Joe, our voracious reader, has put together his top 2018 list of reads! These are the favorite books he read last year and is sharing with you to read this year!
Check them out:
I know it’s already the middle of January and maybe it’s a little late for a ‘best of 2018’ write-up but I didn’t get the chance to do one earlier and let’s face it there are still a bunch of good reads in the list so it doesn’t matter too much when you get the list, right?
These are books that I read in 2018, not necessarily books published in 2018 although most of them were published recently.
CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Paul Tremblay
I’ve always said some short books need to be read over a couple of days to really be appreciated even though it’s possible to read them in one day or even in one sitting. This is one of those books and I’m so glad I read this over the course of three days because I was thinking about it non-stop from the time I started it until the time I finished it. This includes the time I was sleeping. I don’t remember the dreams I had while I read this, but I do remember that they were messed up.
The book is about a family who takes a vacation at a cabin in the woods. While there, they are approached by a group of people who are convinced the world is coming to an end. The group insist the two fathers and their daughter are the only people who can stop the world from ending.
While I have a young family, I’ve never taken a vacation at a cabin the woods, but nevertheless, this story connected with me. The fathers, naturally were most concerned about their daughter throughout the novel and I could relate to the need to protect and keep my child safe.
The story is written from the viewpoint of all of the different characters and in the end creates a narrative that constantly moves the story forward while also giving background information when needed, weaving it seamlessly into the story.
Go read it, just don’t blame me if you can’t sleep.
THE HOLE by Hye-Young Pyun
Just like CABIN, this book messed me up, but for altogether different reasons. If I had to compare this book to another one, it would have to be Stephen King’s MISERY but it takes the hopelessness to a whole new level. This is the epitome of the slow burn horror book. Each page things get a little more hopeless for Oghi, the protagonist. The uncomfortable feeling in the novel keeps building and building as the hopeless feeling gets ratcheted up as well.
It’s hard to get too deep into a summary of this novel without giving too much away, but I’ll give it a shot. Basically, Oghi wakes up from a coma and is paralyzed after being in a car accident with his wife. His wife did not survive, leaving Oghi without any family, on his own to begin his recovery. Eventually he is able to go home, but that is really when the horror starts.
This book won the 2017 Shirley Jackson award and it’s not hard to see why.
THE SCAR by China Miéville
If there is a book on this list that might not fit squarely within the horror genre it’s this one. But trust me when I tell you as much as it is sci-fi or fantasy, it’s horror too. I’m a huge Miéville fan and this is my favorite of all his books. Its the second in his Bas-lag books after PERDIDO STREET STATION which also mixes horror with sci-fi and fantasy. Though it’s not necessary to read the first book in the series to enjoy this one, it absolutely makes reading THE SCAR much more enjoyable.
Set entirely at sea, THE SCAR is the story of an immense floating city and its leaders who search for a large sea monster. The book is also a political drama as the leaders of the city try to out-maneuver others within the government to complete their objectives. The horror elements, especially in the second half of the book are never far from the surface and by the end I was nodding my head saying “yup, this is a horror book.”
While it might not be for all of the readers here, THE SCAR is absolutely a horror but worth checking out.
FOE by Iain Reid
This the follow up to his successful first novel I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS and while I read both books last year, I found this one to be the more enjoyable of the two. Reid has a writing style that makes the reader uncomfortable from the very beginning. Even if there is nothing specifically weird or strange going on, the writing itself gives the reader the feeling that something is wrong or about to go wrong.
Set on a remote farm where a married couple doesn’t get many visitors, a man shows up and tells the husband, Junior that he is needed for a very specific mission in space. The couple doesn’t know what to make of this strange visitor and the the weirdness only grows for there. As I was reading this book I had about thirty different theories as to how it was going to end and none of them were right but it makes you feel uncomfortable and makes you think all at the same time.
LAST DAYS by Brian Evenson
If you’re looking for weird and strange horror without the supernatural, this is the book you want to read. I haven’t read much Evenson over the years but after reading his excellent story collection A COLLAPSE OF HORSES this year I wanted to get through more of his work. I’ve seen this book talked about a lot and for good reason. Evenson does an incredible job creating characters the reader cares about and then does awful things to them, dragging the reader along kicking and screaming. The whole time.
A private investigator named Kline is kidnapped and taken inside the gated community of a cult that believes amputations bring them closer to God. He is coerced into investigating a murder that occurred within the small community. If that explanation doesn’t make you want to read the book, I don’t know what will.
The book is broken up into two parts with the same characters in each but both are equally grotesque and terrifying. Read it right now.
THE HELLBOUND HEART by Clive Barker
Every year I read HELLBOUND HEART around Halloween so I didn’t read it for the first time this year but I did read it and thought I should include it. I could write an entire column about this book and the Hellraiser movies because I’ve read it multiple times and seen the moves even more times than I’ve read the book...actually I think I’ll get to work on that column right now so stay tuned for that….