Little House in Segamat

I’ve been thinking of writing a personal memoir that has a house I lived in as a child as its centre. Although I lived in 281 Jalan Pawang for only eight years (from age three to eleven), this house had a huge impact on my life and my imagination, and it continues to be a source of inspiration in my writing.

This blog post describes the house in terms of it being haunted. It’s what comes up most frequently when my sisters and I reminisce about living there, but of course it was much more than that. Those years I lived at 281 were definitely the happiest of my childhood. My best friend lived across the street; we had a large beautiful garden filled with flowering shrubs and fruit trees; my mother’s siblings and their families, and my grandmother (before she died, when I was eight) and great-grand mother came to us for large, loud and merry reunions every Christmas and Chinese New Year; there was even one morning when I looked out the window and saw a pony in the garden.

I’m going to push myself to work on this. My tendency is to think about writing for a long time (years even) before even putting down a single word, but I don’t have time to wait. I would like this book to be written before I turn seventy. Is that too ambitious?

The IG Bookworm Challenge

I did the #bookwormchallenge on Instagram, but had to edit my answers because of the word limit.

Here is the unedited post, in case you’re interested in learning more about me and my reading-related preferences.

Why do you love to read?
I love stories, and I love reading about different lives, types of people, and worlds. Reading and liking a new book is like meeting a really cool person. Old books are like old friends.

My parents and my older sisters read to me before I could read, and the feeling of being read to is one of the best in the world. I enjoy listening to audio books and I do it when I’m cooking and hanging out/folding the laundry. The narrator has to be right though. Otherwise, it can spoil the experience and the book. Im struggling with the book I’m reading now (The Red Threads of Fortune) and the one before it (The Black Tides of Heaven), both by Neon Yang because the narrator puts on accents I find jarring.

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#WitchWeek2020: The end is nigh!

Burn that witch!

Lizzie Ross

If you’re reading this, you’ve lived to tell the tale of Witch Week 2020. When you do, make sure it’s a tale with dark corners, collapsed towers, and horrifying specters. Not to mention lots and lots of shadows.

Chris and Lizzie are grateful for the help of everyone who participated:

e-Tinkerbell of eTinkerbell, who, in typical English-teacher fashion, introduced us to a fabulous classic of Italian Gothic/Romantic literature;

Jean of Howling Frog Books, for guiding us on a tour through the world of M R James’ gothic horror stories and for participating so energetically in our read-along discussion;

Kristen of We Be Reading, who drew our attention to a modern gothic masterpiece set in Mexico;

Lory of The Emerald City Book Review, who joined Chris, Jean, and Lizzie in a lengthy and wide-ranging discussion of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book;

Citizens of the social media world…

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#WitchWeek2020 Day 6: MEXICAN GOTHIC and the Classic Gothic Tale

Mexican shadows …

Lizzie Ross

Wrangling the specters today is guest blogger Kristen M, who has been blogging at WeBeReading.com for most of twelve years and is the creator of March Magics (which annually celebrates Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett). She lives in Seattle, loves baking, tolerates yard work, and hates laundry. In this post, Kristen’s review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s 2020 best-selling novel is framed within traditional Gothic tropes (similar to e-Tinkerbell’s use of classic plot arc to analyze The Betrothed), thus providing an excellent final post for this week of Gothick thrills.


When deciding on a gothic book for Witch Week (in my case, likely a reread since this is my most frequently read genre), I started getting curious about a book I was hearing a lot about and actually hadn’t read yet–Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  The gothic tale is typically held to be a British and American custom, based…

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#WitchWeek2020 Day 5: Gothic fantasy, with puppets

Invisible strings …

Lizzie Ross

Puppet shows! Fun times for all, right? Not in this chilling Newbery Honor book. In 2007, Laura Amy Schlitz had won the Newbery Award for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village. This 2012 gothic fantasy by the same author takes place a few centuries later, in an England those medieval villagers could never have imagined.

And remember those towers that Chris mentioned four days ago in “Gothic Dreams”? Well, Schlitz gives her readers one that’s full of menace. Here’s her take on the Victorian gothic novel:


Splendors and Glooms, Laura Amy Schlitz (2012, Candlewick Press; published in UK and elsewhere as Fire Spell)

1860, London, autumn. For days, fog thick as pudding envelops the town. To cross a street is to gamble your life, since carriage drivers can’t see you before you’re a bump under their wheels. Mud, urine, manure, and offal ruin the shoes of…

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