2022 has been a great year for new music releases in a variety of genres, and I’m excited to share thirty-five of my favourite music videos that have come of that. While it won’t include videos released in late November or throughout December, I’ve pulled music videos released throughout the year that particularly struck a chord with me. I hope I’ve included your favourites (and if I missed it, let me know in the comments so I can check it out!) or that you find something here you love.
FKA Twigs – Killer
MC Soffia – Papo Reto
Ash-B feat Lee Young-Ji – Girls Back Home
Witch Fever – Blessed Be Thy
Tanya Tagaq – Colonizer
Hyolyn – Layin’ Low
Tinashe – Naturally
Orville Peck – The Curse of the Blackened Eye
(G)I-DLE – Tomboy
Mitski – Love Me More
Jordan Occasionally – Lie Lie Lie
Pixy – Villain
Snotty Nose Rez Kids – Damn Right
Oceans of Slumber – The Hanging Tree
Bibi – Animal Farm
While this is age-restricted (Bibi fights pigmen with a sword) and only available through going to youtube directly, it is too good to miss featuring here.
Spooky Season is one of my favourite times of year! I love the excuse to engage in all my favourite spooky media and while I don’t ignore those things the rest of the year it’s really great to be so focused. While I do love horror, I think sometimes I just want wholesome Halloween vibes or things that feel spooky without getting into anything too horrifying. I’m also aware of many people who enjoy this time of year without enjoying horror as a genre at all. I’ve put together this list of graphic novels that have great Halloween vibes without being intense horror stories.
Note: I’ve personally read and enjoyed all of them, but I’ll note any stories that were intended for younger readers (although I recommend them for older readers as well, middle grade comics are an amazing way to get the full Halloween experience without having to have the pants scared off of you), as well as which stories are more for older teens or adults.
The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity, illustrated by Christopher Baldwin
The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor is a young adult graphic novel about a teenage girl who is obsessed with classic gothic literature who gets pulled into an alternate dimension populated by the stereotypes and tropes of that very classic and gothic literature the heroine adores. It’s a great play on gothic lit, it’s very fun and funny, and it’s an enjoyable use of a portal world. While it has its creepy moments, it’s pretty gentle over all, leaning more towards the funny aspects than the scary ones.
Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse
Witches of Brooklyn is a middle grade graphic novel about a young orphan girl who is adopted by two elderly aunts only to find out that not only are her aunts witches, she is a witch too and will get to learn magic from the aunts who have fully welcomed her into their house. It’s a very gentle story, perfect for readers who want something more comforting with their Halloween vibes. It’s also the first in a series.
Hollow by Shannon Watters and Branden Boyer-White, illustrated by Berenice Nelle
Hollow is the most recent release on the list, having just dropped a few weeks ago, but it’s a fantastic Halloween story for when you want to have a good time but not an intense time. It’s a YA graphic novel that serves as a queer modern day sequel to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, where Sleepy Hollow is a real place and the people who live there are the descendants of the “real” people that made it into the story. Something suspicious and ghostly is really going on, and we follow a trio of teens as they try to solve it all before the stakes become serious.
Beetle & the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne
Beetle & The Hollowbones is a middle grade graphic novel set in a world populated by goblins, sorceresses, and ghosts, and we follow the story of a young goblin witch as she investigates the mystery of why her ghost best friend is trapped haunting the mall and getting reacquainted with one of her oldest friends as chaos seems to ensue as a result of all of this. It reminded me a lot of Halloweentown (1998), which is a childhood spooky season favourite for me personally, so I mean this in the best possible way.
Taproot: A Story About A Gardener and A Ghost by Keezy Young
Taproot is about a gardener who can see ghosts who happens to meet a ghost who he becomes dear friends with, a gentle romance blooming between them despite one being living and the other dead. Unfortunately there seems to be something dangerous tied to this gardener’s abilities and the ghost begins to fear for his love’s safety. The romance is sweet and queer, the ghostly aspects are cute and spooky, and the art gives us many gorgeous plants. I read this awhile ago, but there’s a brand new edition with a gorgeous cover that came out earlier this year. I’ve seen it marked as both adult and YA, and I think it’s great for either audience.
The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag
The Witch Boy trilogy is one of my favourite middle grade comics trilogies, and I’ve actually reviewed all three books here before (The Witch Boy review here, The Hidden Witch review here, The Midwinter Witch review here). The Witch Boy follows a young male witch whose family expects girls to be witches and boys to be shapeshifters. This gorgeous book gives us a challenge of the gender binary while also giving us a great spooky witch story.
Cat’s Cradle: The Golden Twine by Jo Rioux
Cat’s Cradle: The Golden Twine was first published a decade ago, but it’s finding new life with a new edition, kicking off the Cat’s Cradle series for middle grade readers today. The story follows an orphan girl who travels with a circus in a fictional world to earn her money and keep but yearns to be a monster hunter in a world where monsters are very real. It’s a great fantasy adventure for the Halloween season.
Hotel Dare by Terry Blas, illustrated by Claudia Aguirre
Hotel Dare is graphic novel (with middle grade and YA crossover appeal) about three adopted siblings visiting their grandmother in Mexico at her sinister hotel. There is much creepy fun to be had with magic and technology and alternate worlds, while the story drives home just how important family is, even if you aren’t related by blood.
Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea, illustrated by Yana Bogatch
Grimoire Noir is a YA graphic novel set in a town where all the girls and women are witches. The story follows a teenage boy who has to investigate the source of all this when his younger sister is kidnapped for her powers. It is very much reminiscent of modern and classic witch stories in content, and 40s film noir in visual and writing style, which makes it a great story to read for spooky season.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
Pumpkinheads is a great YA graphic novel for readers who want to get the fall vibes while staying far away from anything spooky. It follows two teenagers on their last night of their last year of working in the local pumpkin patch and during their fall festival as they decide to make their last night of this job an occasion to remember. It’s very cute and funny and perfectly captures the feeling of fall and Halloween by simply being about fall and Halloween.
Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola, illustrated by Emily Carroll
Another middle grade / YA crossover graphic novel, Baba Yaga’s Assistant retells the Russian fairy tales of the witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga is looking for an assistant and we follow our young protagonist through all the trials Baba Yaga puts her through to prove her worth as an assistant. The story is creepy and fun, with Carroll (whose work often veers more towards horror) providing illustrations that really amp up both of those feelings.
Crema by Johnnie Christmas, illustrated by Dante Luiz
Crema is an adult graphic novel about a woman who is both a barista and coffee addict who happens to see ghosts when she drinks too much coffee (which is all the time). She begins to fall in love with a glamourous heiress to the coffee plantation that provides her work with the coffee they sell, but there’s a sinister ghostly drama attached to the plantation that can’t be ignored. It’s both a cute lesbian romance story and a creepy ghost story.
Bloodlust & Bonnets by Emily McGovern
Bloodlust & Bonnets is an adult / YA crossover graphic novel set in the early 19th century novel following a debutante, a mysterious nonbinary bounty hunter, and Lord Byron as they hunt down vampires (with their eyes on one vampire in particular). It’s a bit on the bloody side, but it isn’t graphic at all, and is filled with slapstick and jokes at the expense of early 19th century gothic literature, which makes it fun to read if you aren’t up for anything too scary or gruesome but are interested in something in the vein of horror comedy.
The month of July is Disability Pride Month. As a disabled woman I’ve been trying to be more aware of this because pride is a feeling I’m still working towards on that front, so it’s something I’ve been trying to consciously celebrate. July may be coming to an end (being disabled sometimes means not always being well enough to be prompt), but disability lit is something we can always read and explore, and something I’ve personally been trying to expand my reading in. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the poetry collections I have read by disabled and chronically ill authors with related themes within the poetry. While they aren’t all among my favourites (although a couple are), I wanted to include a variety of types of disabilities and poetry styles. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, rather a list of suggested places to start.
If I missed your favourites, please let me know in the comments, I’d love to get the chance to read them.
Tonguebreaker by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Piepzna-Samarasinha is a multiracial (Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma), queer, nonbinary, disabled writer and activist. Tonguebreaker is one of the first books I ever read that I felt completely seen by as a queer disabled person. The official description describes this “unmitigated force of disabled queer-of-color nature” as being about “surviving the unsurvivable: living through hate crimes, the suicides of queer kin, and the rise of fascism while falling in love and walking through your beloved’s Queens neighborhood.”
Late Self-Portraits by Mary Morris
Late Self-Portraits is a collection I was lucky enough to read an e-ARC of courtesy of NetGalley, but the book is available to the public now. Mary Morris has a seizure disorder and many of these poems cover her own experiences with seizures as well as poems about historical figures that also had seizures and other health problems, which really gives us a look at how disabled people have always played a part in the world despite ableism. The description from Amazon notes that “these are haunting poems of loss and unearthing, equally bold, personal, and tender.”
Is This Scary? by Jacob Scheier
Scheier, who is disabled, mentally ill, and Jewish, wrote Is This Scary?, a collection of poems that explores his experiences on those fronts. He explores his mental health and stays in the psych ward alongside his experiences with inflammatory bowel disease. While the style isn’t my favourite personally, this was intensely relatable as he writes about medications we’ve both been on, which was unexpected. The full description of it describes how with “its many eccentric songs and odes to medications and medical procedures, this book is full of both levity and unapologetic lament” and how it “unflinchingly addresses experiences of psychiatric institutionalization and suicidality, without either romanticizing or pathologizing them.”
Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith
Smith is queer and Black and Don’t Call Us Dead is a gorgeous exploration of both of those aspects of their identity. They are also HIV positive and many of the poems focus on this diagnosis and the stigma surrounding it, especially for a queer Black person. Roxane Gay said in her review of the collection “There is such intelligence and fervor in these poems about black men and their imperiled bodies, gay men and their impassioned bodies, what it means to be HIV positive, and so much more.”
The Girl Aquarium by Jen Campbell
Campbell is a bisexual British woman who was born with Ectrodactyly Ectodermal Dysplasia Clefting Syndrome (EEC), a rare genetic disorder. Her poetry collection The Girl Aquarium uses twisted images of circuses and fairy tales within beautifully constructed poems that use a variety of engaging forms with interesting takes on the body and how bodies exist in these images. The full description says “Campbell turns a cracked mirror on society and asks who gets to control the twisted tales hiding in the wings.”
Not If, When: Lyme Disease in Verse by Gail Tierney
Not If, When is actually the poetry collection I’m currently reading. Tierney wrote these poems to express her feelings of dealing with the experience of living with chronic lyme. I don’t have lyme, but as someone who also has complicated chronic illness symptoms, I have found a lot of it to be relatable. The full description calls it “a clear-eyed, defiant, and poignant exploration of what it means to live—and sometimes even thrive—with Lyme.”
Every year I post a new list of songs from LGBTQ+ artists for Pride Month. As a queer person and a music lover, I love getting the chance to share some of my favourite LGBTQ+ artists and songs. Curating these lists always ends up being a great time for me, and I hope that listeners will find a few new jams among the mix. I’ve included a mixture of different genres in the hopes that there’s something for everyone. Celebrate Pride by supporting queer artists!
Here at The Feminist Bibliothecary, I have always loved hosting Lite Reads, our weekly short story club. It is always a pleasure to share short stories, explore the ideas within them, and see what others comment about them here and on social media. I’ve been hosting Lite Reads since 2018, and I have no wish to stop. However, for a multitude of reasons, I will be extending our current hiatus indefinitely.
During covid, Lite Reads has become difficult for me to manage with my mental health and my physical health. I am disabled, which I have written about here before, and I have my symptoms and treatment to manage (which has become incredibly difficult to do because of the pandemic), and I also have insurance company stuff to manage to continue to receive an income. The added pressure of the Lite Reads schedule has made it more difficult to manage these things.
Because of my physical and mental health suffering during the pandemic, I’ve also found that worrying about the Lite Reads schedule has made it even more difficult to share any additional content here on The Feminist Bibliothecary and our affiliated social media since most of the writing energy I have has gone to Lite Reads content.
If you are interested in seeing some of our previous selections while we are on hiatus, there are over one hundred short stories to choose from, including a variety of authors and genres and places of origin. I encourage you to go through the ones that interest you. When we return, I have countless other short stories to share. In the meantime, I’m relieved to have lightened my weekly schedule, even by this small amount.
I will not be taking a hiatus from other Feminist Bibliothecary content. You will still be able to find me on social media and I hope that this will allow me to write more content right here outside of Lite Reads. Once I have recharged from the pandemic burnout and the Lite Reads burnout, I look forward to returning to Lite Reads, and I will post relevant updates both here and on social media, including advanced notice before we return to Lite Reads and any details about what form it will return in.
Thank you to everyone who has joined me in reading these short stories over the years. We will enjoy more stories together in the future. For now, let us enjoy the break of this indefinite (but not permanent!) hiatus.