorian house in Sussex County, New Jersey.

SlipofthePen.com

 

Podcast about Charles L. Grant at LovecraftEzine.com

https://lovecraftezine.libsyn.com/charles-grants-quiet-horror-chet-williamsons-sequel-to-psycho-and-more

[Personal Note: Because almost all my published fiction is quiet horror, and I read so much of it, I have a special place for Charlie. I did a blog on him in September 2013, link below. Another favorite quiet horror author is Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House. And I can add Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black.]

Quiet Horror, Still the Darling of the Horror Genre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Charlie’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Charles-Grant/e/B000AQ1O8G

 

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.

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Book Moments, May Sarton

BOOK MOMENTS!  Monday, April 4, 2022

My morning tea with May Sarton.

For all my literary followers, readers, and writers, my reading theme for April is author May Sarton. I will be posting Book Moments from her writings.

I have read most of her journals, poems, and novels. Today I begin again, rereading her journal “At Seventy” (published 1984).

 

 

She opens this journal at her 70 birthday, May 3. The scene is her awakening by the song of a cardinal, her breakfast table set with blue and white china and a vase of  yellow daffodils. There is a pheasant on the lawn adding to the peace of the day.

 

May’s Quote

“This is the best time of my life. I love being old …There is less conflict. I am happier, more balanced, and I am better able to use my powers … less doubt to conquer.”

May Sarton,  May 3, 1912 – July 16, 1995

May Sarton, originally named Eleanor Marie Sarton, was born Wondelgem, Belgium. During the early part of her career, Sarton enjoyed a good deal of critical acclaim for her journals and poetry. Her audience continued to grow steadily, often by word of mouth, and Sarton continued to produce prolifically, writing journals, poetry, and novels. Sarton lived in Nelson, New Hampshire and later relocated to York, Maine, where she spent the last twenty years of her life. May Sarton taught at several colleges and universities, including Harvard University and Wellesley College.

Visit her Amazon.com page:

https://www.amazon.com/May-Sarton/e/B000AQ48TS

Please feel free to comment or LIKE. Are you a May Sarton fan? Do you know her poetry? Do you read her journals?

More here on my blog about May Sarton:

Author of the Week, May Sarton, May 17

Image of May Sarton’s Garden

 

Visit Book Moments Two, April 7!

 

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Crime of Passion and a Curse

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (1887)

Tuesday’s Ghost Story   March 29, 2022  READING FICTION BLOG 

 

 

Oscar Wilde is most famous for his The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), his comic masterpieces Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). Like much of his work known for its satirical brilliance, and even if you are not drawn to ghost stories, this one will brighten your day.

The Otis family members are spending the summer at the castle in Canterville, previously owned by British aristocrats Lord and Lady Canterville. A good part of the narrative is from the ghost himself Sir Simon de Canterville. And what a guy! Prepare yourself for a parody of Gothic fiction. Lightning storms, strange laughter, blood stains, hidden passages, crows that cry havoc, tea in the library with a secret hatch, and dashes of romance—and, of course, a murder. All this will beg the question: Is love stronger than death?

Very entertaining classic literature at its best. Oscar Wilde’s wit and realism, and his engaging characters are memorable both on the page and on the screen.

Read the short story here at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14522/14522-h/14522-h.htm

Listen to the audio on You Tube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0iIV9zSuDI

 

Watch the FREE film on You Tube (1:20 minutes). This 1997 movie was directed by Crispin Reece, starring Ian Richardson, Celia Imrie,  Sarah-Jane Potts, and James D’Arcy. There is another version, 1996, with Neve Campbell and Patrick Stewart, but this version I feature here is far better.

 

 

Oscar Wilde was born of professional and literary parents. His father, Sir William Wilde, published books on archaeology and folklore. His mother, who wrote under the name Speranza, was a revolutionary poet and an authority on Celtic myth and folklore.

 

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!

2 Comments

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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!

2 Comments

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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!

2 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, fiction, fiction bloggers, flash fiction, free short stories, free short stories online, literary short stories, literature, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs, suspense