Emelie Mano ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer:
The first novel in this suspenseful series by Jeff VanderMeer highlights the detailed events a biologist, psychologist, Surveyor, and Anthropologist experience in Area X. All female, they are the twelfth expedition to survey the location. Geared more towards science fiction, VanderMeer uses multiple unnerving circumstances encompassing the failure of each expedition, causing readers to wonder just how long these characters will last in the peril of their surroundings. Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
Karen Russell provides another collection of stunning stories surrounding magical realism. Though not exactly scary nor completely joyful, each story manages to incorporate a twinge of
suspense and an unnerving atmosphere where suburban America meets the supernatural. Two vampires in a sun-drenched lemon grove try helplessly to slake their thirst for blood, A
community of girls held captive in a silk factory slowly transform into silkworms to escape, a group of boys stumble upon a mutilated scarecrow who looks awfully like the missing classmate they used to bully, and a massage therapist discovers she has healing powers by manipulating the tattoo on a veterans back. Each stands alone as there own story yet Russell provides light ties stringing the stories together creating one eerie web of the unknown.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan
Robin sloan captures the magical power of books within his story “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.” Set in San Francisco, the story revolves around a tech savvy web designer, Clay Jannon, who takes a clerk job at an odd little bookstore down the street. Sloan manages to take readers away from whatever bus, train, or plane they are trying to pass the time on and into a world of mystery and wonder. As Clay soon realizes the quaint bookstore is not at all what it appears, along with his friends, he embarks on a mission to find out the shops true purpose in a perfect balance between the world of books and technology. Its most amazing feat is revealing the sense of adventure a dusty old bookstore can posses and the ability of the written word to still contain a power over the technological world we live in today.
Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
Perfect for reading wherever one may be spending their time during the well awaited days off is an Agatha Christie mystery, more specifically the Orient Express. Detective Hercule Poirot just happened to be traveling on a three day journey across Europe on the resplendent Orient Express when the train is detained by a snowdrift. All seems quite ordinary until the next morning millionaire Samuel Rachett is found dead in his compartment with multiple stab wounds. Whether relaxing at the beach or staying in on a rainy day, the plotline entwines readers in an ongoing mystery. One that seems to twist and turn as much as the tracks on The Orient express. The aesthetic of the time period combined with the aura of the classic detective brings the story to a well rounded whole a pleasant break from academic reading.
St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
Another set of glittering short stories provided by Karen Russell, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves presents a highly creative atmosphere in a supposed realistic world. In this collection Russell takes readers to the ghostly and magical swamps of Florida. Here, a family makes its living by wrestling alligators in a theme park, children sail away on crab shells, and wolf-like girls are reformed by nuns. Russell allows you to read in small spurts or large doses as each character is presented with a whimsical event, making the collection perfect for a quick read on the go.