Monday, December 10, 2018

Book Your Stocking with Jack Kaulfus

Book Your Stocking: December 10

We've officially entered week two of the holiday season. This is the second year of Book Your Stocking, a series in which avid readers recommend the books they've most loved in the past year and would be delighted to find in their own stockings, socks, or slippers. 

Today's contributor is Jack Kaulfus, whose book-list I meant to feature last year, but I lost the list through the crevices of email and discovered it too late. Luckily, Jack agreed to share the list this year. Please welcome author Jack Kaulfus!


Half an Inch of Water by Percival Everett
One of my favorite books by Everett is Wounded, which is about all my favorite subjects: queer cowboys, horses, and the intersection of cultural violence, racism, and environmental disasters. I was thrilled to see Everett return to this territory, and am happily making my way through these wry, emotionally hefty stories.

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
This book has really stuck with me. For all its humor and character-driven drama, it's also a fast-paced mystery that tackles mental illness, cultural oppression, and gender identity. I listened to it, and it was a terrific recording with a excellent voice actor at the helm.

His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet
If you're like me and you secretly want to move to Wales and never return, this book will do until you can get your hands on some more Welsh fiction.  Even though it does take place in Scotland in 1869, it's got murder, peat bogs, and a schoolmaster named Gillie. It's a fictionalized dossier detailing the stories of a few people involved in a terrible family murder. The varying points of view deftly examine issues of class, education, and gender, making it a fantastic, layered mystery.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Reading this book was like watching a movie. It took a little longer, but not much, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about this particular multiverse since. This may be because I'm sci-fi soft and need my quantum physics to be couched in a dysfunctional family, but this one is two thumbs up for that day you can't afford Netflix anymore but you feel like some Black Mirror.

Her Body and Other Stories by Carmen Maria Machado
Kind of horrific, kind of funny, kind of inappropriate, complicated, multi-layered, super-feminist. Like every good book should be.

Marlena by Julie Buntin
I'm so happy this book exists. It's a meditative, page-turning, satisfying story about a beautiful mess of characters in a lot of snow. I barreled through it in the way that you can when you're actually enjoying each sentence.

Large Animals by Jess Arndt
Unabashedly queer and grounded in the visceral, Large Animals is a treasure of original writing, images, and ideas. Carefully crafted around characters who are struggling with some of the most basic questions of being, these stories always seem inches from going off the rails. That element of uncertainty under the control of Arndt is exhilarating and ultimately completely satisfying.


Jack Kaulfus
Jack Kaulfus is the author of  the story collection Tomorrow or Forever (Transgress Press 2018). Jack lives in Austin, Texas with their spouse, Bianca. Learn more about Jack, their writing, and upcoming appearances at Follow Jack on Facebook.


Check out more recommendations from Book Your Stocking contributors: