Reading Wrap-Up: November and December 2016

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The reading slump continues, but I am getting a few things in here and there. With that in mind, here’s a current rundown of my latest reads. They’re all short and token efforts, so definitely don’t get too excited.

The Mermaid Girl by Erika Swyler (My Rating: 5/5) For transparency’s sake, I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. I entered not even realizing this short story ties into a previous book by the author. I honestly thought the synopsis sounded interesting, and it turned out it was. Though I will say it felt a little sneaky, since the summary made the story sound like a fantastical/magical-realism thing, and it’s really not. It still took me by surprise, and I loved it. It was also blessedly short, being only a small story, and it allowed me to accomplish something at a time when I felt like I wasn’t.

Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled by Harlan Ellison (My Rating: 2.5/5) Oh boy, here we go. The review I’ve been dreading. Ellison is usually a safe bet for me. I read this because I was hoping it would help me crawl out of my slump, and it only drove me further in. The first half of this story collection was great and fine, and I had no problem with it. Then suddenly two stories in a row show up containing anti-homosexual propaganda. I know that sounds heavy, but I don’t know what else to call it. It was the kind of stuff you might see from that time trying to convince you that gay people are evil, and I was shocked and horribly dismayed. Ellison is a guy who was part of the civil rights movement, a self-proclaimed feminist, a Jew who understands firsthand what it’s like to face that kind of stereotyping. And there he is, contributing to it with a self-righteousness that is nauseating. I felt betrayed by an author I trusted not to write backwards, close-minded garbage. Onward, slump!

Night Frights by J.B. Stamper (My Rating: 4/5) So where did I turn next? Children’s horror. It turned out not to be a terrible choice. This book was very short. The stories in it, by extension, were very, very short. But it was fun and cute and sometimes actually a little disturbing. There was variety among the tales told, and while it was clearly a by-product of the influx of children’s horror thanks to Goosebumps, I feel it stands on its own. I actually recommend it for nostalgia seekers and horror fans alike.

Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann (My Rating: 4/5) Thank heavens a friend of mine chose to give me a graphic novel for Christmas. If not, I can’t say I would’ve read anything else in December. This is exactly what it says on the tin really. It’s beautiful and dark. It’s delightfully fae while also being shockingly gross. It’s a cupcake laced with arsenic. I’ve never seen anyone take the daydreams of children and shove them into harsh reality quite like this. If this twisted tale sounds at all appealing, then it’s definitely for you. Also, check out the artwork at least, because it is a thing of beauty.

Thanks for reading! Wish me luck in the coming year, that I can find a book that will get me back on track. As always, happy geeking!

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