A Few Titles for the Holidays

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Neil Gaiman, one of the more consistently excellent speculative writers out there, delivers another fine story in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. A short novel filled with the kind of world-sucking menace that exists at the heart of Peter Straub's Ghost Story, the writing here is very keen, the narrator's voice endearing. There is love, wonder, magic, myth, and longing here; in short, this is a Gaiman story.

The Novellas
I love novellas, and I'm a new fan of the work of Kealan Patrick Burke. His writing is powerful--haunting and lyrical, with strong plotting and characterization. These stories will stick with you, and they are all above average. A novella represents a great way to kill an hour or two without committing to a story over a longer haul, which is perfect for a holiday afternoon. 
The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Four

Ellen Datlow did a really nice job with this one. I've been quite surprised by the mixed reactions in many of the public forums that I've encountered with this one, as I found it consistently unsettling. There wasn't a tale in the bunch I thought undeserving, and there are a few (the tales by Barron, King, and Lanagan, to be sure) that are excellent. 

In Search Of and Others

One of my favorite books of the year, this is another collection with consistently excellent content--cover to cover. Will's writing shows tremendous insight into the human condition, and he has an innate ability to find the weird in the otherwise mundane.
I have already blogged my review of this one, but I have to say it was my favorite King release in 2014. Don't get me wrong, Doctor Sleep is a good book. But this feels more like vintage Stephen King. There's a nostalgia about being young and in love that is just so authentic in this story, and it's another example of King's prowess in writing across generally acknowledged genre boundaries.

I expect to return to more reading (and writing, and blogging) in the speculative genres next year, as I am nearing completion of the coursework portion of my degree down at UCF. I'm hoping to get re-acquainted with a number of authors that I've missed out on reading, and whose work would ordinarily appear here in a much larger list...

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