And, as it is my favourite time of year – the month of Halloween – it got me thinking about horror.
Watching it, reading it, listening to it on a popular audio book app, I just adore it.
And, in my mind, all the greatest horror writers are women. By a country mile.
Sarah Waters, Susan Hill, Shirley Jackson, Michelle Paver have all chilled my blood at some point, with the audio version of Paver’s Dark Matter making me yelp out loud on a bus once.
I think these books are the best because women, we understand fear.
Fear in otherwise ordinary situations, an ever present growing sense of dread.
I remember reading The Daemon Lover by Shirley Jackson for the first time and I have never felt so desperately unsettled.
Not because there was any lurking sea monster or child with their head spinning round, but because it was a lonely woman, desperate, confused and friendless.
That’s what Jackson does best I think, showing a gleefully indifferent and sneering existence, no ghosts needed here to make you shudder with fear.
The world, according to Jackson, is cold and unfeeling, and seeing it through that lens, even the ordinary seems horrific.
This is what books can do though. That’s what all art can do.
It can show us things through the eyes of the creator. Wherever it is they take us to, it will always have one foot in their own reality.
With so much of the discourse at the moment quite rightly about women’s safety, how to correct it, how to make men see it – now more than ever feels like a great time to recommend people to read fiction written by women.
Even if horror isn’t your wheelhouse, try picking up My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite or Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata.
How about Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman or The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch?
Immerse yourself in a world as seen by a woman.
Horror, crime, romance, thriller – a whole universe of stories told through different eyes from your own.
Trust me – you won’t regret it.