Tea’s Weird Week: Fall 2020 Reading List (Non-Fiction)
It’s been awhile since I posted a reading list (last one was in January) so I’m taking a break from conspiracy theory this week to talk about 3 titles I’ve read recently and 3 I hope to read soon, all non-fiction titles. Any time is a great time to read, but I suppose I have a particularly romantic vision of reading in fall. Tomorrow is my birthday– I don’t have any strange birthday adventures planned, but I do plan on reading and relaxing a bit. Click on the highlighted titles below to find links to them at Bookshop.org.
Read it, loved it
The Rise of Real-life Superheroes (And The Fall of Everything Else) by Peter Nowak
When I first heard about this book, I was a bit like “well, been there, done that,” as I wrote a book about Real-Life Superheroes in 2013 titled Heroes in the Night. I’m glad I read the book– Nowak does a first rate job telling this story. There’s some familiar names and history to those who know RLSH, but Nowak explored some fresh angles as well. I really enjoyed reading about a Superman tulpa, African interpretations of superheroes, and really great material on the Guardian Angels, as well as reading about teams I never got around to meeting.
Nowak presents an engaging book that explores comic book (and vigilante) history and ends up on street level with the Real-Life Superheroes in San Diego, Chicago, Orlando and beyond. It’s an accurate portrait of a fascinating, colorful, and timely subculture.
Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism by Seyward Darby
In American Madness, I wrote about the history and evolution of conspiracy theory, using a man named Richard McCaslin’s life story to talk about these themes. Darby has written an excellent book that tells the story of three women and their lives in the white power/ Alt-Right movements, and by extension a history and examination of who these people are. I read the entire book with much interest– it moves along without getting bogged down but is also informative. It’s frightening and disturbing– but it’s something we need to be informed on.
Juggalo: Insane Clown Posse and the World They Made by Steve Miller
Someday you’ll find out why I’m reading up on Juggalos, but for now I’ll just say that this is a good portrait of the Insane Clown Posse and their following, and very much my style– honest but not condescending, a great story of outsiders banding together. Will you be “down with the clown” after the book? Maybe.
Throw on the “To-Read” Pile
Earth A.D. The Poisoning of the American Landscape and the Communities That Fought Back by Michael Lee Nirenberg
One reason I was thrilled to have American Madness published with Feral House is that all of the books in their catalog are interesting, if not completely fascinating. Nirenberg’s book, about citizens that live in toxic zones fighting back, came out around the same time as mine and I’m looking forward to reading it.
Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels: Insulting the President, from Washington to Trump by Edwin L. Battistella
Edwin interviewed me for his website, Literary Ashland and after I was introduced to him I found he had written this book which looks like a fun history of insulting Presidents, including that polyester cockwomble bawbag fucknugget leather-faced shit-tobbaganist Trump (those insults were all lifted from Scottish Twitter, btw)
Sinister Swamps: Monsters and Mysteries from the Mire by Lyle Blackburn
Blackburn narrated my book trailer for American Madness (you can see it at the end of this post) and is just a cool guy– he’s in a hellbilly band called Ghoultown, narrates documentaries for Small Town Monsters, and has authored several books about cryptozoology cases of the south– I’ve read his books on the Beast of Boggy Creek and the Bishopville Lizard Man, which were both great, so I’m looking forward to Sinister Swamps. You can find it on his website: lyleblackburn.com
Oh yeah, please do read my book, too: American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness has been getting great reviews and is available wherever books are sold, including Bookshop.org
Tea’s Weird Week: Notes From the Quarantine, Part 1
What a time– I hope everyone is doing ok and hanging in there. A majority of my friends are artists, musicians, writers, teachers, small business owners, service industry workers or some combination thereof– all hit hard by the COVID-19 quarantine that has shut down daily life as we know it. People are stuck at home, worrying about making ends meet. I’ve also seen some inspiring acts of people caring for each other and supporting each other as a community.
I don’t have anything profound to say other than I’m wishing you all well. This is a crazy crazy time but I know that readers of Tea’s Weird Week are creative and resourceful and we’ll make it through. For this column, I just want to share some stuff I’ve been into the last few days.
–I saw this shared somewhere, and this is my favorite new site: Radio Garden. It allows you to drag a cursor around a globe and click on livestreams of radio stations around the world. Listen to broadcasts in Kalamazoo or Amsterdam or Cape Town. I don’t know, there’s just something nice about hearing that other people are out there in the world and hear what they’re currently talking about and rocking out to.
–Feral House (publisher of my upcoming book American Madness) did a podcast episode interviewing Aton Edwards of director of the International Prepardness Network. Insightful with good tips. Listen here: https://feralhouse.podbean.com/e/special-episode-march-14-2020-preparedness-now-pandemic-prep-w-aton-edwards/
–I’ve been listening to the daily CNN podcast Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction. It’s a short listen with episodes 7-15 minutes in length. Great to listen to while during tasks around the house. If you’ve followed this column you know there is a metric shit ton of misinfo out there, so a dose of factual reporting feels great.
I think it’s really cool that everyone from the Dropkick Murphys to the Paris Opera are offering free streaming performances. Lots more of these are popping up, so do some online searching for your favorite artists/ genres and I’m sure you’ll find something. I watched the Murphs live in Boston and enjoyed it. It’s not different than concert video footage, but there was a little bit of excitement that they were live, doing it for their fans, who were watching live with you around the world.
Other virtual events include movie watch parties via Facebook and other platforms and having an online happy hour on-nomi (Japanese: “online drinking”) party on video conferencing sites like Zoom. My friends have been doing this and I can’t wait to join in.
Another way of taking a look at the world while stuck at home is taking a virtual tour of museums. I haven’t checked these out yet, but I will be next week. I’m planning on deliberatly scheduling them like I would normally do something (like write “check out the Lourve, 5pm Tuesday” on my calendar.)
Mental Floss has a listicle of 12 online museum tours here: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/75809/12-world-class-museums-you-can-visit-online
This might be a shocker, but I didn’t get into writing to be rich or famous. It’s something I love to do and it’s therapeutic for me. It is sometimes all I got. This is a good time for you to try it out and work on your writing ideas, even if it’s something that never gets published. On Friday the 13th I started a “Plague Diary” in an empty notebook I had stashed away in a desk drawer. I haven’t done much journaling in life (usually too busy chasing someone else’s story) but I thought now was a good time to spend some time each day writing down some of my emotions, thoughts, and anything else that crosses my mind– I had a strange dream that my grandfather was still alive and hosting a quarantine party, for example.
This journaling might lead to something (I’ll probably share some excerpts from the journal in this column in the future), or we might all hit the sunny streets when this is all over and it’ll be forgotten. But it might be of interest to look at this 10, 20 years from now and remember the COVID-19 days of 2020. Writing is my way of making sense of things. For you, it might be creating art or music. I hope you are not spending all of your time worrying and have something to like this to offer some balance.
It’s a good time to catch up on your reading list. I’ve got a stack of books I’m cruising through. I also read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.” Pandemic dystopia reading probably isn’t for everyone at this time, but I like to take a deep dive into things so I’ll be reading more stuff along these lines.
My friends at Lion’s Tooth are doing an online fundraiser toward getting a brick and mortar location and they’re offering pledge levels for receiving a subscription package of cool zines and books. In light of the quarantine, they’re offering to send off your first subscription package right away. I can’t think of anything better than a surprise package of good reading material right now. Check out their Indiegogo for more info here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-milwaukee-s-newest-bookstore#/
Here’s links to two of my Tea’s Weird Week reading lists, all titles on them recommended:
Fall Reading List / Winter Reading List (I’m working on a Spring one now).
Of course, I would be poor at self-promotion if I didn’t plug my own books for quarantine reading. I’ve lost some work so buying a book (or buying me a coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/TeaKrulos) is very much appreciated. Now is a good time to read Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers which talks about prepping and apocalyptic visions and I also have a collection of the Tea’s Weird Week columns I wrote in 2019 as a Kindle e-book ($1.99/ free on Kindle Unlimited) Tea’s Weird Week: 2019 Review.
Stay tuned because tomorrow I’ll be offering a FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST here at teakrulos.com for copies of my books!
As always, click the highlighted links to see my source material. I’m still following conspiracy theory news (I can’t help it, old habits) and as you can imagine, there is a tidal wave of conspiracy, fear, paranoia, and anger crashing in. (See my last column, “M-M-M-My Corona” for some examples). The COVID-19 shutdown has caused people to snap. Witness the defiant dumbness of Kid Rock, who refused to close his bar or the total Twitter meltdown from former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke Jr., who urged people to defy orders to stay home and tied the pandemic to conspiracy boogeyman George Soros.
I’ve seen a couple puzzling posts floating around saying “Anti-vaxxers sure are quiet right now” and “where is Alex Jones in all this?” Umm– no they are not and believe me, he’s as loud and shrill as ever. Alex Jones, along with televangelist Jim Bakker were both ordered to stop trying to sell phony coronavirus cures. Bakker had a bogus silver solution and Jones made the claim that his special Anti-coronavirus toothpaste “kills the whole SARS-corona virus family at point-blank range.” New punk/metal band name: Alex Jones and the Anti-coronavirus Toothpaste Sham.
I also discovered the craziest coronavirus conspiracy theorist of all time, Liz Crokin. Crokin used to be a celebrity gossip columnist (her specialty was celebrity breakups) until she had some serious medical issues. Afterward, she became known as a feverish Trump supporter and QAnon advocate. QAnon believes that Trump is secretly working on a program called “The Storm” which will round up a Democrat-Satanic-Pedophile ring. Her recent theories related to the pandemic:
–Coronavirus is a cover story so the military can round up and make mass arrests of the Deep State unnoticed.
–Beloved actor Tom Hanks is an example of this pedophile ring which is why the story leaked that he had COVID-19. (Note: he’s since quickly recovered, so it wasn’t a very good cover story, apparently. But then she said that the virus was real and celebrities like Hanks and Idris Alba were contracting it from drinking adrenochrome.
–She also tweeted “I grow my own cultured mud scrubs in my backyard, but right now it’s probably best to not wash your hands at all- skin mites and oil are all you need to combat this bacteria.” Yick. Thankfully, her Twitter account was suspended.
I think I’ve been on the Internet too long.
Please Clap Dept.: Thank you, Cult of Weird, for including my upcoming book American Madness on this list of “5 Upcoming Weird Books You Can Pre-order Right Now” at: https://www.cultofweird.com/books/upcoming-weird-books-2020/
The #TrumpConsiracyCounter is taking a quarantine break, but will be back next week.
My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE
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“Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back
Tea’s Weird Week: Winter Reading List
I read 6 out of 8 books on my Fall reading list, 3 fiction, 3 non-fiction. I’m glad to say they were all good choices. I recommend:
Someday Jennifer by Risto Pakarinen. This was an excellent novel that is themed on nostalgia and the desire to go back in time to get our lives right. As an 80s kid, I loved all the 80s references. Someday Jennifer is a fun read– great work, Risto!
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. I wanted to read this book for years and I did and it was great.
Feed by Mira Grant. This was the Apocalypse Blog Book Club fall selection. I enjoyed it– a good spin on the old zombie story, with a media theme I found interesting.
Bitten by Kris Newby. Explores the theory that the government manufactured Lyme Disease as part of a biological weapon program. Disturbing and fascinating.
Good Time Party Girl by Helen Cromwell with Robert Dougherty. An entertaining autobiography (and a vivid history) by “Dirty Helen,” who lived an adventurous life and worked as a madame and speakeasy operator.
The Enemy of the People by Jim Acosta. An account by Trump’s most detested “fake news” reporter from CNN who writes about his struggle as a White House reporter. A great insider perspective.
Winter is, of course, a great time to read here in the Midwest, where the weather is often cold and gloomy. Here’s what I got on my list so far.
(1) A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
This was the winter selection for the Apocalypse Blog Book Club. I know nothing about it (other than it is hopefully dystopian themed) but I’m looking forward to get into it and discuss it with the club.
(2) Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson by Bruce Conforth and Dean Wardlow
One of my publishers (Chicago Review Press) put this out recently. I wrote a brief bit on Robert Johnson myths in a “Tea’s Weird Week” column here a few months ago and wanted to read more on it.
(3) The Lake Michigan Mothman: High Strangeness in the Midwest by Tobias Wayland
New book on the Lake Michigan Mothman phenomenon from the Singular Fortean Society, who have been referenced in this column several times. Congrats, Tobias, looking forward to reading it!
(4) The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
This one got bumped from my fall reading list, I just didn’t get around to it, but it’ll make great winter reading. This book is the second in a fantasy series by Wisconsinite Patrick Rothfuss.
(5) Sleep Paralysis: A Guide to Hypnagogic Visions and Visitors of the Night by Ryan Hurd
I’m just starting to work on a fiction novel, a horror story, and this book is a little background research.
Pre-order my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (August 2020, Feral House)
Read all my columns from last year collected in Tea’s Weird Week: 2019 Review ($1.99/ free on Kindle Unlimited)
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“Journalist Tea Krulos has made a curious and enlightening career out of examining groups of people with odd beliefs.” — Skeptical Inquirer