October has hit the calendar, and for many of us, that means scary reads, chilly nights, and the warmth of pumpkin drinks to keep our bones from rattling.
Now, I’m not one for pumpkin drinks (the seasonal sacrilege, I know) but I do know a thing or two about getting into the Halloween Spirit. This little scribble is going to be about the reads of the season and some thoughts about October’s spooky plans.
Read So Far
Blood is Another Word for Hunger by Rivers Solomon
Rivers Solomon’s writing is a sharp knife that cuts through my expectations and serves up something that always manages to surpass them. Blood is Another Word for Hunger is no exception to that, following the life of Sully, a former slave, directly after she kills and buries her masters and the worldly possessions that they coveted in life. It is a solid look at revenge and the hollowness that comes with it, and an exploration in the cycle of life and the notion of rebirth—literal and metaphorical.
Sully had always been touched by a flash of darkness. On the plantation where she was born, slave women gossiped about her true nature. Her mother, who’d been sold away when Sully was five, called her moskti after the blood-eating fairy in stories of their old home back across the water. They possessed human bodies and kept them alive by feasting on the blood of anyone nearby. As soon as she had teeth, Sully drew blood whenever she fed from her mother’s breasts. Four months old.Blood is Another Word for Hunger, Rivers Solomon
Much like Solomon’s The Deep, intergenerational trauma carves its path into this short work. Yet—much like The Deep, there is something hopeful that glimmers at the end. Something akin to the promise of better, of more. The horror is certainly there, and yet it isn’t just that.
One of this month’s picks for the Pages & Prose Book Club is The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. At the time of writing, I am 18% in—and it has been a wild 18% indeed.
Following four Blackfeet men, The Only Good Indians is a tale of the past catching up, full of vivid imagery, a rich culture, and—in the case of the audio version that I’m listening to—narration that sends shivers down the spine and into the soul. This is my first Stephen Graham Jones book, and I’m giving myself the early prediction that he’s going to become a fast favorite. He’s what I’d call a voicy writer in the same vein as N.K. Jemisin, or Marlon James; they are incapable of replication. Writing like this only hits one in a hundred authors and I cannot wait to finish this story and find out the ins and outs of what brought about the haunting taking place.
Next up, something I’m particularly excited for—Blood & Vinyl by Ignacio R. Limon.
This is going to be an Indie Spotlight read for the month. Promising witches, vampires, and fae, the allure of the all that comes with them, I’m early in on this title but I can say the opening packs a hell of a punch. Ignacio, who you can follow here on Twitter, was gracious enough to send me a copy of his book and is always a joy to have on the TL, so I can’t wait to see what his writing has in store for me.
Other October Plans
While I don’t plan to have a solid TBR laid out, I do have some exciting blogging plans. I’ll be rolling out the first post of On Our Radar, where I talk about books I’m keen to get my filthy hands on and why (and, hopefully enticing you to do the same.) The inaugural post will be all about Black horror I’m anticipating reading, including titles from authors like Victor LaValle and Megan Giddings, with more horror-themed Radars sprinkled spookily throughout the rest of the month.
I’ll also be on a small tour through some horror manga, including new titles I’ve gotten from my favorite horror mangaka, Junji Ito. A bind-up of his work, Uzumaki, was recently bought for me by my partner, and I may or may not have pilfered some of their horror manga to shudder through.
Thrilling things are afoot; hopefully my bookshelves can keep up y’all won’t be frightened away 🎃
Since it’s Spooky Season, I wanted to take the time here to highlight a favorite sticker-stationary shop of mine, Inkfluer Studio! They’ve rolled out some fantastically frightening new sticker designs in time for Halloween, and it’s a great way to support a Black-owned business. I don’t have anything to gain from plugging the shop here; I just really like the products.