This is a series of reviews of my favorite books published between 2010 and 2019. The Body Lies by Jo Baker (2019) From its opening, when a young woman is sexually assaulted by a stranger on the street, this story has a subtle but growing sense of menace and dread. That one event starts a chain … Continue reading Favorite Books of the 2010s: The Body Lies by Jo Baker
This is a series of reviews of my favorite books published between 2010 and 2019. These are shorter reviews of good reads published in 2018. The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander (2018) I thought this was a lovely short book with a strong message of empowerment. The narrative weaves together the perspectives from prehistory, … Continue reading Favorite Books of the 2010s: Quick Takes of 2018 Novels
This is a series of reviews of my favorite books published between 2010 and 2019. Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (2015) Eileen is a most unpleasant character, a twenty-four-year-old girl working as a secretary in a juvenile delinquent facility for boys, enabling her verbally abusive father's alcoholism, doing everything she can to make herself disappear. This is … Continue reading Favorite Books of the 2010s: Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
This is a series of reviews of my favorite books published between 2010 and 2019. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (2011) After learning that her colleague has died of a "fever" in the Amazon jungle, Dr. Marina Singh follows in his footsteps to learn more about the cause of his death and locate the reclusive … Continue reading Favorite Books of the 2010s: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
I am reading a lot of books in the "Angry Women" category this year, which seems appropriate for the year of #metoo. My latest read, Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, takes place in an alternate United States (or in the near future?), when a Personhood Amendment to the Constitution has made abortion and in vitro fertilization illegal. It … Continue reading Recommended Reading: Red Clocks
I try to define gothic fiction and why I love it so much: Gothic horror: We’re all mad here | Noir Femme
I discuss a less brutal and, I think, more realistic approach to the post-apocalyptic novel in this essay.
This essay also discusses Into the Forest (Jean Hegland; 1996);A Gift Upon the Shore (M.K. Wren; 1990); and Always Coming Home (Ursula K. Le Guin; 1985), among various other stalwarts of the post-apocalyptic sub-genre. There will be spoilers for these books.
Pop quiz, hotshot. It’s the apocalypse: What do you do? What. Do. You. Do?
If hundred (thousands?) of post-apocalyptic books and movies are to believed, you break out your cache of automatic weapons, gun down every guy you see, capture a woman and lock her in a cage for later, then chow down on some roasted baby.
There is a certain amount of wish fulfillment going on there. The apocalypse novel is one part fear, one part fantasy. All the rules are suddenly gone; you can do whatever you want! It’s a dim view of humanity that assumes that all people want to do is murder, rape, and…
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Yes, I’ve started a new blog project called Noir Femme. This one is kind of a sister project to Sci Femme, about women writing horror and dark fiction, as opposed to science fiction. But before I could get started on the reading, I had to identify (for myself, anyway) exactly what horror is. Here’s my stab at it.
Horror has one goal: to disturb. To remind us that we don’t have all the answers. To explode our illusions of being in control.
There may be monsters or the supernatural, but there doesn’t have to be.
There may be blood, gore, and guts, but there doesn’t have to be.
There may be psycho killers running around with axes, but again, it’s not necessary.
Horror can be, and often is, scary, but more important is a lingering feeling of unease, a delicious sensation of being unsettled.
The best horror takes place in our living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms. The best horror shatters the comfortable little worlds we’ve constructed for ourselves. It pulls back the veil and reveal the things in the shadows. Horror helps us understand exactly how insignificant we are in a vast, unknowable universe.
It reminds us that we are animals, and sometimes we are monsters. It reminds us…
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I've resurrected an old idea of mine, which is to read science fiction about women and blog about it. I call the blog Sci Femme, and I hope to use it as a forum for longer-form essays about themes and trends in science fiction written by women. I'll be looking at both new and classic … Continue reading New blog: Sci Femme
For my yearly reading project in 2015, I have been focusing on women writers, specifically of speculative fiction. This project has led me down lots of wonderful side alleys discovering new writers, revisiting old favorites, and thinking about what they have to say. It's also helped me understand the bias that women writers continue to … Continue reading Women writing — some links