Have you noticed the turn? The night has begun its slow and steady march to consume the day. There’s the barest hint of a chill. October is here and lurking at the end of the month is Halloween. What better time is there to read Haunted Nights? This excellent collection of horror short stories celebrate the coming of All Hallows’ Eve with frightening tales. For a truly scary experience, read these when you’re home alone at night like I did. You’ll be left wondering if that’s just a trick of the shadow or is something staring at you from the dark.
Lynn Nottage won a second Pulitzer for her play Sweat, the only woman playwright to have been honored twice. Critics called Sweat a prophetic vision for the times we find ourselves embroiled in. After reading it in a single day, I can tell you it does not disappoint. Set in one of the poorest cities in America, this play is a powerful and heartfelt look at the tragedies of race, class, and identity. These complex themes tie themselves into a knot with no easy solution.
Think you've had your fill of dystopian tales of the future? Believe me, you haven't, because you haven't read Maggie Shen King’s new novel An Excess Male. Set in a China a few decades hence, forty million excess men, a direct result of China’s misogynistic one child policy, tax the country’s resources and culture. Marriage has become a rigid system of state control and familial advancement. The story follows two families as they try to survive this system while keeping their secrets hidden. This is a tremendous tale of love and identity and King is a writer to keep your eye on.