So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂
Happy October! For this edition of So You Want to Read…, I decided to feature Robert Shearman (see author tag). Seemed fitting as Hallowe’en is around the corner and his short stories can be pretty strange and eerie, just perfect for the season. Think Neil Gaiman but even more out there. But at the same time his stories really touch on some deeper human conditions and reactions to situations. I’m always excited when I learn that there’s a new collection of short stories out there by him because I know I’m in for a treat.
First time reading Robert Shearman’s works? Here’s my recommendations on where to start:
- Remember Why You Fear Me (review) — This was the first book I read by him, it still remains a favourite by him and the first I’d recommend. Perhaps especially perfect for the Hallowe’en season as some of the scenarios sound especially macabre, the collection is quite solid and thematically it’s quite rich.
- They Do The Same Things Different There (review) — I described this collection as quite eclectic in that I found myself wondering a lot of the times what’s so different about the setting of the story or what’s the odd feature about this story and that. There’s still the eerie/creepy factor to them but again they’re thought-provoking and quite clever.
- Tiny Deaths (review) — This collection was pretty interesting in that the overarching theme of death and its various manifestations and impact really bound the stories together (well, except one, IMO; might’ve missed the linking detail there). Sure, some of the stories were familiar as they reappeared in the above two volumes, but nonetheless it’s a great collection on the whole.
And that’s my list! If you’ve read Robert Shearman’s books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂
By: Robert Shearman
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
Analyzing the complexity, absurdity, and blessedness of seemingly ordinary people, this debut collection examines the metaphysical assumptions surrounding death. From the end of a relationship to the meaning behind its title, this anthology continually surprises and subverts, utilizing topics such as alien intelligence, reincarnation, imaginary children, and even conversations with Hitler’s childhood pet. Engaging and diverse, this compendium offers a fascinating perspective on mortality.
So fun fact: this was actually the first Robert Shearman book I came across and that I added to my wishlist. It was a wee bit difficult then to get my hands on a copy of it but lo and behold, I finally did indeed get a copy of it so hurrah! 😀 Tiny side note, but how awesome is that book cover? One of my favourites that, coupled with the title of this book, definitely drew my attention in the first place 😛
By: Nick Cutter
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA
From electrifying horror author Nick Cutter comes a haunting new novel, reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and Stephen King’s It, in which a trio of mismatched mercenaries is hired by a young woman for a deceptively simple task: check in on her nephew, who may have been taken against his will to a remote New Mexico backwoods settlement called Little Heaven. Shortly after they arrive, things begin to turn ominous. Stirrings in the woods and over the treetops—the brooding shape of a monolith known as the Black Rock casts its terrible pall. Paranoia and distrust grips the settlement. The escape routes are gradually cut off as events spiral towards madness. Hell—or the closest thing to it—invades Little Heaven. The remaining occupants are forced to take a stand and fight back, but whatever has cast its dark eye on Little Heaven is now marshaling its powers…and it wants them all.
New Nick Cutter novel! Horror isn’t a genre I usually read but for me Nick Cutter seems to be the exception as I pretty much have read all of his books to date (save one). So I pretty excited when I heard that he was coming out with a new book and I got my hands on the ARC. This book will be available on 10 January 2017.
They Do the Same Things Different There
By: Robert Shearman
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
Robert Shearman visits worlds that are unsettling and strange. Sometimes they are just like ours – except landlocked countries may disappear overnight, marriages to camels are the norm, and the dead turn into musical instruments. Sometimes they are quite alien – where children carve their own tongues from trees, and magic shows are performed to amuse the troops in the war between demons and angels. There is horror, and dreams fulfilled and squandered, and of true love. They do the same things different there.
I was introduced to Robert Shearman’s fiction a few years ago when I read and reviewed Remember Why You Fear Me (review). I really enjoyed it and had been meaning to check out more of his writings since. So yeah, I was pretty excited when I learned that this collection was released 🙂
Hair Side, Flesh Side
By: Helen Marshall
Format/Source: eBook; my copy
A child receives the body of Saint Lucia of Syracuse for her seventh birthday. A rebelling angel rewrites the Book of Judgement to protect the woman he loves. A young woman discovers the lost manuscript of Jane Austen written on the inside of her skin. A 747 populated by a dying pantheon makes the extraordinary journey to the beginning of the universe.
Lyrical and tender, quirky and cutting, Helen Marshall’s exceptional debut collection weaves the fantastic and the horrific alongside the touchingly human in fifteen modern parables about history, memory, and cost of creating art.
I read her second short story collection, Gifts for the One Who Comes After (review), when I won a eCopy from ChiZine Publications in October 2014. However I was really keen on picking up this first collection of hers after hearing so much about it, first through an interview I had with author Robert Shearman a few years ago (see post) and then from various tweets from ChiZine Publications.