We made it through January 2021, the longest month in a while. I managed to read 18 different things, and thus, I am switching up the format of these recaps. I’m going to show a grid of each work by category with links to the reviews to read at your own leisure. Feedback appreciated.
This month’s author interview was with S.T. Gibson, to celebrate the release of her Dracula’s brides retelling, A Dowry of Blood.
I read 153 books this year in a 50/50 split between audiobooks and other formats. Being unemployed helped that along, didn’t do much for me in terms of my mental health. But there were so many good reads consumed and published this year, I had to make two lists. Enjoy!
Listened to the audiobook Content warning for police violence
This book raced up my TBR when I saw it compared to Jordan Peele’s Get Out. This book follows the perspective of two newly-graduated young men, Seth and Carter, who take an interest in collecting records, focusing especially on Black genres and trying to take ownership of the music they claim to appreciate.
Kunzru cleverly immerses the reader in the mindsets of one of these privileged main characters. What really worked here was how they didn’t make any mistakes typical of the horror genre, and weren’t painted to be particularly unintelligent. Things are odd when the refrain of a legendary record repeats throughout the narrative, but the ride doesn’t truly go off the rails until the end. The most effective part? The boys are shitheads, but not particularly unintelligent, which makes what happens later on that much more harrowing and effective when Seth’s understanding of the world and those around him becomes thoroughly upended. It’s a fantastic indictment of privilege and the things money can protect and buy. In addition, it expertly illustrates how appropriation works with a cathartic ending that I cannot go into because the book sticks its landing.
An eerie ghost story that’s somewhat about collecting vinyl records but mostly about privilege and appropriation.