by Eleanor Gold

Crystal Eaters – Shane Jones

Shane Jones’ writing does not fit into any of the genres by which we sort the books on our shelves. Unless you have a bookshelf specifically for Weird, Delightful, and Sometimes Painful.

The Gray Notebook – Josep Pla

I feel like cardboard. My God! Vice leaves a bitter taste. Virtue brings sweet consolation. Alcohol does me untold damage . . . but I am always so thirsty!

Night Film – Marisha Pessl

What can I say? The lure of the forbidden is powerful.

Gulp – Mary Roach

The history of science, in Roach’s work, is the history of human curiosity and obsession, and Roach has these in spades.

Vampires in the Lemon Grove – Karen Russell

Russell demands our sympathies for both the victims and performers of cruelty who, sometimes, are victims themselves.

The Aylesford Skull – James P. Blaylock

THE AYLESFORD SKULL is a fairly straightforward adventure story, but Blaylock’s attempts to situate his novel in a historical moment backfire.

Promising Young Women – Suzanne Scanlon

Scanlon implicates the reader in the same system that has produced these “promising young women,” “career patients” seen by their doctors as projects, fodder for academic papers, or books.

A Working Theory of Love – Scott Hutchins

Only in San Francisco, a city living in perpetual danger of the power of the San Andreas Fault, could love be seen as a “territory all its own[,] prone to seismic trickery.”

The Expendable Man – Dorothy B. Hughes

Noir does not present a puzzle to be solved. We can expect no easy answers, because the answer is not the point.

Sorry Please Thank You – Charles Yu

We look to genre fiction for something specific; something that the structure of genre can fulfill in ways that “literary fiction” does not — perhaps cannot.