Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Sunday Review

My library book this week was 100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson. A boy moves in with his aunt, uncle and cousins to a small town in Kansas only to discover a wall of cupboards in the attic that is more than it seems. I think the writing in this one was at a level I'm not used to, because it seemed overly simplistic to me. And getting into the book was a bit difficult. Nothing really hooked me in the first couple of chapters. I kept reading because my husband said it's a good book and I believe him. However... once it got going it REALLY got going, almost too fast to keep up with. And while the writing was still simple, it became truly compelling. So, points off for the slow start, but the ending made me really want to read the sequel, so that's a positive.

Fortean Times #306
Fortean Times #306 (November 2013). Stonehenge and crop circles, very Fortean cover! The cover story dissects the "best case" for crop circles not being manmade - namely the Julia Set formation that appeared near Stonehenge in 1996. There's the usual discussion of how it just magically appeared... which the author takes apart quite nicely. My personal view on crop circles is that the vast majority are manmade, but some of the really simple ones may in fact have been caused by wind and may have given people the original idea to make their own. Aliens? No.

Another main article is about the disappearance of Owen Parfitt, which turned out to be quite a fascinating little tale. I love little historical gems like this: just a bizarre tale with strange twists. Such stories are the spice that makes a place interesting. Getting back to the basic facts of the case, and taking out the pirate angle and such, was neat. The story is interesting enough without the extra fluff.

The last lead articles are about taxidermy and are, frankly, not my cuppa. In fact, I kind of cringed my way through them. Yuck. I have no desire to ever see the amazing works of Walter Potter, nor was I at all interested in the lame modern taxidermy, which appears to be more horror-story wannabes than actual art. None of that for me. Yuck.

Strangedays has a pentagram in Kazakhstan, the possible remains of Earhart's plane, people who've appeared to die but wake up and some freaky other medical conditions. Science examines the mysteries of lightning, particularly lightning that seems to produce gamma rays. Alien Zoo has a lovely picture of a bright pink slug, but also discusses the monster of Lake Washington (Seattle is stuck between Lake Washington and Puget Sound) so it's very much my kind of story.

Archeology had a variety of stories this month, including carvings, boats, bog bodies and the odd bones of the inner ear. Ghostwatch continues its look at unquiet graves and how some hauntings seem to be connected to human remains found at locations. The UFO Files talk about how easy it is to fool even trained observers, illustrated by an incident in which units of the Indian army thought they spotted Chinese drones, but appeared to actually be confusing Venus and Jupiter for planes. The UFO Casebook takes a closer look at a Welsh sighting that is still unsolved.

The Random Dictionary looks at Stigmata. A long look with lots of examples. The example in the footnotes of a supposed Satanist experiencing stigmata was particularly insane. Illustrated Police News was about Boulton and Park, cross-dressers of 1870 London. I loved the sketch of police officers holding up womens clothing with smirks on their faces. Fortean Traveller goes to Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, and it's a fun one.

Forum has an article about reclaiming the word "fairy" to be an adjective and not a noun. Another article tackles crop circle makers and their apparent desire to remain anonymous no matter what. Reviews are solid, when are they not? More than a couple of books I considered putting on my wish list, and would have if the subjects had interested me more. I also enjoyed the letters page and "it happened to me..." as I often do. Another good issue of the best magazine available.