What We’re Reading and Watching Right Now!

It’s the end of the year, and I’ve asked our Sundog Editors to talk about their current obsessions! Check them out below: 

Lately I’ve become obsessed with shows, however many years old, that track those gallant and so-called ordinary people who spend a year of their lives following in the footsteps of their forebears and living as close to, say, late 19th-century England on a Shropshire farm or working an early 1900s Texas ranch as possible. This is escapism at its best and has the pleasant side effect of slowing everything down as you watch people used to all our modern ease of living have to wash and sew their own clothes by hand, sow and reap their crops by horse and carriage, and tackle all the stuff that I would never want tackle myself but enjoy taking in as a voyeur. I’m also reading Janet Frame’s mesmerizing autobiography, An Angel at My Table, which so far similarly leads me into a much harder, rawer way of life in early 20th-century New Zealand. Somehow hardship flung fairly far into the past is easier to study and swallow now. There’s also comfort, especially in Frame’s case, in knowing she survived all her many challenges to live a full and productive literary life.

– Melissa Wiley, Nonfiction Editor

Just finished Lisa Halliday’s Asymmetry, and my goodness, it was a master class in a storytelling skill that I grapple with. The two halves of the book (yeah, yeah, I know–technically three parts) are on opposite ends of the character interiority and backstory spectrum, and while I always write closer to the heavy narration end, it turns out I prefer something closer to the opposite. I normally look for a bit more plot and tension in my novels, but Asymmetry has me dying to sit in on a lit class somewhere, and maybe write a six-page paper. Anyone out there looking to book-group this one over Zoom, hit me up.

– Eric Rasmussen, Fiction Editor

This week I read Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq and the first part of a comic series called Wytches by Scott Snyder. They are very different texts, as Tagaq’s is a genre-bending and heart wrenching stunner and Snyder’s is a visually appealing spooky tale, but I think I needed them both. 

– Hayli May Cox, Assistant Nonfiction Editor

I just started The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien as research for my own work in progress, and it’s a wacky, hilarious page turner. In other media, I’ve been rewatching The Sopranos, which was briefly interrupted when my girlfriend got me hooked on the awful trash MTV show known as Are You the One?, which involved me basically screaming at the television until my binge was finished. The colder weather and quiet evenings of writing have got me listening to more jazz, especially Chet Baker, and I find myself singing “My Funny Valentine” over and over until I hate myself. 

– Ferris McDaniel, Assistant Fiction Editor