A couple of days ago I posted about my absence during the past couple weeks and mentioned that I at least wanted to talk about my three favorite reads of April. All three of these books are so different from each other, but I felt each one meets its own goal. Top entertainment from two and the third was a thought provoking deep dive into our national dark past.
Here was my April:
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Vampire Slaying – Grady Hendrix
I’m not really scared by books, the closest I usually get is when a book can hold a continued state of anxiety. So enter The Southern Book Club, which is all my gaslighting nightmares come true. An unusually heartwarming beginning about a group of ladies coming together to talk about true crime leads to a new stranger arriving in their upscale neighborhood. Patricia at first is taken in by this new blood on the block, but then strange things start to happen to her and everyone in her life.
Most books I’ve read about the vampires usually have them represent some concept (or sin) and The Southern Book Club is no different. The stranger is the embodiment of white privilege and greed in the 90s. At one point I was reminded of the ‘Greed is Good’ monologue. The story definitely thrives off of the setting and the 90s backdrop isn’t just for show.
Which is why I find it funny(ish) that some negative reviews have called it sexist/racist. The white characters are all racist on different levels, and the book doesn’t show them in a good light. The characters show day-to-day callousness towards ‘the help’ and believe that the black community should ‘take care of its own’ when the vampire stalks their neighborhood. Even the heroine is influenced by her ‘perfect’ suburban dream, her good intentions give the stranger credibility and power, and then she tries to be the white savior (only to fail epically).
Setting and intention is important and from all sides I thought the racism and sexism shown by the characters was to emphasize the themes of the book. These weaknesses are why the vampire can thrive. What’s more, he knows this and thus seeks protection from rich, dumb white men (which works!).
Anyways I thought it was a great ride and if you love horror I think it’s one you should check out.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
For about three weeks all I did was crave cozy mysteries, books, and shows. I read a few Christie novels, an array of ‘meh’ to ‘very good’, but there was one that reached top three for me, the amazing Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I read most of it thinking that this mystery was a solid entry in the Poirot cannon, but felt like it was over hyped. And then I got to the end.
I wish I could discuss this ending and I’m actually thinking about rereading this book in the near future just to write a spoiler discussion. Until then I would highly recommend this novel, especially if you haven’t been spoiled yet. I think one can still enjoy the book (I knew the ending of Orient Express and it’s still one of my favorites) but I’m so glad I had that moment at the end.
Killers of the Flower Moon – David Grann
Now to make another abrupt turn and talk about a nonfiction book that I kept seeing pop up here and there. This year the Popsugar challenge had a category where we had to read a book about a subject matter we didn’t know about, which is my favorite kind of nonfiction.
Killers of the Flower Moon covers the ‘Reign of Terror’ that befell the Osage Indians. Due to oil the Osage were the richest people per capita in the 1920’s as they began to see their tribe diminish. One by one the Osages were dying under mysterious circumstances, fear and chaos swept over and evidence seemed to point in every direction.
As I read this I had similar thoughts and feelings when I first learned about the Tulsa Race Massacre, a deep sadness paired with anger and shock. How am I in my 30s and just learning about this horrible event? The ramp up to this ‘Reign of Terror’ happened the same month as the Tusla Bombing of 1921. I’m not saying the events are connected, but when the motivations are examined the root cause is the same.
I’m recommending this book not only because it’s well written and researched thoroughly but because it is vital that we remember. Due to Covid I know that this would be a difficult book for some to read at present but please mark it for a later time. This has been buried long enough and the general public should know about this tragedy. We can not forget our past if we want a chance for a better future.
Quick Lit is a monthly meme hosted by Modern Mrs. Darcy where you can post short reviews on the 15th.