May: Women and Non-English


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May: Women and Non-English

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Maio 2, 2015, 2:30pm

Thought I'd start the May thread.

I've found (via a tag search) that people's definitions of "horror" vary, and this is a broad one!

I'm thinking you could look for either strong women characters and/or women authors.

Probably a "classic" woman author who has written horror would be Ann Rice.

Others I am looking at possibly reading:
- The Lunatic Cafe / Laurell K. Hamilton
- Vittorio the Vampire / Ann Rice
- Sunshine / Robin McKinley
- Blood Bound / Patricia Briggs
- The Winter People / Jennifer McMahon
- Dead Ever After / Charlaine Harris

I will admit that I don't have any ideas for non-English, though.

Maio 2, 2015, 2:33pm

Ok, I guess my definition of "classic" is not necessarily so "classic", either! Here is a list of authors from the original suggestion thread:

Women & non-English
Louisa May Alcott
Joyce Carol Oates
Mary Shelley
Ann Radcliffe
Shirley Jackson
Koji Suzuki
Sergei Lukyanenko
Gaston Leroux

Maio 2, 2015, 4:21pm

I just reread the short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Yellow Wallpaper. Definitely horrific.

Maio 3, 2015, 5:21am

Will be finishing my April reads this bank holiday weekend, then on to May - Hauntings by Vernon Lee (I read a short story of hers years ago and it had an eerie, haunting, lyrical quality to it that I liked), White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (who was born in Nigeria), and possibly The Yellow Wallpaper. I would like to find an Asian horror, if anyone has any suggestions - if not maybe I could read one of the manga titles Sara suggested last month.

Maio 3, 2015, 8:06am

Natsuo Kirino might work for Asian horror.

Maio 3, 2015, 6:07pm

>5 sturlington: Think I've got a copy of Grotesque stashed away, but wasn't sure it counted as horror. White is for Witching doesn't, but has a ghost - it's an excuse to read it, really!

Maio 3, 2015, 7:43pm

I read Out a while back and I thought it was pretty horrific.

Maio 4, 2015, 7:34am

>7 sturlington: Horrific will do me just fine :D

Maio 5, 2015, 3:26pm

I'll be reading Ring by Koji Suzuki who is not a woman but non-English.

Maio 5, 2015, 6:26pm

>9 luvamystery65: Looking forward to your view of Ring - didn't enjoy it too much myself but a second opinion is always interesting :)

Maio 5, 2015, 6:28pm

>10 Moomin_Mama: It seems a bit out of my comfort zone but that was the whole point to join this group for me. I'll definitely let you know.

Maio 10, 2015, 3:21am

>1 LibraryCin: Thanks for getting this thread started! :) I haven't picked one yet, but I love seeing what everyone else is planning on choosing.

>4 Moomin_Mama: Best of luck with your choice(s), whether you do the manga or not. :) I did find a couple sites that focused on Asian horror writers:

Wikipedia mostly focused on Asian horror movies rather than fiction, so I left out their pages.

Maio 10, 2015, 9:45am

>12 saraslibrary: I started Grotesque as it seemed the easier read judging by how the first few pages grabbed me. Needed a distraction as my cat has been rushed to an emergency vet, of course when I know more I'll let people know over at 'cat corner'. Should have finished Teatro Grottesco (only two stories to go) but as good as it is (and it really is), I've found the writing has a repetitive style that is hard work if I'm tired or have my mind on other things.

Maio 11, 2015, 4:28am

>13 Moomin_Mama: I'm sorry to hear about your cat's emergency trip to the vet. :( I'll definitely pop over to the cat corner afterwards.

Grotesque sounds interesting! I have Real World by her, but I don't think that one really fits into horror, so I'll have to keep digging through my stash for something written by a woman and/or an international book.

Oh, and thanks for mentioning something by Thomas Ligotti. I may read his book My Work Is Not Yet Done for our Pulp/Weird month (June). I hope you're able to finish the last two stories in Teatro Grottesco. :)

Maio 11, 2015, 11:37am

>14 saraslibrary: I'm halfway through Grotesque and I'm not sure I'd call it horror - yet. I'm not disappointed at all, it is a very dark depiction of what it is to a teenage girl and woman in modern Japan. It describes a world where young women are brought up with more ambition than the previous generation but it is still a very sexist man's world, and the younger generation have responded by turning on their fellow women - despising their mothers for their submission, despising their peers for the same ambition they share, while the men get away with objectifying them and/or not supporting them or taking them seriously. It's certainly a very horrifying verdict on women's liberation and in that sense it's probably very relevant to this month's themes.

I'll definitely read more Thomas Ligotti, but not when I'm so busy or tired! He's an exceptionally good choice for June's 'Weird' theme as he's so different! Never have I read anything so 'dreamlike', although not what people usually mean by that (ie ethereal and surreal), but that odd, hard to describe 'deja vu' feeling of real (especially recurring) dreams, where everything is almost like real-life but ever so slightly skewed.

Just off to 'cat corner' for an update....

Maio 11, 2015, 1:10pm

Hello, I'm new to this group, and starting in the middle of the year... However, the themes look really interesting, and I'm already in the middle of The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich. I'm not sure if that book would count as horror, so I also have Caitlyn Kiernan's Threshold ready to go. I also have a short novel called The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf, for a non-English choice. Not sure I'm going to get to all of them, but looking forward to all of these...

>13 Moomin_Mama: Moomin_Mama: I hope all goes well with your cat - fingers crossed!

Maio 11, 2015, 1:12pm

>16 MissPrudence: Welcome! Let us know how your choices work out.

Editado: Maio 11, 2015, 9:20pm

>13 Moomin_Mama: I, too, hope kitty's ok. :-(

Maio 11, 2015, 9:29pm

The Lunatic Cafe / Laurell K. Hamilton
4 stars

Vampire hunter, Anita Blake, is dating werewolf Richard. While they try to sort out their relationship, Anita is called to alpha werewolf, Marcus, to help find out about some missing werewolves.

I am really enjoying this series (at least for now – I know that will change later). It does remind me a lot of Sookie Stackhouse (though I know Anita Blake actually came first). This book didn't seem as dark (that is, gory) as the others have been (to be honest, I don't remember them real well, but I took a look back at my reviews for a reminder), but there was plenty of action (especially at the end) and I am enjoying Anita and Richard trying to figure out where they are going.

Maio 12, 2015, 2:05am

>15 Moomin_Mama: Well, I'm sure you could call it true-to-life horror. Honestly, I find reality much more horrifying than any horror novel I've ever read. But anyway, I'm glad you're liking Grotesque, and I loved your insights into Japanese women's present-day problems. I'm sure its a very global problem, some places even worse.

I've heard a lot of good things about Thomas Ligotti, so I'm glad he doesn't disappoint. Thanks for the input. I already have one of his books penned in for June. Now I just need to get on this month's theme! :)

I'll check out the cat corner asap.

>16 MissPrudence: Welcome, Lisa! :) I've definitely seen the cover of The Orange Eats Creeps and always wondered what it was about. Looks good! And, yes, I think it fits in with this month's Women/Non-English theme. I don't think the author has to be both; just one or the other. Good luck with Threshold and The Black Spider as well. You have a great line-up so far.

>19 LibraryCin: It's been a few years since I've read The Lunatic Cafe, but I have my sister to blame/thank for getting me started on that series. I'm glad you liked it fairly well. Looking at my collection, The Lunatic Cafe was the last book I read in that series. I really should start on Bloody Bones next. Thanks for inadvertently reminding me about that series. :) I just may start Bloody Bones for this month's read. That is, if I can find it. ;)

Maio 12, 2015, 4:37pm

>16 MissPrudence: Welcome - you've only missed four months, and if the next eight are as interesting as those you are in for a treat. You have a varied selection for May, The Black Spider sounds like my kind of read and I'd never heard of it before. And thank you for wishing Sweep well.

>19 LibraryCin: I've never read any of the urban horror that I typically associate with Charlaine Harris. It's never seemed my sort of thing but this year has definitely made me want to broaden my horror reading.

Maio 12, 2015, 9:12pm

>20 saraslibrary: haha! No worries! I hear they get very erotic later on and aren't very good at that point, but I'm not there yet, so I'll continue to enjoy them for now.

>21 Moomin_Mama: This series is darker, I would say, than Charlaine Harris'. This particular book in the series wasn't as dark as the others were (using my previous reviews as a reminder of that!), but you could always give the first book in the series a try and see what you think. I believe the first one is Guilty Pleasures.

Maio 12, 2015, 9:41pm

>16 MissPrudence: Glad to have you join us!

I've just finished Omens, the first in Kelley Armstrong's Cainsville series. There are some horror/supernatural elements, but not as much as in her other books. It's more of a mystery/thriller. I enjoyed it and plan to read the next in the series.

Editado: Maio 13, 2015, 2:12am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Maio 13, 2015, 1:58am

>22 LibraryCin: I've heard the same thing--they get erotic/trashy later on. But then, I don't mind erotica. However, if the plot suffers, etc, then I could see where some fans might give up on them. And btw, I found Bloody Bones this morning. No foolin'! I just happened to be looking through some of my books this morning, and bam! There it was on the first shelf I looked at. :D So I guess I found my May read. Thanks! :) I was really overthinking this month's book.

Maio 13, 2015, 8:00pm

>25 saraslibrary: And I think this However, if the plot suffers, etc, then I could see where some fans might give up on them is more what I've heard, as well.

And nice! I hope you enjoy!

Maio 13, 2015, 11:08pm

>26 LibraryCin: Yeah, fingers crossed for both of us we'll enjoy the series. :)

I'm sure I'll enjoy Bloody Bones, thanks! :)

Maio 17, 2015, 4:17am

Grotesque - Wouldn't class this as horror myself, but it is dark indeed. Two women from the same prestigious school have been murdered while working as prostitutes. The story isn't a conventional crime story but more a character study. The older sister of one prostitute, and classmate of the other, tells the story through her memories of their time at school, the diaries of the two women, and the police statement of the suspect.

None of the different versions of what happened are consistent, but the theme that runs through them is the callousness of competition, ambition, and materialism. It portrays a world in which women have more opportunity than ever before but men haven't become less sexist as a result, resulting in an environment where women turn on each other while both relying on and despising men. The main narrator is a loner and the most independent but probably ends up the most twisted in her outlook (all the versions of the story are ultimately channelled through her).

Parallels are made with the story of the suspect, a Chinese immigrant. What I got from the book is mostly how a big difference between the haves and have-nots (of money, opportunity, status), coupled with the delusion that everyone can have if they only strive hard enough and do whatever it takes, is not only soul-destroying but a route to utter madness. It is a very dark vision of modern society and pressures and reads like a dystopia - but it is our present, not our future. For that reason it is definitely horrific, but not really a horror.

Recommended though - 4 stars.

>22 LibraryCin: I got a sense of the difference in tone by looking at the tags - the main difference seems to be 'paranormal' 'romance' for Charlaine Harris and 'horror' 'erotica' for Lauren K. Hamilton. I will see what I can find and what I can shoehorn into this year's read.

Maio 17, 2015, 2:10pm

>28 Moomin_Mama: The erotica in Laurell K. Hamilton apparently doesn't really appear till later in the series. I just finished the 4th book and there isn't any at this point. Apparently once that appears, the plot suffers and they really aren't any good anymore. But, I'll read until then. Also, the fact that the later books are more erotica, apparently means that people tag all the books that way! ;-)

And that's a great way to check for differences!

Maio 18, 2015, 1:27am

>28 Moomin_Mama: Great review of Grotesque! :) Consider yourself thumbed. I'll have to look for that one.

Maio 18, 2015, 4:28pm

The Orange Eats Creeps: I don't think I would call this a horror novel. There were plenty of horrific and disturbing things happening, but often I was not sure if they were real or whether the main character was dreaming or hallucinating them. The language was very evocative and hallucinatory. I liked it - but I don't see myself re-reading this book. I'm still thinking about it.

I've moved on to Threshold, and a few pages in, I'm hooked. Looking forward to The Black Spider - it's so short I think I can read it too.

>19 LibraryCin: LibraryCin: I read the first few books of that series, and I really liked them. I don't remember why I stopped, except that people told me the story really got off the rails. The last one I read was Bloody Bones, which was my favorite. I'd like to start up again and see what happens...

Maio 18, 2015, 6:28pm

I've started White is for Witching, which impressed me from the first page just for the word 'soucouyant', which I had to look up, but is a blood-sucking hag in Caribbean culture. I'm a big fan of haunted houses and also of books where there is a blurred line between mental illness and haunting by ghost, and it ticks both those boxes. I wasn't expecting scary but I've already been a bit creeped out by a scene where one of the characters sees herself or something identical, except that it's completely white and has jagged teeth...

>31 MissPrudence: Looks like neither of us have read a horror yet this month :)

Maio 18, 2015, 10:41pm

>31 MissPrudence: That's the next one for me. I had/have been warned, but I figured I'd keep going till it got bad and stop there!

Maio 19, 2015, 10:08am

>32 Moomin_Mama: Have you read Victor LaValle? I really need to pick up more by him but I can definitely recommend The Devil in Silver and the Kindle Single Lucretia and the Kroons which tells the back story of one of the characters from tDiS.

Not true horror but it mainly takes place in a mental institution and there is something creepy going on.

Maio 19, 2015, 1:34pm

>34 luvamystery65: I recognised the name - turns out I read a short story of his in Granta 110: Sex, and enjoyed that enough to add one of his books to my 'to read' list (books by authors I liked in Granta editions). I wishlisted Slapboxing with Jesus as I like short stories, but both The Devil in Silver and Big Machine: A Novel sound interesting, and very much my sort of thing. Thank you for reminding of his books - I often forget my 'to read' list, although coincidentally, White is for Witching was on it.

Maio 19, 2015, 2:51pm

>32Moomin_Mama: White is for Witching is definitely on my list! I read Big Machine by Victor Lavalle, and thought it was unusual and really good...

Maio 19, 2015, 3:40pm

I just read that & really liked it; You can read in one sitting - def. creepy!

Maio 19, 2015, 3:47pm

I was referring to The Yellow Wallpaper by Gilman. :)

Maio 20, 2015, 4:17am

>38 rosalind27: Well it's good to know that The Yellow Wallpaper is a creepy read - I'm going to read it next. Don't have the book to hand but it's more of a short story than a novella, right?

My copy comes with all sorts of articles and critique, which I will read but in my own time.

Editado: Maio 22, 2015, 7:14pm

White is for Witching - Not really a horror although a couple of scenes were creepy. In terms of mood and effect it made me think of Donnie Darko - based in the real world but sort of other-worldly, with all sorts of darker or topical themes going on around the central story of a teen's struggle with mental illness.

The story was told mostly through the recollections of the central character's twin brother, her best friend, and the house, and these accounts give very different perspectives on events. Much is left unexplained, loose ends are left hanging, and the story is open to interpretation. Most of the time the haunted house and its manifestations weren't scary, but I did like the way the house was very much a character in the book.

Despite not being scary there were plenty of supernatural elements - ghostly appearances, a haunted house with a mind of its own, a psychomantium (a room used to communicate with the dead), the story of the soucouyant from Caribbean folklore, and Nigerian 'juju' practices.

It's not perfect, and some might find it pretentious, but I thought even this added to the charm - the pretentiousness was as awkward as the teenage years, and added to the atmosphere. I loved it.

Editado: Maio 31, 2015, 2:52pm

The Yellow Wallpaper - Very short, very creepy, best read at night (I did)! Also has a very strong message underneath, mainly about the way mentally ill women were (and sometimes are) still treated, although it would apply to both sexes - the idea of confinement for what sounded like a very mild case of depression played on my mind long after the creeps had worn off. 5 stars.

Thought it fitted well with my other reads, what with the sexism (also a theme in Grotesque), and ghostly appearances being a symptom of mental disturbance (White is for Witching).

Nearly finished Hauntings and it's a nice way to end - it doesn't have such a strong feminist theme but was written by a strong woman, Vernon Lee (real name Violet Paget), a lesbian, feminist, aesthete and intellectual. Not that the other authors aren't strong women, but from my choices this month one could easily forget that women such as Violet Paget existed and forged their own successful paths in life. She was very much a liberated woman and although a feminist, her works seem much more concerned with the psychology of aesthetics than women's issues.

Jun 2, 2015, 3:16am

I had wanted to read Bloody Bones by Laurell K. Hamilton, but life sort of got in the way and I wasn't able to get much reading done for May. I was able to read Death: At Death's Door by Jill Thompson, though. It's a manga/graphic novel that's kind of a spin-off of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series. It's very light horror, so it'd be appropriate for kids, imho (how old; well, that's up to them, I guess).

Jun 7, 2015, 7:27pm

I did finish Hauntings, which I enjoyed immensely. The stories are beautifully written and more eerie than scary. There is a lot of art, mythology and music in them and the aesthete in the author is very apparent. All four stories were different in terms of plot - a historian obsessed with a female subject he is studying; a little girl who doesn't fit in and has characteristics of the goddess Venus; a husband and wife driven mad by isolation and a family legend; and a musician haunted by a singing voice from the past - but share similar themes of obsession with the past. They were all gorgeous to read. 5 stars.

Jun 10, 2015, 9:30am

I finally finished Ring yesterday. It was good, not great. Parts of it were really creepy but I feel like then he rushed the ending. I'd like to try the sequel just to see where he goes.

Jun 11, 2015, 1:08pm

>44 luvamystery65: I remember really liking the plot but not the writing - I wasn't gripped by the story despite its originality. I tagged it 'thriller' so I can't have found it very scary! I did wonder if it was the translation. I might prefer his short stories, so I want to try Dark Water.

Jun 11, 2015, 2:01pm

>45 Moomin_Mama: I was wondering if something was lost in translation as well. The concept was excellent but it really lost something in execution. I also have Dark Water on my TBR pile. Perhaps a shared read down the line?

Jun 11, 2015, 5:34pm

Hello, sorry to be so late, but I read Threshold by Caitlyn Kiernan, and thought it was really creepy. The plot involved fossils, Beowulf, and geology - all of them brought together in a mystery to be solved by a group of young people, all of whom are dealing with their own problems. The only (minor) issue is that I can't say I loved the ending. I'm planning on reading more by this author.

I also read The Black Spider, and thought that one was genuinely creepy as well. It was written by a German clergyman, and the story is definitely symbolic. The author wrote a book about the consequences of sin, but as the blurbs on the book note, there are a lot of possible interpretations to the story. It was definitely worth reading. The translation was really good. Loved it!

Jun 14, 2015, 6:38am

>46 luvamystery65: A shared read sounds good to me. Hopefully if we're doing this again next year there will be a short story or non-English category...