Tag Archives: annual-books-read

Annual Books Read 2017 (for an increasingly shaky definition of book)

Posted on January 5, 2018 by

This year the amount of student work I read–both as an instructor at UCLA and UTSC and as an MFA student at UBC–was copious. We’re talking around two hundred stories and novel fragments, all of which I critiqued, too. This is what I fit in the cracks:

New Fiction – Novels, Novellas & Collections

Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz

Spoonbenders, by Daryl Gregory

The Best American Mystery Stories 2016, edited by Elizabeth George

River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey

Taste of Marrow, by Sarah Gailey

The Red Threads of Fortune, by JY Yang (I am reading the companion novella now!)


The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life by Jonathan F. P. Rose

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber (Kelly is reading this to me so we aren’t quite done)

Crafty TV Writing: Thinking Inside the Box by Alex Epstein

Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel, by Hallie Ephron

The Best American Travel Writing 2017, edited by Lauren Collins

Women & Power: A Manifesto, by Mary Beard

Fieldwork Fail: The Messy Side of Scence, by Jim Jourdane and 25 scientists

I read lots and lots and lots and fucking lots of non-fiction articles, and I didn’t track them. You can’t track everything. But notable among them is: “City of Villains: Why I Don’t Trust Batman,” by Sarah Gailey

New Short Fiction

This is an incredibly incomplete list… I’m still struggling to capture all my short fic reading, especially the DailySF offerings.

Excerpts from a Film (1942-1987)” by A.C. Wise

And then there Were (N-One)” by Sara Pinsker

We Who Live in the Heart,” by Kelly Robson

Letters Found on the Backs of Pepper Labels next to a Skeleton in an 800-year-old Hibernation Capsule Ruptured by What Looks Like Sword Damage,” by Luc Reid

We Need to talk about the Unicorn in your Backyard,” by Mari Ness

Making the Magic Lightning Strike Me,” by John Chu,

The Famine King,” by Darcie Little Badger

Later, Let’s Tear up the Inner Sanctum,” by Merc Rustad,

Seasons of Glass and Iron,” by Amal El-Mohtar

It Happened to Me: I was Brought Back to Avenge my Death, but chose Justice Instead,” by Nino Cipri.

A Hero, I am,” by Kat Otis

​“Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time,” by @KMSzpara in @UncannyMagazine

​”Rivers Run Free,” by Charles Payseur –

The Witch in the Tower,” by Mari Ness


The Blue Place, by Nicola Griffith

Stay, by Nicola Griffith

Always, by Nicola Griffith

In the Woods, Tana French

Ghost Story, Peter Straub

The Trespasser, Tana French

2015 Books Read

Posted on January 5, 2016 by

keep readingMy 2015 books read list is embarrassingly short, in part because I reread quite a few things, in part because I tanked out of a lot of things. This does mean that if it’s on here, it was quite a good book. I also read a stonking pile of short fiction but was miserable at capturing the individual stories. Here’s the list of novels:

1. Hilary Davidson, The Damage Done
2. Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
3. Melanie Tem, The Yellow Wood
4. Ian Fleming, Casino Royale
5. Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August (reread)
6. L.R. Lam, False Hearts (advance copy)
7. Hilary Mantel, Beyond Black
8. Tana French, Faithful Place (reread)
9. Eric Larsen, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
10. Robert Wiersema, Black Feathers
11. Tana French, The Secret Place (reread)
12. Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (reread)
13. Hilary Mantel, Bring up the Bodies (reread)
14. S.M. Stirling, The Desert and the Blade: A Novel of the Change
15. Fran Wilde, Updraft
16. Daisy Hay, Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron, and Other Tangled Lives
17. Amberlough, by Lara Elena Donnelly (advance copy)
18. Minette Walters, The Shape of Snakes (reread)
19. The Last Witness, by K. J. Parker
20. The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves The World Again, by A.C. Wise

21. Experimental Film, by Gemma Files

22. The Flame in the Maze, by Caitlin Sweet

23. Imaginarium 4: The Best Canadian Speculative Fiction, edited by Sandra Kasturi and Jerome Stuart

Experimental Film, by @gemmafiles – Five Fucking Great Things

Posted on November 24, 2015 by

There are a lot of things about Experimental Film that are gaspworthy, horrifying, disturbing and exciting, and I hope to talk more about this book as time spools, but right now I just want to give you five reasons to read the living hell out of this awesome new horror novel from Gemma Files.

  1. Lois Cairns is not your standard protagonist – Lois is a woman in the midst of a profound midlife crisis. Her career has evaporated out from under her, her son’s autistic and difficult, and she can’t shake a nagging idea that it’s all her fault. She’s not twenty, or adorable, or on the cusp of love. But she’s smart and determined and fearless, and she knows more about movies than most of us could learn if we spent the next fifty years studying up.

2. The bad stuff isn’t lurking in the shadows. You know how vampires and spooks wait for it to get dark and dreary, and then creep up on you? You know that idea that you can barricade yourself in somewhere safe, and at dawn it’ll all be over for awhile? Not in this story. The dread thing in Experimental Film comes at you in the full light of a summer’s day, in all its searing heat and blinding glare.

3. I heart Haunted Toronto. This book is another piece in the creepy patchwork universe Files has created, and I love it with a love that’s true. Her characters have lunch down the street from my house. They get into full-on confrontations with monsters at the Kensington Market. And there’s always an expedition out to the backroads of cabin country, a part of the province I really haven’t seen yet, where the skin between worlds is thin and permeable and something far more disturbing than a Hellmouth is on the bubble.

4. Victorian Creep Factor, Canada Styles. The mystery at the heart of this book is about an early auteur filmmaker working in the days of silver nitrate and no rules. Iris Whitcomb made the same movie over and over, with the aid of spiritualists, as she tried to discover why her son Hyatt vanished in 1908.  Then she vanished too, from a moving train whose passenger compartment apparently caught on fire en route to the city.

5. Crunchy family stuff rounds out the dark notes. This brings us back, in a way, to the idea of an atypical hero. Lois is no lone wolf. She may want to be at times; she may be unconvinced she’s got much worthwhile going on as a wife and mother. But as she wrangles with the missing Iris and her incandescent producer, she also has to deal with her child, her marriage, her in-laws, and her own often-problematic mom. It’s not always easy to read–plenty of folks will find their own family-of-origin nerves twanging as things play out–but it’s very believable. And what good is a horror novel if you don’t feel, on some level, as if this could have happened to someone like you?

Gemma did a Heroine Question interview here back in June, by the way, so if you’re curious about who she liked to read about as a kid, check it out.

2014 Books Read, with some stories

Posted on December 31, 2014 by

keep readingThis year’s reading. If I finished it, it was at least good. If it has an asterisk after it, it was great.
1. Echopraxia, by Peter Watts*
2. Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King
3. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013, edited by Tim Folger and Siddhartha Mukherjee
4. All Heads Turn when the Hunt Goes By, John Farris
  1. Touchstone, by Laurie R. King
  2. The Madonna and the Starship, by James Morrow
  3. Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell
  4. Horns: A Novel, by Joe Hill*
  5. The Door in the Mountain, by Caitlin Sweet*
  6. A Taste Fur Murder, by Dixie Lyle
  7. The Golden Princess: A Novel of the Change, by S.M. Stirling*
  8. The Secret Place, by Tana French*
  9. The Lesser Dead, by Christopher Buehlman*
  10. Last Plane to Heaven by Jay Lake*
  11. Last Song Before Night, by Ilana C. Myer
16. N0S4A2, by Joe Hill
17. The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of those who survived the Great American Dustbowl, by Timothy Egan*
18. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014, edited by Tim Folger and Deborah Blum*
19. The Great Influenza, by John M. Barry*
20. Nobody’s Home, by Tim Powers
21. We Will All Go Down Together, by Gemma Files (As of this morning, I’m two stories away from being finished with this.)*
Plus some, but not all, of the stories
The Eighth Grade History Class visits the Hebrew Home for the Aging,” by Harry Turtledove*
“Hard Stars,” by Brendan DuBois
each thing I show you is a piece of my death,” by Gemma Files*
Miss Violet May from the Twelve Thousand Lakes,” by Tina Connolly*
On Disposing of a Corpse,” by Tom Jolly
Wedding Day,” by Brian Trent
Love is a component of this Story,” by Liz Argall
The Devil in America,” by Kai Ashante Wilson
Swarm, the Queen Commanded,” by K.A. Gillett
“Something going Around,” by Harry Turtledove
Amanda Who Went Before,” by Rebecca L. Brown
Waiting for Flashmob” by Ryan Abbott*
Nine Lives,” by Callie Snow
The Last Repairman,” by Dave Beynon
The Vivisection of Sergeant Shane Eastwood,” by Matt Mikalatos
Coffin,” by Mari Ness
“Solstice Cakes,” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman,
Snow, Glass, Apples,” by Neil Gaiman,
“The Faery Handbag,” by Kelly Link
“Strange Attractors” by S.B. Divya
Oceans of You,” by Pam L. Wallace
Clasp Hands,” by Stephanie Burgis
Mephisto,” by Alan Baxter
English Muffin, Devotion on the Side,” by Cat Rambo*
Guy Walks Into A Bar,” by Simon Rich*
Ten Wretched Things about Influenza Siderius,” by Rachael K. Jones*
Futures Market,” by Mitchell Edgeworth

2013 Books Read

Posted on January 3, 2014 by

keep readingHere’s the annual list of everything I read last year. It’s a new low, numerically–between the move and a couple other things, I wasn’t in the right headspace. I did read a fair number of short stories, but I often forgot to record them. A few made it to their own list, though, at the bottom. Of those, my favorite was the John Chu story

The best novel for me, this year, was Hild, by Nicola Griffith. You probably remember that I reviewed it, here.

1. Best American Science and Nature Writing, edited by Dan Ariely and Tim Folger
2. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
3. The Cat’s Table, by Michael Ondatje
4. The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey
5. Suspect Identities: A history of fingerprinting and criminal identification by Simon A. Cole
6. The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars, by Paul Collins
7. Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World, by Matthew Goodman
8. The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
9. Black Rubber Dress, by Lauren Henderson
10. The Given Sacrifice, by S.M. Stirling
11. The Summer of Dead Toys, by Antonio Hill
12. Hild, by Nicola Griffith
13. The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History, by John M. Barry
14. The Voices In-Between, by Charlene Challenger
15. Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn
16. The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes
17. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
2 student novels, plus partials

Short Stories
About Fairies,” Pat Murphy
The Water that Falls on You from Nowhere,” John Chu

Running of the Bulls” by Harry Turtledove
Brimstone and Marmalade,” by Aaron Corwin,
Dormanna,” by Gene Wolfe
House of Dreams“, by Michael Swanwick