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IggytheBorg 04-29-2010 09:19 PM

Iggy's Book Nook
Re-reading some of my old posts reminded me how much I enjoyed the Horror Novel thread on Creature Corner. I read at an alarmingly fast rate, and can post mini reviews here with some frequency. All are welcome to join in as well w/ opinions, questions, or reviews of your own. perhaps Rob can sticky this, and we can use it to post blurbs about books that might not merit a thread of their own?

I expect most of the reviews I'll be psoting will be of horror books, since that's what I like to read the most. But since Creature Corner is no more [bows head, hat over heart, for a moment of respectful silence], I see no reason to restrict it to that genre.

So let's get started, shall we? First, let me say a few eords about the last book I wrote a CHUD review for, but which never got posted: "Sins of the Sirens". It was a collection of 16 tales by 4 female authors. As the name implies, they all have something to do w/ a female protagonist or character in the role of temptress. Not every story in it was great (a few were kind of predictable, one I can think of seemed weirdly structured, in that parts of it felt really tacked on, as if it was badly edited), but some of them were damned fine. I liked the stuff by Mehitobel Wilson so much, I went out and bought her short story collection "Dangerous Red", and will be reading & reviewing it soon. Seeing the names of any of the 4 authors who contributed to this volume's names on the cover or table of contents of an anthology will make me more likely to buy it. One of these stories I had read before, in "The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror", a truly worthy series in its own right, so I'm apparently not the only one who thinks these ladies got chops. Considering what shit Alex was usually sent by the publishers to have me review, this was a breath of fresh air, and it's a real shame the full review never saw the light of day. Highly recommended.

Finished "Under the Dome" a few weeks ago. Like all King novels, it was a compelling read because his style is just so damned readable. But it was far from his best work. Some interesting characters, particularly the main villain & main hero, but he got a little carried away, I think, with the villain's shenanigans. Making hm a corrupt politician would probably have been enough, but King goes it one better, and I think he overreached himself a bit. I also find it hard to believe that society would collapse as quickly as this town did in so short a time. The ending kind of reminded me of something Niven or, probably more to the point, Harlan Ellison would write. Not a bad thing to imitate, certainly, but you do get a kind of "been there, done that" feel. Am I the only one who thinks so? I know some of you must have read this. What'd you think?

"Inferno", an anthology edited by Ellen Datlow. Datlow is well known for editing "The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror" annual collection. I don't collect that one like I do the Mammoth Books, but I know of them, and they are reportedly very good. The stories in here were of above average quality (although I admit I didn't get one or two of them). One made its way into the "Mammoth Book of Best New Horror", so again I'm apparently not the only one who thnks this is good stuff. And last but certainly not least, there's a story by Glenn Hirshberg in it, and I've been a fan of his since Alex gave me a copy of his "American Morons" collection to review. Bonus! Also highly recommended.

IggytheBorg 05-16-2010 02:15 PM

Finished David Moody's Fourth & final "Autumn" book, "The Human Condition." This is a series of zombie novels. My brother, who discovered them & passed them on to me, says they're his favorite series. I don't think I'd go that far (I still like "The Rising" & "City of the Dead" better, personally), but they are very good.

This volume is kind of like Brian Keene's "Select Scenes" books are, gather (I haven't had the chance to read those yet, but I presume they're similar). They focus on characters that are new to or just barely mentioned in the previous 3 volumes, for the most part (although some of the more important characters do make an appearance or two). One of them is a zombie mentioned in the last book, and she's featured in several chapters, chronicling her journey through the plague from beginning to end. An enjoyable concept, well executed. There's something smooth and flowing about the way Moody writes. He captures emotional states very well, also. I wrote on the other site that I read his book "Straight to You", and the depressing tone of that book affeceted me for days. He's a powerful writer when he wants to be, but never in an overblown, self important way. As with all the other "Autumn" books, I recommend this one.

Further, as noted above I started Mehitobel Wilson's short story collection "Dangerous Red" yesterday. If the first story, "Tools of the Trade" is any indication, this is gonna be a very good book. More when it's finished.

Howard 05-16-2010 05:45 PM

Currently reading some old lite horror. Necroscope III

Matt 05-16-2010 07:50 PM

Currently reading 'The Power of the Dog' by Donald Winslow (recommended on the Crime thread at the other site by Jake and a couple of others). Very good.

IggytheBorg 05-17-2010 10:33 AM

Speaking of crime novels, any John D. MacDonald/Travis McGee fans up in this bitch? Or Elmore Leonard? LOVED "52 Pick Up". Should read more by him. Any recommendations from the fans where to start?

Ed Hocken 05-17-2010 10:35 AM


Seeing how you've read your share of horror. What was your thoughts Guiermo Del Toro's The Strain?

IggytheBorg 05-17-2010 10:38 AM

Have not read that. He is a hell of a director, though. I'd be willing to give it a shot & take one for the team. Y'know, add it to the Amazon wish list, purchase it thru Rob's link. . . read it & post my pithy comments. . . . the whole bit.

Ed Hocken 05-17-2010 10:41 AM

I got it through the library, it's the first in a trilogy. See what you think of it, real breezy read.

Matt 05-17-2010 10:42 AM

Big Andrew Vachss fan, Ig. if you want some crime, buy some Vachss and do the time.

Bobby Bear 05-17-2010 12:18 PM

Recently started The Bell Jar. A very good friend of mine has spoken highly of it for years and, even though I've barely dented it, I can see why already.

I love the title "Iggy's Book Nook", by the way.

IggytheBorg 05-17-2010 02:53 PM

Thank you. You can smoke while you read, too. But no jacket is required.

Martin 05-17-2010 03:40 PM

Bring it Iggy. Loved your reviews back there!

Bobby Bear 05-18-2010 01:01 PM


Originally Posted by IggytheBorg (Post 134817)
Thank you. You can smoke while you read, too. But no jacket is required.

*leans back in chair*


Shit Dickface 05-18-2010 01:08 PM


Originally Posted by IggytheBorg (Post 134564)
Speaking of crime novels, any John D. MacDonald/Travis McGee fans up in this bitch? Or Elmore Leonard? LOVED "52 Pick Up". Should read more by him. Any recommendations from the fans where to start?

JDM fan here! Also, not too swift on Leonard but I've liked what I've read of his so far.


Originally Posted by Matt (Post 134584)
Big Andrew Vachss fan, Ig. if you want some crime, buy some Vachss and do the time.

Yeah, Vachss is the goods. And Ed's right about Don Winslow, too. POWER OF THE DOG is fantastic, as is THE DAWN PATROL. Still working on some of his other stuff.

I'm currently reading Roberto Bolano's 2666, and this book is going to fucking eat my lunch. I also reeeeally want the new David Foster Wallace book written by the Rolling Stone interviewer.

Ari 05-18-2010 11:01 PM

I'm currently reading Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide. I just reached the 1980s. Lot's of odd films I've never heard of before. Pretty cool.

Shit Dickface 05-19-2010 12:11 AM


Originally Posted by Vault Vanderhuge (Post 135193)
I also reeeeally want the new David Foster Wallace book written by the Rolling Stone interviewer.

I caved and bought this shit today. Pretty glad I did.

IggytheBorg 05-21-2010 11:40 PM

I literally just finished "Dangerous Red", the collection of the short horror fiction of Mehitobel Eilson, which I mentioned above.

Wow. Just. . . WOW. This is really, really good stuff. I cannot recommend it more highly.

Ms. Wilson shows off some impressive versatility in this collection; there's body horror (a splatterpunk standby, but with some pretty unique twists), psychological horror, a zombie story (of sorts), sexual sadism, and even a Lovecraftian tale. I read somewhere that it's sort of a rite of passage for horror authors to write a Lovecraftian tale. Much as I enoy how against the grain & icnoclastic she can be, I am very pleased to see that despite all that, Ms. Wilson has as much respect for the classics as she does. Of course, the story has her uniques spin on it, and it's delightful indeed. There's also a dark, wry sense of humor apparent in some of the stories. And there's a real sense of sadness in others. I even liked the story notes at the end, which contained blurbs on how the stories were conceived. In fact, the only part of the book I didn't like was the intro by David J. Schow. I've always found his writing to have an air of arrogance about it. . . and this intro is no exception. But anything Bel herself wrote is nothing short of a delight.

It's noted that many of these stories rec'd "Honorable Mention" in some "Best Of" anthology series. It is nothing short of a crime that none of these stories ever made it into a best of anthology. I mean, seriously, Ramsay Campbell appears in every edition of the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (mainly, I'm sure, due to the fact that he edited the series with Stephen Jones way back when the series started, and he & Jones are no doubt friends). The fact that mediocre shit by him gets in every year, while Mehitobel Wilson goes all but ignored, shakes my faith in the ediitor of that anthology a bit.

Seriously, I hven't been this escited bout an author since I reviewed the "American Morons" collection by Glenn Hirshberg. Pick up "Dangerous Red"; help enrich a deserving, if oft overlooked author financially and yourself in a literary sense. You'll thank me later.

Bobby Bear 05-26-2010 06:02 AM

Finished The Bell Jar the other night. Loved it like a cold Magners after a long, hot day. Is it wrong of me to want to date an Esther Greenwood-esque girl?

Shit Dickface 05-26-2010 09:51 AM


Originally Posted by Bobby Bear (Post 138082)
Is it wrong of me to want to date an Esther Greenwood-esque girl?

Absolutely! But I know what you mean.

IggytheBorg 07-03-2010 08:25 AM

I'm sorry a new posting by me hasn't been forthcoming, but I'm currently stuck in the middle of a collection of old horror fiction. The stories were referenced in Lovecraft's famous essay on the genre, so I got it mainly for historical significance. It contains the entire short novel "Turn of the Screw" by Henry James, which I was kind of glad of when I bought it, as I have never read it. But it's proving to be slow going, and I often can't muster up the desire to read it; the language is so oblique and repetitive it's flat out annoying. But I refuse to give up; it's now become a matter of pride that I finish this motherfucker. I've thrown myself into it & made some significant headway, and once I clear this obstacle, the rest of the stories in this anthology should be a breeze.

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