Sara Nixon – Guest Post

I am so happy to share today’s guest post by Sara Nixon.   Sara is a third grade teacher in Brooklyn and is such a kind and creative person.  She’s an avid reader with great taste and she shares thoughtful reviews and beautiful pictures on both her Instagram account and blog, both of which I highly recommend you follow. To learn even more about her, make sure to scroll below the book stack to see her answers to a few of my questions, like what books she thinks everyone should read. Thank you so much for being a part of Imaginary Book Stack, Sara!

“Wednesday is my spirit animal. She’s dark and obsessed with everything frightening and unearthly. She’s piercingly blunt, hates everyone, and drinks poison, for goodness sake. I’m also partial to her whole aesthetic, moody and nightmarish, in an all-black wardrobe. Most of my closet consists of black and shades of gray. Most importantly, Wednesday is a feminist. She refuses to conform to the stereotypes of young girls, being forced to smile and appear cheerful and nonthreatening. Wednesday says, “screw that” and is simply herself. Terrifying and foreboding. Major respect.”

Sara Nixon

Wednesday’s Book Stack

The Dark Dark

Samantha Hunt
Hunt’s short stories are all about the weird nudging its way into the mundane. There is nothing ordinary about Wednesday, as she is all about the strange and creepy. I think these stories would speak to her soul and entertain her. I imagine Wednesday reading the stories and picturing her nemesis, the perky Amanda, as the character being haunted within each of the chilling tales.

Salems Lot

Stephen King
Stephen King is an obvious choice for Wednesday’s shelf, and for good reason. The king of horror, himself would find the Addams clan utterly frightening. Wednesday probably picks up a King novel such as Salem’s Lot for some light bedtime reading as she drinks her bottle of poison.

We Have Always Lived In The Castle

Shirley Jackson
If Wednesday’s shelf has Stephen King, then the queen of fright herself, Shirley Jackson will stand alongside. And if you’ve read We Have Always Lived In the Castle, we can probably agree that Wednesday will identify with young Mary Katherine Blackwood living inside that old, creepy mansion, and whose family is the town’s pariahs.

The Collected Poems

Sylvia Plath
While, Emily Dickinson would be evident on the shelves of the Addams daughter, I also believe that Wednesday would naturally gravitate towards Plath’s poems about death in this broad collection of her works. Ariel, Lady Lazarus, and The Dead would be her personal favorites in this anthology. I can just picture Wednesday reciting one of Plath’s poems graveside, after burying someone alive.

The Witches: Salem, 1962

Stacy Schiff
The first lines in the book’s synopsis say it all: “The panic began in 1692, over a raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s niece began to writhe and roar. It spread quickly- as neighbors accused neighbors, husbands accused wives, parents and children one another.” Wednesday Addams would love the idea of creating mass hysteria and panic among a crowd. Remember the chaos of that Thanksgiving play in Addams Family Values? That was all Wednesday. What’s more, the topic of the Salem witch trials would fascinate her. I mean, she literally burned Amanda at the stake!

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory

Caitlin Doughty
A book about working in a crematory? Isn’t that Wednesday’s dream job? Enough said.

The Devil In the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

Erik Larson
This book is a wild card for Wednesday’s shelf. I envision her enjoying the true crime story of H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer. But I think she would also be disappointed that Holmes wasn’t a woman.

Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History

Bill Schutt
Did I mention Wednesday has a fondness for the unnatural and macabre? Schutt’s book title would immediately grab Wednesday’s attention at the bookshop, as would this line in the synopsis: “A taboo subject in our culture, the behavior was portrayed mostly through horror movies or tabloids sensationalizing the crimes of real-life flesh-eaters.” This is the perfect book for Wednesday to bring to sleepaway camp, terrifying her fellow campers with true stories of cannibalism while stranded in the woods.

A Little More About Sara

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your reading life.

Hello! My name is Sara. I’m a Nashville native, currently residing in the East Village of Manhattan. Despite moving to NYC three years ago, I’m still a Southerner at heart. I teach third grade and I absolutely love my job. I don’t think I will ever find anything as fulfilling and rewarding. Reading is obviously a significant part of my life and I choose from a variety of genres. Most of my shelves contain literary fiction, memoirs/personal essays, short stories, and a range of nonfiction topics. I make it a priority to read diversely and select books by female-identified authors. Some of my favorite authors include Roxane Gay, Joan Didion, Rebecca Solnit, Celeste Ng and Ta-Nehisi Coates. I like to pair my books with coffee and often prefer to read in my bed under a pile of blankets. My favorite local bookstores are Books Are Magic in Brooklyn and the famous Strand in Manhattan. I have way too many literary tote bags and often carry two or more books with me wherever I go. It’s especially useful when I’m stuck underground on the subway. When I’m not reading I enjoy visiting art museums, walking around this lively city, and finding the most decadent burgers.

What are you reading right now?

Currently I’m reading Annihilation, which is the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy. I am really looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation with Natalie Portman this February. I’m also listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on audio, and am loving Jim Dale’s excellent character voices. His Hagrid and McGonagall impressions are spot on!

What’s a book you wish everyone would read?

I definitely can’t pick just one. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is required reading for everyone, especially white people, in order to understand the concept of race as a social construct. The Harry Potter series is a must, even for adults. The themes of love, death, friendship and prejudice weave throughout all seven books, and every time I reread them, I discover something new. With today’s current events, you’ll find the books especially relatable. Plus there are countless strong, female characters that I still want to be when I grow up. I also believe that everyone should read Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit. Her essays about the dynamics between men and women are so truthful, it’s terrifying. I was completely sold at the book’s introduction and bought copies for all of my female friends. But really, men should read it as well.

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