Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, television, and games — most of which was heavily inspired by my deep dive into Women in Horror Month.
Octavia E. Butler’s Fledgeling is the story of a 53-year old black vampire who looks like a 12 year old girl. When the story opens, Shori has no memory of who or what she is — all she knows is that she is wounded, starving, and lost. As she heals, she begins to dig into her past in an attempt to discover who she is and who tried to kill her. This is one of the most fascinating portrayals of vampires that I’ve read, presenting a unique complex culture with found families based on symbiotic relationships between vampires and humans. There are so many layers here work unpacking: genetic manipulation, power structures, interesting family structures with polyamorous love, and racism, among other things. It makes for a fascinating storyline with complicated, interesting characters. One of those books that’ll go onto my favorites list.
Two other books from my Women in Horror reading were also phenomenal: Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant (a brutal mermaid story discussed here) and Things Withered by Susie Moloney (a stunning collection of short stories discussed over here).
I also read three books of poetry in the past month. all this can be yours by Isobel O’Hare is a powerful collection of erasures from the celebrity sexual assault apologies. The poems are fierce explorations of how the men making these apologies try to evade their own culpability.
The chapbook Never Leave the Foot of an Animal Unskinned by Sara Ryan (Pork Belly Press) delves into the liminal space between living and dead, with this collection of poems about taxidermy. The nature of body is explored down to the bone, with footnotes that provide an expanded philosophical look at the art of preservation.
House of Mystery by Courtney Bates-Hardy draws on the dark undertones of fairy tales, providing a haunting look into the role of women in those stories.
(I have interviews with both Isobel O’Hare and Sara Ryan that I’ll be sharing soon.)
Books Read Last Month:
1. The Oxygen Factory by Renée des Lauriers
2. Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant
3. Never Leave the Foot of an Animal Unskinned by Sara Ryan
4. all this can be yours by Isobel O’Hare
5. Things Withered by Susie Maloney
6. House of Mystery by Courtney Bates-Hardy
7. Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
Total Books for the Year: 11
Still in Progress at the End of the Month: The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste, The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes poems by Sara Tantlinger, and Books of Blood by Clive Barker
Short Stories & Poetry
“A Compendium of Architecture and the Science of Building” by Kate Elliott – “By the time he returned home after all his years of wandering, Magnus Diarisso had come to prefer a fire burning on cold days rather than the elaborate hypocaust system that heated the mage house. The sound of wood settling, sparks popping, and ashes sighing helped him relax.”
Three Poems by Carina Bissett –
“I’ve taken every smile
my face has known
and filed them down
until all that remains
are sharp points
and paper-cut kisses.”
“The Last Sailing of the Henry Charles Morgan in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw – (1841)” by A.C. Wise – “The first scene depicted is the whaling ship Henry Charles Morgan, beset by a storm.”
“I Spend the Day Not Speaking” by Niina Pollari –
“It feels good
Like I found a place
Where nothing resonates”
“A Spider Trapped in Wax” by Matt Dovey – “Lindom Hall was a cold place; a lonely place; an empty place of stone and echoes. ”
“Slipping Petals from Their Skins” by Kristi Demeester – “Carolina smells of viburnum when we bury her. My sister and I stand over the closed casket and pretend the fetid, cloying scent is the death lilies wreathed about the church, but of course we know better. ”
“A Catalogue of Storms” by Fran Wilde – “The wind’s moving fast again. The weathermen lean into it, letting it wear away at them until they turn to rain and cloud.”
Three Poems by Joanna C. Valente –
“Can'(2019t tell the difference / between
my dream / from last night / & the man
pushing into me / on the subway”
I wanted a number of phenomenal horror movies directed by women this month, including: Dearest Sister, Prevenge, The Lure, and Revenge. They’re all very different movies with unique spins on female relationships, motherhood, musical mermaids, and the male gaze (click through for my full reviews).
Another great watch was Horror Noire: The History of Black Horror. The documentary provides an insightful look into the history of horror from a black perspective.
New-to-Me Movies Watched Last Month:
1. Mother! (2017)
2. Dearest Sister (2016)
3. Prevenge (2016)
4. Horror Noire: The History of Black Horror (2019)
5. Bird Box (2018)
6. The Lure (2015)
7. Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
8. Revenge (2017)
9. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)
(If you want to know my thoughts on any movies that I didn’t get into in detail, let me know in the comments.)
I’ve come back around to Final Fantasy VII and spent some time stumbling around because I had forgotten where I was and what I was doing. I hit some major story points during my last play, which make me excited to keep going on with the playthrough.
I also dived into Skyrim, which I purchased as a bundle with Fallout 4. My brother advised me to play Skyrim first, otherwise if I started with Fallout (my preferred aesthetic), then I’d probably take forever to come around to it.
I’m enjoying delving into this huge open-world fantasy RPG, especially since it has dragons because I like dragons. I find the way leveling up in this game interesting, in that it involves selecting stats as with other games, but you also level up according to how much you use a certain skill — which means I’m spending most of the game crouched and sneaking, since that’s one of my favorite skills to cultivate.
At the moment, however, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by Skyrim — since I currently have about 20 tasks big and small in my list in addition to the main quest. A part of me doesn’t even know where to begin, since I normally like to work through my quest list methodically. I may have to drop that method here.
In hindsight, it might not be a good idea to try to work through two massive RPGs at the same time. It may be too much long term gameplay all at once.
That’s it for me! What are you reading? Watching? Loving right now?