‘ve liked T.C. Boyle’s books ever since I first saw him perform at the UEA Literature Festival in 2012. I had just moved to the UK and had just started my PhD. I was excited, not just because of all the changes that had recently happened in my own life, but also because I felt as if I was now in the middle of it all. Whatever “it” was. A place where world-famous others magically appeared in packed lecture theatres to talk shop.
become a cliché to the point that they seem to have lost much of their ability to scare, I still can’t resist a good vampire story. For every boring, unimaginative Twilight rip-off, there’s a lesser-known gem lurking in the darkness somewhere, waiting to be devoured. Or, perhaps, to devour unsuspecting readers first. One such story is Necroscope by Brian Lumley.
My love for horror has recently been rekindled. With yet another dreadful Saw instalment out there, one would almost forget that there’s still plenty of original stuff around. Not only that, older works are increasingly at risk of being forgotten. To support my own memory as much as anything, here’s a quick overview of some good books I’ve read in the past month.
Blackwater is a Southern gothic family saga, tracking the lives of several generations of the Caskey family, as they make their fortune in the fictional town of Perdido, Alabama. Connecting the many subplots is the story of Elinor, a woman who mysteriously appears during a flood, marries one of the Caskeys, and proceeds to rule the clan. Oh, and she’s also a river monster.
I only picked Kinflicks because of its slightly raunchy cover – a scantily dressed young woman jumping into the air, her face drawn into an expression of pure ecstacy. Turns out the book is actually a coming of age novel about Ginny, who returns to the Virginian town she grew up in to look after her dying mother. Oh, and also because her husband has thrown her out for what she insists was not cheating. Promising start.
I have done very little reading over the past few months, and even less writing, because, well, life. That and the library still being closed. Fortunately things appear to be taking a turn for the better and I have discovered a little community library I’ve been borrowing books from. It’s little more than an oversized cupboard in a green space aptly named Old Library Wood. A bit of research suggests that its presence is part of an ongoing effort to make the area a safer and more pleasant space for local residents. Of course books should be part of that. Books are always a good idea.
I’m not sure whether this album will win over any new fans if they expect the shocking and politically motivated Manson of the 1990s. This album is much more personal and emotional. Not even all the songs are marked with an “E” for “explicit” by Spotify. Has Manson gone soft?
The Dark Frontier is thrilling ride through the Weird West: a world which feels both excitingly familiar and exquisitely strange. Anyone who feels slightly bored by more traditional western stories will find plenty to enjoy in this new collection of genre-bending writing.
Never mind the pubs reopening, I thought as I was watching the news. It’s the library I’m excited about. As expected the experience wasn’t quite what it used to be. With face masks, a one way system and a limited assortment of books available things didn’t feel like they’d gone back to normal. But I’ve stumbled upon a real gem. I always love it when that happens.
I don’t know if it’s typical for Norwich, but the people here tend to leave items they no longer need… Read more Lost and Found: On Reading Books from the Street