Easily seduced by tales of outliers or a wicked protagonist, this book's promise of a woman's "ill-fated transformation" was beyond irresistible.
Mary Ellen (or is she Dedee? or maybe Natalie?) crept under my skin and made me squirm, squirm, squirm.
Perhaps the greatest environmental catastrophe you've never heard of, Dan Egan details our tumultuous relationship with phosphorus over the years.
From its discovery through human waste in labs, to its destruction of our waterways during the 50's and 60's due to our need to be sudsy clean, up to our current crisis with agriculture's obsession with it.
The Devil's Element is concise, easily readable, and compelling. A lovely delight!
I never thought I would describe something as One Hundred Years of Solitude meets The Royal Tenenbaums - if both those creators watched Suspiria and Night of the Living Dead back-to-back during a popcorn-heavy slumber party. But then I dove into Candelaria and was met with all my favorite influences, along with the voice of someone entirely beautiful and unique to the genre.
Something grabs your wrist and drags you into the sea. You reach the deepest part of the ocean, living between jagged trenches, aptly called the hadal zone. With its extreme pressure, freezing temperatures, and lack of light, you see nothing. Just a struggle to breathe. Just looking out into the depths with awe. You don't know what's keeping you down here.
All of this to say, this is how I felt reading this book. Deeply romantic, horrifies yet tempts you, and treads carefully through what it means to love someone, while watching them deteriorate. You're watching a married couple fall apart because of what was found in the deep sea, through no fault of their own. And the whole time, you're being pushed around by the waves that feel like they have come from earth's core, wondering: What happened down there? What lives there?
If I were to have dinner with one person, dead or alive, I'd choose Leonora Carrington. A surrealist artist, a novelist, a founder of the women's liberation movement in Mexico -- she is endless. This collection of stories is hard to describe. The writing is neat, tidy, sophisticated, yet her stories are absurd and magical. She is an author that has dragged me in and consumed me with her macabre imagination, dark humor, and a creativity I can't wrap my head around.
I picked up Rouge because it's Mona Awad and that alone is enough. If you read Bunny or All's Well and loved either for their surreal storytelling, dark and sometimes sick sense of humor, and the spiraling, obsessive women at their centers, Rouge is a must-read. It's an upside-down fairy tale about beauty cults and a fixation on vanity passed from mother to daughter. This book will play with you, so prepare to be disoriented until you are thoroughly comfortable with the feeling.
This is a perfect October read for Horror newbies and veterans alike. As a prime example of Gothic Folk Horror, it relies on atmosphere and implication as a means to unnerve as we watch a land's history mingle with a couple's grief in eerie and sinister ways. Never has a rabbit sitting on a lap been so foreboding.
A few years ago I read Buck’s book, The Oregon Trail, in which he builds a covered wagon and travels across the country. Back again with a similar concept, this time he built (well, mostly he oversaw the construction of) a flatboat which he then sailed down the Mississippi. I doubt I’m the intended demographic for Buck’s writing, but I love his historical anecdotes, sardonic humor, and no-holds-barred musings on modern America. Along his journey, Buck hones his boating abilities, breaks a few ribs, and truly takes the time to speak with, listen to, and work alongside people who share wildly different views from himself. I found Buck’s writing to be a welcome break from a culture that feels increasingly shallow and fast-paced. Much like Buck’s journey down the Mississippi, his book is slow, meandering and thoroughly enjoyable.
What if you could travel back in time, but nothing you did in the past would change how things are in the present? Would you do it? Tucked away in a side alley somewhere in Japan is a basement cafe. If you sit in one particular chair (usually occupied by a ghost) and drink a specially brewed cup of coffee you can travel back in time, but you only get one chance and you have to come back to the present before your coffee gets cold. This charming novella follows the trajectories of several characters who would; whether it’s to have a few moments longer with a past lover, to see a dead relative, or simply to express something they’ve always regretted keeping to themselves. Charming, tragic, and beautifully unique, Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a heartwarming novel about fate, destiny, and the powerful bonds of love.
I’ll admit that horror is not my go-to genre, but “Disney princess by day, dive bar dweller by night” was too good a premise for me to pass up. Maeve is young, beautiful, and descended from Hollywood royalty, but she’s lonely and deeply unhappy. Haunted by her past and unwilling to accept the future, she tries her hardest to maintain the status quo. But then Gideon enters her life, and Maeve’s carefully regimented routines start to spiral out of control. Leede doesn’t hold back on the bloodshed, but the gore here is more than just spectacle. While horror as a genre is often prone to stereotypes and tropes that leave it feeling shallow or gimmicky, Leede draws characters with such depth and pure humanness that you can’t help but root for them. Dark, visceral, and unapologetically violent Maeve Fly is not for the faint of heart. I loved it, but maybe don’t give this one to your mom.