A week in my reading life

I read like it was my job this week! Gosh, I wish it was my job.

Books I finished

The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat Goodreads

I needed a book set in the Dominican Republic for a ‘read around the world’ challenge, and landed on this one. Once again, I’m thankful for these challenges I do for leading me to books I might may not have come across otherwise. This book is beautifully written historical fiction about the 1937 Parsley Massacre, in which thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic were brutally murdered on orders of dictator Rafael Trujillo. I knew very little about this event before listening to this—I do love a book that gets me researching. Narration for the audio is great. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Mothers by Brit Bennett Goodreads

Upon finishing it, I flipped this book over and discovered that it was my October 2016 Book of the Month selection. Hooray for reading it in less than four years I guess? 😳 Like The Vanishing Half, this book is fantastically written.—Brit Bennett can beautifully tell a tale. There are many complicated issues in these pages, and some very imperfect characters, but I loved every bit of this book. I also loved the Greek chorus-style narrative of the mothers. Such an amazing debut! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Sense & Sensibility (graphic novel) by Jane Austen, Nancy Butler, and Sonny Liew Goodreads

A faithful adaptation & I appreciate all of the work that went in to it… but I’m not sure this sort of character-driven story translates well to graphic novel form. Also omg, why is Elinor’s forehead gigantic? 😂 Maybe I’m just not that into graphic novels. I will keep trying, though! This book was my last for our three-month journey with the Dashwood sisters for the Litsy Austen group.⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale Goodreads

How is it I’ve never read a book by this author? How is it this incredible book has sat on my shelf for years like an undiscovered treasure? This book is good. Gritty, dark, dazzling writing. So much going on—race issues in very rural Texas in the 1930s, a serial killer, multiple mysteries. Amazing characters! I think Harry Collins will stick with me for a long time. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique Goodreads

This book has sat on my tbr for years due to some VERY mixed reviews I’ve seen. I finally read it for the #ReadingWomenChallenge Caribbean author prompt, and I was entranced the whole way through. Yanique’s writing is lovely, the story is magical and engrossing, and the Virgin Islands setting is so powerfully drawn, I could imagine I was there. The characters are messy but believable, and there are triggers here. Excellent on audio, with multiple narrators and lovely accents. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Evelina by Frances Burney Goodreads

I read this book along with a few people from our Jane Austen group on Litsy. At times a bit over-the-top (looking at you, Captain Mirvan), this book is funny and satirical, but Evelina more than managed to endear herself to me as she tried to navigate 18th century English society with virtually no preparation. I love a good epistolary novel (and this is a good one), and could definitely see the influence Burney had on our dear Jane. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones Goodreads

Nudging the Lansdale out by a nose, this was my favorite read of the week. I blogged about it here. If you’re not squeamish and aren’t a fraidy cat, you should really this book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friends, I’m hitting my NetGalley backlog hard this month, so if you follow my blog (and if you do, THANK YOU so much!), prepare for some frequent emails. We will get through this together! 😂

Review: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

This is only my second book by Stephen Graham Jones, but I’m fairly confident that it has solidified him as one of my favorite contemporary horror authors.

I read this book in one day, and supplemented with audio when I absolutely had to get up and do responsible adult things. As much as I read, the one-day book is still sort of a rarity for me. Read: this is a great book.

What it’s about

From the Goodreads description:

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

I can’t give much more than that away, because you really need to experience this wholly original book for yourself.

My thoughts

First and foremost, this is a horror novel. Reading it was a bit like watching a slasher movie. It’s gory, there’s lots of death, a bonafide monster, and I was genuinely frightened more than once. That the ‘monster’ has a legitimate case for revenge adds another interesting layer to the story.

The Only Good Indians is more than a scary horror novel, though. Stephen Graham Jones gives us a look into the lives and minds of his Native characters. Lewis and his friends aren’t bad people, and the glimpses I got of their individual stories made me invested in them. This makes it all the more distressing to have their stories descend into madness and pain. It’s absolutely devastating.

Jones’ writing is fantastic. Descriptive and deceptive, with frequent switches in POV that add so much to the experience. Such a gritty, heartbreakingly sad, fear-inducing read that I could not stop reading. And then that ending. Such a surprisingly hopeful, kick-ass ending.

If you like horror with well-crafted characters, read this freaking book. And if you like audiobooks, consider the brilliantly narrated audio read by Shaun Taylor-Corbett. The acknowledgements read by the author at the end are worth a listen as well.