Reading Round-up: October 2021

Happy Halloween!! It’s spooky season so here are some great reads, both spooky and otherwise. And if you need more spooky recommendations I had a whole list of my favorite horror reads over 2021 that came out earlier this month, so go check that out. Let’s go!

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

I’ve reviewed this novella, inspired by Dracula, earlier this month, but I had to mention it again since I just read it. With prose that feels at times more like poetry, A Dowry of Blood is a lovely meditation on love and how toxic it can become — but also how emancipating. An ideal reading for spooky season. (Horror, LGBTQ+)

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

At first blush, House of Earth and Blood is a little hard to categorize. It’s an urban fantasy murder mystery, set in a secondary world. For that reason I tried to read this book a few times and bounced off, confused by the genre and just not in the right place. But because I have really enjoyed Maas’ other work, even when she was still growing as a writer, I decided to try again. I’m so glad I did. This book does not stop. It takes no prisoners. I really enjoyed it, and think it’s a clear example of a writer coming into her own. Not to mention that it’s a great friendship narrative — while there is romance in this book, the central relationship that really connected for me was between Bryce and Danika, a refreshing change from similar books that very much gave this book life. (Fantasy, Urban Fantasy)

Upstream by Mary Oliver

Halloween is about honoring our beloved dead, and who is more beloved than those who have inspired us? Mary Oliver’s last collection of essays was a wonderful moving love letter to all her youth, her poetic heroes, her hometown, and the natural world. I cried more than once, and I think there is something here for any artist or lover of the written word. (Nonfiction)

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

This is my first exposure to Stephen Graham Jones’ writing (I have The Only Good Indians in my TBR but haven’t gotten to it yet). There was a lot to enjoy here, not least of which was the meditation on generational trauma amongst Native Americans which I think is often glossed over or ignored by white writers trying to appropriate Native stories. This is a sort of meandering story that didn’t hit the beats I expected it to, but because of that it kept me guessing. It’s a spooky, twisted tale, and it’s also pretty short, so I recommend it as a quick seasonal read if you’re looking for horror this month. (Native American, Horror)

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo

This book is a haunting and a coming out tale all at once, and one of the most interesting ones I’ve read. Set in Nashville, which is nearly my neck of the woods, the author captures perfectly the cultural tension of Appalachia and the cultural and class barriers that make it so hard to exist in this region, especially if you carry any even slightly marginalized identity. From the drugs to the trauma, every note of this book hit right for me. And if you read The Ninth House way back when that came you, you’ll find many similar themes worth exploring, as half the action of this book takes place at Vanderbilt University. (Appalachian, Horror, LGBTQ+)

L’Esprit de L’Escalier by Catherynne Valente

I actually read this in September but I forgot to put it on my September list, and it’s a lot more fun to share in October anyway. This is a free novelette from from one of my favorite authors which features a retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. A trellised, vining tale that explores what happens when we hold onto love long after it has died. (Horror, Urban Fantasy, Retelling)

Want to support this blog? Buy books, kick me a tip on Paypal, or subscribe to my Patreon.

3 thoughts on “Reading Round-up: October 2021

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: