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Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello opens with Ed Gein. Taxidermy, furniture and clothing made of human flesh and bone, cannibalism and run down cluttered homes. If you see any of these motifs in film you owe them to one real life monster named Ed Gein. And Psycho was the first to draw creative inspiration from his crimes. Ed Gein, though, makes Norman Bates look like a pussycat.

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath is the story of Primrose Squarp and her unusual life in Coal Harbour, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. She begins her tale with her parents being lost at sea. Throughout her tale she maintains her belief that her parents are marooned on an island even if the adults in her life try to tell her otherwise.

The Owl and the Pussycat illustrated by Anne Mortimer is among Edward Lear's best known nonsense poems. It's also a family favorite, one we recite on a semi-regular basis.

Secret Letters From 0 to 10 (Lettres d'amour de 0 à 10) by Susie Morgenstern is one of those special gems that was waiting for me in my wishlist. It had been there so long, I couldn't remember the how or why behind it, but I'm delighted it was there. Ernest Morlaisse lives a humdrum life with his very elderly grandmother. His mother is dead and his father has run off. He can tell the time of day just by what he's doing.

My local library branch has a great selection of local history books. One of the books I recently read wasSan Leandro by Cynthia Vrilakas Simons. San Leandro is to the north west of where I live. It's a small city tucked up against the unicorporated neighborhoods of Castro Valley and San Lorenzo and the cities of Hayward and Oakland.