The editors of The Wild Hunt serve up a handful of their current reads. Have you read any of these titles? What is on your To Be Read list?
"I'm enjoying a nice balancing act between reading for pleasure and reading for research (or some overlap of both, really!)."
IF WE WERE VILLAINS I am a complete sucker for a “campus novel,” especially those with secrets and bad behavior. Much of the novel is cloistered within a small world: seven students, a questionable death, and lots of Shakespeare permeating through the plot (along with the general construct of the narrative). Setup as a sort of confession, Oliver is released from prison after serving ten years for a mysterious crime. He is met by the arresting detective who was always skeptical about how the case wrapped up. The rest is an unfolding of a bloody and cruel incident that took place at an esteemed Midwest conservatory when Oliver and his friends were fourth year theater students. If We Were Villains is doubly-delectable for me, as I’ve roomed with acting students in the past and I absolutely love how the author captured the hyperbolic lives of these characters that brings me back to my student days.
THE DOUBLE I’m saddened that I rarely get to read Classics these days, but that has changed. A recent bout of writerly research has led me to The Double, a short novel I’ve always wanted to read. I am intrigued by doubles and doppelgängers. Their uncanny presence and the notion that they might be a nod to something more sinister never disappoints. The ideas of identity and paranoia run through Dostoevsky’s novel. Do we see ourselves the same way as others? And what does it mean to be an impostor? (Who really is the impostor and where does the double come from?!) The protagonist, Goliadkin, also has a wonderful pathetic, stammering quality to his sentences. They are anxious and repetitive, heightening his feeling of inadequacy and of not being in control: “The one now sitting opposite Mr. Goliadkin was Mr. Goliadkin’s horror, he was Mr. Goldiakin’s shame, he was Mr. Goliadkin’s nightmare from yesterday, in short, he was Mr. Goliadkin himself.”
**Bonus recommendation: There is a wonderful recent film adaption.
"Finally leaving behind a painful reading slump for these two lovelies below."
THE FIRE NEXT TIME I recently picked up The Fire Next Time and am hesitant to let it go – it has been so long since non-fiction has touched me in this way, and I wish everyone would read this book. James Baldwin's prose hits you in the face to be sure your eyes are open: “You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits of your ambition were, thus, expected to be set forever. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that you were a worthless human being." This is a difficult read and should be; it's a powerful account of a dangerous history that I know all too well growing up in the South.
And, as hard as this is to read, it's one of the most beautiful books of my life: “If we-and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others- do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world.”
THE MIME ORDER I've had this series on my shelf for quite some time now, but, it being a seven book series, I was hesitant to begin until recently. I was in a horrid book slump for much too long until I picked up the first book in The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon and felt myself being pulled into this clairvoyant world full of strange monsters and secret gangs and blooming magic. These books have a theme of being slow to start but, if you stick with the main character, Paige, you will somehow find your fingers gripping the last pages before you realize what has happened. I'm almost halfway through and am looking forward to picking up the third book soon after. I am not looking forward to the wait for the fourth installment.