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Emily’s go-to books are Gothic fiction and horror. When not focused on things that go bump in the night, she enjoys historical fiction, short stories, fantasy, and plays. Emily recommends...
Pizza Girl by
Eighteen, pregnant, and reeling after the sudden death of her alcoholic father, our nameless protagonist suddenly finds herself working for a pizza joint in Los Angeles. One day, a woman calls asking for a pickle pizza for her picky son. Equal parts touched by the woman’s desperation and intrigued by the woman herself, the protagonist makes the pizza, week after week, despite it not being a menu item. Funny, emotive, and contemplative, Pizza Girl is an excellent debut that touches on friendship, love, motherhood, addiction, and sacrifice.
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by
Shortlisted for the International Booker Award in 2021, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed is an unsettling short story collection that fuses social commentary with horror and magical realism. From ghosts to witches to angry teenage girls, these tales range from dark humor to tragedy and are sure to make you squirm. Despite the short length, the characters are fascinating and the backdrop of Buenos Aires is dazzling, which makes the tales resonate even more. “Where Are You, Dear Heart?” was my favorite!
In the Dream House by
Carmen Maria Machado uses narrative tropes and the concept of a haunted house to unpack the years she spent in an abusive relationship with another woman. With the goal of demystifying the idea of who can be an abuser, In the Dream House
is captivating and heartbreaking. Narrated by Machado herself, the audiobook is also excellent! If you enjoy In the Dream House
, be sure to check out Night Rooms by Gina Nutt
, an essay collection that similarly blends memoir and horror theory.
You Died by
Blending nonfiction and fiction stories, Kel McDonald and Andrea Purcell have compiled a varied and entertaining graphic anthology of works about death and the afterlife. The included stories detail grief, mourning, and acceptance from various places around the world and throughout different time periods. If you’ve ever read and enjoyed any of Caitlin Doughty’s books, this is a must-read!
Detransition, Baby by
After years of the constant threat of transphobia, Amy breaks up with her girlfriend Reese and detransitions to live as Ames, hoping for a life with fewer bumps along the way. However, an affair with Ames’ boss, the unexpected pregnancy that follows, and the reintroduction of Reese into Ames’ life proves there’s no way to stop life’s curveballs. A clever, tongue-in-cheek look at motherhood, womanhood, and queerness. For fans of Luster by Raven Leilani and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.
Otto and Xavier and their pet mongoose are gifted a luxury train ride for their honeymoon. All is not as it seems, though. Once aboard, they are pulled into an increasingly odd mystery that involves both the ragtag troupe of passengers and the most unexpected individuals from their own pasts. Perfect for fans of The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.
Emily's Horror Must-Reads