My Summer Reading 2021

For most summer means fun, beaches, picnics and volleyball….probably I guess. Because I am a huge nerd for me I focus on having fun with my reading every season when the weather becomes unbearably hot. There were some new books some old books, fiction and nonfiction, and anything else I was feeling. There are even two vastly different books with a nearly identical title. So anyways here are the books I read for the summer of 2021.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury: As per the course every summer I cracked open the legendary Ray Bradbury’s salute to the summer of 1928. For Doug Spaulding this was to be the summer everything in his life changes and he wants to document it all. The season radiates from every page as Bradbury introduces us to a small Midwest town enchanted by just the right amount of summer magic. Whether you are looking for scares, laughs, wonders or genuine emotions Dandelion Wine is an essential read.

Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson: What was once inconceivable had finally happened, at the height of his popularity President Abraham Lincoln was murdered by actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. While the grand conspiracy to cripple the country’s political structure ultimately failed, Booth had still successfully murdered the president and was now on the run. In the midst of the chaos, it fell on Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to lead the search for the murderous actor kicking off a 12 day manhunt for the most wanted person in America. Historian James L. Swanson takes readers on the lam as Booth relies on his associates to evade justice, while the military and law enforcement are swarming the countryside looking for him.

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul G. Tremblay: The 2019 Bram Stoker winner that solidified to all that Tremblay was in the upper echelon of horror writers. In an isolated New England cabin, a little girl named Wen meets a large man with a charming smile named Leonard. He tells Wen that he and his friends have to meet with her and her fathers, Eric and Andrew, giving the young girl an enigmatic message that nothing that is about to happen is their fault. What follows is a terrifying hostage situation where Leonard and his friends firmly believe one member of this family must be a willing sacrifice in order to prevent the approaching apocalypse.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix: When my favorite author currently working has a new book on the horizon, I of course get my hopes way up. Of course, Grady Hendrix once again exceeded all my expectations with his unique take on the slasher genre. In a world where slasher film franchises are based on true events, the final girls who defeated the likes of the Dream King, the Ghost, and the Santa Clause Killer, formed a support group. Now it seems someone wants to make a sequel and starts coming after these woman, the traumatized Lynnette seems to be at the center of it all as someone is playing a bigger game.

Dark Cities edited by Christopher Golden: If you peak around hidden corners or dark alleyways of a city there is no telling what wonders and horrors lie in wait. In this collection of short stories, some of the best writers in horror and fantasy explore the darker side of urban life. Readers are treated to a large variety of stories within these parameters some good, some bad, some trippy some straightforward, some lengthier, and some a few pages. While the disturbing (and not in a good way) “The Dogs” was not the best way to start the collection, stories like “The Maw” and “The Society of Monsterhood” more than make up for it. With a solid mix of newcomers and proven luminaries like MR Carey, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Ramsey Campbell, and Paul G. Tremblay, Dark Cities is a treat for fans of unnerving urban fantasy.

One Man Crazy: The Life and Death of Colin Clive by Greg Mank: If the name Colin Clive rings a bell with anyone, it is likely due to his manic and brilliant portrayal of Dr. Frankenstein in the Universal classics Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. What is less known is the compelling and tragically short life led by this brilliant actor. Renowned film historian Greg Mank set out to write the definitive biography on the star of the British stage who, like many of his colleagues, made the move to Hollywood at the advent of the talkies. While his talent certainly shined, Colin Clive’s personal demons combined with a dependence on alcohol prematurely ended what should have been a stellar life and career. Anyone who has an interest in horror films, the Golden Age of Hollywood, or British theatre will no doubt find this book incredibly fascinating.

The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America by Carol Anderson: The fierce dedication to firearms above all else has long been stumbling block to our progress as a country. While they may not know any other Amendment, conservatives cling hard to the Second Amendment which according to their small-minded understanding gives all Americans the right to own as many guns as they want…..unless they are African American. Over the course of American history, the “right to bear arms” has been frequently used as a method to keep those in the black community as second-class citizens. Noted Emory University professor and civil rights activist Carol Anderson explores this idea in depth with this powerful book. From the armed slave patrols of the 1700’s through today with the tragic shooting of Philando Castile and everything in between the reader sees how this nation’s gun obsession has been frequently used as a means of discrimination and terror. Anderson’s book is a powerful look at how the roots of the modern Black Lives Matter movement run throughout our nation’s history.

Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir by Eddie Muller: In 1998, the man known as the “Czar of Noir” Eddie Muller wrote one of the definitive books on this cinematic movement. Since then a lot of time has passed and Muller has gained notoriety as the founder of the Film Noir Foundation and as the host of Noir Alley on Turner Classic Movies. This meant that the time was perfect to release a new edition of the book to capitalize on a brand new batch of Noiristas hungry for more dark alleys, grizzled detectives, and femme fatales. In this updated edition Muller breaks down the elements that pervaded the film noir movement through a literary tour of this “Dark City’ highlighting the masterpieces of the genre along the way. This book also includes intriguing profiles on some of the icons of this bleak cinematic style like Robert Mitchum and Gloria Grahame.