I almost said world.
So first some quickie reviews of stuff I’ve read recently.
Women by Chloe Caldwell. This was a quick read. Essentially we find our sort of heterosexual narrator who is deeply neurotic, struggling with addiction and stuff falling for a hot ass butch. Remember I’m 37 for a minute here. Reading this reminded me of women I dated in my early twenties. None of those relationships turned out well, there was much drama like in the book. As far as books I feel like all the Queers need to read, eh. I do think female id’d queers in their 20s would probably enjoy this more than I did. I did enjoy that while beautifully written the style lent itself to the occasional clunky sentance, that fit well with the overall tone of the whole thing. (Sorry affiliate link here) I really like how Chloe writes, her book Legs Get Led Astray was gorgeous. O
Not long ago I finished reading The Black Company (Chronicles of The Black Company #1) by Glen Cook. This was recommended to me quite a while back by a friend of mine. It is listed as dark fantasy. Okay you could have knocked me over with a feather. There are Black people, like specifically named integral to the story black folks in this book who are not denoted by weird 30s AAVE, nor are they bowing and scraping Yassir Nossir Magical negroes. I knew nothing about Glen Cook and then saw he is an old White Dude. Also this first book let me note was put out in 1984. So I will continue the series. It has my favorite shit, magic, mercenaries, foul language and some mean ass people. I do recommend.
Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson. I’m almost done with it, I’ve been reading it in tiny ten/twenty page increments because I love it so much. If you are a stickler for “proper” English or have some racist leanings in regard to language don’t read this book.This patois used in the book is particular but if you can’t stand “misspellings” etc skip it. Once I got the hang of the usage and speech (which realistically happened in under 50 pages which is more than I can say for the first time I read Trainspotting, which I notice most critics don’t mention the language..that is a whole other thing) the book is great. It is not an easy read, there is some serious shit going down in this world. If you’ve been with me for a while you know I’m a Nalo Hopkinson fangirl and this book just…yeah. It is honestly just a great damn book. Read it.
Did I mention Cataract City: A Novel by Craig Davidson? First, let me tell you a story. Years ago I read Rust and Bone also by Craig Davidson. I love the fuck out of that collection. Rust and Bone: Stories came out in 2005 and was recommended to me at the time by a friendly bookstore owner. Then like now I did not buy a lot of brand new just came out books but, the owner wanted me to read it so badly I got a discount. Awesome right? So I read it twice in a row, loved it and lost the fucking book. The store owner had a long standing habit of recommending me books and neither of us could remember what book it was or who wrote it. Cut to me randonly looking at some bullshit on the internet and HOLY SHIT THAT GUY WROTE THIS BOOK. Ahem. Since then I’ve fixed his name in my brain and follow his work cause damn. Cataract City was not a disappointment. It is sad and beautiful. Something about the fact that his voice is both tender and cut glass rough just hits me right in the gut. I love it.
Apparently this is gonna be my year in memorable books. Deal with it.
Next obviously I have to talk about Antonia Crane’s memoir Spent: A Memoir. I think I first started following Antonia’s writing on the Rumpus? Similarly I started reading my now dear friend and publisher Milcah from the Rumpus and it might have been Antonia interviewing Milcah…hrm I should find out about that. Anyway as we all know once I like how someone writes I will follow them around the internet a lot. Because obviously I must read EVERYTHING THEY WRITE. I waited and waited for Spent, I remember when she got a deal I did a happy dance. I bought Spent the minute I could afford it and goddamn. It was worth the wait. Just read it. Antonia wrote for real down to the bone and reading it hurts. So do it.
Speaking of hot women I know (I am AWESOME at the segue no?) my friend Sarah Katherine Lewis re-released her book Rehab a Gogo. Go buy it from her right now. Sarah is hilarious and terribly honest. Also buying it this way, gets her cash so get on that. I can also recommend her other books Indecent: How I Make It and Fake It as a Girl for Hire and Sex and Bacon: Why I Love Things That Are Very, Very Bad for Me. I have to say the latter is my favorite. Just just buy them. She’s fantastic.
Moving along. One of the other memorable books I read this year was Junkie Love by Joe Clifford. I am familiar with his work from the Flash Fiction Offensive (I was published there yonks ago) I want to say that’s how I met Court Merrigan (another author I’m terribly fond of) as well but I could be wrong. So I saw an announcement for this book a few months before it got published and picked it up earlier this year. I am a sucker for a good degenerate love story and this fit the bill for me. Junkies in love, mental illness and the nut all the way redeemed protagonists. I like that shit. Good book if you like this sort of thing.
We can’t talk about my year in books without talking about the Sandman Slim Seires and Richard fuckin Kadrey. Start here with Sandman Slim: A Novel and keep going. Now I had not been looking for another series of books to get hooked on and these got me. There is not too much romance, LA isn’t a White wasteland, our hero is an asshole which isn’t totally his fault but he’s still an asshole. This series gives me the Bosch series feels but using magic and there’s hell and zombies and all sorts of shit going on. I really love this series.
I also read a fucking shitload of short fiction this year. I mean I read a fucking metric ton of short fiction and a lot of it was pretty great.
I will admit that I kind of miss HTMLGIANT book reviews. Some of them were pretty great and introduced me to authors I might not have heard of otherwise. RIP sorta I guess.
And I’m not even counting audiobooks here. Of which I also experienced a lot. Some were awful some not so much.
I have via the magic of presents from people and the last sale at Thriftbooks a hefty stack of paperbacks to read.I am rolling into 2015 many words deep.
I will close this out with a musical note. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to this band this year Gov’t Mule. I just fucking love them. So first check out one of the few covers of I’d Rather go Blind that I like.
Then if you’d like to give one of my writing playlists a spin. Hit random and get the fuck to work.