Tuesday, January 19, 2016


The holiday reading season is now officially over. Who knows what it is about December and January that puts me in the mood to read stacks and stacks of the kind of books that usually feature sassy sorcerers and eldritch monstrosities? Maybe it’s an alignment of the stars. Maybe it’s Jesus. Whatever it is, I know it’s done with the same way I know I’m done with Christmas cookies: I look at a stack of deliciousness and gag a little.

Does that mean I’m done with either cookies or pulp fiction for the year? Hell no. What do I look like? Some sort of Puritan. No. It just means a breather. But before I start tackling something hefty and serious like A Little Life (BTW, if you want to get really depressed, just look at that cover), here's a few highlights of this year's holiday reading extravaganza.

1.Hellblazer: Bloodlines  

Hellblazer is one of those comics I've been aching to see adapted well for years. That it hasn't probably has more to do with the punk rock, radical left sensibilities of its writers than anything else. Thatcher was still in office when some of the comics in this volume were being published, and her specter looms over everything. The demons that Constantine in Bloodlines walk around in Neo-Nazi coats and yuppie suits. They're involved in pressuring little old ladies and illegal arms testing. They are banal--right until the moment that they're not, and it's why I love Garth Ennis so much.

2) Aloha From Hell by Richard Kadrey

 Mmm, Sandman Slim is going to be a regular Christmas read. I can feel it in my bones. Plenty of wisecracking, a lot of bloodshed, wicked cool monsters and a fun mythology that taps Judeo-Christian sources as well as pagan = one very happy Melinda. 

If you haven't read any of the Sandman slim novels, I definitely recommend going to the beginning. Aloha ties up a lot of major plot threads that have been developing over the prior two novels and while Aloha could probably stand alone, it seems like it would be more fun not. Standing alone, that is.

3) Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

 OK, there are no wizards as such in Mr. Penumbra, unless you count mysterious old book sellers with secret hidden rooms full of encrypted books as wizards, which I totally do, but Mr. Penumbra was still one of my favorite holiday reads. Such a cozy, fun read. Perfect escapism for grumbly cold weather. Also, I need to find a book cult to joint. I want one for reals. Internet, find me one. Pronto.

This list isn't comprehensive, but these three were my most festive happy-making. Hope you enjoy.

As a side note, I am most definitely in the market for expanding the diversity of my sassy sorcerers in the near future, which is to say as soon as I can read this sort of fiction without feeling a bit. If you have suggestions, please do let me know.