We have a lot of new stuff we’re working on at The Arcanist — audio stories currently available on our patreon, microfiction submissions, and putting together our Year Two anthology. (She’s coming out in August!) It’s a really exciting time here at The Arcanist HQ. Below are the books we’ve been unwinding with. Let us know in the comments if any of these are on your tbr lists.
I’ve been on a cleanliness kick. I cleared off the porch, scrubbed down the kitchen, repotted my plants, and Marie Kondo-ed my closet. The more I clean and feel positively about my environment the more I want to pursue creative projects as well. This means more cooking, more baking, more writing, and, of course, more reading.
Circe by Madeline Miller
Circe was a powerful witch and goddess, who famously sheltered Odysseus during The Odyssey. (One of his many pit stops for ass.) A simple change — the feminine perspective — rewrites the myths you thought your knew and exposes how deeply the patriarchy runs through our narratives. Miller’s prose feels contemporary and vividly real, bringing new emotion to old stories.
The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke
Frey and her friends make but The Boneless Mercies, a band of young women who are hired to kill quietly and painlessly. However, the gang is sick of the death trade. When they hear about a beast that is terrorizing a nearby town, they see defeating it as an opportunity to carve out a new future for themselves. I’m pretty much instantly sold on any book about an all-female group of mercenaries. It was more YA than I expected, but not a bad quick read.
Orange World by Karen Russell
I’ve loved Karen Russell ever since I read St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raise by Wolves. What a great title, right? Her work demonstrates what I hope we strive for at The Arcanist — a balance of literary craft and fantastical elements. Her newest book is a collection of short stories, a form I think she excels at.
My books this month are, again, all over the place. I have some fiction, non-fiction, some heavier stories, and some lighter ones. It’s a good mix for the sweaty ass month of June. Let’s just jump in here.
There, There by Tommy Orange
This book is amazing. It follows an absolute ton of characters on their way to a big powwow in Oakland, CA. I, probably like most people in the US, am not that familiar with the native community, and this book really helps paint a better picture of what those communities are going through. After reading it, I really want to explore more, which I hope is something that Orange wanted to accomplish with the novel. Also, this is a debut novel, which I believe he started in an MFA program. That’s insane.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This book has been on my list for a really long time. I’ve always loved Coates work for The Atlantic, and this novel really mimics that style only with a narrative conceit added to it. It gets you thinking about black bodies, specifically Coates, who frames the work as a letter to this son. It’s hard-hitting, at time hard to read, but necessary for all of us to hear and listen to.
Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
On a lighter note, Trigger Warning was a great collection full of stories of all shapes, sizes, motifs, and forms. I won’t talk about them all here, but one of my favorites is about a dwarf going on an adventure to a mysterious cave that gives gold but always takes something from each person. There’s a twist I won’t reveal so you can experience it, too, but it reminded me a lot of the stories we publish here. It was also nice to see a variation in story length throughout, too. He has some that are almost novellas and some that would work great as flash.
How is it already June? What happened to the first half of 2019? And why’s it already so damn swampy outside? These are the (literally) burning questions that come with the advent of Summer, but we’ve plenty to keep us cool, including our upcoming mircofiction stories, as well as some very hush-hush projects, some of which you may just learn more about at our Patreon page. Plus, with the long, sunny days of Summer comes the chance to read some of these titles with a tall cocktail.
Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb, Illustrated by Jim Lee
Just about everyone has heard of Batman at this point. But, not everyone is an aficionado on all things Batman. After all, he’s 80 years old, and he’s been doing this superhero gig the whole time. He’s complicated and storied, he’s lost friends, family, and sacrificed life and limb the whole time. Hush is an arc that’s written for the storytellers, the mega-fans, and the newcomers. Even those of us who only know a tip of the Batman iceberg (So, wait, who’s Nightwing again?) will have plenty to look forward to.
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
Murakami is an author I keep returning to, and every time I learn something new, read a line that carries something I missed the first five times I read it, or feel something that was lost on me before. The Strange Library is no exception. Part supernatural suspense thriller, part psychological novella, and two parts graphic novel, this slim little book (it’s less than 100 pages) will leave you feeling, not unlike the protagonists of Murakami’s works, inspired, confused, and (possibly) craving a doughnut. Or six.
Reading your own brilliant books? Consider writing your brilliant thoughts in essay form to be published by The Arcanist.