Yes, I do actually still have a few more pieces to offer you.
Here are some of the books that I enjoyed in 2007. They are in no particular order of preference save the first.
Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov was the best book I read in 2007. It’s a collection of stories based on the author’s time spent in the Siberian labor camps. It’s both a testament to survival in the face of the most brutal and degrading existence and an incredible work of art.
Generation Loss by Liz Hand is a dark, gritty thriller from one of my favorite writers. Hand expertly navigates new territory here.
Black Sheep by Ben Peek, a first novel from an Australian writer, is a dystopian tale with a great irony at its heart. At one and the same time, it is about the loss of identity at the hands of a totalitarian racial protocol but also, and more importantly, a journey of self-discovery for the protagonist, Isao. Peek’s got a good, clear, writing style. Looking forward to seeing further books from him.
Melancholy of Anatomy by Shelley Jackson was a re-discovery for me, literally. I found my copy when I was cleaning my garage this past summer. Poetic, funny, surreal, and beautifully grim, this book’s stories explore the physical realities of the body in metaphor. Just a wonderful book in every way possible. A classic.
Softspoken by Lucius Shepard is an idiosyncratic turn on the Southern Gothic; a quiet, subtle ghost story that slowly builds to an explosive resolution. Great writing here – spare and beautiful. Terrific descriptions of the everyday.
Tin House, vol.#9, Fantastic Women Issue has great work by Kelly Link, Shelley Jackson, Lydia Millet, Rikki Ducornet, etc. This single issue of the magazine is every bit a great anthology.
Under My Roof by Nick Mamatas is a crack and a half. Having grown up on
The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard was listed number one on National Geographic's list of the best hundred non-fiction adventure books of all time. The author was the youngest member of the tragic Scott expedition to the South Pole. Read this one in summer and you won’t even notice the heat. Unforgettable.
The Dog Said Bow-Wow by Michael Swanwick. I was a big fan of Swanwick’s Tales of Old Earth collection, but I think he outdoes himself in this new one. 16 stories that run the gamut from Science Fiction to Fantasy to Horror – dinosaurs, voodoo, Venus, a fairy land bordello, and the great Surplus and Darger.
Strangers by Taichi Yamada is a subtle, quiet, but altogether harrowing horror story from the newish line of Japanese titles from Vertical Books. A man who is recently out of a job and a marriage takes up residence in an office building. During the day there are people there working, but at night he and one other person, a strange woman, live in the giant complex. In his searching for a job he travels back to a neighborhood he used to live in as a child and discovers his parents, who he knows died many years earlier. A dreamy creep show. Loved this book.
The Imago Sequence by Laird Barron. Barron is stylistically versatile and his stories cover a wide range of dark themes. His writing draws you in from the first line and you’re hooked just by the flow of language before the plot even kicks in.
The Archimedes Codex: Revealing the Secrets of the World's Greatest Palimpsest by
The Archimedes Codex: Revealing the Secrets of the World's Greatest Palimpsest byReviel Netz and William Noel (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Netz is an expert on science history, Noel is a curator of rare texts. What draws them to collaborate here is the Archimedes Codex, a major work by the founder of science. It was thought lost, until rediscovered as a palimpsest—a manuscript partially erased, then written over by a medieval monk. The Codex was bought by an unknown collector for 2 million dollars in 1998. He deposited it at the
New Legend: A Story of Law and Culture and the FIght for Self Determination in the Kimblerey by
Unlike many books on Aborigines, this project originated with the people themselves. The purpose is to transmit the Indigenous voice and issues of the
When Red Is Black by Qiu Xiaolong (Sceptre)
Qui Xiaolong’s subject matter is