- The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid (★★★★☆)
- Hexed by Michael Alan Nelson (★★★★★)
- Shiver by Junji Ito (★★★☆☆)
- Sleepless Volume 1 by Sarah Vaughn (★★★★☆)
- Sleepless Volume 2 by Sarah Vaughn (★★★★★)
- Fangs by Sarah Andersen (★★★☆☆)
- Uzumaki by Junji Ito (★★★☆☆)
- Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV (★★★☆☆)
- The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould (★★★★☆)
- Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (★★★☆☆)
- Magma by Thora Hjortleifsdottir (★★★☆☆)
- She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (★★★★★)
- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (★★☆☆☆)
- The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (★★★★★)
MONTHLY TOTAL: 14
YEARLY SO FAR: 72
This deceptively large number of books read is brought to you by the ridiculous quantity of graphic novels I’ve consumed this month. As I’ve been saying, I have been vaguely slumpish all summer, and in an effort to combat said slumpiness, I’ve tried reading shorter books and graphic novels. This way, I can actually finish things, and I also don’t fall behind on my Goodreads challenge.
I am very happy I managed to read both THE WOLF AND THE WOODSMAN and SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN, both of which I enjoyed very much. In fact, SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN is officially one of my favorite books of the year! I also thought THE OTHER BLACK GIRL was a standout; it was a really brilliant literary/thriller mashup with great characters and snappy, clever prose; I couldn’t put it down.
This is a little bit of a lie, as I haven’t actually started SURVIVE THE NIGHT yet; I am planning to start it on a very lengthy train ride I’m taking on September 3rd! The other two, however, I have actually started, though I haven’t made very much progress into either.
I will definitely be reading THE JASMINE THRONE starting the second week of September; I’m buddy reading it with my friend, which I am very excited about (we also buddy read SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN which was great)! Otherwise I’m just going to be plowing through my 35 Spooky Books TBR for the autumn! I might try to prioritize THE SPARROW just because it’s a library book, but otherwise, I’m playing it all by ear.
Rewriting the Tradition: Destiny and Diaspora in Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun — Read this one after reading SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN, because it contains major spoilers for the book. It’s a long essay about the book’s use of language, incorporation of Chinese history, and the diasporic nature of the language. There’s some really illuminating information here for those of us who are not that familiar with Chinese language/history/culture, all of which lends a lot of nuance to the book after having read it!
FILM AND TV
Welp, I watched absolutely no television this month, despite having every intention to finish Schitt’s Creek (how have I still not watched the final season!!!) and start a couple of new thriller-type shows that have premiered. I also really want to watch The Nevers and Perry Mason!!! I had every intention of starting but then every time I switched the TV on I ended up either just staring at my ceiling or defaulting to something short on YouTube.
I did manage to watch a whole (2) films though:
I have nothing to say about this that I haven’t already said; I’ve raved about this film. I prefer it to the book, I love Mia and Michael, the cinematography is spectacular, etc, etc. I rewatched this with my book club for our movie night!
Okay, so I will be the first to admit that this film is very bizarre in terms of how it’s shot. It’s filmed like an amateur student film, on purpose, for some very odd reason; in particular, one quirk is that the film incorporates extremely long scenes. So, one of the very first scenes has the four main characters just hanging out in the living room and then watching a YouTube video — and there’s almost zero cuts, the scene is just played through. On the one hand, this is really weird and unusual and can sometimes get boring, on the other hand, it makes you feel like you are experiencing the events with the characters. Like, the scene literally has us watch the entire YouTube video the characters watch! And then see them reacting to it! It’s so weird!
However, it manages to stay charming because the film does such a great job of making you like the lead characters, which I always think is imperative for a horror movie. You need to care about the characters and what happens to them, and the film immediately establishes these characters’ distinct personalities and gets you to like each and every single one of them. Yes, the main character’s acting is a little…not great, like it’s very clear that she’s acting, but the other three are pretty natural, and the group as a whole really cares about each other, which makes the whole thing even more tragic.
As for the plot, it’s pretty standard and formulaic, but I don’t really ask for a lot from my horror films, you know? As long as I’m entertained, I’m good. Essentially this is about a group of Americans who go where they shouldn’t and wind up getting killed off for it. Is it innovative or thought-provoking in any way? Nope. But does that mean it’s as terrible as reviews are making it out to be? I really don’t think so. I had a good time watching this, and the twist ending was bomb, in my opinion.
Also, Brock O’Hurn, I am looking respectfully!!!
I am very pleased to announced that I FINALLY completed my revision of the adult historical fantasy I’ve been working on since November 2019!!! I sent it off to my agent and a bunch of friends and now it is finally out of my brainspace and I can focus on some other things!
Said other things include the contracted sequel to my first novel. I’ve started, kind of, and I’m trying the fast-drafting method, which is anathema to my entire being. I’ve always been an edit-as-I-write kind of person, but this means that I take a very long time to write first drafts and I stall a lot, because I refuse to move on unless I like the words on the page. But!!! Something different about Book 2 is that I have an actual plot synopsis, from beginning to end, and knowing what’s going to happen makes fast drafting a lot easier, because I don’t have to stall as much over plot, just logistics (which are still tough, but you know).
So, as of now I’m trying to get my brain to fast draft Book 2, and on the side I’m kind of working on another epic fantasy, and the idea for a novella has been wriggling in my brain for a while since I had a dream about it a while back, so we shall see!
Otherwise August has been pretty blah; someone on Twitter the other day said that August is like if Sunday were a month, and man, I felt that. It has just been gross and hot and muggy and weirdly languid. I did, however, go visit a Fuddrucker’s for the first time ever. Man their food is good!!! I was under the impression they were going out of business, which is why we schlepped all the way out to NJ to eat there, but I missed that they were bought out, so I think at least some of the stores will stay open, which is fantastic, because I can’t wait to eat there again.
Anyway, bring on autumn, please!!! I am ready to start living my life again!!!