Titus Groan

Author: Mervyn Peake Type: Fiction, novel Part of series: Gormenghast (#1) Published: 1946 I read it: November 2017 In the discussions at the end of The New Weird, the name Mervyn Peake was dropped a couple of times, and it was proposed that he was one of the godfathers of the modern weird fiction genre.…

NOS4A2

Author: Joe Hill Type: Fiction, novel Published: 2013 I read it: December 2017 NOS4A2 pushes nearly 700 pages, and yes, it’s possible to get through it between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Joe Hill is truly his father’s son, writing with a propulsive confidence while dropping just the right amount of plot crumbs to keep you eager…

The Mouse and His Child

Author: Russell Hoban Artist: David Small Type: Fiction, novel Published: 1967 I read it: November 2017 It’s strange which books enter into a canon, and which drift away. I don’t know how I heard about The Mouse and His Child—probably just while perusing Goodreads—but it struck me as one that flew under the general radar…

Kindred

Author: Octavia E. Butler Type: Fiction, novel Published: 1979 I read it: November 2017 There is a brilliant conceit at the center of Octavia E. Butler’s classic novel Kindred, and it’s not necessarily the time travel. Even though you can find the book on the sci-fi shelves, Butler prefers to call it a “grim fantasy”…

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017

Editor: Sarah Vowell (introduction) Type: Fiction, non-fiction, short stories, essays, comics, poetry, memoir Published: 2017 I read it: November 2017 If 2016 was the volume that felt like a last big inhale before American politics crashed down at the end of that year, then this year’s BANR collection is the painful exhale, reading like a…

Wishtree

Author: Katherine Applegate Artist: Charles Santoso Type: Fiction, novel Published: 2017 I read it: October 2017 “We grow as we must grow, as our seeds decided long ago,” goes one clever aphorism delivered by the protagonist of this book, who happens to be a red oak tree named, you guessed it, Red. (The other talking species…

In the Garden of Beasts

Author: Erik Larson Type: Non-fiction, single subject Full title: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin Published: 2011 I read it: September 2017 This book kept calling to me from the shelf, staring me down with its grand and stern coloring, complete with swastika right on the spine.…