Normally, I do a top ten of the books I read at the end of each year. This year, however, I read far more books than I have in past years. Because of that, I've decided to do two top fives instead, one of the books I didn't do a full review of and one of the ones I did. Keep in mind, "full" reviews, if I did a Brief Thoughts on it or discussed it in my 31 Horror Book Challenge, I'm counting it as a non-reviewed one.
That may seem like an odd distinction, however, I go into books I plan on doing reviews on with a different mindset than books I read just for pleasure. So the division makes perfect sense in my mind.
Let's get into the books.
5. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Part campus novel, part noir story. It took me some time to really get into this book, but once I did, I absolutely loved it.
4. Angel Dust Apocalypse by Jeremy Robert Johnson
A mix of bizarro, crime, and experimental fiction that moves through each genre flawlessly. This is easily one of the best short story collections I've ever read.
3. Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music by Irwin Chusid
An entertaining encyclopedia of some of the weirdest music and the people who make it.
2. Savage Night by Jim Thompson
Like Thompson's The Killer Inside Me, this book deals with repression in mid-20th century America in the guise of a pulp crime story. This has one of the most baffling, but beautifully terrifying endings I've read in a novel.
1. No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai
This book is up there with Camus's The Stranger and Houellebecq's Whatever as one of the best existential works I've ever read. An incredible and painful work of genius.
Non-Reviewed Honorable Mentions
- White Jazz by James Ellroy
- I Am Suicide by Philip LoPresti
- The Impossible by Georges Bataille
5. What We Build Upon the Ruins by Giano Cromley
Another short story collection up there with the best I've ever read. Sad stories about building upon a past that can never be revived. (Full review)
4. In the Woods of Memory by Shun Medoruma
The first English translation of the Okinawan author. It's an amazing examination of how tragedy lingers with the people it directly affects and those around it. (Full review)
3. Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix
An excellent and informative look at the books from the horror fiction boom from the 70s and the 80s. This book is a horror fan's dream. (Full review)
2. Hell Hound by Ken Greenhall
Existential horror from the 1970s that I'm thankful is back in print. (Full review in print)
1. ANSWER Me! All Four Issues, edited by Jim and Debbie Goad
All four issues of the most offensive zine ever created in one volume. An absolutely essential read. (Full review)
Reviewed Honorable Mentions
- Cartoons in the Suicide Forest by Leza Cantoral (Full review)
- Liquid Status by Bradley Sands (Full review)
- Sorry, Wrong Country by Konstantine Paradias (Full review)
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