Belated best reads of 2016

Belated posts and a quieter than intended Dust Lounge in part due to excitement over kittens, then tears over the sad loss of one of them. I won’t be dwelling on it here. Suffice to say there was much unexpected sadness over the festive season, and little Mole will be missed. Thankfully Diesel is doing really, very well, and he is such a warm heart in the home.

So, on to cheerier things – it’s time to catch up on some of the bookish wordage I’ve been meaning to post about, and without further ado, welcome to the official belated best of list.

Because everyone’s gotta love a best-of list.

And there were some damn fine reads last year, along with plenty of books that are still in my to-be-read pile in some serious need of eager eyeballs.

As usual, they’re just books I read in 2016, not necessarily released during the year. But they’re all books you should seriously read, right, now.

Some books didn’t quite make it to the list, so I’m just going to go ahead and use my honourable mentions like a scatter gun of mighty fine word pellets and say that Feed by Mira Grant really is worth a read (kudos for doing something I didn’t see coming… I shall say no more to avoid terrible spoilerage), and Way Down Dark by James Smythe (one of my all-time favourite authors, reading his books is like a masterclass in writing, and his foray into young adult is not one to be missed).

But enough of this, let’s crack on, it is finally time for my MASSIVE LIST OF BELATED BEST READS OF 2016:

  1. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

A gorgeously crafted story following an expedition into Area X, a mysterious, tainted area that has previously swallowed 11 expeditions already. The characters have no names, but you feel like you get inside them, and the problems that they take with them into the unknown. I heard on the grapevine (if grapevines are made if internets) that this was being made into a film or series. This should happen. And it should happen soon, goddamnit.

  1. The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

Arnopp is one clever, sharp dude. Yes, dude. I don’t think the word dude is used enough these days. So let’s say it again. Duuuude. Anyway, I digress. The Last Days of Jack Sparks is a wickedly funny, sharp and damn bloody scary mockumentary into a journo’s investigations into the demon world. It’s one of the few books that’s made me laugh at the same time as forcing me to keep the light on at night.

  1. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

A really great take on the post-apocalyptic world, playing on the horrors of what you can’t see. This book took me by surprise and kept me there. A really original horror, there’s not many things I can imagine being worse than having to blindfold yourself to protect yourself from the monsters that lurk outside.

  1. The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

This was my first Pinborough read, and it was all types of seriously good. It made me cry; dirty, snotty tears. It’s such a sad story. Part coming of age, part science fiction dystopia, it still haunts me, while leaving a warm underbelly in my soul. I’m not sure what that means, but if you read it, you’ll know.

  1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is one damn, fine beautiful book. I can’t really put into words how much I liked it. Hard core science fiction enthusiasts probably won’t find anything too original hidden in the pages, but it’s so artfully done it’s like drowning in a painting. Truly, there were more tears (I admit, I did seem to cry a lot when I was reading last year), and it’s the tone as much as the story that really got me. It has flavours of books like the Handmaid’s Tale, leaving you with a sense of loss when you finish reading it. Honestly, if you don’t read another book EVER then read this one now.

 

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Author of Grind Spark, near future pre-apocalyptic fiction.

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