What I read in 2012 (ish)

December 31st, 2012Posted by Nancy

Ok, I admit it. I did not keep a record of what I read and my memory is … um…. not what it used to be, so this is more a note about the best things I think I read in 2012 (or perhaps late 2011).

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Deathless
Catherynne Valente

I’d previously read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making but Deathless outdid all my expectations. It’s a dark take on the Russian folk tale “Koschei the Deathless” set in WWII Russia and less mortal realms. The authorial voice is stunning, with the cadence and tone that seems utterly perfect for the story. I bought it for my e-reader and then ended up buying a physical copy as well, both because it is a beautiful book and because there is a part of me that doesn’t consider e-books as “real”. But that’s just me – whatever way you choose to do it, you should read this book.
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The Drowning Girl
Caitlin R. Kiernan
I read a couple of Caitlin Kiernan’s early books, back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but they didn’t resonate for me, possibly because they were conflated with the rash of “I’m much cooler than you will ever be” horror novels I read in the 1990s. However, the very astute people at Bakka Phoenix, recommended this to me and they were absolutely right. It’s a brilliant, sad, funny book about finding a way to live in the world despite dangers both internal and external.
Both of these books were mentioned more than once in the “year’s best” panel at the World Fantasy Convention, so you don’t need to just take my word for it.

A quartet of fine books from my friends at ChiZine:

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From Helen’s quietly disquieting stories of scholars to the rip-snorting conclusion to Gemma’s Hexslinger series, from David’s “big fat bastard” book about Russian spies, psychic powers, giant squids, and gangsters to Michael’s journey in the darkness at the heart of a Northern Ontario town, these books showed once again why “the house that Sandra and Brett built” is publishing some of the best dark fiction anywhere. (It also shows that Toronto is home to an amazing number of talented writers and that I’m lucky enough to know them). I’ve got a pile of ChiZine books in the “to be read” pile and I’m sure they’ll show up on next year’s list.

And, of course, see my post regarding David Keyes’ wonderful collection “I do so worry for all those lost at sea”.

Happy reading in 2013!

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