So it’s 2014, eh?

Where does the time go?*

Publication-wise, not a whole lot happened on my end. I had three short stories published. But. But!!! Writing-wise I started a novel in February and finished it mid-December. Phew. Here’s hoping that I have good news to share about it sooner rather than later. 2014 will also see the publication of FLOATING BOY AND THE GIRL WHO COULDN’T FLY. If you buy and like the book, Stephen Graham Jones and I will come to your house and perform our sock-puppet interpretation of the novel.**

Favorite reads of 2013 

I didn’t get as much reading as I normally do (I could blame the proliferation of doorstop novels, but let’s pretend it was because I was working hard on my own novel. Let’s split my favs list into two groups.

2013 Books by people I don’t know:

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler. The novel of the year for my money. Brilliant novel about loss, memory, family, self, identity, told through a story about a chimp being raised as a child with human siblings.

S. by J J Abrams and Doug Dorst. I had so much fun reading this puzzle box. The Ship of Theseus novel was fun as was the love story between the margins. While I found the grad and undergrad a little precious and entitled at times, the overall affect of the intertwined narratives worked.

The Wake, part 1 by Scott Snyder. The first five issues of a new comic featuring a mermaid/sea monster creature(s). The narrative jumps timelines and destroys the world in five short issues. What more do you want in a monster comic?

Other favorites include The Color Master (Aimee Bender), Revenge (Yoko Ogawa), The Fun Parts (Sam Lipsyte), The Miniature Wife and Other Stories (Manuel Gonzales), and The Tenth of December (George Saunders).

2013 Books by People I know

In no particular order because all these books were great:

Collections from Bearded Men: The Wide Carnivorous Sky by John Langan, The Beautiful Thing that Awaits Us All by Laird Barron, and North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud. You’d be hard pressed to find a better trio of horror fiction collection published this or any other year.

The SGJ wing: Stephen Graham Jones published 1,230 books this year. I don’t know how he does it and I don’t know how everything he writes is original and yet fits within his exponentially increasing cannon. Least of My Scars and Flushboy, for example, couldn’t be more different in terms of plot/theme/character/presentation, but they are recognizably SGJ novels, and great ones at that.

Mark Haskell Smith’s Raw was the funniest book I read this year. And the saddest (as it satirizes publishing and celebrity a little too well…man, we’re screwed).

John Mantooth’s debut novel The Year of the Storm deftly mixes horror, dark fantasy, southern gothic, and his own world-weary yet warm style of writing.

Nick Kaufmann’s Dying Is My Business is a fun paranormal detective romp.

Nick Mamatas’ Love is the Law is a punk noir with Satanism and magick mixed in (my favorite book of his).

Nate Southard’s Pale Horses is a gritty crime novel that packs an emotional wallop.


Looking forward to so many books in 2014, including my own! I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and fun new year. **


* I like to imagine that time piles up behind us, like dirty laundry, and the pile just gets bigger and bigger, so big that you can’t shut the closet door (that’s where you dump all the dirty laundry, you know) anymore.

**I didn’t ask Stephen’s permission yet. I’m sure he’ll be on board with it.

***Speaking of fun….



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6 responses to “So it’s 2014, eh?

  1. .sjb.

    i absolutely loved ‘the year of the storm’ (which, in an odd way, sort of felt like a pessimistic jeffrey ford channeling a wee bit of faulkner.)
    that being said, i loathed ‘s.’ and thought i was basically the literary equivalent of belle and sebastian- twee and precious garbage that i had to struggle to finish.

  2. thelittlesleep

    I can see some Shadow Year Ford in the Mantooth, definitely.

    re: S. Ha! Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but I bought the love story in the margins. I thought both characters were realistically self-absorbed 20 year olds in love. And I liked the Ship of Theseus novel itself too.

    • .sjb.

      eh, if i want a good love story i’ll go back and reread ‘waiting for godot.’
      in all seriousness, though, i just found everything about ‘s.’ to be so forced, irritating, and unpleasant.
      in the end, it was all just a bit too cynical of a package for me.

  3. thelittlesleep

    Cynical? It’s certainly flawed, but I don’t see that.

    and I loved the production of a beautiful hard copy of a book that you can’t reproduce digitally.

  4. thelittlesleep

    yeah, I try to gloss over the fact that JJ Abraham’s name is on the cover and the book was really (as I assume) written by Dorst.

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