Scup Recommends August 2022
Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned – Walter Mosley
Mosley excels with character and dialogue, creating his own battered world with every phrase. This book of short stories is no different. Its protagonist, Socrates Fortlow, released from prison after 27 years, pieces his life together slowly, story by story, dealing with his barely suppressed rage and his ever-present guilt. That’s where the beauty of these stories lies. The plots, however, were a little too didactic for me, most built around a particular ‘Black problem’ Socrates somehow finds a way to address in his own small way. Still, Mosley is always a thrill to read, with his cogent descriptions of settings and his bristling, taut dialogue.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson
This is one of my favorite horror novels. It's not gory or outright terrifying. There is a certain unsettling chill that crawls down your spine throughout the novel. If you want to feel uncomfortable, this is the perfect book. It is just so creepy and fantastical and mysterious. I have always loved the book's ability to draw out such emotions. Not fear, but discomfort.
The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
"Manuscripts don't burn."
This idea--that some stories must be told and will survive all attempts to destroy or suppress them--forms the backbone of Bulgakov's novel. When the Devil comes to Moscow, almost anything can happen--and does. Funny, confusing, and heartbreaking by turns, this is a lifelong favorite.