hat will be a new tradition here on Robert Raymond’s Blogtorium is my best-of review. I tend to give a review a week, year after year, but with all the rubbish I read, nowhere do I list what I thought my favorites were for 2017. Note that these weren’t necessarily written in 2017; I’m just posting up what I thought were the most outstanding reads I had for the year. I’m not going to rank them – culling them from the mass of pulp I read was good enough. But all these books are strongly recommended by me.
He gave me Barn Cats – In a pseudo-autobiographical story, the author deals with nine deaths in her life in a short period of time, a series of calamities so intense that she begins to question her very faith. Perhaps I’m a sucker for this since I lost my dear Mookie but I actually had tears in my eyes in some of the passages. Worth it. Read it.
This Census-Taker – I’ve always said I hate China Mielville – he’s a head-shaven, London-dwelling writer who proses beyond anything I am capable of. And in this short novella we have soul-aching settings: lonely mountains, wind-blown hovels, a city falling apart around itself. A boy tries to discover what happened between his helpless mother and abusive father (and why is she gone now). I’m still not sure what actually happened but I don’t feel cheated, any more than a person feels cheated when a chess master checkmates him quickly and efficiently. Bravo, you bastard. Worth it. Read it.
Cloud Atlas – The movie is good. The book is even better. A series of loosely-linked stories tell the grander arch of humanity, some funny, some sad, some horrific. They come at you in chronological order, then spool off in reverse order, making you pine for more about each character and circumstance as, like a human life, fade and end. Not to be missed. Worth it. Read it.
The Mirror – A body-switch story of a woman switching places with her grandmother. And no, it’s not Freaky Friday. It’s a book that shows the isolation people can feel when centered in situations with people and places outside of their experience. Look, I’ve written time-travel stories and I didn’t go a tenth as deep as this story went. Unlike most stories, there were no fixes. If you really want to know what you’d face and feel if you were ripped through time, this one is for you. Worth it. Read it.
A Bad Season for Necromancy – This one was an audio novella that will make you think about what you could do if you could bring the dead back. A career-criminal with a horrifically awful father deals with early London life (and death). The voice credit for this was top notice. JB and I listened to this so intently we almost ran out of gas on a long road trip. Worth it. Read it.
And there is my wrap up for 2017. Overall, it was a pretty good year for books. I gained a lot of pleasure, empathy and insight from the forty-eight I read. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this year in review and look forward to another fun year on the Blogatorium.