Favorite Reads: January 2016
Ice by Anna Kavan: A stark slipstream novel I flippantly described as Cormac McCarthy’s Frozen. Three unnamed characters, two men and a woman, chase, flee, and collide with each other as the world slides into a glacial apocalypse. This is one of those books you read for the experience, as opposed to the sense it all should logically make. I have no proof but I suspect this novel influenced both Doris Lessing’s Mara and Dann and Jenn Brissett’s Elysium, two books that have been on my year-end favorite reads lists.
The Great Wash by Gerald Kersh: This reads a bit like Arthur Machen trying his hand at a James Bond novel, which if you’re me sounds pretty cool. Two bachelor writers uncover a diabolical plot involving the world’s scientists and do their best to stop it. Much of it is written in “That was a fascinating story you just told, it reminds me of this fascinating story I am now going to tell you” style, which makes for a breezy read.
The Pleasure Merchant by Molly Tanzer: A raunchy, irreverent historical novel set in 18th century London about a shop boy turned social climber who ends up in over his head as heroics transform into villainy and the villains behave most heroically. If you like your books to poke fun at and skewer social customs than this is your historical adventure novel. Not that you’ll be above the skewering yourself. Tom Dawne’s climb has its triumphs, but also plenty of cringe worthy elements that cut more than a bit close.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters: A twisty Dickensian novel of thieves and con-artists that’s a delight to read, which is a very nice way of saying OH MY GOD THIS BOOK IS FUCKING AMAZE BALLS YOU GOTTA READ IT WHAT PUT DOWN THAT THING YOU’RE DOING READ IT READ IT NOW *gasp* *sputter* So, yeah, I thought it was pretty good. I’d been hearing about it for years and always had it mind to read it. My wife watched the BBC series when it came out, but it wasn’t until I heard that Park Chan-Wook director of Old Boy, Snowpiercer, and Stoker was going to adapt this into a Korean movie that I pushed it to the top of my TBR pile. If you at all like the melodramatic twisty Dickensian style, but wish it had a more modern sensibility then run don’t walk to read this book.