Well, suppose I’d better get my April round-up done before June comes along.
Here’s the run-down:
- Parable of the Sower – Octavia Butler (Grand Central Publishing)
- Near the Bone – Christina Henry (Berkley Publishing)
- Folklore – Angela Mi Young Hur (Erewhon)
- Chouette – Claire Oshetsky (Ecco)
- Jews Don’t Count – David Baddiel (TLS Books)
- Sometimes Amazing Things Happen – Elizabeth Ford (Regan Arts)
- Girl in the Walls – AJ Gnuse (Ecco)
- Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell (Knopf)
April was very excited because I read three books that are strong contenders for my top ten of 2021.
I won’t prattle on ONCE AGAIN about how much I love Christina Henry, but Near the Bone is fantastic. Brutal horror, with an incredibly engaging story. My full review can be found here.
I finally got around to reading Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell; I bashed through it on vacation. Could not put it down. For those unaware, this is an imagined historical novel about Shakespeare’s son, who died very young. But this book is absolutely not about Shakespeare; his name is not mentioned once. It is not an accurate depiction of what happens, nor is it trying to be. It’s about a family trying to struggle with life, grief, illness, violence, seperation, and ambition. And O’Farrell’s writing is gorgeous.
The most exciting book I read in April was Chouette by Claire Oshetsky. What a perfect little novel. It’s not out until November (!), so I am so glad Ecco allowed me to read it through NetGalley. Again, my full review is here, but in brief, it’s about a woman who gives birth to an owl-baby. If that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will.
I read some really exciting short stories in April:
The Dark, by Karen Joy Fowler – Fowler is fantastic, isn’t she? I found this one in The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, an anthology of weird fiction edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. There’s over 100 stories in this bad boy, so I opted for the Kindle version due to my weak, weak wrists. Anyway, The Dark is a crazy tale, about missing children, potential lycanthropes, and war. It’s mind-blowing.
The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles, by Margaret St. Clair – This was featured on the Monster She Wrote Podcast, which I adore. A gorgeous little tale, about an over-confident salesman, whose hubris leads him to a sticky end. Read the story here, then give the podcast a listen.
The Family in the Adit, by A.T. Greenblatt – Okay, this story absolutely made me lose my shit. It’s incredible. I’m not going to give anything away. You can read it here, or listen to it here. Do it now, then give me a shout so we can talk about it. The story was published in Nightmare Magazine; please check them out and support them if you can.
In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind, by Sarah Pinsker – I’m still working my way through Pinsker’s collection, Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea. It’s absolutely beautiful. I think pretty much every Pinsker story I’ve read so far as made me cry. This was no exception. An architect briefly leaves his family for a top secret assignment, and comes back completely changed. This story will haunt me for a long time. Read it here.
Coming Up in May
Oh my word, The Atmospherians by Alex McElroy is finally being released! I can’t wait for people to read it. It’s clever, funny, poignant, and terrifyingly believable. Here’s my full review.
Other releases I’m excited about are Claire Fuller’s Unsettled Ground, and Lynda Clark’s collection, Dreaming in Quantum and Other Stories. Clark wrote a cracking story, Ghillie’s Mum, which was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story award in 2019.
Past that, I have no idea. I started the audiobook of Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley, and enjoyed it so much that I decided I needed to physically read it, in order to give it my full attention.
Other than that, I think I need to go easy on myself. I have so many books, and I keep buying more. I’m just going to see what takes my mood when the time comes. As I always say, “be reet”.
What are you reading? What are you looking forward to? Which short stories should I be reading?