Cindy's blog

The Dark Side of Suburbia by Cindy Hulsey

I’m fascinated by books in which a dark underbelly lurks. Victorian literature often contrasts the buttoned-up, polite and elegant visible world with the steamy, raw, and vice-ridden universe lying beneath it. Similarly, many contemporary novels expose the ugliness that prowls the perfectly manicured lawns and look-alike homes of suburbia when no one’s looking.

Below are some books in which the shadowy side of suburbia is exposed:

Beauty in Suffering by Cindy Hulsey

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by first time novelist Ayana Mathis is a powerful novel full of suffering and beauty. After turning the last page the characters, their difficult lives, and Mathis’s mellifluous language continue to haunt me. Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia as a teenager in 1923, marries and has twins by the time she’s sixteen, loses those babies to pneumonia, then gives birth to nine more children.

A Wolf in sheep's Clothing: John Darnielle's Wolf in White Van by Nick Abrahamson

For anyone familiar with John Darnielle, the charismatic, hyper-literate force behind the charismatic, hyper-literate indie band the Mountain Goats probably already has a pulse on happenings in book and publishing circles.

Caveat Emptor by Will Thomas

I have heard it said that there are two types of people in the world: those that divide society into two types, and those that don’t. Yes, it’s an old joke, but it illustrates my point. Life is always more complicated than we assume, and never more so than when we discuss books versus e-books. Let’s wade into this topic for a moment, shall we? People get very emotional about books. Some fear that the hardcover shall go the way of the dodo bird. It won’t. E-readers fear that a Kindle may be a temporary technology, and that somehow this boon to Mankind will soon be curtailed.

Common As a Penny by Rebecca Howard

Rebecca Howard

Many of the books that I read are about common things—marriage, family, career—the stuff of everyday life. Often these types of books are unfairly categorized as women’s fiction, but I think taking our cue from the Young Adult genre, we should describe them as realistic fiction. There are no dystopian societies, serial killers, bank heists, spaceships, or demon overlords in these novels-- just mothers, daughters, sons, brothers, spouses, and partners. These novels mine the fields of ordinary for stories, showing us how the ordinary can be artful.

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