Daily Illuminator

December 2, 2011: A Twisted Reading List

Lately I've been taking advantage of just how easily the Internet lets me grab books from small press publishers. Over the past four or five months I've bought and read a number of novellas. In the interest of  promoting some publishers I would like to see succeed and sharing fun books with you, here's a short list.

  • Samson and Denial by Robert Ford - I read this while on the flight to ACD and found it to be both enjoyable and terribly, terribly disturbing. It's a brutal modern story where a mummified head works its magic and makes some bad people suffer. A lot. I passed the book to Steve once I finished and I think he was just a little surprised by how rough the book turned out to be. And I'm not talking rough writing; this book gets quite graphic and would make a very warped movie.
  • Pork Pie Hat by Peter Straub - Read while flying to Gen Con, this novella tells the tale of a jazz musician and one disturbing night of his childhood. I've got the newest printing, but the book was first published in 1999 and shouldn't be all that difficult to find. (At least not compared to the other books listed here.)
  • PAIN by Harry Shannon - If you're after zombie action with a small cast and a lot of blood, this novella will make you happy. The remnants of a military force connect with civilians in a small building -- including a clown and a doctor -- and make a stand . . . that doesn't end well for most of the humans in the story. 
  • Fear Me by Tim Curran - This prison-based novella is a brutal ride and helped me get behind Delirium Books' novella series. What's that? Each month they publish two novellas from different authors. Nothing special so far, but each book is limited to a run of 150 copies and they sometimes open up subscription slots. I just snagged a 2012 subscription so I'll have a lot of fun novellas in my mail next year, which means that at the very least I'll read 24 new books in 2012.

Each of the books I've described is from a different publisher, and each one had a short print run. These aren't titles you're likely to find on the shelves of your library or local bookstore, but if you don't mind ordering online, I suggest looking through the websites for each of the publishers I linked to. You may just find your new favorite book.

-- Phil Reed

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