Menorah. Image by Navah Wolfe

Menora. Image by Navah Wolfe

The story of Chanukah is that a small but dedicated group of Jewish fighters drove the Syrian Greeks from the Holy Temple, and rededicated it. They found only one small container of holy oil for the lamps that hadn’t been contaminated by the invaders, but through their faith, they made it last for eight nights. The odds may be daunting, but have faith, and don’t be afraid to shine a light in the darkness.

Books and Writing: 

Youtuber Morganeua carefully, thoroughly and cleverly examines Isaac Asimov’s use of -ly adverbs. (Thanks to File 770.)

Cat Rambo offers a 20-minute overview on Tips for Pantsers (writers who don’t outline your book in advance.)

If you were planning to get the Nurenberg Chronicles for someone on your gift list, you’re too late. Update: the bidding was competitive, and the book went for more than $400,000.

Oh, look! A “Best of” list! Audible’s best audiobooks of 2020.

Have science fiction writers changed the shape of socialism globally? This article thinks so.

A Publishers Weekly article about the BookExpo, which may be shuttered after an online event this year,  is a love letter that is not myopic about the foibles of the event.

Is it truly a “Black-owned bookstore” if one of your thirteen investors is Black? While Denver’s Tatttered Cover made that statement, many Black bookstore owners do not agree.

The Staunch Book Prize, for thrillers where “no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered,” announced the winner, and its list of finalists. Attica Locke took the price with Heaven, My Home. Be sure to read their mission statement on the About page.

Over at the Mary Sue, Larissa Irankunda writes about who really should have been the main character of several beloved series. Funny and thought-provoking.

Frozen Bubble, image from CleanPublicDomain

Frozen bubble. Image from CleanPublicDomain

Gift Guide:

Country Living has a slide show of gifts for your dogs.

Knitters on your gift list? Here are knitting-related objects I didn’t even know about.

This is from last year. Gifts for Cosplayers? I wasn’t sure, until I hit storage boxes and general supplies. If you have a cosplayer on your gift list, this page could be a big help.


One commenter chosen as random with a USA mailing address will get the trade paperback edition of Karen Russell’s Sleep Donation.


Still more in the “Best of” department: The Last of Us, Part II won Best Game of the Year.


Next week’s column will be single-item, my thoughts on Lovecraft Country, the book and the show. There will be a giveaway attached.


Nothing says “Cool Yule” like a horse skull bedecked in ribbons, that challenges you to a poetry throw-down, am I right? LitHub shares the history of the Mary Lwyd, the “blessed Mary” horse that might stop on your doorstep during the holidays in you live in Wales. The article gives you some helpful poetry suggestions. (Note: I couldn’t get the video to play.)


Thanks to Navah Wolfe for letting me use her photograph as the lead image. Wolfe is a two-time Hugo winning book editor.


  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.

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