On this day, 177 years ago, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was published, and his ghostly Christmas story quickly gained popularity and acclaim. Today, this yuletide tale is a holiday classic and one of the staples of the season. In honor of this publishing date anniversary, as well as this upcoming holiday, we’ve gathered a list of similar ghostly Christmas tales (both novels and short story collections) to balance your cheerful season with some creepy vibes!
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado was published on this day, October 3rd, three years ago. It was short listed for the National Book Prize in 2017 and for the National Dylan Thomas Prize in 2018.
In this collection of short stories a wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the mysterious green ribbon from around her neck, a woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague spreads across the earth, a salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery about a store’s dresses, one woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted house guest, and in one specially clever short story, Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.
image via amazon
Here are some of the best quotes from this otherworldly work of fiction:
“Many people live and die without ever confronting themselves in the darkness.”
What if you colonize your own mind and when you get inside, the furniture is attached to the ceiling? What if you step inside and when you touch the furniture, you realize it’s all just cardboard cutouts and it all collapses beneath the pressure of your finger? What if you get inside and there’s no furniture? What if you get inside and it’s just you in there, sitting in a chair, rolling figs and eggs around in the basked of your lap and humming a little tune? What if you get inside and there’s nothing there, and then the door hatch closes and locks?
What is worse: being locked outside of your own mind, or being locked inside of it? What is worse: writing a Trope or being one? What about being more that one?
“Stories can sense happiness and snuff it out like a candle.”
No one knows what causes it. It’s not passed in the air. It’s not sexually transmitted. It’s not a virus or a bacteria, or if it is, it’s nothing scientists have been able to find. At first everyone blamed the fashion industry, then the millennials, and, finally, the water. But the water’s been tested, the millennials aren’t the only ones going incorporeal, and it doesn’t do the fashion industry any good to have women fading away. You can’t put clothes on air. Not that they haven’t tried.
“They are talking about how we can’t trust the faded women, women who can’t be touched but can stand on the earth, which means they must be lying about something, they must be deceiving us somehow.”
‘It is my right to reside in my own mind. It is my right,’ I said. ‘It is my right to be unsociable and it is my right to be unpleasant to be around. Do you ever listen to yourself? This is crazy, that is crazy, everything is crazy to you. By whose measure? Well, it is my right to be crazy, as you love to say so much. I have no shame. I have felt many things in my life, but shame is not among them.
“I believe in a world where impossible things happen. Where love can outstrip brutality, can neutralize it, as though it never was, or transform it into something new and more beautiful. Where love can outdo nature.”
I will look where her eyes would be. I will open my mouth to ask but then realize the question has answered itself: by loving me when I did not love her, by being abandoned by me, she has become immortal. She will outlive me by a hundred million years; more, even. She will outlive my daughter, and my daughter’s daughter, and the earth will teem with her and her kind, their inscrutable forms and unknowable destinies.
“As a grown woman, I would have said to my father that there are true things in this world observed only by a single set of eyes.”
Featured image via npr
Hello, book lovers! Welcome back to Bookstr’s Three to Read, you wonderful humans. It’s getting a little colder, but that just means reading is getting cozier. We’ve got a Hot Pick, Beach Read, and a Dark Horse, ready for your TBR list, your Wishlist, maybe even your Christmas list… too soon?
by Yamile Saied Méndez
In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.
At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.
On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.
But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.
As far as I’m concerned, the world does not have enough feminist coming-of-age narratives, and thankfully, Furia fills that gap. Camila’s story is powerful and impassioned, with characters you’ll want to root for and an important message at its core. Featured by Reese Witherspoon, no less, Furia is already renowned as an incredible novel for soccer players, young women, soccer-playing young women, and everyone else, for that matter.
Edited by Lee Child
In recent years, nicotine has become as verboten as many hard drugs. The literary styles in this volume are as varied as the moral quandaries herein, and the authors have successfully unleashed their incandescent imaginations on the subject matter, fashioning an immensely addictive collection. Featuring brand-new stories by: Lee Child, Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Ames, Eric Bogosian, Achy Obejas, Michael Imperioli, Hannah Tinti, Ariel Gore, Bernice L. McFadden, Cara Black, Christopher Sorrentino, David L. Ulin, Jerry Stahl, Lauren Sanders, Peter Kimani, and Robert Arellano. Inspired by the ongoing international success of the city-based Akashic Noir Series, Akashic created the Drug Chronicles Series in 2011. Following The Speed Chronicles (William T. Vollmann, Megan Abbott), The Cocaine Chronicles (Lee Child, Laura Lippman), The Heroin Chronicles (Jerry Stahl, Eric Bogosian, Lydia Lunch), and The Marijuana Chronicles (Lee Child, Joyce Carol Oates) comes The Nicotine Chronicles, masterfully curated by blockbuster hit maker Lee Child.
The Akashic Drugs series has delivered before, and it doesn’t stop with The Nicotine Chronicles. The stories are edited by celebrated author Lee Child, and written by many of his esteemed colleagues. With it being a collection of short stories, this is the ideal read for your commute, your end-of-summer staycation, or your weekend chill.
“Sixteen tributes to America’s guiltiest pleasure…Even confirmed anti-smokers will find something to savor.”
by Darcey Coates
A guard discovers an unusual lifeform on her remote moon outpost. She disregards protocol to investigate it, with catastrophic consequences.
The parasitic alien wears its victims’ skins and adopts their personalities. It’s a perfect disguise, and allows the creature to spread without being detected. By the time humanity realizes it’s facing extinction, a third of its six hundred space stations have already gone dark.
As the alien’s ruthless progress collapses communication networks, wipes out defenses, and leaves hundreds of stations to fend for themselves, a handful of remarkable individuals must find a way to battle the greatest threat the universe has ever encountered.
If 2020 on earth is too much, why not escape to a distant, parasite-infected planet in the solar system? It sure can’t be much worse. Parasite is a dark thriller that is sure to keep you up at night with your pulse racing. With different points of view from an array of characters, the narratives are threaded together in a fresh and engaging way that will have you questioning everyone.
Ridley Scott’s chestbursters are pop culture legend, and any mention of unwanted alien stowaways brings to mind John Hurt sprawled out on a table in Alien, blood spewing from his chest. But Darcy Coates’s parasites are interested in more than just gestating in their hosts before chewing their way out through the sternum.
– Book Riot
Check out the video in full below, and happy reading!
Feature image via Amazon and Bookstr
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