Hello from the Hollow! For the last two days I’ve woken up to a layer of mist, and the halloween decorations in the neighborhood are starting to scare my daughter. I bloody love October!
So many amazing books to get your claws into, so I’ll stop rambling, shall I? Click the book titles to go to my full reviews, where applicable.
Short Story Collections
Frankly Feminist: Short Stories by Jewish Women from Lilith Magazine (Brandeis University Press)
We’ll start with a non-spooky book, to ease you in. This collection, lovingly edited by Susan Weidman Schneider and Yona Zeldis McDonough, is chock-full of gorgeous stories from Jewish authors. The stories are split into themes, such as transitions, probabilities, war, and others. The collection contains such a wide variety of stories and styles, and was an absolute pleasure to read.
Breakable Things, by Cassandra Khaw (Undertow)
Undertow is quickly becoming a publisher whose work I will unquestionably read. Cassandra Khaw impressed me last year with Nothing but Blackened Teeth, so I was very excited for this collection. The stories in Breakable Things are not for the casual reader; Cassandra Khaw’s elaborate, thoughtful language commands your concentration and attention. There are several of these stories I had to read more than once to fully consume their beauty.
Future is Female Volume 2, edited by Lisa Yaszek (Library of America)
I haven’t read this yet, but the Library of America are following their 2018 collection of female-authored sci-fi stories from the 1920s to the 1960s with an installment from the 1970s! Kate Wilhelm, James Tiptree Jr, Lisa Tuttle, Connie Willis, they’re all here. Definitely worth your time.
Seven Empty Houses, by Samanta Schweblin (Riverhead Books)
I’m literally counting down the days until I get my hands on this. More weird stories from one of the best writers around? Yes, please!
Lute, by Jennifer Marie Thorne (Tor Nightfire)
This is one of my favorite novels of the year. It’s absolutely bonkers. I don’t want to give too much away, but the story involves a remote island, and a strange tradition where every seven years, seven people are “sacrificed” to ensure peace on said island. I loved it.
The Night Ship, by Jess Kidd (Atria Books)
I love Jess Kidd. Himself and Things in Jars are two of my all-time favorite books. The Night Ship is more gorgeous historical fiction, hopping between the events surrounding a shipwreck in 1629, and a young outcast is mourning the death of his mother. Beautifully atmospheric; a perfect fall novel.
Dinosaurs, by Lydia Millet (W.W. Norton Company)
Millet is another author who has gained my loyalty, following her fantastic novel, A Children’s Bible. Dinosaurs is a little more low-key; a charming, entertaining book about a genuinely nice man; something that is just so bafflingly rare in modern literature.
The Dark Between the Trees, by Fiona Barnett (Solaris)
Another great novel with jumping timelines. In 1643, we join a group of ambushed soldiers, who flee into the woods for cover. However, two of their number are aware of the terrifying reputation of the wood, and the monstrous Corrigal that dwells within. Then we leap to the present day, where a group of women, led by academic Dr. Alice Christopher, enter the forbidden woods to investigate the past weirdness. This was such a fun, terrifying book. Highly recommended.
The Witch in the Well, by Camilla Bruce (Tor Nightfire)
To give you an idea of how much I’m enjoying this book, I started it as soon as it arrived on my Kindle three days ago, and I’ve almost finished. A legend of a “witch” murdered long ago, and two childhood friends, now grown up, fighting over who has the right to tell her story. I love Bruce’s writing; one of her previous novels, You Let Me In, is one of the weirdest and most enjoyable books I’ve ever read.
The Talosite, by Rebecca Campbell (Undertow)
Are we sitting comfortably? Good. Because Rebecca Campbell is here with her novella, The Talosite, and she is going to mess you up. And you will love it.
It is the First World War, and Anne has had everything taken from her. Her lover, her newborn daughter, and her father are dead, so she clings on to the one thing she has some control over – science. She continues her father’s strange legacy. The fallen bodies of soldiers are being sewed together to make “giants” – huge, relentless beings, designed to endure warfare. With numerous heads and limbs, these patchwork zombies are a living nightmare.
Another one of my top books of 2022, this is like nothing you’ve ever read before.
As always, thanks to the publishers and NetGalley/Edelweis+ for any ARCs.