I have experienced a lot of side-eyes glances and unwelcome critique for my love of the horror genre, the assumption being that my outlook and tastes must be base if not subterranean.Tell that to Carol J. Clover. Through thoughtful lenses she looks at the slasher/horror genre as one with the potential to build empathy. This book reminds me that guilt and pleasure should never occupy the same space.
"There is no delight the equal of dread"
Clive Barker's artistic range is on full display in this toothsome collection of shorts: from haunted shrouds bent on revenge to possessed pigs, each tale is an allegory wrapped in viscera. Along with Angela Carter's 'The Bloody Chamber', 'Books of Blood' rests atop my list when it comes to short story collections. A truly bloody affair.
I don't do 'cute' and I don't let my books get water damaged. Needless to say my copy of this affecting story about kinship and acceptance is thoroughly dampened with tears. Read it. Now.
This is a tightly wound mousetrap of a story that plays out like a Hitchcockian fever dream. It follows comically foibled Lise, an unraveling heroine on a bewildering mission of self destruction. The author had me fooled up until the final pages where everything snapped into place. Genius.
This books is as unrelenting as the abuse endured within its pages. Its equal parts Shirley Jackson, Charles Dickens and Angela Carter. This beautifully written suburban gothic is cut through with shards of magical realism and propped up by the sympathetic voice of the protagonist. It surveys the laborious nature of trauma and the dissociation required to cope.
This slight but viciously effective novella introduces a sadomasochistic mythology that spills over with gore and poetics. The monastic creatures within are iconic for a reason: they intrigue, terrify, and titillate. But its the human characters that are the real monsters, driven by ego and selfish desire. This tale explores the line between pleasure and pain and reveals the bloody face of transcendence.
What an angry and satisfying story. Apart from creating a compelling and morally ambiguous character worthy of his own series, Lavalle serves up a rebut to the xenophobia writhing in the depths of the Lovecraft mythos. This book made me hold up foot traffic on the way to the store, demanding that I finish the heartbreaking chapter before I took another step. J'adore.
Child logic and base ferality attempt to work together in this beautifully bleak fable. A group of fairies are forced to leave their previous 'home' and survive the wilderness. If you are looking for a sweet moral ribbon to tie around this tale, you wont find it. It is lost; buried in the woods amongst the maggots.
You don't have to be a metalhead to fall in love with this adorably dark family of loons. Sweetly subversive a la The Adams Family, this book make me cackle aloud approximately 666 times.
Do you like the Twilight Zone? Of course you do. But you might not know Richard Matheson. And you should, because arguably the most iconic episodes were adapted from his masterfully-written short fiction. Each story is so tightly crafted as to border on pulp, each ending twists with a stinger that demands your return. If I'm on a plane: 1) I have a Richard Matheson collection in my carry on and 2) I'm not going to look at the wing of the plane. Yeah. He wrote that.
Full disclosure: this is my desert island book. Clive Barker (my future husband) displays the fecundity of his imagination by creating a dark fantasy epic on the scale of Tolkien full of deliciously sacrilegious subtext. The characters and scenes within have woven themselves into my psyche never to be unraveled. Thank Goddess.
For the past 10 years I have used the same out of date out of print tarot book, yearning for a more current reference. Michelle Tea has written it, a book I can confidently recommend to both new and seasoned card readers. In addition to her insightful, modernized interpretations, she offers simple rituals and meditations that correspond with each card. Happy readings my Witches!
I am a horror reader with a wary interest in true crime. Hauntings and hellspawn are my bread and butter, but real life atrocities keep me up at night. This is a tactful victim-focused true crime book that doesn't linger on the lascivious details. Weinman's thesis is that the 1948 kidnapping case of 11-year-old Sally Horner serves as direct inspiration for Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 novel 'Lolita', a notion that Nabokov himself protested. For this reader, Weinman builds a strong case and exposes the dirty bones of what some consider Nabokov's masterpiece.
This story revolves around 14-year-old Marjorie, the eldest of two sisters and her increasingly bizarre and erratic behavior. Is it the onset of mental illness or full on demonic possession?? This books sends up the exhausted tropes of past exorcism tales whilst exploiting them to the benefit of the reader. It is a witty and creeptastic read with an homage to Shirley Jackson that left me reeling.
Broadly speaking, I don't like Manga (sorry, not sorry), though Junji Ito has proven to be the exception. His tales are never dull, at times retch-inducing, and always ghastly. What more could a girl ask for??
This book is a twisted bramble, ripe with grimy tales that really satisfy. Enriquez's voice entertains, educates, and terrifies. "I like dark themes,' she says, "...I would say it's my way of looking at things." amen, sister.
Woof. I couldn't put it down. The premise is simple, the themes all too relevant. From the start I cared for the characters, had my stomach clenched throughout the meat of it, and shed a tear at the end. It's horror with a heart!
Julian is a mermaid - of this there is no doubt. But how will this identity expression be met by his family? This is a question we get to explore through this book's resplendent watercolor illustrations and streamlined story. It's about the transformative power of loving acceptance during pivotal moments of self-doubt. For the mermaid in all of us.
In this slim but substantive piece Federici examines the history of the (particularly female) body during the transition to capitalism. She tirelessly excavates and links an array of subjects:
- The mind/body conflict necessary for successful labor production
- labor power and dismantling of worker solidarity
- colonialism and slavery
- witch hunts and the demonization of women
and so much more.
So you know how the world sometimes makes you wanna sink deep deep deep deep deep deep deep deep deep into a watery grave?? This book helps me not do that!
This is a fun, accessible, educational guide to sex toys. If the idea of walking into a sex shop with real people makes you curl up inside, let these adorable authors do it for you! It's like having a personal shopper for your sex toys! Don't be scared!
Carrying this book feels like carrying a knife. Like a sharp and discreet weapon, it's easily brandished when confronted with the notion that power disparity among the sexes and "women's issues" are really a baseless non-issue. Beard takes an important step (one we could all take) to trace such insidious notions back to their dirty roots.
Look, I cannot even begin to describe the fleshy gloriousness that is this book. Please...just dive in.
It's been weeks since I finished t his magnificently strange book and it still won't unhand me. It's a short read that I found myself dragging out so that I might enjoy the trickle of the story. It was sensorially electric, like walking through a market full of flowers and raw meat.
Delightful! Story-wise it's Lewis Lewis Carroll meets Umberto Eco and centers on a 92 year-old woman who has been deemed useless by her family and shipped off to a home. There she meets an eccentric gaggle of gals and adventure ensues. It's and enchanting story that focuses on the bonds between and the power of older women. A great porch read.
This is a raw and intimate account of one's relationship to the context of one's body. Gay lays herself bare as she explores the 'why' of her body, all the while forcing the reader (at least this one) to do the same. An amazing read for anyone currently residing in a body.
The reclamation of the word "Queer" has miffed some and confused other. "Isn't that a derogatory slur?" some have asked, "If you are not gay or straight what else can you been??" Consider this book an accessible intro to gender and Queer theory. Come out wherever you are!
With bold vision and glittering prose Carter brings us her own reteling of classic fables such as Bluebeard and Little Red Ridinghood. Simply captivating! With roaring sensuality we are carted straight to the dark mythic heart of these tales, made all the more beautiful by Carter's care and craft. It's not wonder she has gone on to inspire such authors as Emma Donaghue and Sarah Waters (go check them out as well!). Put on your warmest cloak, find a quiet wood, and enjoy.
Margaret Prior is spiraling into spinsterhood and has just failed at an attempt at suicide. As part of her recovery she is to act as a visiting lady at Victorian London's Millbank women's jail. Here she is enthralled by one Selina Dawes, a recondite spiritualist imprisoned after hosting a seance that left an elderly woman dead. What ensues upon this union is an ever twisting game of 'Do you believe?'. Waters is in pristine form in this haunting, bleak, and pearl-clutching mystery.
So I know what you're thinking, but forget about the sensationalization machine that was the film adaptation and give this 'theological thriller' a shot. Blattey, himself a comedic writer, gives us a thoughtful, sincere, and truly funny look at faith as a whole. To be honest it reads more like a detective novel more than horror. Religiosity and potential proselytizing aside, I walked away from this book feeling... warm. Who knew??
"Women have been retrieving each other from the Dustbin of history for several thousand years now..."
Jacky Fleming is doing just that with this work of wit. In it we are confronted with the laughable ideas about women held by male 'geniuses' of the past, ideas that have facilitated the erasure of women's voices and accomplishments throughout history. Dripping with sarcasm and accompanied by charming illustrations, this is an easy laugh out loud read that you will want to share.
Whew! What a ride! Allow me a moment to loosen my bodice that I may think more clearly... there we are! This is a gothic, neo-Victorian, deeply Dickensian mystery with gut-punching twists. Sue was raised in a house of thieves in the Burroughs of London where she is scooped up into a plot to swindle a naive heiress out of her fortune. Would that it were so simple. This book has it all: Drama, deceit, history, mad houses, eccentric villains, lesbian romance, all the good stuff.
Well, Jackson did it again! This beautifully strange novel leaves quite a distinct and lingering impression. In this tale of mystery and isolation we are met by two sisters cut off from the world. They live alone, happily and ferally in their dilapidated family home in an almost mundanely mystical lifestyle à la Grey Gardens. Delivering an effortless sense of unease, this captivating and understated story will leave you in a satisfying state of unknowingness.
Shifting focus from her usual Vampire Chronicles, Rice walks us through the doors of a New Orleans manor and introduces us to the long line of Mayfair Witches. With a sophisticated blend of the preternatural, macabre, and dramatic, we explore the sprawling history of the Mayfair family tree and discover the origins of the women's power as well as the ominous male entity that has haunted them for generations.
Now a horror classic, Rosemary's Baby finds the titular character eager to start a family with her husband in their new NYC apartment. Unease sets in as their eccentric neighbors take a disturbing interest in Rosemary and her future child. Told from Rosemary's perspective, this brand of 'domestic horror' explores the potential terrors of pregnancy and the claustrophobic dread of 60's housewifery. A goreless and beautifully paced psychological thriller that has stood the test of time.
This is a hauntingly melancholic tail (get it??) about the nature of desire wrapped in history and placed upon the Hudson River. We follow the captain of a steamboat as he discovers a wounded and mostly mute mermaid on board. Secretly nursing her back to health, his relationship with the delicate creature takes an otherworldly turn. Illustrated in the softest of charcoals, this sweetly somber story is great for a drizzly day with a cup of tea.