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This is a gorgeously written, brutally honest, darkly funny collection of short stories, many of which have a speculative edge to them Most of the stories feature queer characters although none are focused on sexuality or gender It s so lovely to read strange, sometimes science fiction stories about various stripes of queer characters that aren t about coming out or being queer The stories are also a window into poor, white, rural America Some of the topics include Baptists over 60 talk gr This is a gorgeously written, brutally honest, darkly funny collection of short stories, many of which have a speculative edge to them Most of the stories feature queer characters although none are focused on sexuality or gender It s so lovely to read strange, sometimes science fiction stories about various stripes of queer characters that aren t about coming out or being queer The stories are also a window into poor, white, rural America Some of the topics include Baptists over 60 talk group sex Tweens make friends with a homeless woman living in a cemetery mausoleum A queer writer returns to her Midwest hometown to crime and strange floating green orbs A lesbian takes ecstasy with her schizophrenic girlfriend at a Mensa gathering of people with super high IQs This book gave me that weird out of body feeling that happens when I read something that feels so unbelievably on point to what I know of life but also manages to present it in a way that feels totally fresh Casey Stepaniukfrom The Best Books We Read In June 2017 Really, the name ofThings To Do When You re Goth In The Countryis so kickass that when I saw this book and read what it was about, I couldn t fail to hit the Request button So let me tell youabout itThings 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 Really, the name ofThings To Do When You re Goth In The Countryis so kickass that when I saw this book and read what it was about, I couldn t fail to hit the Request button So let me tell youabout itThings 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 notdifferent from the rural norminways 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 If you re having trouble loading the images, visit this post on my blog here The book starts out with a story of a woman visiting her relativesback homemeth 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 ownAnd to almost each of these stories, Chavisa Woods adds an element of weirdness, sometimes magical realismNone of the stories are completely down to earth They are all wacky, but injust 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 itIt will make you think It will make you wonderIt will challenge your worldview I thank Chavisa Woods and Seven Stories Press for providing this book in exchange for my honest review.Read Post On My Blog My Bookstagram Bookish Twitter I loved this collection of short stories I forget what podcast I was listening to that proclaimed that it s the book everyone who read J.D Vance s Hillbilly Elegy should be reading instead Author Chavisa Woods managed to escape the gravitational weight of her hillbilly backwoods origins but still writes from a place of recognition and compassion It s the rural poor, bible belt, military heartland that voted overwhelmingly in favour of Trump Chavisa on the other hand is a New York based, les I loved this collection of short stories I forget what podcast I was listening to that proclaimed that it s the book everyone who read J.D Vance s Hillbilly Elegy should be reading instead Author Chavisa Woods managed to escape the gravitational weight of her hillbilly backwoods origins but still writes from a place of recognition and compassion It s the rural poor, bible belt, military heartland that voted overwhelmingly in favour of Trump Chavisa on the other hand is a New York based, lesbian performance artist and poet author The writing is sharp and with some fantastical elements but for the most part hews close to her experience growing up in rural Illinois Get out of your East coast liberal, MFA literary bubble, reading about rich white people problems and dive right into this exploration of meth labs, ufos, truck stop prostitutes, fundamentalist Christian sects, Mensa party acid trips and a living replica of the Gaza strip on someone s head A stunning collection Beautifully written with honesty, generosity, insight, inventiveness, and a strong sense of voice These stories hit me in that sweet spot that the rarest of fiction does for me, where the characters and the world and the feel seem at once intimately familiar and as if I m seeing them for the first time I guess that s the definition of uncanny, actually Most of the stories feature queer characters although refreshingly none are focused on queerness Including the most s A stunning collection Beautifully written with honesty, generosity, insight, inventiveness, and a strong sense of voice These stories hit me in that sweet spot that the rarest of fiction does for me, where the characters and the world and the feel seem at once intimately familiar and as if I m seeing them for the first time I guess that s the definition of uncanny, actually Most of the stories feature queer characters although refreshingly none are focused on queerness Including the most speculative of them, which is about a trans guy who wakes up one morning with a miniature version of a piece of the Gaza strip happening on his head It s so lovely to read strange, sometimes science fiction stories about various stripes of queer characters that aren t about coming out or being queer, where most often being queer is entirely incidental, but also casually present when it s relevant.Most of the stories are set in rural, white, poor America I won t pretend to really know anything about that part of the US, but from the little I know about current politics there, it does seem urgent for Americans who aren t familiar with this world to learn about what it s like one of the blurbs says the book should be required reading for anyone who s trying to understand America in 2017, which absolutely makes sense Here s a taste of what these stories are about Baptists over 60 talking sex Tweens make friends with a homeless woman living in a cemetery mauseleom A queer writer returning to her Midwest home to crime and strange floating green orbs A lesbian takes ecstasy with her schizophrenic girlfriend at a Mensa gathering of people with super high IQs Here are some snippets of Woods s darkly funny, hard hitting, beautiful prose If these don t convince you to read the book, I don t know what will He kept flipping the blinds open and closed They made a clinking sounds like plastic change, worthless and desperate to accomplish some impossible purchase, his freedom An adamant evangelical Christian with an obsession with perfect grammar, and an unfortunate perm, was a difficult thing to be in junior high Since she was young, she d believed But also, she d questioned, and when her husband died, it was like someone had struck her in the face with the knuckled back of a strong hand made of nothing but that question But then I thought maybe it wasn t CBGB I missed but being twenty and feeling like I was really doing something drinking with a fake ID It just doesn t feel the same listening to live rock when you re going to be thirty in a year and your second drink is already making youtired than drunk and you can t help but worry you re going to feel a little sick and depressed the next day There is a moment, for every child, when the adults around themdecide that the child s dreams must be obliterated Adults do this so that they can replace the noble and ridiculous aspirations of children with the ignoble and ridiculous aspirations of grown ups They do this because they too, in a moment where they were on the other end of this awful thing they are doing, were taught that only the most ignoble and ugly things are attainable For this reason, disappointment with one s life becomes a muchbelievable outcome And, as Americans hate failure, this actually becomes the grudging goal of how one s life should be lived passing time with hated tasks, thankful and even possessive of the most basic aspects of survival family, roof, clothing, food This spoke to me on a level that few books rarely do The characters of these stories are recognizable to me they are my friends, my neighbors, my family The author s representation of the Midwest felt familiar and even the bizarre, surreal elements were fitting. Surprisingly uneven collection that features a few truly outstanding stories Woods has a distinctive voice but she doesn t always use it in particularly interesting ways and these stories begin to seem repetitious after a while Still, the best here How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty Seven Seconds, Usama and A New Mohawk are exceptionally good and meld horror, sharp eyed realistic reportage, and outright whimsy in ways that seem very fresh and very relevant I Surprisingly uneven collection that features a few truly outstanding stories Woods has a distinctive voice but she doesn t always use it in particularly interesting ways and these stories begin to seem repetitious after a while Still, the best here How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty Seven Seconds, Usama and A New Mohawk are exceptionally good and meld horror, sharp eyed realistic reportage, and outright whimsy in ways that seem very fresh and very relevant I look forward to readingof Woods work |READ KINDLE ♖ Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country And Other Stories ♘ The eight stories in Things to Do When You re Goth in the Country paint a vivid image of people living on the fringes in America, people who don t do what you might expect them to Not stories of triumph over adversity, but something completely other Described in language that is brilliantly sardonic, Woods s characters return repeatedly to places where they don t belong often the places where they were born In Zombie, a coming of age story like no other, two young girls find friendship with a mysterious woman in the local cemetery Take the Way Home That Leads Back to Sullivan Street describes a lesbian couple trying to repair their relationship by dropping acid at a Mensa party In A New Mohawk, a man in romantic pursuit of a female political activist becomes inadvertently much familiar with the Palestine Israel conflict than anyone would have thought possible And in the title story, Woods brings us into the mind of a queer goth teenager who faces ostracism from her small town evangelical churchIn the background are the endless American wars and occupations and too many early deaths of friends and family This is fiction that is fresh and of the moment, even as it is timeless This book is cornfields and death and haunted roads and whipped cream, it s teenage endlessness and crooked fingers and bent backs, it is sticky and green and glowing. Totally strange, even absurd stories Sort of like if Kafka were a weirdo queer goth girl from the rural midwest. It s been like 20 years since I ve lived in a small town, and nothing supernatural ever happened there But despite that, I still found myself nodding at truths about the sometimes desperate living of small towns that was woven into this amazing little collection of short stories My favorites were How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty Seven Seconds, Usama and Zombie but there s not a bad one in the lot You re lulled into a false sense of familiarity with Woods s It s been like 20 years since I ve lived in a small town, and nothing supernatural ever happened there But despite that, I still found myself nodding at truths about the sometimes desperate living of small towns that was woven into this amazing little collection of short stories My favorites were How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty Seven Seconds, Usama and Zombie but there s not a bad one in the lot You re lulled into a false sense of familiarity with Woods s stories, only to have the rug ripped out from under you when you realize that the world is at least 1 degree off of our shared reality Great stuff, I ll definitely be keeping my eye on this author