So the reading didn’t go as planned. I had a lot of hiccups in trying to get through the books I chose. I ended up watching more scary movies and not reading as many scary books. Still let’s talk about what I did read.
After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones (My Rating: 3.5/5) This was a dark, strange story collection, and it felt like something I should’ve liked more. My main problem was the writing style. It didn’t really flow. Jones had a tendency to bring plot points or actions out of left field, and they didn’t read as shocking. Rather they read as confusing. I found myself having to read passages over and over because I was confused about what he was trying to say. So when I should be chilled and thrilled and fully engaged, I was frustrated.
There are some gems here though. The title story is fantastic and takes the idea of a haunting to a whole new place. “Xebico” and “The Spindly Man” both deal in some great horror meta. But my favorite was “Doc’s Story”. My understanding is it was later written into a full book, and I’m dying to get my hands on it.
Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck (My Rating: 5/5) Another short story collection with a lot of odd tales. This one was a little hard to get my hands on, and I ended up jumping on it when I found a good deal, and even then I ended up paying for an advanced reader’s copy by accident. Still I’m glad to own it, because it was great. This style of prose is more my speed, tending toward magical realism. Everything from the mundane with a touch of eeriness to outright bizarre. Speaking of, the title story, which was the definition of bizarre, was my favorite of the bunch. I also really enjoyed “Rebecka” and “Reindeer Mountain”.
Last Look by Charles Burns (My Rating: 3.5/5) I feel so torn about this one. I adore Charles Burns. This book is a bind-up of a trilogy he’d been putting out over the last couple years. His artwork is second to none. His storytelling is character driven and strong. But this reminded me so much of The Sculptor, which I hated. Yet another story about a self-absorbed, artistically sensitive guy and the way he wrecks his own life and the lives of those closest to him. The difference being that I don’t think Burns is trying to make me sympathize with this selfish man. I think he’s just presenting the story.
Yet even then it’s hard to give him a pass when he has a female character whose perspective is sacrificed in favor of following the man and his many mistakes. I thought she would’ve made for a much more interesting and sympathetic point-of-view. Though in that case the male character would’ve come off as even more of an ass. Which he is. The bottom line being that, for me, I’m tired of these stories. I’m tired of these characters. I thought he had an incredibly unique way of showing the conflict via dream sequences, but I wish it had been a different conflict.
I’m hopeful next month will be better all around, both for the amount I read and the quality of those reads. If you would like to support this blog, check out my Patreon. As always, happy geeking!