Welcome to Smugglivus 2010: Day 14
Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors, bloggers and publishers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2010, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2011.
Who: Christina Henry, debut Urban Fantasy author. Christina lives in Chicago, and loves all things with samurai, zombies, and subtitles. Not a bad combination!
Recent Work: Black Wings, the first book in an exciting new UF series (which we will review very, very soon).
The size of my TBR pile has become somewhat frightening over the past couple of years. I’m buying just as much as I used to, but I am not reading anywhere near as quickly as I would like. My four-year-old thinks that anytime I’m not moving it’s time to read to him, and the rest of the time I’m chasing him around, fetching him snacks or trying to squeeze in writing time while he’s at preschool (housework has totally gone out the window). It seems that by the time I sit down to read in the evening I can manage only a few pages before my eyes close of their own volition.
Because of this, books that are new to me are often not new to anyone else, so when I was trying to remember what I read this year to compose this post I realized a lot of things were probably not the best of 2010, but more like the best of 2008, or possibly 1999 (or even earlier – some of these books are starting to smell dusty).
There are a few writers who always get my attention as soon as their new releases come out. These are the ones whose books get started as soon as I get home from the bookstore – they never even hit the TBR pile. Charlaine Harris, J.D. Robb, and Stephen King top that list – I’m really hoping Santa will bring me King’s Full Dark, No Stars. I’ve been very good this year!
Anyone who knows me or has read interviews with me is aware of the fact that I’m a major fan of Jim Butcher. His twelfth novel of the Dresden Files series, Changes, was my second-favorite of the series so far (after Summer Knight). It’s like a master class in how to take risks as a writer. Of all the UF writers out there Butcher is probably the one that I most admire. He takes unbelievable chances with his character and he’s not afraid to really shake up his universe. Plus, he’s got a wonderful sense of humor – I never get through one of his books without chuckling aloud several times.
Another novel that I have recommended to just about everyone this year has been Joe Hill’s Horns. It’s a pretty intense horror story about the aftermath of a young woman’s murder and what happens to her boyfriend, who is wrongly accused of the crime. It has one of the best opening lines of any novel I’ve ever read:
“Ignatius Martin Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things.”
You pretty much have to read the book after that, don’t you think? And the rest of the novel definitely lives up to the promise of that first line. Many, many images from that story have stuck with me in the months since I’ve read it.
I recently finished Ken Harmon’s The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir in one afternoon (husband and child were out of the house). It’s an unbelievably funny send-up of the noir genre told by Gumdrop Coal, the elf who delivers coal to naughty children at Christmas. I had so much fun seeing all my favorite Christmas characters reinvented by Harmon and told in a Philip Marlowe-style voice. A lot of people I know will be receiving this book as a gift from me this year.
I have to give a shout-out to two of the best literary adaptations that I watched this year. The BBC’s Sherlock, a modern reimagining of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, was one of the best TV shows that I saw all year and criminally (pun intended) brief at only three episodes.
AMC’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic The Walking Dead was consistently excellent and also painfully short – do we really have to wait until fall of 2011 for new episodes? Whose brains have to be eaten in order to get this thing rolling sooner?
Thanks to Thea and Ana for inviting me here today, and happy reading in 2011 to everyone!
Thank you Christina!
We have ONE copy of Black Wings up for grabs, courtesy of Ace. The contest is open to residents of the US only, and will run until Saturday, December 18 at 11:59PM (PST). In order to enter, leave a comment here letting us know what book has been shamefully sitting on your TBR, as yet unread! Only ONE comment per person, please! Multiple comments will be automatically disqualified. Good luck!