Most of my recommendations posts in the future will be focused just on the past month’s activities. But, I read so many good books in October and November that I don’t want to focus just on November’s activities.
Early October saw me read the Of Gods and Globes Anthology Volumes 1 & 2. These two anthologies caught my attention because I attended the Writer Unboxed On Conference. There, I met a few other spec-fic and SFF writers, including one who is the editor of this series. He’s planning a third edition and sent me information on it in case I’m interested in submitting.
I haven’t figured out a story idea for it, but the premise behind the series is a fun one. Each story needs to include a character based on something both mythological and astronomical. For example, the planet Jupiter is named for the Roman god, so a story that includes one or both is acceptable. Or, a story that deals with Cassiopeia, who is a mythological figure and a constellation, would qualify.
I had toyed with writing something that features Coyote, but I haven’t found any myths that include Coyote as a constellation, star, or other astronomical figure. Plus, are any Coyote stories really mine to tell?
Coyote came to mind because I’m fascinated by trickster characters in mythology who can be both beneficent and malevolent depending on one’s point of view.
I also read the stunningly well-crafted My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones. This author first made it onto my radar thanks to seeing his The Only Good Indians nominated for a slew of awards and seeing blurbs that said he’s the Jordan Peele of the horror novel.
Now, I’ve never considered myself a reader of horror novels or a fan of horror movies, but I thought Us and Get Out were brilliant storytelling. As was Lovecraft Country, which Jordan Peele produced.
Since I enjoy Jordan Peele’s work and reviewers favorably compare the novels of Stephen Graham Jones to Jordan Peele’s, I gave The Only Good Indians a try last year. And loved it. A few scenes from that novel still haunt me because I can picture them so clearly.
My Heart is a Chainsaw is well worth buying and reading. Stephen Graham Jones writes about small-town American and its small-minded citizens with both humor and sharp insight. I’ll be looking for more of his books to add to my TBR list.
I also read Discount Armageddon and Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. McGuire’s Ghost Road series was both humorous and fast-paced, which made me decide to go back and read her earlier series. Discount Armageddon is the first in her InCryptid series, while Rosemary and Rue start her October Daye series. Both series started out solidly, and I wished I’d had more than just the first book of each.
I rounded out November with The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson. It’s a near-future (as in 2025) pandemic tale that likely will be triggering for some readers since it deals with both a pandemic and domestic violence. Dawson grew up in a household affected by domestic violence, and she brought all that experience to the page. It’s a hard read in places, but well worth it.
I’m currently reading Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. I remember the raves about her The Great Migration (still in my TBR pile) and that she received a lot of blowback for publishing Caste. Given the viewpoint of those who critiqued her, I figured it’s a book I should read. I’m only about a hundred or so pages into it, but I’m already learning a good bit.
The past two months also saw me delve into the TV show Longmire and play a lot of Fishing Planet on our PlayStation. Jen started law school on a part-time basis in August, so I’ve had time in the evenings and on the weekends to putter around the house while she’s in class or studying.
The fishing game in particular has been oddly soothing and even sometimes prompted me to dose off with my line cast, awaiting a nibble. I haven’t done that since I was a kid on fishing trips with my family.
If you have any book, TV, or video game recommendations, send them my way.