March/April 2018 Reads
29th Apr 2018 in Books
It’s been a slightly slower reading month for me (due to several launch events for The Gloaming and writing the final few stories for my forthcoming horror collection, The Night Tender), but I’ve still read some absolute gems. Here are the ten best books I’ve read over the past two months – and by coincidence, it’s an all-female list, and almost entirely short stories…
The Language of Thorns, Leigh Bardugo – I found Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy only so-so, but this book is truly stunning. It gave me serious writer envy. And the cover and internal illustrations are gorgeous. This would be a great gift for any fairytale-lover.
Daddy’s, Lindsay Hunter – It took me a long time to read this, although the entire book is short and each story within it very short. It’s so repulsive, and I felt genuinely sick reading each story. The characters are spiteful, petty, cruel, and I bet they haven’t showered or brushed their teeth for a while. I often read while eating, and this book is absolutely not recommended for that. If this sounds like I didn’t enjoy the book, it’s quite the opposite. I loved it and have dogeared just about every page. Hunter has an incredible and awful mind, and I look forward to reading more from her. I’ll just be sure to read slowly, and not while eating.
Things That Are, Amy Leach – A strange and lovely little book. The prose did sometimes slip from lush into cloying, but I still really enjoyed the book, and look forward to reading more from Leach.
Mayhem & Death, Helen McClory – A dark, delicious delight from new Scottish publishers 404Ink. I still dream about some of the visuals from this story collection.
Dept. of Speculation, Jenny Offill – Small. Dense. Almost perfect. I hope to someday write something even close to this beautifully observed and beautifully brief novella.
Them Horrors Be Everywhere, Julya Oui – I picked up this triptych of horror stories when I was in Malaysia, and I’ve devoured all three books. They’re like the grown-up versions of the kids’ horror stories I read in the 1990s.
Ariel, Sylvia Plath – Not sure how I went so long without reading this, especially as I love ‘Lady Lazarus’ and ‘Daddy’. I read the whole thing aloud to my wife; the poems are so perfect for reading aloud. I particularly loved the bee poems.
My Boyfriend is a Bear, Pamela Ribon & Cat Farris – If you read The Gracekeepers and shipped North and the bear, this is the book for you. Well-paced story, interesting characters, lovely artwork, strong emotional punch at the end. It leans right into the surreal central concept – the title isn’t a metaphor, and though the story can be read as an allegory for an ‘opposites attract’ relationship, it’s also literal.
Lady Killers, Tori Telfer – I like my true crime easy to read but not too trashy, and this book balances it just right. I wish the essays had all gone a little more in-depth, but I really liked Telfer’s reframing of how we think of female killers.
The Prince and the Dressmaker, Jem Wang – A ridiculously cute graphic novel. The artwork is gorgeous, the story is compelling, and the central romance has a unique twist that I haven’t seen before.
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What are the best books you’ve read recently?