For the past few years, around this time of December, I post a list of many of the books I’ve read over the preceding twelve months. It’s a way to promote other authors’ work however I can, but also a way to keep me accountable and continuously reading. The list isn’t as long as it was last year due to a number of extenuating circumstances (one of which was the preparation and launch of my new short story collection, NOTHING IS EVERYTHING) but I still managed to get number of good books read.
Not to bury the lede, but I recommend buying any of the volumes below if you’ve been on the fence about them. All are worth your time.
So, as ever, in a somewhat as-I-read-them order:
I started the year by reading the last of the three books that formed the Horror Boom’s Big Bang I hadn’t yet read by finishing Ira Levin’s classic ROSEMARY’S BABY; then there was a trip into the surreal with Lenora Carrington’s COMPLETE STORIES; over the year, I challenged myself to traverse Area X by reading all three of Jeff VanderMeer’s novels: ANNIHILATION, AUTHORITY, and ACCEPTANCE; one of the best finds of the year (and for me it was a find, not knowing everyone else had already heard of and loved it) was Carmen Maria Machado’s HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES; a trip into my unread pile exhumed Brian Evenson’s IMMOBILITY (which paired nicely with Steve Rasnic Tem’s UBO from last year); speaking of going back in time, I did so again by reading the reissue of Matthew M. Bartlett’s debut collection, DEAD AIR, in hopes I could understand why Leeds, MA terrifies me so; written by a modern master of science fiction and the strange, M. John Harrison’s latest collection, YOU SHOULD COME WITH ME NOW, offers bizarre encounters in Harrison’s inimitable style; KL Pereira’s collection, A DREAM BETWEEN TWO RIVERS, shows how powerful the dark and the fantastic can be together; Kurt Fawver’s sophomore collection, THE DISSOLUTION OF SMALL WORLDS, shows Fawver transcending the work he was doing before and building an enviable foundation for his work in the future; back to Matthew Bartlett for THE STAY-AWAKE MEN, a sojourn outside the reach of WXXT that is no less frightening; inspired by a conversation about the subsequent film, I read THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY by Patricia Highsmith while I was away in the depths of Algonquin Park, then returned home to read Samantha Hunt’s THE DARK DARK to experience first hand the wonderfulness everybody else was talking about; I read Marian Womack’s wonderful LOST OBJECTS before it was released to the world, which was a sort of torture as I had to wait for the rest of you to catch up; I don’t think my voice is needed for the chorus singing about THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Paul Tremblay, but if you’re the sort that needs reassurance, then, yes, it’s that good; the best part about non-fiction is it gives you a chance to see the world differently, and Richard Gavin’s THE MORIBUND PORTAL did just that for me; reading first collections can be hit-or-miss, but ALL LIGHTS WILL FOREVER AFTER BE DIM by Joseph Pastula brought something different to the game and it’s well worth checking out; and let’s not forget the first volume of THE SILENT GARDEN, published by Undertow, which is a beautiful anthology of amazing stories, poems, art, and essays; but, back to non-fiction with Thomas Ligotti’s THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE HUMAN RACE, with its focus on why we all belong dead; and, lastly, Eric Schaller’s MEET ME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AIR, because sometimes you feel a bit weird.
Next year is 2019, and there are a number of collections and novels due that I cannot wait to read. It’s going to be another great year for fans of weird, dark, fantastic, and horrific fiction, just like this year was. I simply can’t wait to read whatever comes next.