My brain is a bit messy at the moment, and this is reflected by the disjointed nature of my reading this week.
I bashed through Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, in a matter of days. It’s wonderfully written, with a fierce central female character. Lots of oddball characters too. An incredibly engaging story, in a “what the hell is going on” kind of way. And the ending did not disappoint. It is incredibly exciting to read so many female-authored horror novels that are popular, and so deeply weird. Destined to be a movie, surely.
I revisited Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, for the first time since 2014. It’s a graphic collection of short horror stories, inspired by fairy tales, and has incredibly disturbing illustrations. I had forgotten most of the stories, so it was strangely pleasant to be terrified anew. Some of the images are so horrifying, I literally gasped a few times.
I’m almost done with Tender is the Flesh, which really is one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever read. It’s set in a world in which no one eats animals anymore, after they all became diseased, so humans are bred for consumption. ALL the trigger warnings, but if you’re feeling brave, or wish to have your veganism vindicated, I suggest you pick this up.
With quite a lot of darkness, the light relief of Robert Webb’s debut novel, Come Again. Thanks to NetGalley’s new audiobook feature (YAY!), I am enjoying being swept away by the Oscar-winning Olivia Colman, as she narrates this deeply moving and hilariously sweary time-travel adventure. I’m going to be very sad when this is over. I also recommend Robert Webb’s memoir, How Not to be a Boy.
I’ve been reading a mixture of short stories, as usual. I was inspired by the Edge Hill Short Story prize list longlist, so I’ve started to delve into the all-female list. The stand-out so far has been Elleke Boehmer‘s The Girl in the Photograph, which tells a tale of displacement at a prestigious university. Amanda O’Callaghan‘s A Widow’s Snow created some incredibly strong visuals too. In terms of a winner, my money’s on Lisa Blower or Julia Armfield. Or Sarah Hall. Very glad it’s not my decision to make! But if they need an addition to the panel next year…
After falling head over heels in love with Orange World and Other Stories, I am revisiting Karen Russell’s previous collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove. I had read the title story before, and wasn’t overly impressed. My opinion of that story hasn’t really changed, but Reeling for the Empire is a real stand-out. I’m basically on the hunt for something that impressed me as much as Orange World. Any help is greatly appreciated.
My favorite short story of the week was Cadwell Turnbull’s The Jump. LeVar Burton chose this last year for his amazing storytelling podcast, and that’s how I found it. It is phenomenal. Go ahead, listen right now. Turnbull’s novel, The Lesson, has been on my TBR for a minute, but after hearing this story, it shot straight to the top.
One day, I will write a full post about my love for the play, Ghost Stories, by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman. It’s been ten years since I saw it for the first time, and I never read the script, so I treated myself this week. I am slowly making my way through it, discovering just how they managed to make a play so terrifying, it has stuck in my brain for a decade.
I volunteered to run a book club at work, and we had our first meeting this week. We’re working our way through Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How to Be An Antiracist, a few chapters at a time, and we’re having some great conversations. There’s a lot about US history in the book that I’m not aware of, so I’m learning an awful lot about that, as well as recognizing the things I need to do before becoming a full antiracist. But, my colleagues are all amazing, and any chance I get to speak to them is always an immense pleasure.
Had a couple of exciting deliveries this week. One was a Powell’s package full of lovely merch, and the other was another Book Outlet haul. Yes, I have a lot of books. No, I won’t stop buying them. I also picked up a hold from my local library, and I didn’t cry! My god, I miss the library. I’m going to haunt the short story section of the Katy Geissert library if I die.