June been rough with a capital UGH. I can’t even nail down why it has been difficult, it just has. Most of my energy has gone into being a mother, and coping with the increasing demands of my day job (I’m an Executive Assistant at a publishing company, and I bloody love it). There was a point last week, where I picked up a book and felt physically ill. I couldn’t bring myself to read. It was a miserable feeling and I hated it.
Fortunately, things are getting slowly better, but I still don’t feel back to my normal self, whoever that is. I’ve been leaning towards shorter books, and rediscovering my love of comics and graphic novels. Here’s what I’ve managed in June so far:
Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke, by Eric LaRocca (WeirdPunk) – “What have you done today to deserve your eyes?” To give you an idea of how messed-up this book is, that quote can be considered a gentle start to what is a cleverly crafted, and completely bonkers novella about an online relationship that goes really dark, really fast. This book is getting so much buzz, and it is totally justified. And look at that cover image!
The Crossroads at Midnight, by Abby Howard (Iron Circus Comics) – This came out in February and I have no idea how I missed it, because I adore Abby Howard. I LOVED this book. It’s a collection of short stories in comic form, and they are all highly original and disturbing. I think there was a point in each story when I said aloud: “OH NOOOOOO!” I’m smiling just thinking about this book; it’s scary but it’s a lot of fun, and ends on an oddly hopeful note. I highly recommend this one.
The Nice House on the Lake #1, by James Tynion IV, Alvaro Martinez, and Jordie Bellaire (DC Black Label) – I’ve had my eye on Tynion’s other series, the wonderfully named “Something is Killing the Children” for a while now. So when Nice House was recommend by the fantastic Book Riot Horror newsletter, I had to grab it. I went in totally blind, and you should too. I can’t wait for the next issue. More intelligent horror comics, please!
The Employees, by Olga Ravn, translated by Martin Aitken (Lolli Editions) – This is the one, lads! Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2021, this phenomenal novel contains dictated conversations of those working on the spaceship Six-Thousand, both human and humanoid. This novella is so strange, and hugely beguiling. I am already planning a re-read, when I can consume the whole thing in one sitting.
On reflection, it’s not been a complete loss of a month. And at the moment I’m working through Passing by Nella Larsen, a self-help book about mother/daughter estrangement, When Women Invented Television, and The Letters of Shirley Jackson.
Here are the things I am excited about, coming up soon:
- Cursed Bunny – Bora Chung
- Flowers for the Sea – Zin E. Rocklyn
- Immortelle – Catherine McCarthy
- When Things Get Dark: Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson – edited by the superlative Ellen Datlow
- Echo – Thomas Olde Heuvelt – I adored Hex, and am so excited for Heuvelt’s newly translated book.
- Assembly – Natasha Brown
- A Touch of Jen – Beth Morgan
- Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow – Christina Henry
It seems like my reading blockage might be a recurring thing. And that’s okay. I can’t imagine a time in my life when I will stop reading (I genuinely can’t fathom how people have never read a single book in their entire life). I just have to find ways of coping with it.