As that title suggests I’ve been reading more lately than watching anything with occasional set visits to break things up from the monotony of my day job. Looking back on the year I’ve had some good reads to keep my mind occupied during some troubling family health issues which I wont get into here. Instead, here are the books I’ve read this year and what I’m interested in next…
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Here’s some blunt fantasy adventure that most can enjoy. A twelve-year-old is lost in a dying fantasy realm where Grimm fairy tales have evolved disproportionately into genocidal monsters. The approach is very modern including mutants, graphic violent action, progressive sexuality; they story keeps the stakes clear and obvious and rewards with memorable adventuring.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
This one you’ve probably heard of from the papers or read in school. An autistic teenager investigate the suspicious death of a neighbors dog, told in first person. It’s fascinating and makes you consider the exaggerated personalities in TV and film differently. It’s not so cute being inside the head of someone who really does only eat the same four foods every day and can only speak to someone directly if his name is used.
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Another subtle book! Kidding aside, a positively thrilling parable about America’s fate. One part western, another part Forbidden Planet, and another part cultural critique. Surprisingly low played politically, but the cynical moral code of the story is in overdrive and could turn off some. Helps that it’s packaged like a good thriller and never lets up.
What Cops Know by Connie Fletcher
Anecdotes, that’s it. Police from Chicago P.D. serving between the 70’s & 80’s tell of investigations, shoot outs, stings, raids and more. The chapters are split between divisions (violent crimes, narcotics, etc) and you’ll be hard pressed to find a place to stop reading. Each story (or sometimes just a thought) is maybe two pages max so you will want to speed through it looking for the next jaw dropper. Highly recommended.
The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories by Ben Marcus
Anthologies are always a mixed bag. For every brow raising short, there were four brow furrowing disappointments. Among the best shorts are The Sea Oak, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, The Caretaker, and Do Not Disturb. Perhaps I enjoyed these because they are so conventional in approach with genuine revelation to share. The bulk of the compilation is muddied by pretentious structure and dour tales.
Dune by Frank Herbert: I tried. My second attempt at reading this turgid piece of familiar storytelling. The world building is great, but hardly enough to keep me going.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies: Fantasy oriented website with both text and audio form short stories. Some great works here and regularly updated.