This is the copy of Dracula I grew up with, always floating around somewhere in my parent’s house. I tried to read it once or twice. Only this year, in my mid-thirties, do I actually manage to sit down and read it. And into my heart it sinks immediately like a stone, taking root there.


i was born under the sign of the rabbit, so i was glad this was what i found in my “blind date with a book.” but in the end, i gotta say this book is overrated. is it supposed to be a straight-up parody of the dark academia genre? is this satire? – if not, you could describe it as a ripoff of THE SECRET HISTORY, with some pretty weird stuff thrown in. we’re talking off-the-wall weird. (totally my bag, too.)

let’s start with contras: there was no point at which i thought to myself, wow, what great prose. wow, what a great character. it was just okay. but the worst part: the solution to all the mystery at the end got me allll frustrated. ugh. seriously? that’s all it was? THAT’S ALL IT WAS?? there was potential for so much more. i wanted to hurl the book across the room, but it was a gift, so i didn’t.

pros: there was lots of mystery and surreality there. and it was a fast read. you get the satisfaction of being part of this dumb tiktok/instagram book moment. yes, my mind was… let’s just say… blown. and yes, certain images are now seared into my head forever. in making over-the-top cute = creepy & crazy, awad was onto something. i suppose.


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


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


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


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


original novel by lina wolff came out in Swedish in 2019. creepily, its title was “köttets tid” ie the time of the flesh or the time of the meat — tid being Swedish for time. lovely.

so much dark stuff in this: an old man with dementia, whose young & devoted wife refuses give up on his care, his quality of life… a young man who confesses to having cheated on his wife. (like, so much cheating.) a reality TV show that exists only on the fringes of the internet. (i’m sure you’re already imagining how dangerous that could be.) a sort of? accidental murder while on holiday. a series of strangely justified mercy killings. the spanish civil war. a charming butcher-nun of tiny stature with a thrilling backstory <3

CARNALITY = horror story perfection, equal parts psychological + body horror

nightmarish tableaus. scorchingly vivid images, stuff that burns itself into the mental retinas. (the abattoir…! — but i won’t say more.) stunning-beautiful prose, on all the themes: animal cruelty, maternal love, moral uncertainty. but always beautiful. artistic. original prose. the kind of sentences and descriptions that feed the soul.

this is the real literature, yo. it did everything for me. so complex. unsettling. enthralling. for comparison lina wolff is a lot like, and probably good as, ottessa moshfegh. xxx bookworm