Just finished rereading my favorite book of 2016, Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and I realized I’m kind of getting a shelf together, of books I come back to again and again. Books I can’t stay away from. Books that just hold more and more magic for me, each time through. I’ve heard that’s one definition of ‘literary’: a text that will keep unfolding and unfolding, the longer you look into it. I’d also add that, a really good novel, it can’t be spoiled, because its quality isn’t completely dependent upon its secret, its big reveal, on whodunnit. Corny as it sounds, it’s the journey, not the destination, yeah? Here’s my stack of books I’ve been journeying through for years, and will be journeying through for many more. I’ll put them in some semblance of order, starting at the top with stuff I used to read over and over, ending, I guess, with what I just reread, and trying not to include stuff I only reread because I was teaching it. Not that I haven’t taught a lot of these. But that was just an excuse to read them again.
And, there may even be some commentary about story:
Racconti is putting it out November 10th or so, here. They’re the publisher with the dead bug:
Pretty cool group of people, near as I can tell. And, as the title-in-English loses its punch in Italian, they dialed back to the collection’s original title, “The Meat Tree.”
Here‘s their page on it, with the full jacket, but here’s just the front of it. Pretty cool stuff:
Was just on a panel about villains at Denver ComicCon—actually, my second villains-panel there—and then, just now, I went all the long way down to Alamo Drafthouse to see Footloose on the big screen for the first time in thirty-two years, then listened to the Sir Patrick Stewart episode of The Nerdist on the way back, and . . . it all left me thinking, I guess. About antagonists, and the building of them.
Y’all been hearing the same thing I have? That we’re kind of easing into a novella-friendly space? Like:
And more and more, I’m sure. As for what constitutes a novella, a short novel, a novelette, a long story . . . who knows. I mean: editors know. There’s word-count thresholds. Granted, they maybe vary from house to house, from mag to mag, but they’re more or less not all that different from one another.
Which is a slasher I wrote . . . two years ago? I’d just reread The Virgin Suicides, and thought, Man, that was cool, sure—along with American Psycho, maybe the book of the nineties—but, wouldn’t it be cooler if that royal first-person delivery could be used to deliver something with a lot of people dying in gruesome ways? So: Lake Access Only. Which turned out cool. At least, I verymuch dig it. Yet to sub it anywhere, though, as it’s a weird one. Also? I may dig into it this summer, see if I can make it work as a screenplay instead. Which’ll require just completely ripping its innards out, and putting completely different innards in. But that’s how adapting goes. Anyway, LAO, its kind of central . . . I want to say ‘secret,’ but it’s more of a reveal, which of course the slasher is special-made to deliver right at the end. That reveal in LAO, I just found it on the shelf at Goodwill. Which is to say, had I found this sunglasses case before writing LAO, I probably wouldn’t have written it, as it was already in the world, and things that are already in the world aren’t really worth writing about.