Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, and podcasts.
Set in the 1920s, Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, is about Casiopea Tun, a young woman who works as a servant for her rich family while dreaming of life beyond her grandfather’s house. She gets her chance to escape and travel, when she opens a chest in her grandfather’s room and awakens the Mayan god of death who has lain captive. Bound by blood and bone to help the god regain his throne or meet her own death, Casiopea and and the god travel across Mexico to regain his power.
I love stories of accidental adventure, of someone discovering a secret that lay buried and find themselves drawn into a dangerous adventure. Casiopea is a perfect such adventurer, sassy and brave and hungry for more in her life. Although she dreams of escape and running off to discover the world, she’s faced with her own insecurities when finally finds herself on the road — and it’s the journey that helps her to grow into her own strength. This is a fun and charming adventure, full of magic, humor, and romance. It’s delightful.
I read two phenomenal horror short story collections this month. The first, The Houseguest and Other Stories by Amparo Dávila is a beautifully unsettling collection of horror short stories (which I talked about at length in another post).
The second is Books of Blood, Vol. 1-3 by Clive Barker. I’ve known about Barker through his work in movies, but had never read any of his fiction up until this point. I honestly should have jumped on that train sooner. Barker’s stories are rich in character development and unique in their portrayal of horrors, from the depravities of human making to sympathetic and terrifying monsters of most unusual origins. Entire cities might enact ancient battles by constructing giants made from the bodies of their citizens (“In the Hills, the Cities”). A women wakes in a hospital after an attempted suicide wakes with the power to grotesquely reshape the men who try to control her (“Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament”). A charity race turns out to have greater stakes than anyone knows, with the racers literally running for their lives (“Hell’s Event”). A monster rears up from the dark of a movie theater, born from the desires of years of movie goers (“Son of Celluloid”). These stories are fantastic across the board, and I just learned that there are many more volumes of Barker’s stories, so I’ll definitely be picking those up as well.
I also read three wonderful poetry collections this month. The first was Deborah L. Davitt’s The Gates of Never, a beautifully accessible collection of poetry that explores and blends history, mythology, and magic with science and science fiction. These poems morph between being moving, irreverent, and erotic — a great collection of work. (I interviewed Davitt for the New Books in Poetry podcast, which I’ll be able to share soon.)
little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion and The Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning by Michelle Scalise are two stunning poetry chapbooks. little ditch looks at the intersections between the body and the natural world in order to examine issues surrounding sexual abuse, rape culture, and internalized misogyny. Dragonfly is a beautiful exploration of the horrors of mourning and childhood abuse.
Continue reading “Culture Consumption: August 2019”