27th Feb 2017 in Books
January and February are always busy reading months for me. Scotland isn’t known for its sunny weather, and generally the start of the year is pretty cold and windy – and to me, lovely, as it means I get to stay in with a good book and a cup of something hot. Bliss. It’s been a particularly good few months for graphic novels and short stories for me, so perhaps next month I’ll get stuck into a longer novel.
Here are the best books I’ve read so far this year:
The Fire Eater’s Lover, Sophia Blackwell – As soon as I finished this raw, addictive, affectionate poetry collection, I went back to the start and read it all again. One of my new favourites.
Good Dream, Bad Dream: The World’s Heroes Save the Night!, Juan Calle & Serena Valentino – I read a surprising amount of children’s books for someone who doesn’t have any children. This beautifully-illustrated bilingual book is a great introduction to world mythologies.
From the Obscenely Strange Case Files of Dead Things Mikey, Joel Farrelly – I often wish that CreepyPastas were better written, longer and funnier. And then Joel Farrelly came along and granted my wish.
If I Were You, Graeme Keeton – I dipped a toe into the wild world of free Kindle books, and not surprisingly they’re mostly terrible, but then I found this gem. Keeton’s stories are strange, imagnitive and beautifully written, which is my favourite combination.
Sweet Tooth, Jeff Lemire – I was drawn to this cover as I wrote a story years ago about a teenage girl with antlers. Lemire’s antlered character is a boy, raised in isolation following a pandemic. I loved this book and look forward to the next in the series.
Discovering Scarfolk, Richard Littler – This is the funniest, darkest book combining 1970s nostalgia and graphic design that I’ve ever read.
All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers, Alana Massey – The perfect mix of intelligent insight and light readability. The essays on Sylvia Plath, Courtney Love and Left-Eye Lopes were particularly great, and made me think differently about how we consider and discuss female celebrities. I also had a soft spot for the chapter on Being a Winona vs. Being a Gwyneth (Winona forever, obvs). Buy a copy of this book for yourself, then more copies to give to all the 15-35 year old women you know.
The October Faction, Steve Niles – A graphic novel mixing The Addams Family and Locke & Key (but better). The art, story and characters are all excellent. I love this series.
The Whale that Fell in Love with a Submarine, Akiyuki Nosaka – Short, fable-like stories about Japan in 1945. Even though it’s very short, it took me many months to read as I needed to have a break after each story. Surreal and devastating.
Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, Ben Templesmith – Love the artwork, the stories, the characters, the humour, the world – everything, really.
Jagannath, Karin Tidbeck – I wish this book was three times the length so I could be absorbed in this strange, wintery, surreal Scandinavian-folklore-inspired world longer. I could read Karin Tidbeck’s stories all day, every day.
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What are the best books you’ve read recently?