January is that time of year when we become reflective about our reading. We make resolutions about the kind of books we want to read throughout the year. I find big books very intimidating, but there is something so gratifying about going a long journey with a story. You get a chance to really spend time in a place and feel like you get to know the characters. Here are five books that I felt were worth the time investment.
American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
This is my recommendation for people that want a readalike for the Welcome to Night Vale podcast that isn’t the WTNV books. I read it for the Creepy Small Towns episode. The episode centers around ex-cop Mona Bright who randomly inherits a town in the strange town of Wink, New Mexico. As usually goes with strange towns, the town of Wink and the people that live there are not what they seem.
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
This page-turning story featured in our Survival Horror episode. A class of junior students are taken to a deserted island, armed with weapons and instructed to kill each other until one student is left standing as part of a cruel authoritarian program. This is over 600 pages, but it really flies by when the action gets going. Also, the film adaptation is a lot of fun!
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Winter seems like a great time to pay a visit to Christmasland. Vic McQueen has a way of finding things that are lost with the help of her magic bike. Charlie Manx uses his Rolls Royce Wraith to pick up children and drive the hidden highways to his horrifying “Christmasland.” Years ago, Vic was the only kid to have escaped, and now Manx is having his revenge by taking her son. I haven’t watched the AMC series adaptation yet, but it is on currently on Shudder.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
House of Leaves is a very polarizing book. I can see a lot of people rolling their eyes at the whole “it’s an experience” vibe of the book. As for me, I will say that the ever-increasing claustrophobia was one of the first great horror book experiences I had when I got back to reading. If you’re not turned off by the pages with backwards text and footnotes narrative, then maybe you’d consider joining us in a readalong I want to do this Spring?
Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
I usually find the idea of post-apocalyptic epics totally daunting, but the characters were really what kept me going. Set in an alternate 1980’s America after a nuclear attack wipes out most of the population. I will say that some of the things came off a little cartoonish for me, but I enjoyed the theme of hopefulness in what seems like a hopeless situation. The fabulism elements work well with a rag tag group of characters you can’t help but love.
What about you? What are some tomes that turned out to really be worth the time?