June has been a terribly exhausting month for me thus far, especially the last couple of weeks. There’s been so much going on that I’m mentally, emotionally, and even physically drained down to my bones. As such, I’m looking forward to having this weekend entirely to myself and the kitties. My goal is to either stay in bed or curl up on the couch with a stack of books, a pile of snacks, and creepy films to stream with a nap strewn in here and there for good measure. While this is my ultimate plan, I wouldn’t be surprised if things do fall through since June isn’t quite finished up yet (excuse me while I sob into Kheb’s ears) and I’ve still got a tiny list of crap to get done.
Recently, I finished reading a book on female serial killers called Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer and it has me craving true crime narratives like a catnip addict. So, when I dragged Madame Gabs to the library a couple of days ago, I stole her library account (she let me borrow it because she knows I’m ridiculous when it comes to Libs things) to check-out a small tower of nonfiction, true crime tomes (my Libs account is maxed out… with 60 books… don’t judge me). On top of that, I’ve been super obsessed with horror films, especially ones based off actual events. One of the books I picked up discusses the culture surrounding The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films and the event that inspired them, just to give you a taste of what I mean.
In addition to my nonfiction treats, I also have a science-fiction book or two to help break the tension and heaviness of the dreary and decrepit. One of these sci-fi titles is marketed as a Fungalpunk trilogy, which has me enthusiastically jumping up and down as I positively adore renditions on -punk subgenres.
Anyhoo, you can check out all of my planned reading shenanigans down below with respective links to GoodReads pages where available. In a couple of days, I’ll share my full nonfiction library loot, which does have a couple of non-true crime things in it as well (I think), for those who prefer less disturbing nonfiction reads. 😅
Sons of Cain: A History of Serial Killers from the Stone Age to the Present by Peter Vronsky: A true crime, nonfiction historical reference that takes a look at serial killers (and serial killing psychology) across the vast reaches of time, starting with potential serial killers of the Stone Age and the origins of serial killers that concentrated on sexual deviancy, to the early 1400s and 1500s when the belief in werewolves were rampant during a time when young girls would go missing, to great witch hunts across continents, and continuing onwards into modernity with Jack the Ripper and Ted Bundy.
I haven’t started this yet, but after finishing Lady Killers, this felt like a great thing to follow it up with. Concise little snippets of historical information on serial killers and their evolution is excellent for me because it provides me with a “jar” of sorts to focus my research and reading interests if I decide that I want to dive into one person instead of a variety.
Green River, Running Red by Ann Rule: A nonfiction novel that centres on the Green River Killer, starting with his first victim in 1982 until his apprehension and conviction decades later. The novel is written by the same author who wrote the quintessential nonfiction book on Ted Bundy, The Stranger Beside Me.
I really enjoyed how Ann Rule wrote The Stranger Beside Me. It was very respectful of the victims and crimes without fetishizing or romanticising Bundy. I liked that it was personal as she knew Bundy as an individual outside of his killer persona, and her explanations of the research, criminality procedures, and everything else was accessible yet wholly intellectual. I’m hoping this serial killer concentrate shall also read similarly.
Ambergris Omnibus by Jeff VanderMeer: A Fungalpunk, crime thriller that revolves around a city of both squalor and elegance, of religious fervour and wanton lusts, and an incandescent fungus of mysterious origin that seems to be everywhere. In the city of Ambergris, a would-be suitor learns that a sunlit street can become a killing ground with the blink of an eye; an artist receives an invitation to a beheading where he shall become utterly enchanted; and then there’s a patient at a mental institution that is convinced he’s concocted a city called Ambergris, imagined in every little detail that is inspired by his hometown of Chicago. This interwoven collection of stories, histories, and “eyewitness accounts” helps craft a puzzle box of mysteries where one can get lost over and over again while also finding themselves.
I haven’t started reading this yet, but I absolutely adore VanderMeer’s New Weird books, and I feel if anyone can pull off badass and contemplative Fungalpunk, it’s definitely this guy. Plus, huge ass books are really alluring for me (this omnibus has all three books in the trilogy, City of Saints and Madmen, Shriek: An Afterward, and Finch, and runs about 870ish pages).
The Brink by James S. Murray & Darren Wearmouth: The sequel to the author’ sci-fi thriller, Awakened. It follows the survivors from the first volume as they deal with the political repercussions and worldwide fallouts of the attack on the subway line in New York City.
I really enjoyed the first novel. It was a fast-paced, action-packed yet grossly gory creature-feature. Because it was so easy and effortless to start and finish in such a short time, I decided to go ahead and pick up the sequel. I’m about a fourth of the way through it (25%). The Brink still maintains the fast-paced nature that I liked about its predecessor and while the political aspects have turned into a bit of a cliché, I’m eager to see where it’s going to go moving forward and how it shall set things up for the final instalment. You can read my review for the first novel, Awakened, here.
Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science-Fiction in Translation edited by Ken Liu: This is an own-voices collection of contemporary speculative and science-fiction stories from China that have been translated into English and edited by renown author, Ken Liu. Some incredible authors featured in this anthology include: Liu Cixin (The Three-Body Problem), Baoshu (The Redemption of Time), Hao Jingfang (Vagabonds), and Chen Quinfan (Waste Tide).
The fist collection of contemporary Chinese SF stories that Ken Liu translated and edited, called Invisible Planets, easily became my favourite anthology of all-time. It contains some of the most thought-provoking, original and creative, as well as relevant pieces of speculative literature that I’ve ever read. When I saw the second collection chilling on the sci-fi shelf at the Libs, I knew I had to read it as soon as I possibly could.
There’s plenty o’ things to keep me thoroughly distracted during my resting and recuperating. The downside of being an introvert (sometimes) is that after a ton of social interactions, it becomes so vital to take time for oneself, alone. Even if all I’m doing is playing video games or reading or watching scary shite I shouldn’t be watching (‘cause of my heart), it’s still my best way of recharging, and Boss Man knows how desperately I need to recharge my batteries and lightbulbs. I’m so fucking drained and exhausted, it’s actually really hilarious sometimes because I say some really weird shit when I’m that intensely tired.
I wish you are able to have a kind and gentle weekend, doing whatever helps you unwind and recharge as well. Stay hydrated, stay cool, and keep reading! Azizi and I shall see y’all again soon.