Witch-haunted Salem, Oregon

by Matt Ruff on April 18, 2016

rose

Rose the bookstore cat does her “Jones watching the Alien creep up behind Harry Dean Stanton” impression

I was in Salem, Oregon, last Friday for a reading at the Book Bin. As I wandered around town before the event, my brain kept trying to reference memories from a trip I made to Salem, Massachusetts more than a quarter century ago. Although Oregon’s Salem is inland, there’s enough similarity in the architecture and the landscape that you can kind of confuse one for the other, at least on certain streets. It’s a cool little city.

Salem was, appropriately enough, the last stop on the Lovecraft Country book tour. My thanks to the Book Bin staff and the staffs of the other book stores that hosted me this time around.

My next public event will be in July, when I’ll be making a special appearance at the LoveCraft Brewing Company in Bremerton. Until then, you can still order signed copies of Lovecraft Country and my other novels from Secret Garden Bookshop.

In other news:

* Today’s New York Times has a story about the resurgence of the “contract for deed” market. A contract for deed, also known as a land contract or installment sale agreement, is an alternative form of home financing sometimes used by people who cannot get traditional mortgages (e.g., African-Americans during the era of redlining). Although the payment structure is similar to a mortgage, the seller retains ownership of the property until it is completely paid off, and in the event of a default can simply evict the buyer, keeping whatever money they have already paid—a feature that has historically been exploited by unscrupulous real-estate dealers.

* In Buzzfeed, Adam Serwer writes about “The Secret History of the Photo at the Center of the Black Confederate Myth.”

* On the train ride home from Salem, I stumbled across this Twitter thread about the controversial decision to cast Scarlet Johansson in the upcoming Paramount/Dreamworks adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. I’m not an anime fan and I know nothing about the source material, but Jon Tsuei’s comments certainly made me curious.

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