GregHorrorShow: The Books Of 2017

Filmish

I started 2017 strong on the reading front but during the last few months I’ve struggled to get going and make it through many books. I also feel like 2017 was the first year in a long time that I didn’t enjoy a lot of the books I read, which is a real shame and might explain why I’ve been struggling of late.

I finally got around to reading Murder On The Orient Express (Agatha Christie) and what a wonderful novel it is. Fantastic pacing and Poirot is a pleasure as always. I received Filmish (Edward Ross) as a gift and it was a lovely ‘Sunday-afternoon’ book that I would dip into and read a chapter at a time. It’s a comic book telling the history/theory of film and is definitely worth checking out.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, there were some books that just didn’t grab me. I had super high hopes for The Axeman’s Jazz (Ray Celestin), a retelling of the story of the Axeman of New Orleans but from the perspective of fictional Detective lieutenant Michael Talbot and Ida Davis, along with her friend, real life musician Louis Armstrong. Sadly I was left wanting as the story plodded along, it wasn’t a terrible novel but left me disappointed. ‘Childhoods End‘ (Arthur C. Clarke) was a Sci-Fi novel that I found to be really tough to get into. A few flashes of interesting story ideas washed away in tale that struggled to raise any emotion in me.

AncillaryJustice

Bad Monkeys‘ (Matt Ruff) was similar in that it had a few nice touches but simply wasn’t for me. Another disappointment was The Violent Century (Lavie Tidhar), which from the blurb sounded great – a tale of Oblivion and Fogg, two old friends who have spent years watching the world crumble. In reality, I didn’t like the characters and felt that the book overall was a little boring.

Back to more positive tomes and the ever reliable Ray Bradbury was on fine form for The Martian Chronicles, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Ancillary Justice (Ann Leckie) skirted a fine line between positive and negative but did enough in the end to tie everything together and I suspect I will read the rest of the series at some stage. Likewise, The Power (Naomi Alderman) had a fantastic premise but felt like it was wasting it until a few twists delivered a really solid and enjoyable ending.

In non-fiction well being beacon Krista Tippet’s ‘Becoming Wise‘ was a lovely read that I’d recommend to everyone. Especially helpful if you’re looking for some guidance or a way to be more grounded, it features interviews with lots of fantastic thinkers/speakers.

Annihilation

But my favourite book of the year, which I read in one weekend is the stunning ‘Annihilation‘ (Jeff VanderMeer). Telling the story of an unnamed group made up of an anthropologist, surveyor, biologist, and psychologist that are tasked with exploring Area X. This one had me hooked from the very start. It’s not a long book but it packs a hefty punch as it develops and there are some nice twists and turns throughout. I now can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

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