Happy Samhain!

With tomorrow in mind, I was thinking today back over books we reviewed this year that fulfill my seasonal need for a "chilling" read.  And one stands out: the appropriately titled White is For Witching  by Helen Oyeyemi.


The story is hard to summarize -- but briefly, the story contains a haunted house, a cursed family, an obsession with eating dirt, fear of immigrants, and the mythic Afro-Carribbean figure of the soucouyant, a sort of psychic vampire.  Call it post-colonial gothic, maybe.  In any case,  I found it rich, compelling, and pretty scary.


Our reviewer, Amelia Atlas, had this to say about Oyeyemi's prose:


"Oyeyemi writes with a lyricism that begs to be noticed. Her characters, like their author, are image makers. As a narrator, Eliot takes pains to catch the world with the clarity it demands. "I can only explain it in comparison to something mundane," he practically apologizes when trying to describe the presence of his mother's phantom. The novel has an almost aggressive poetry, going to far as to play formal games with where the words fall on the page -- a word will appear surrounded by blank space, forming the end of one sentence while beginning the next. It's as if even the text itself were haunted by absence."


And if that isn't to your liking on this Halloween weekend, then I recommend a classic.



April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.