Dirceus - Customer Service Specialist

Keeper of Strange, Weird and Debatably Useful Information

Welcome, folks. I'm Dirceus, Customer Service Specialist who dabbles in crafty nonsense and homesteading dreams on the side. I like to refer to myself as a "bastion of useless knowledge," with weird trivia tidbits regarding things that will never appear in a trivia competition. I'm an avid self-taught knitter and entry-level basket weaver, and I collect languages like an overeager dragon. Come talk to me about Irish, Spanish, Japanese, Hebrew, or the fascinating history of conlangs! Regarding books, I love the nonfiction section and the wealth of knowledge it contains, but science fiction and fantasy were the genres I primarily explored growing up. Give me animal narrators, mind-bendingly in-depth scifi physics, folklore-based adventures, and everything in-between!

Children's Books That Prove I'm Secretly a Four Year Old

Let's be honest, there are some amazing children's books out there. I know I'm not the first to make a recommendation list for this genre and I won't be the last, but I've read some excellent children's books recently. I hope that somebody out there will find something to appreciate on this list.

Humans Have Always Been This Weird

Some facts about existing as a human: 

  • Humans have always been weird.
  • You are not the only human in the history of humans to do that strange specific thing you thought was just a "you" thing.
  • Humans love to document the passage of time and their place within it. Example: Pompeii is covered in the same graffiti content as…

The Tales That Linger

Needing an escape from reality? Some weird tales to keep you on your toes? Something to challenge your conceptions of reality and what the future might look like; to posite theories on the nature of life and what it means to be a conscious creature? What about surreal fantasy, high action conflict, or uncomfortably familiar dystopias? Just looking for some really, really…

<p>When I developed an interest in cyber security during high school, this book was a top recommendation due to the themes and ideas therein. "Snow Crash" is a ridiculous read, both amusing and absolutely baffling. The story doesn't always take itself too seriously and at times seems more like a sci-fi parody. Think "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" but with more weird cyberpunk flair.</p>
<p>While I found myself disappointed by the later books in the series (mostly for the lack of underwater scenes), this particular book's deep sea exploration spoke to a style of sci-fi I didn't know I wanted until then. Some aspects of this feel akin to a love letter for the deep and dark, the desperately hungry sea critters, and the impassive violence of the unstable ocean floor. I've reread this countless times and find myself equally as enthralled every time.</p>
<p>This story was the first to show me exactly what I wanted out of alien life; give me strange and weird and wonderful lifeforms that are nearly unrecognizable as living by what humans consider to be "life." Also, there are vampires. I promise that's relevant to the story.</p>
<p>I first read this in early middle school and the imagery has lingered with me ever since... definitely a strange and fascinating read.</p>

Take a Pagan Out of My Book

Any pagan and/or witchy folk looking for new reading material? I can't guarantee these will all work for you, but here you'll find some books I think are worth their weight in circulation.

<p>While the author has a definite Wiccan lean, I, not being Wiccan myself, still find much of her writing to be of value. Murphy-Hiscock's style is warm and approachable (I've heard others describe it as "cozy"), presenting her thoughts and suggestions regarding practice and personal growth in a way that is easy to understand and generally applicable to many paths.</p>

Books That Made Me Love Romance Again

As a child, I was vehemently against romance as a concept (I'll admit, I was somewhat edgy). It has been a long and challenging struggle to learn to appreciate romance in a fictional setting, and I have finally begun to discover books that have made that fight worth it. Turns out what I was looking for were nonstandard relationships!

<p>After finishing the last page, I set this book down on my coffee table and immediately hopped online to purchase a copy for my bookshelf. Maybe I'm a little biased, but a book with a well-written trans main character and a budding relationship you'll absolutely find yourself cheering on, all wrapped up in a plot focused heavily on lore from a culture I'm not immensely familiar with? Count me in. Trust me, this one's an absolute winner.</p>
<p>Give me monstrous love interests, elegant flowing prose, and a main character that just really loves gardening. Robin McKinley has the special talent of making every scene feel beautiful and romantic, and I cannot understate how much I love this book.</p>

Books Just Waiting for a Weekend

If you've ever felt ashamed returning an armful of unread library books, know that you aren't alone. I leave a trail of half-read books behind me, and many others get only a longing sigh and lingering gaze without even a glimpse between the covers. Herein are some titles I keep checking out but can never seem to find free time for; this is a grab bag of weirdness from all…

Some Respites From My School Days

Here's a fun grab bag-style collection of books I read throughout elementary, middle, and high school that got me through the simply awful drag of assigned reading. Dear reader, I deeply dislike being told what to read, and as such will avoid telling you that you have to read these. I will, however, wholeheartedly support any that pique your…

<p>It took me years of consistently rereading this, loving it, immediately forgetting the title/author, and having to hunt it down again before I finally bought myself a copy. This story has a fun cast, excellent character growth, and is a fantastic read for late elementary-middle schoolers with an appreciation for fantasy and folklore.</p>
<p>What could be better than vampires, paranormal romance, and bakery life? Despite the description, I promise that last part is relevant. I first read this book in middle school and it's stuck with me since—McKinley has an immensely enjoyable writing style. I won't lie, I've always wanted to work in a bakery, and I love living vicariously through this novel.</p>
<p>Based on the title alone, I never would've read this book when I was younger, but it turned out to be an excellent read. The main character's drive to succeed at all odds was deeply inspiring to me as I dealt with late elementary school as best as my tiny self could. I also just found out recently that there's a sequel! (I'm unsure how I never heard of "The Forgotten Sisters" before now...).</p>
<p>I've always loved science fiction, and this particular novel deeply affected my outlook growing up. Ender's story is one that never really leaves you.</p>

Questions and Answers About Giving Up the Ghost

Death is, while an integral part of the human experience and an important aspect of society and culture, something that is hidden and/or avoided by most folks. Western society especially has a degree of separation that I find unfortunate—thinking about something as permanent as death is scary, especially if you're unfamiliar with the industry that handles it. Death can be tragic,…

This book is a fascinating compilation of experiences from morticians across all spectrums of experience, and if you only read one book about death care, let it be this one. By the end, you'll have laughed, cried, and come away with a better appreciation for how weird death care can be.
This particular author analyzes death and the living's relationship with it in a way I have yet to see anyone else do. A worthwhile, densely well-researched, and utterly fascinating read.
Caitlin Doughty is the author that started it all for me. Her efforts on the forefront of the death positivity movement have been an inspiration. Her style is both personable and informative, and I have all her books on my To-Read list (which is already far too long...).
All the weird death-related questions you wanted answers to as a kid but were too afraid to ask!