As you'll notice from this photo, I love the library.
After The People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones - Stephen Graham Jones is an insanely talented writer and I have no idea why he isn't more famous and well-known. This is a collection of short stories and they give you a small glimpse into Jones' world. These stories are gorgeously written, well-paced, and scary as hell. My favorite involves a movie theater on Halloween night, but others about werewolves, a father & son hunting trip, and a kleptomaniac are equally entertaining and chilling. I know I said I'd read fewer short story collections, but this is one that I'm really glad I picked up.
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen - Nguyen won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with this novel last year. Before I start, let me say that I think I need to re-read this one. I couldn't get into it, never fell into a groove reading it, and was constantly lost. However, I don't think that was the book, I think it was me. This is a winter-time, in front of the fire sort of book you can really dig into, not a beach book (which is when I was reading it). Anyway, our narrator is a Communist double agent, working for a high-ranking Vietnamese General. After the Fall of Saigon, the narrator moves to California and tries to acclimate to life in America, while still reporting to his Communist bosses back in Vietnam. It's an interesting read, but as I said, I need another go with it to really appreciate it.
Tampa by Alissa Nutting - Stay with me here. Yes, this book is about a pedophile who takes teaching jobs in order to give herself access to young boys. As disgusting and criminal as that it, Alissa Nutting's writing is so fantastic that it makes this a worthy read. Think Lolita. Celeste has only one sexual interest and that is fourteen-year-old boys. She is married, for both money and the semblance of normalcy that it provides her. She does her wifely duty with her husband as infrequently as possible, and usually while either drinking or drugging herself into a stupor. Starting in a new school, she sets her sights on one particular student. While their relationship progresses, complications arise including the boy's father and his interest in Celeste, and Celeste's knowledge that her young paramour is dangerously close to "aging out". Clearly, this book is controversial, but I found the writing to be incredible. I'm curious what Nutting does in the future.
Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman - There are few things I like more than a super intense teenage girl friendship. It's something that happens to so many of us, but is hard to capture on the page. Wasserman captures it perfectly. Shy, quiet Hannah ends up befriending rebellious Lacey a little bit by accident, but they end up becoming one of those pairs. You know the ones. Obsessive about each other, jealous, intense, sort of in love. Hannah believes that Lacey is helping her come out of her shell. Lacey has a secret that cannot get out. Together, they navigate the complications of high school, mean girls, relationships, sex, and what results is a level of violence neither of them thought could happen. So good!