Late October Reading
The leaves are changing, the temperature's dropping, and the days now form a gentle slope towards Halloween. So how can you compliment your autumnal feelings with the proper literature? We here at The Mysterious Bookshop have a few suggestions...
Many of us know Shirley Jackson for her classic tales The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. But as biographer Ruth Franklin discovered, there's way more to this author than meets the eye. A genius of literary suspense and psychological horror, Jackson plumbed the cultural anxiety of postwar America more deeply than anyone. Placing Jackson within an American Gothic tradition that stretches back to Hawthorne and Poe, Franklin demonstrates how her unique contribution to this genre came from her focus on "domestic horror." Almost two decades before The Feminine Mystique ignited the women’s movement, Jackson’ stories and nonfiction chronicles were already exploring the exploitation and the desperate isolation of women, particularly married women, in American society. Franklin’s portrait of Jackson gives us “a way of reading Jackson and her work that threads her into the weave of the world of words, as a writer and as a woman, rather than excludes her as an anomaly” (Neil Gaiman). Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life is an exceptional work that shines a light on one of our most underrated authors. Signed. $35.00
There are few television shows that are more divisive than Twin Peaks. Some people adore its quirky humor and dark underbelly, while others just don't seem to get what all the fuss is about. Well, both camps may want to check out Mark Frost's latest novel, The Secret History of Twin Peaks. Delving deeper into the central mystery of the town and its residents, Frost's book both accentuates the show and creates something new. Filled with over 100 photos and "primary sources" the book is as visually stunning as it is intriguing. And since there will be a new season of Twin Peaks coming to the screen sometime in 2017, what better way to get primed! Signed. $29.99
First published in 1897, Dracula has had a long afterlife—one that rivals its immortal creation; yet author Bram Stoker has remained a specter in this pervasive mythology. In Something in the Blood, David J. Skal exhumes the inner world and strange genius of the writer who birthed an undying cultural icon, painting an astonishing portrait of the age in which Stoker was born—a time when death was no metaphor but a constant threat easily imagined as a character existing in flesh and blood. Skal draws on a wealth of newly discovered documents with to challenge much of our accepted wisdom about Dracula, Stoker, and the late Victorian age. Signed. $35.00
Note: For a fictional study of Stoker's life, check out our recent Bibliomystery -- Christopher Fowler's Reconciliation Day.
The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country's finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows. Graeme Macrae Burnet tells an irresistible and original story about the provisional nature of truth, even when the facts seem clear. His Bloody Project is a mesmerizing literary thriller set in an unforgiving landscape where the exercise of power is arbitrary. Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. $24.99.