Well, this was the month I dreaded. I had been putting off my challenge to read a horror book all year. Some people really enjoy their fear response. They’re the ones who look forward to whatever slasher-demon possession-gratuitous death spree of a movie comes out in any given month. I do not. I find it stressful, and anxiety-making, and I don’t like feeling more stressed and anxious than I have to. Plus, I don’t sleep well, and I don’t need that stuff in my head in the wee hours.
People made good recommendations. My mom suggested Dracula, a reader suggested Shirley Jackson, all good ideas. But I also remembered the good folks at Book Riot discussing Horrorstör. And then I found that very book at the library and flipped through it. After being assured by a Book Riot friend that it’s the kind of scary that seems totally implausible, I decided it would be no worse than an intense Buffy episode, and I went for it. And I’m glad I did. I’ll tell you more about that in a minute.
It wasn’t a super productive reading month, and I have no idea how November will pan out while I’m doing NaNoWriMo. I’ll be honest with you, people. Not sure if I’m going to make the challenge. So many books – so many specific books – and only two months left in the year. And in one of those months, I’ll write a book.
But we press on. So here’s my Reading Month for October, and then: onward!
My Reading Month: October 2015
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero. Gabi has a lot on her plate: her friends and their problems; her turbulent family life; applying to colleges and trying to get the hell out of town; body issues because she’s not skinny; and senior year, where she’s focused on boys and writing poetry and eating hot wings. Gabi’s a bright spirit, though, and she takes her hits and keeps on going. This book was a gem, such a fun read, and Gabi’s focus on her own creativity was really refreshing for me to read as I work on my own writing.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. I always know when I read one of Bechdel’s books that it’s going to be super smart, and interesting. And the super smartness lulls me into an academic mindset. I feel like I have to think hard about history and theory, and it sort disarms me because I’m too busy thinking rather than feeling. Which means that when the inevitable heart of the book reveals itself, the big emotional stuff, I’m almost unprepared for it. So when Bechdel gets down to the story of how she lost her father, how she came out, how he came out, it’s a bit of a punch in the gut. This memoir is so heartfelt, and beautiful, and yes, smart, and I really recommend it.
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix. This book is super cool: it’s formatted to look like an Ikea catalogue because it’s a haunted-style story in an Ikea-knock-off furniture store. A group of employees stay the night in a store where strange things keep happening, but none of them are prepared for just how strange, and terrifying, the inner workings of the store are. It’s a good creepy book.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. I first encountered Noelle Stevenson through Lumberjanes, and so when I saw Nimona was a National Book Award Finalist, I knew it was time to check it out. And I’m so glad I did! Ballister Blackheart is the local super villain, always at odds with the Institute and his former friend, Goldenloin. So when Nimona shows up, a shape-shifter with a complicated past, she lends her services as Blackheart’s sidekick. We get friendship, justice, science, sharks, and so much more. This book is a quick read and super fun, with a good amount of heart to it as well.