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Kirsty Logan

Hello! I’m Kirsty Logan, a writer of novels and short stories. My books are Things We Say In The Dark, The Gloaming, The Gracekeepers, A Portable Shelter, and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales.

Latest News

Kirsty Logan

Hello! I’m Kirsty Logan, a writer of novels and short stories. My books are Things We Say In The Dark, The Gloaming, The Gracekeepers, A Portable Shelter, and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales.

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It’s a (very) small but perfectly-formed list this time. I’m struggling to focus on reading lately, and I’ve started many more books than I’ve finished. Thankfully I found these few beauties, all of which have a short page length but a huge breadth of imagination and ambition. If you’re also struggling to get into big chunky books, try one of these small wonders:

Orfeia, Joanne M. Harris –I can’t get enough of these folklore-inspired novellas (I also loved A Pocketful of Crows and The Blue Salt Road), and this is a perfect addition to the series.

Between Tongues, Paul McQuade – Elegant, intelligent short stories combining a thoughtful examination of language and characters who feel entirely real.

The Employees, Olga Ravn – A strange, sparse and utterly compelling series of monologues. I’ve been looking for a decent space horror story for a long time, and this doesn’t disappoint.

Want to keep up with what I’m reading? Follow me on GoodReads.

What are the best books you’ve read recently?

Well, pals, it’s been a great few months of reading. I’ve spent several long afternoons lying out in the shade of my back garden, getting lost in books. And summer is just beginning, so I’m hoping for many more days like that. My top 8 of May and June covers novels, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels:

Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks – I bought this years ago as research for a novel I planned to write about medieval witches in a post-plague landscape. The novel is finished and edited, and I only now got around to reading this book. I shouldn’t have waited so long, because it’s a real beauty.

The Crossroads at Midnight, Abby Howard – The stories are compelling and genuinely creepy. The panels are clean and uncluttered, but still contain masses of detail about the characters and their world. There’s great diversity in the characters in terms of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, economic background and age, but this is never signposted; it’s just an organic part of the story, which is great. Horror can definitely do with more diversity. I really can’t fault this book – it’s my favourite horror graphic novel since Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods.

All the Things She Said: Everything I Know About Modern Lesbian and Bi Culture, Daisy Jones – A fun, quick read touching on several aspects of modern queer women’s culture.

The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz – A pacy, keeps-you-guessing thriller set in the world of books and writing. Other reviewers have said that the beginning is slow, and it is compared to the rest, but I still enjoyed it – mostly because Korelitz is so scathingly accurate about the life of a midlist writer, and that stuff is catnip for me. If you’ve been looking for a fun, smart, absorbing thriller, this is certainly worth a read.

Laziness Does Not Exist, Devon Price – A genuinely life-changing book. I’m going to re-read this every year – hell, every month – until all its wisdom seeps properly into my brain. This is a must-read for every overachiever who can’t shake the feeling that their worth is tied to their productivity.

Grimoire, Robin Robertson – The best poetry collection I’ve read in years. Themes of violence, madness and retribution; stories of second sight, witches, ghosts, selkies, changelings and doubles. I adored every page.

Tales of the Mist – Laura Suárez – So much to enjoy here! I loved the art style, and there’s a great slow-build sense of unease.

Absorbed, Kylie Whitehead – You might think this concept – a woman absorbs her boyfriend – can’t be sustained for a whole novel, but I was delighted to find that Kylie Whitehead entirely pulls it off. This novel is unique, beautifully written and… yes, absorbing.

Want to keep up with what I’m reading? Follow me on GoodReads.

What are the best books you’ve read recently?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been struggling to get my reading groove back. This is partly due to bad reasons (pandemic stress) and partly due to good ones (finishing final edits on a new novel). Thankfully I still read some absolute brilliance, and I highly recommend my top six of March and April:

On Immunity, Eula Biss – It’s a strange experience reading this during a pandemic, surrounded by vaccine news. It’s a thoughtful, informative exploration, and I’m still thinking about it weeks later.

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, Mariana Enriquez – Rotting little ghosts, heartbeat fetishes, curses and witches and meat: each of these stories is a luscious, bewitching nightmare. Each one builds up a steady, thrilling dread—until the final lines, when the true horror is revealed. I adore this book.

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die,  Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay – I only borrowed this from the library as it was short and I was intrigued by the title and cover. I expected something light and darkly funny – and while it does have dark humour, it’s a lot more complex than I anticipated. Despite the short page count, somehow this had the feel of a multigenerational epic. All the characters felt so real, and I loved the angry, foul-mouthed ghost.

Love Works Like This, Lauren Slater – It’s such a treat to find such an honest and raw memoir, and I found this one about ambivalent motherhood fascinating.

Nightshade, E.S. Thomson – I love this series about a queer woman living as a man in Victorian London so that she can continue her work as a pharmacist – and solve murders, of course.

Shit, Actually, Lindy West – You’ve probably read Lindy West’s scathing and hilarious analysis of ‘Love, Actually’ (if not, get on it), and I’m pleased to report that the rest of the movie analyses in this book are equally funny and equally scathing.

 

Want to keep up with what I’m reading? Follow me on GoodReads.

What are the best books you’ve read recently?

It’s been a slow reading year for me so far, and I only read about half as many books as I usually would. I’m chalking this up to general 2021 blues as I’ve struggled to focus on reading, which has been frustrating as books have always been my refuge, my joy, my education and my inspiration.

Still, the books I did read were basically all killer, and if you’re also in a bit of a reading slump, I highly recommend any of these to help get you out:

The Last Thing to Burn, Will Dean – An intense, vivid story of survival with an ending that took even this jaded old writer by surprise.

The Mercies, Kiran Millwood Hargrave – This steadily-paced and immersive novel swept me away. I had the pleasure of speaking to Kiran along with poet Rebecca Tamás for Paisley Book Festival; you can watch the conversation on YouTube here.

English Animals, Laura Kaye – I thought I was tired of bisexual love triangles in novels, but Laura Kaye breathes new life into it by showing not the exotic experimentation of the woman at the centre, but the grief and betrayal of being used as an experiment.

Because Internet, Gretchen McCulloch – A deep-dive into internet culture and language; this book is a joy from beginning to end, and is fascinating even if you think you’re not into linguistics.

The Love of Good Women, Isabel Miller – A classic queer text with beautiful prose and vivid characters.

Butcher, Natasha T. Miller – Such a beautiful, readable collection, touching on experiences of grief and loss, Black lives, and being a queer woman (and being a queer, Black woman experiencing grief).

Savage Appetites, Rachel Monroe – A new type of true crime, and one I’d love to read more of. I don’t even care what Rachel Monroe writes about next; I’m reading it.

Trysting, Emmanuelle Pagano – I read this over several months, as it’s the sort of book that rewards reading in small bites. Hundreds of tiny, perfect love stories.

Fingersmith, Sarah Waters – A re-read of one of my favourites. Even though I know what happens, it’s incredible to see the plot twists unfold. I’ve read this book three times and I still don’t know how Sarah Waters managed this narrative magic trick!

 

Want to keep up with what I’m reading? Follow me on GoodReads.

What are the best books you’ve read recently?

Well, friends, it’s been a year! I don’t know about you, but my reading habits really changed in 2020. I started off reading a lot, as I was travelling and researching a novel, and then – well, you know what happened. For a few months I found it hard to focus on reading at all, and then I flipped around and was entirely losing myself in books, chain-reading novels as a way to escape from reality. That settled down as winter set in, and I enjoyed slowing my pace and getting absorbed in some longer books.

In total I read 242 books this year, which is about the same as last year. But unlike last year, it was over half novels (123), with a little more non-fiction (41), and significantly fewer short story collections and anthologies (25), young adult/kids’ books (37), and almost no poetry or graphic novels (8 of each). I also read a lot of genre novels, largely horror and romance, and also a good chunk of fantasy/sci-fi at the start of the year when reading for the Kitschies award. I think this heavy emphasis on novels is because this year, not surprisingly, I just wanted escapism. I wanted horror and romance because I wanted to feel something other than low-level anxiety and worry. For me, novels provided a much-needed escape from the real world. Thank you to every writer who worked hard to create other worlds for readers who needed them in 2020.

I don’t know what 2021’s reading will look like, because there’s no way to know what 2021 will bring. I can say that there’s some good reading ahead of us, though, as I read several books this year that will be on next year’s best-of list.

So in no particular order, here is my Top 25 of the year:

 

Books out in 2020:

Best Dark (And I Mean Really Dark) Fairytale: You Let Me In, Camilla Bruce

Best Historical Queer Romance: Spirited, Julie Cohen

Best Retro Horror: Harrow Lake, Kat Ellis

Best Haunting Exploration of the Aftermath of a Murder: Nothing Can Hurt You, Nicola Maye Goldberg

Best Mystery at a Claustrophobic Girls’ School: The Temple House Vanishing, Rachel Donohue

Best Black Queer Ghost Novella: The Silence of the Wilting Skin, Tlotlo Tsamaase

Best Analysis of Masculinity: I’m Afraid of Men, Vivek Shraya

Best Poetry Collection From a Poet Who’s Brilliant Both on the Page and Performing: My Darling From the Lions, Rachel Long

Best Poetry Collection That I Got Because it’s About Wrestling and Found it Was About So Much More: Tapping Out, Nandi Comer

Best Book That’s Kind of a Cheat Because I’m in it But Also All the Other Stories Are Too Brilliant Not to Include It: Outsiders, Alice Slater (editor)

Best Deeply Unsettling Story Anthology: The New Abject, Sarah Eyre & Ra Page (editors)

Best Queer Feminist Horror Graphic Novel: The Low, Low Woods, Carmen Maria Machado & Dani

 

Books Out Before 2020:

Best Book That You Don’t Need Me to Tell You is Great: Misery, Stephen King

Best Book About Delightfully Monstrous Teenage Girls: Wilder Girls, Rory Power

Best Deep-Sea Horror: Ningen, Laura Mauro

Best Short Stories That Make Me Wildly Envious as a Writer: Dark Tales, Shirley Jackson

Best Wholesome Historical Poly Romance: The Threefold Tie, Aster Glenn Gray

Best Lesbian Romance Novella That’s Also Spot-on About the Life of a Writer: A Perfect Balance, Laura Ambrose

Best Book Read for Teenage Scream Podcast: The Forbidden Game trilogy, LJ Smith

Best Kids’ Book About a Bitter, Rage-Filled Goddess: The Monstrous Child, Francesca Simon

Best Poetry I Read Aloud to My Wife in the Sunshine While Sitting on Our Windowsill: The Emma Press Anthology of Love

Best Graphic Novel That Made Me Laugh Out Loud: Dungeon Fun, Colin Bell & Neil Slorance

Best Essay Collection About Blackness, Whiteness and the Gothic: Darkly, Leila Taylor

Best Book About Writing: The Science of Storytelling, Will Storr

Best Book I Read as Novel Research But Then Found Applicable to Most of My Life and Friends and Family: Surviving Survival, Laurence Gonzalez

What were your favourite books of 2020?

Want to keep up with what I’m reading? Follow me on GoodReads