Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, television, and games.
The Good House by Tananarive Due is an utterly fantastic horror novel. Angela Toussant inherited the Good House from her grandmother, a woman well known in the small Sacajawea, Washington, community for her “healing magic.” When Angela returns with her son for summer vacation, she hopes to draw on some of that magic to heal her broken marriage. Instead, a surprising and violent tragedy strikes, driving her into a deep depression. Years later, she returns with the aim of healing her own emotional wounds, only to instead begin to notice a pattern of tragedies that may all be connected to something restless living within her old family property.
The Good House is multi-layered in nearly every aspect of its depictions — from the characters to the world building to the writing style to the cultural context. Although primarily focused on Angela, the story jumps between timelines and perspectives, providing an added nuance to events. And importantly, the horrors are truly terrifying. Due is a masterful writer, and I’ll definitely be reading more of her work in the future.
Although it took me a few months (because of my slow reading pace), another great read was Children of Lovecraft — a collection of short stories that draw on the Lovecraftian style of cosmic horror while presenting new perspectives. It’s a solid collection with a number of great stories.
Books Finished This Month:
1. The Good House by Tananarive Due
2. Children of Lovecraft edited by Ellen Datlow
Total Books for the Year: 24
Still in Progress at the End of the Month: The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel and From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes: Adapted Poems by B.C. Edwards
Short Stories & Poetry
The End of Science Fiction by Lisel Mueller (The Slowdown) —
“This is not fantasy, this is our life.
We are the characters
who have invaded the moon,
who cannot stop their computers.
We are the gods who can unmake
the world in seven days.”
Five Fridays During Lent by Christine Lucas (Pseudopod) — “You beg your son to try just one spoonful. He doesn’t. He sits rigid, his palms on his thighs, his almost-glassy, bloodshot eyes fixed ahead. There’s nothing there, only the old armoire filled with mothball-smelling clothes from three generations back.”
Twelve Days of Wedding by Taisia Kitaiskaia (Guernica) —
“How you grow my hairs from your own body.
How you pull them out until I am nothing.
How my love transpires into wind.”
Half Girl, Half by Adelina Sarkisyan (Hellebore Press) —
“My mother dreams of a tooth falling out and someone dies.
She tells me in the morning as my father sleeps, a herald
of death with her needs, her unspeakable quiets. (Oh, my.
I’ve said it again, this thing I’m not allowed to say. This
ugly, terrible thing.) Her mouth is splitting at its seams”
The Unhaunted House by Richard E. Dansky (Pseudopod) — “They huddled in the bathroom on the second floor, a family of three, afraid. Tap. Tap tap. Tap.”
With Pestilence on Your Breath by Sara Tantlinger (Rooster Republic Press) —
“I bury my family
within muddy tombs,
watch you do the same
from across the graveyard
choked with corpses
nothing but bones
and dying grass blades
separating our burials”
All I have to say about Solo: A Star Wars Story is that Danny Glover was delightful as Lando Calrissian and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of his story.
New-to-Me Movies Watched Last Month:
1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Most of my TV watching was deep diving into Downton Abbey, a show that I’ve been meaning to watch for a while. This time, I turned it on and one episode turned into a full binge and far too many super late nights watching. The charming story of the Crawley family and their servants in a kind of upstairs and downstairs drama. Although life and death moments do come into play, most of the drama is centered around a comedy of manners, as each character figures out their place (sometimes accepting, sometimes fighting against) in a class-based society. The location, the costumes, the writing, and the wit is pristine throughout. It was exactly the kind of escape I needed during a moment of stress, and I loved every second of it.
Spirits of the Stanley is an interesting paranormal investigation series, published on YouTube, about a team investigating the Stanley Hotel — a location long known for ghost activity and the site that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. As I note in my review, what made this one particularly interesting is how the team approaches ghost hunting with an experimental mindset.
Netflix has revived Unexplained Mysteries, a show I watched quite a bit of as a kid. The new series has developed its own tone for relating cold cases and paranormal. It make for a more subdued approach, focusing on the sense of loss and sorrow that these cases cause. My full review is here.
I’ve also started rewatching The X-Files, keeping a slower but steady pace as part of a longer project to rewatch and recap the episodes. Thus far, I’ve only watched the first episode and its cool to return to investigations of Scully and Mulder.
I started playing the The Last of Us 2 early in the month. It was one of my most anticipated games for this year. However, after a few hours, I found myself a bit too stressed out to continue — so playing was superseded by watching Downton Abbey. In the first few hours I played, the story is already incredibly deep with amazing characters and a powerful emotional impact. I’m looking forward to continuing with it soon.
That’s it for me! What are you reading? Watching? Loving right now?