2018 Christmas Haul

IMG_0793As is traditional around these here parts, I thought I’d pull together a quick post to boast about, sorry, update everyone on the cool books and other stuff that I got for Christmas.

Book stuff

Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking by Deborah Cadbury – “In the late nineteenth century, Queen Victoria had over thirty surviving grandchildren. To maintain and increase power in Europe, she hoped to manoeuvre them into dynastic marriages.”

The Rig by Roger Levy – An astounding SF thriller for fans of Adrian Tchaikovsky, Neal Stephenson, Alastair Reynolds and David Mitchell says the blurb.

Melmoth by Sarah Perry – “Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But her sheltered life is about to change.”

A Gentleman’s Murder by Christopher Huang – “The year is 1924. The cobblestoned streets of St. James ring with jazz as Britain races forward into an age of peace and prosperity. London’s back alleys, however, are filled with broken soldiers and still enshadowed by the lingering horrors of the Great War.”

Excellent Intentions by Richard Hull – “Great Barwick’s least popular man is murdered on a train. Twelve jurors sit in court. Four suspects are identified but which of them is on trial?”

Thomas Cromwell by Diarmaid MacCulloch – how many biographies of Master Cromwell does one need? All of them!

Cassandra Darke by Posy Simmonds – “Cassandra Darke is an art dealer, mean, selfish, solitary by nature, living in Chelsea in a house worth £7 million.” A modern-day Scrooge?

Non-book stuff

The Meg – Jason Statham versus an enormous shark; I know who my money is on…

Ghost Stories Based on Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s original Olivier nominated stage production, the same team have co-written and directed this adaptation for the big screen.

Mission Impossible: Fallout – Loved this in the cinema so it had to be added to the permanent collection

The Steampunk TarotRetooling the gears of the Rider-Waite tradition, the artwork evokes the imagery and spirit of this unique visual style. Another deck for my collection.

Something 16th century? Check. At least one crime novel? Check. Something horror adjacent? Check. Tom Cruise? Check.

Well, everything seems in order here!

Reading Horror: A Wishlist

img_0759I have been a fan of horror for as long as I can remember. In my final year of primary school (so I would have been 11) I managed to get my hands on an American paperback of HP Lovecraft stories which I devoured (I’m pretty sure my Mum would not have let me get the book if she had seen the cover first!). And then with Carrie being published in the mid-70s, I discovered Stephen King, and the rest is history.

So I was already minded to read through the NPR list of 100 favourite horror stories before it was drawn to my attention by my blog-chum Susan via her Facebook page, quickly followed by another blog-chum Daphne, whose post on the list is worth reading.

So as I can’t resist this sort of thing, I ran through the list and was pleased to see that I had read 34 of the titles and already owned a further 14 with plans to read them at some point.

Of course, I found even more on the list that I would like to read in future, and have a wish list so that I won’t forget what they are. I thought I’d include them here in case any of you are interested 🙂

  • Peter Straub – Shadowland – if you had asked me I would have said that I had already read this but apparently not
  • Ann & Jeff VanderMeer – The Weird – a compendium of strange and dark stories per the subtitle (I love Mr VanderMeer, he is awesome)
  • Kai Ashante Wilson – The Devil in America – Scant years after the Civil War, a mysterious family confronts the legacy that has pursued them across centuries, out of slavery, and finally to the idyllic peace of the town of Rosetree.
  • Poppy Z Brite – Exquisite Corpse – I read quite a few of Poppy’s works back in the day but didn’t get to this one
  • Gemma Files – Experimental Film – I enjoy a good downward spiral in my horror fiction, and this has to do with movies which are my other great love
  • Helen Oyeyemi – White is for Witching – a spine-tingling tribute to the power of magic, myth and memory
  • Livia Llewellyn – Furnace – a short story collection by an author nominated on multiple occasions for a Shirley Jackson Award
  • Sarah Monette – The Bone Key – confession time; I’ve already bought this one!
  • Michael McDowell – The Elementals – though long uninhabited, the third house is not empty
  • Robert Marasco – Burnt Offerings – apparently Stephen King has acknowledged this novel as having influenced The Shining, and there’s a film version which I may have to hunt down….
  • David Wong – John Dies at the End – horror meets comedy….
  • Kathe Koja – Cipher – winner of the 1991 Bram Stoker award
  • Victor LaValle – The Ballad of Black Tom – jazz age New York and a black protagonist in a story confronting the inherent racism in HP Lovecraft’s work (which all of us who love his stuff need to acknowledge)
  • Christopher Buehlman – Those Across the River – an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations [a] presence that demands sacrifice
  • Algernon Blackwood – The Willows – a classic from one of the masters

Looking forward to the long winter nights with this lot…….