I’ve literally moved to Sleepy Hollow. My husband and I have bought our first home, and we are incredibly excited. My books are still in boxes, which is making me incredibly anxious, but getting a step closer to the dream of bookcases with ladders calms me down a little.
It was very sad to leave our little home in Torrance. We lived there for the last four years, and spend more time in said house than we ever imagined, thanks to the pandemic. But I got to the point where I wanted more space; I don’t want to feel guilty when I hear my neighbor sneeze and I don’t say “bless you”. I’ve rented houses and apartments since I was 19; I’ve done my time.
Anyway, despite the madness of January, I managed to read some fantastic books. One surprise was Tidepool, by Nicole Willson, a story of a mysterious town and the inhabitants’ allegiances to the Old Gods. Really entertaining and incredibly weird. I love it when a low-key book grabs my attention.
Catriona Ward just keeps getting better, and her new novel, Sundial, is her best, and craziest, book so far. I urge you to avoid spoilers until you get your hands on a copy. To say it is “twisty” is to do this book a disservice; the plot unravels at breakneck speed and it is a fantastic ride. Speaking of Catriona Ward, she was a wonderful, erudite guest on The Ghost Story Book Club podcast, discussing the terrifying The Monkey’s Paw, among other things.
I’m aware that I’m a little behind with this one, but Alison Rumfitt’s Tell Me I’m Worthless is an absolutely breathtaking debut. Truly, truly haunting and captivating. I think I will need to read it multiple times to fully appreciate everything. One of the best haunted house novels I’ve ever read.
I’m still reading a short story (almost) every day. In January I’ve been working through the phenomenal stories in The Valancourt Book of World Horror Volume 2, as well as the fantastic Unsung Stories collection, Out of the Darkness. Both highly recommended. And because today is the first day of the month, lots of incredible literary magazines hit my Kindle. A new Anjali Sachdeva story in Lightspeed magazine?! Yes please!
Later this month, you’ll be able to hear me talking about my love of short stories on the Chills at Will podcast, which I recorded in January. It was so much fun, and the first time I’ve been answering questions rather than asking them. If you do choose to listen, please don’t judge me too harshly on my strange mid-Atlantic accent.
February reading is starting off well, with Emma Donohue’s forthcoming novel, Haven. I appreciate reading a novel about three priests sailing off to find an island to start a new church may not be the most enticing of prospects, but Donohue’s writing is masterful, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far.
I’m also hoping to finish Jawbone, by Monica Ojeda (although it hasn’t exactly gripped me yet), and the latest book from Undertow Publishing, Helpmeet, by Naben Ruthnum. Other than that, whatever happens to take my fancy. I optimistically bought The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, as I have heard rave reviews, but doubt I’ll be able to make my way through it this year.
What am I missing? What should I be reading?