October 25, 2017 • Cee • Discussion

Currently Reading will act as my check-in, letting you guys know what I’m forever reading at the moment, and what I’m enjoying about it. I’m not gonna discuss books that are on my priority October TBR list. Instead, I’m gonna talk about the books I picked up on a whim this month.

Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer

Inspired by author Tori Telfer’s Jezebel column “Lady Killers,” this thrilling and entertaining compendium investigates female serial killers and their crimes through the ages.

When you think of serial killers throughout history, the names that come to mind are ones like Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. But what about Tillie Klimek, Moulay Hassan, Kate Bender? The narrative we’re comfortable with is the one where women are the victims of violent crime, not the perpetrators. In fact, serial killers are thought to be so universally, overwhelmingly male that in 1998, FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood infamously declared in a homicide conference, “There are no female serial killers.”

Lady Killers, based on the popular online series that appeared on Jezebel and The Hairpin, disputes that claim and offers fourteen gruesome examples as evidence. Though largely forgotten by history, female serial killers such as Erzsébet Báthory, Nannie Doss, Mary Ann Cotton, and Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova rival their male counterparts in cunning, cruelty, and appetite for destruction.

Each chapter explores the crimes and history of a different subject and then proceeds to unpack her legacy and her portrayal in the media, as well as the stereotypes and sexist clichés that inevitably surround her. The first book to examine female serial killers through a feminist lens with a witty and dryly humorous tone, Lady Killers dismisses easy explanations (she was hormonal, she did it for love, a man made her do it) and tired tropes (she was a femme fatale, a black widow, a witch), delving into the complex reality of female aggression and predation. Featuring 14 illustrations from Dame Darcy, Lady Killers is a bloodcurdling, insightful, and irresistible journey into the heart of darkness.

Why did I want to read Lady Killers? I hear a lot about male serial killers, but what about the women? There surely plenty out there that I don’t know about, but I don’t hear a lot about it. I’m fascinated by I want to see what these women have in common—how they kill and their reasoning.

What do I like about it so far? I love how it explores different female serial killers, and how they killed their victims (usually with poison). I like seeing how Tori Telfer unpacks the history and explains what could be behind the thinking of these ladies, instead of chalking it up to tired cliches.

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke

A fascinating, beautifully illustrated guide to the monsters that are part of our collective psyche, from the host of the hit podcast Lore, soon to be an online streaming series.

They live in shadows–deep in the forest, late in the night, in the dark recesses of our minds. They’re spoken of in stories and superstitions, relics of an unenlightened age, old wives’ tales, passed down through generations. Yet no matter how wary and jaded we have become, as individuals or as a society, a part of us remains vulnerable to them: werewolves and wendigos, poltergeists and vampires, angry elves and vengeful spirits.

iIn this beautifully illustrated volume, the host of the hit podcast Lore serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of these terrifying creatures, exploring not only the legends but what they tell us about ourselves. Aaron Mahnke invites us to the desolate Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the notorious winged, red-eyed Jersey Devil dwells. He delves into harrowing accounts of cannibalism–some officially documented, others the stuff of speculation . . . perhaps. He visits the dimly lit rooms where seances take place, the European villages where gremlins make mischief, even Key West, Florida, home of a haunted doll named Robert.

In a world of “emotional vampires” and “zombie malls,” the monsters of folklore have become both a part of our language and a part of our collective psyche. Whether these beasts and bogeymen are real or just a reflection of our primal fears, we know, on some level, that not every mystery has been explained and that the unknown still holds the power to strike fear deep in our hearts and souls. As Aaron Mahnke reminds us, sometimes the truth is even scarier than the lore.

Why did I want to read The World of Lore? Monsters! Tis the season of Halloween, and what better book to learn about all the monsters from urban legends? The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures. I have always been fascinated by the stories of monsters to lurk in the shadows from vampires to ghosts (even if they scared me).

What do I like about it so far? I like how it explores the history behind the different monsters—where it all started. Take vampires. This book talks about the inspiration of what took the shape of vampires and the fear that people had for the buried dead. It discusses various people who were deemed as vampires, and boy, it’s so fascinating.

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.

Why did I want to read An Unkindness of Magicians? I had been on a magicians kick lately—as in craving to read books about magic, and voila, An Unkindness of Magicians showed up.

What do I like about it so far? I love the different houses battling each other to become the House that controls everything. I love seeing the power struggles and the dynamics between the houses and people. Everybody wants to be in control, but there’s that one person—Sydney—who wants to mess it all up. I’m here for that!

Have you read these books? Did you like them? 

 

2 Responses to “CURRENTLY READING • Lady Killers, Monstrous Creatures, & Magicians!”

  1. Tasya says:

    I’m definitely curious with the Lore book since I love the podcast. And Lady Killer sounds amazing!

  2. I think Lady Killers sounds fascinating! I find serial killers interesting, but you’re right, most people focus on the men, but there are women serial killers!

    -Lauren


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