Dark, Fiction, Literary, Short stories

Things To Do When You’re Goth In The Country ...This title doesn't even *need* a fancy headline!

Really, the name of Things To Do When You’re Goth In The Country doesn’t even need me to come up with a snazzy headline for the post. It’s already kickass enough. So naturally, when I saw this book and read what it was about, I couldn’t fail to hit the Request button. So let me tell you more about it.

Things To Do When You’re Goth In The Country paints a dark, rural landscape of America – not just one of open and vast spaces outside, emptiness of population, but an inner emptiness too, the lack of morality, the crippled human soul, the weirdness of turning wild and uncivilized. This is a collection of short stories, all depicting the life of someone different, living in the countryside. Most of the characters you’ll encounter will at the least be queer, if not different from the rural norm in more ways than that. Some will have left the darkness of the country and will be revisiting it, some will be challenging the rigid thinking of stereotypical religious fanatics and old-fashioned conservatives. This book is a tour of the dark and creepy in America, and it pairs up well with the polished and the beautiful we always see on the news.

The book starts out with a story of a woman visiting her relatives ‘back home’ – meth cookers, aliens watchers, constantly on probation, trapped by laws that don’t even exist, too weak, dark and hated to be able to crawl their way out of the system. Then we also read stories of runaway junkies, living as pets to local kids in the cemetery mausoleum. Stories of growing up in strict, fanatic Christian sects, the Christian channel telling you that 90’s troll figurines will come to life at night and eat your kids because they’re of the devil. Of rich Mensa society families whose mentally ill children share the same hallucination with someone on speed. Of the futility of a life in the country, because the only way out is either the veil of alcohol or killing in the army – sometimes shooting your own. And to almost each of these stories, Chavisa Woods adds an element of weirdness, sometimes magical realism. None of the stories are completely down to earth. They are all wacky, but in just the right way.

If you love dark stories about the rural reality, and if you’re not scared of human darkness and emptiness – this book is for you. I don’t normally read collections of short stories, but this one was definitely worth it. It will make you think. It will make you wonder. It will challenge your worldview.

I thank Chavisa Woods and Seven Stories Press for providing this book in exchange for my honest review.

You support this blog by buying the book from Book Depository.

Do you go for dark stories like that? And do you like to read literary?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

29 thoughts on “Things To Do When You’re Goth In The Country ...This title doesn't even *need* a fancy headline!

  1. As I read what each of these stories contained I was appalled at the stark realities they showcase about rural life, but those realities are important to recognize. It sounds like this author looked at rural life and just put a magnifying glass on it to be more brutal. I need this book in my life!

    1. Cool 🙂 just keep in mind it’s not adventure based, it’s more literary. So it might bore you a little 😀 although it is wacky. When it comes to this book, I am having a really hard time telling if people would like it or not cause it was just SO WEIRD 😀 I read a lot of weird things myself, so I don’t really wonder about it, but I need to keep reminding myself that other people often don’t read super weird stuff like me xD

      1. Lol yeah I get that. The description reminds me of some Flannery O’Connor stories we read last year in English. Don’t know if you ever read her stuff but it’s super weird and out there yet always has some philosophical message by the end. Both of her stories we read last year were super good. You should check some of her stuff out if you haven’t already! They’re all short stories so they’re quick reads
        Elise @ Roaming Reader recently posted…The Good, The Bad, and The Spoilers: IlluminaeMy Profile

        1. I actually haven’t, and thanks – that sounds good, I should totally check it out 🙂 if you liked that, then you should definitely like this story collection as well.

  2. This sounds right up my alley, thank you for spotlighting it! I hadn’t heard of this book before but I love short stories and I love southern gothic fiction!! I am adding this to my TBR. 🙂
    Jamie recently posted…The Reading QuestMy Profile

    1. Oh! I’m glad 🙂 I love it when people pick up books because of me! <3 would you send me a link to your review when you have one? Very excited to see your thoughts :)

  3. I hadn’t even heard of this book before but it sounds AMAZING – right up my street!

    I’ve added it to my wishlist for now, but I’d imagine it will have made its way onto my shelf before too long 😉

    I blog-hopped here by accident but I love your blog. New follower here! *waves*

    1. I’m glad you liked it! If you ever do grab it, share your review with me, I’d love to see your thoughts 🙂 and yay, thanks! How did you find me? Twitter? 🙂 *clicking off to check out your blog*

      1. Will do!

        No, not Twitter, actually. I think I read a comment that you left on somebody else’s blog and because it was an interesting and thoughtful response, I thought I’d check out your blog.

        Being a nice person = blog views, who knew? 🙂
        Hanna @ Booking in Heels recently posted…July 2018 Wrap-UpMy Profile

        1. Awwww, thank you! Yeah, I know what you mean. I sometimes click people’s comments as well 🙂 it’s a good source of new blogs.
          And thank you! 🙂

  4. Heeeey! Chavisa Woods was one of the first authors I ever reviewed at Grab the Lapels! I’m glad to see she’s still publishing and writing. I’m sure she has a lot to say in the age of that guy who’s pretending to be president of the U.S. right now. In fact, several years ago her profile picture on Facebook was of her lighting a cigarette with a burning American flag.

    Here is a link to her 2012 short story collection that I reviewed: https://grabthelapels.com/2013/08/07/love-does-not-make-me-gentle-or-kind/

    And here is a link to an interview I did with Woods: https://grabthelapels.com/2014/07/17/meet-the-writer-chavisa-woods/

    1. Cool! I didn’t know she had written more! (I don’t have the good habit of looking into the other work of authors xD) thanks for sharing the links 🙂 definitely checking it out.

  5. It’s been a while since I’ve read short stories, but this really does sound special and intriguing. I do love me some dark stories, especially when it tackles delicate subjects. You definitely piqued my curiosity with this one. 😀 Great review, Evelina!

    1. Thanks Lashaan! Yes, this made for some different reading for sure. There’s an interview with this author on Grab The Lapels too that I liked 🙂 if you’re interested, there’s a link somewhere in the comments 🙂

    1. Great! Please share the link of your review, if you ever do read and review it 🙂 I would be super curious about what you thought.

  6. Nope. Nope nope nope nope. This certainly isn’t for me. It doesn’t take much for me to freak out and be completely terrified, scared, or upset. I’m such a baby. Nothing even close to this for me.

    But I’m glad you enjoyed it! I love short story collections; I don’t read enough of them, honestly. I should totally find more. 😀 This was a great review, and I even read it all, even though I knew this wouldn’t be my thing. Your writing is so addicting. I love it.
    Jackie B. recently posted…The Best We Could DoMy Profile

    1. It wasn’t one of the scary ones! Just really really weird 😀 thanks! I love that puddle GIF, don’t you? I loved using that so much 😀

  7. Okay, so a collection that shows the real dark side of the world? Count me in because this is exactly what everyone should be reading, even though it’s too realistic and the whole ‘escaping from reality’ perk of reading isn’t going to work in here. I love me some good dark stories especially those that takes inspiration from realism. Lovely review, Evelina!

    1. Thank you! I think you’d enjoy this one, cause even though it’s about the dark side of stuff, it’s still not depressing, and it’s told in quite a lighthearted, matter of fact tone. And it’s unique for sure 🙂

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