this book, the first in the INDIAN LAKE TRILOGY, was published in 2019. it won the bram stoker award for that year; it has this (cheesy? arresting?) interesting trompe-l’œil design on the cover, like it’s been torn in two; and i find the premise intriguing, so i pick it up. i start reading it. and a few chapters in, i don’t quite know how i feel. still intrigued, i suppose. the nostalgia factor and shared interest in horror (excuse me, “slashers”) as a genre, keeps me keen. (actually, while i like horror, ’80s slashers are probably my least favorite sub-genre within it.) will keep on reading + report my findings soon. xxx bookworm


attending a birthday party this past weekend led most profitably not only to friendship but a lengthening TBR list that now includes ONCE & FUTURE — a graphic novel arthurian adaptation in the horror genre — and FIRST WORLD, HA HA HA: A ZAPATISTA CHALLENGE — and THE BEATS: A GRAPHIC HISTORY — and among other titles i am still trying remember. i am not good at parties, my brain shuts down. these were real readers in attendance, though, which made it considerably easier & happier for me.

all I can say about JUST LIKE HOME, without spoiling it? — it was enjoyable to its last breath. all the buildup & climax on point. 9/10 would read more of this author (sarah gailey)

xoxo bookworm


this new horror novel by sarah gailey gave me actual, physical chills three times in the first three chapters, beginning with the epigraph. i am so excited. this one of those books you have to try to restrain yourself from greedily consuming all in one sitting. because you want to draw out the deliciousness. oh my god, i’m almost afraid it will deliver. will let u know how it goes. xxx bookworm


a matt haig novel from the last year or so: speculative fiction with philosophic pretensions. i am only reading it because a friend is. i hated it at first, thinking the concept intolerably cheesy, but it’s beginning to grow on me. i can relate way too well with the depressed protagonist who utterly lacks ambition. and whose afterlife/purgatory appears to be a library. i don’t want to like her; it’s like looking into a mirror. ugh.

this is the book i would recommend in its place: MR. PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE, by robin sloan. it preceded the feeble THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY by almost ten years, is thrilling and also features a book repository that never sleeps. it is a much more creative & entertaining tale.

xxx bookworm


since may of this year, i have become obsessed with shells and the mollusks of the sea. it came over me suddenly, and was the direct consequence of reading THE LITTLE BOOK OF SHELLS: GEMS OF NATURE.

the course of my life shifted, and i was set down a slightly altered path from where i was going before. i saw the world changing. i did not anticipate being able to comb the beach or plumb the tide pools for treasure, but found myself there before the end of the month, by happy chance, by stroke of fate.

i found myself walking miles along the coast with my dear cousin, whom i had not seen since the death of our grandmother some five or six years ago, and we poked at crabs and pored over the rocks of morro bay. one day we will meet again in florida, i expect, and do it all over again.

my own collection of shells has exploded — my bookshelves are lined with them. i have filled the pages of my notebook with drawings and excerpts from the many other seashell books i have greedily consumed since GEMS OF NATURE. full reviews coming soon.

but i have not forgotten my beloved horror, and there are some major books in other genres coming out in september that i anxiously await (a jane austen biography through her wardrobe by the brilliant paula byrne, a new haruki murakami novel — he is a genre unto himself — …)

my entire summer is already set up for reading. i have the books near at hand in a tidy pile. i cannot wait. for books, for shells, for glorious sunshine.


this is a new book just out this year. yes it’s the old haunted house/paranormal investigation trope, but SUCH a fantastic concept and execution.

the setting and characters are perfect: tight-knit black family on the run, under mysterious circumstances, finding themselves in texas, in a strangely cheerful, welcoming town, and under the employ of a benefactress with a definite agenda, but unclear motives. they’re smart, brave, and love each other. you can believe in their extraordinary qualities, because they are also this very ordinary family… seemingly.

god, this book! truly spooky, realistic in every detail, from the dialogue and personalities to the floor plan of this ill-conceived spite house (it’s a real thing, like those expressly built to spoil someone else’s view) ..

not to mention the pacing was immaculate. i was so intrigued and thrilled from beginning to end. it delivered in spades, cinematic, almost, with a super satisfying payoff.

ugh, i love a good scary story. bless you johnny compton, you aced it. THE SPITE HOUSE = a credit to its genre. xxx bookworm


i remember my first shirley jackson. i was a little kid and it was THE LOTTERY and i’d had no idea what to expect. the ending stunned me. i’d no idea a book could be like that.

i was ashamed to have never read WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE til now. what kind of horror enthusiast am i? — a negligent one.

well, omission remedied. i found a cheap copy with an interesting cover illustration and devoured it in short order. it was all i could have hoped for. no wonder it’s a classic. there’s real atmosphere — mood, mystery, suspense. i could feel that town and the townspeople closing in all around me every moment. it felt so meticulously laid out i could imagine every detail.

and i loved our mad little narrator. her fierce devotion, her attachment to her sister. not to mention all the reason she ascribed to the actions of her cat. a brilliant touch of whimsy.

xxx bookworm


the old-fashioned, upstate new hampshire vermont liberal arts college setting, its cast of characters, their elite backgrounds & sartorial choices, are nothing but purest dark academia porn. a thrilling treat on so many levels. every page has got beautifully worked sentences and descriptions. every precious detail feels like a clue. the plot and narrative voice full of twists, turns, nostalgia, pain… my new favorite book. can’t believe it took me this long to read this, i fucking love donna tartt, she is a master. xxx bookworm


devoured another collection of short stories from yoko ogawa, it is called THE DIVING POOL. disturbing, understated, CLASSIC GOTHIC HORROR

1. while not horror, her novel THE HOUSEKEEPER & THE PROFESSOR particularly + undeniably beautiful. a small, precious book. 2. ogawa writes only small, short books in my experience. they encompass much/engulf you fast. she’s efficient. 3. i’ve acquired a definite taste for her style. she’s cyclical: THE DIVING POOL is thematically, poetically consistent with her other collection (REVENGE). one passage (about math) seemed lifted directly from HOUSEKEEPER+PROFESSOR. same as before, i relished every moment. every. perfect. sentence.

the best story is the first: girl living at an orphanage (not an orphan) harbors evil feelings towards a 1-yr old (an orphan). the 1-yr old orphan abandonment issues, this dark, dostoeyevskian history. when u learn the details it is incredibly heartbreaking, a punch to the gut. babygirl + other major elements were giving me flashbacks of Bros. K: patricide/fratricide… unacknowledged natural son SMERDYAKOV as a black mold (daddy K saying to smerdyakov, “you grew from the mildew in the bath-house” walls, etc., w/ so much hatred)… if there’s one thing ogawa loves… it’s rot, decay, family secrets. xxx bookworm