Lovecraft-inspired fiction and cookbooks (unrelated!)
September 11, 2016 4:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to Powell's next weekend and planning on splurging on a bunch of books. I'm looking for recommendations on two totally different types of books from you lovely people - Lovecraft-influenced fiction, and cookbooks with good dishes I can take for my lunches. More details inside!

I'd like to bring home a couple books as a present for my husband, who is a huge Lovecraft fan but very picky about the Lovecraft-inspired fiction he reads. He doesn't like any of the super-derivative stuff that came after Lovecraft that seems to be more about building out the mythos Lovecraft originated and just creating newer and weirder Elder Gods. If you've read S. T. Joshi's academic writings on Lovecraft, he distinguishes between the Lovecraft mythos and the Derleth mythos, the latter of which involves all the stuff that accreted onto what Lovecraft wrote, and that's exactly what I'm not looking for. Basically he's interested in novels or short stories that capture the cosmic horror feel of Lovecraft that aren't literally set in the universe of Elder Gods, Great Old Ones, etc. We often read out loud to each other, so I am particularly looking for fiction that in some way addresses or involves things that Lovecraft is bad at - racism, female characters, etc.

Authors he has read and enjoyed: Laird Barron, William Sloane, Clark Ashton Smith, Thomas Ligotti.
Not interested in: Derleth and his ilk, anything very self-referential (such as where Lovecraft appears as a character).
So far I've got on my list to possibly pick up: Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle, The Fisherman by John Langan.

On a totally different subject, cookbooks! I'm trying a new meal prep routine for my weekday lunches where I make a bunch of things on the weekend, but instead of packaging up 5 lunches Sunday night that all have the same thing, the night before I get out my bento box and fill it with small amounts of several different things that I feel like eating. This is usually a mix of homemade foods and prepackaged foods.

A typical lunch + snacks might include: homemade black beans with onions and garlic, 3-4 stuffed grape leaves from Trader Joe's, steamed broccoli, a deviled egg, rolled up slices of ham maybe spread with something, a chunk of cheese. So on Sunday I might cook black beans, steam broccoli, roast cauliflower, make deviled eggs, and cook a pot of rice.

My routine is already getting a little stale, though, so I'm looking for cookbooks that include dishes I can make in advance that will hold up well during the week in the fridge, are moderately healthy, and easy to portion out. (So for example something like lasagna wouldn't be ideal; rolled and filled lasagna noodles would be better.) Interesting dishes with lots of vegetables are good. The only real food restrictions are that I don't eat beef and I hate peppers of all kinds. I am aware that this is very vague! So maybe great books with lots of non-green salads? Good make-ahead dishes? I'm not totally sure what I'm looking for, but it's essentially an excuse to buy more cookbooks. Thanks!
posted by skycrashesdown to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Lovecraft Country and The Ballad of Black Tom were the two recommendations that immediately sprang to mind.

Possibly Maplecroft by Cherie Priest. Lovecraft-inspired Lizzie Borden book.
posted by ELind at 5:04 PM on September 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I came in to recommended Lovecraft Country until I got to it in your description. Definitely pick it up. I'd recommend the graphic novel Fatale too, there are two hardcovers or five(ish) trade paperbacks.
posted by togdon at 5:26 PM on September 11, 2016

You might like The Library at Mt Char, which, while not a Lovecraft derivative, is the novel I've found best succeeds Lovecraft on the ancient-and-eldritch-horrors front.
posted by WidgetAlley at 6:00 PM on September 11, 2016

Maplecroft has a follow-up, Chapelwood: The Borden Dispatches.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:42 PM on September 11, 2016

Combine the two: Cooking with Lovecraft - Supernatural Horror in the Kitchen.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:03 PM on September 11, 2016

Just a heads up that you can order books on to be transferred between stores and picked up in person, so if there's used copies at other locations, you could order them now and they would be at whichever store you're planning on visiting.
posted by redsparkler at 7:33 PM on September 11, 2016

Budget Bytes, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and Smitten Kitchen (on mobile so can't link, sorry) are my recipe go-tos. All three blogs have cookbooks. Also The Kitchn.
posted by Tamanna at 8:27 PM on September 11, 2016

Have you considered the Laundry Files series by Charles Stross? They are novels about a secret UK government department which fights off lovecraftian threats while suffering through the typical burucracry you would expect from the UK government.
posted by simonw at 10:23 PM on September 11, 2016

Response by poster: Oops, I should have mentioned the Laundry books - my husband hasn't read them yet, but I love them and own all of them. It sounds like I'm on the right track with Lovecraft Country and the Ballad of Black Tom. I'll check out the Cherie Priest one too, I've liked some of her books previously.
posted by skycrashesdown at 10:42 PM on September 11, 2016

Elizabeth Bear "Shoggoths in Bloom" (also ticks the "addresses things Lovecraft is bad at" box)
Gene Wolfe "Lord of the Land" (collected in Starwater Strains)
posted by crocomancer at 1:04 AM on September 12, 2016

Nthing Lovecraft Country, which I incidentally just finished last night, and wow.

There's been a series of articles (rereads of Lovecraft and Lovecraft inspired fiction) on by Ruthanna Emrys and Anne M. Pillsworth - lots of them are a short stories or novellas, but skimming the links might give you some other ideas.

Not a cookbook, but there's a online subscription service (subscriptions open seasonally, and run for 3 months) called Cook the Seasons: I'd been eyeing it for a bit and she did a one month trial last month. It's right up the alley of what you're interested in: core recipes that can then be recombined in various ways.

I'm also a big BudgetBytes and SmittenKitchen fan. I was mining Persian cookbooks for specific things for a bit, and really liked The New Persian Kitchen by Louise Shafia for being good for 'have bits of things for lunch' purposes. You might also find Yotam Ottolenghi 's cookbooks worth browsing, though that's not a thing I've tried yet.
posted by modernhypatia at 5:23 AM on September 12, 2016

Check Wikipedia's Cthulhu Anthologies page. 2011's New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, for instance, has Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, the Elizabeth Bear story mentioned above and lots more.
posted by mediareport at 7:51 AM on September 12, 2016

Less directly connected, but I'd recommend the Southern Reach books by Jeff Vandermeer
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 8:43 AM on September 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wonder whether he might enjoy The Willows by Algernon Blackwood - supposedly Lovecraft's favorite supernatural horror story.

Seconding the Jeff Vandermeer suggestion.

Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky is a fantastic short novel with a lot of spine-chills-inducing supernatural weirdness.
posted by gin and biscuits at 9:18 AM on September 12, 2016

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