The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (2009)

The Strain is Guillermo Del Toro’s first foray into the world of the novel, and he fails.  The Strain the first book in a vampire epic trilogy and thankfully the creatures aren’t sweet and sexy like in Twilight.  It is also a comic and soon to be a TV show.  Unfortunately, the book is typical Hollywood mystery thriller stuff.  We get a mysterious set up with no logical resolution, lots of hard to believe plot turns, and the bad guy even captures the hero’s girl.  This had some potential and the intent was in the right place, but the pieces just didn’t come together in a satisfying way. Click here if you wanna try it.

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (1915)

Metamorphosis is regarded as a seminal work of weird fiction, rightfully so I should say.  I love the absurd quality of the book.  I really felt for poor Gregor Samsa’s plight as a travelling salesman and family provider turned insect.  The roller coaster of emotion and conflict between him and his family is harrowing.  As Samsa comes to accept his predicament, it becomes tragic.  This short classic is most definitely worth reading.

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, Book 1) by Seanan McGuire (2009)

The world of faeries mixes with the world of humans in this fantasy/mystery novel.  Protagonist October Daye is literally a product of the coming together of the these worlds; she’s a changeling, half human half fae.  She’s got some light magic powers, not as much as a pure faerie, but enough to keep her faerie side hidden while she tries to solve a faerie murder in the human world.  Sounds pretty interesting; I thought so, but I couldn’t get through the damn thing.  I read about a third of it, got bored and gave up.

Run for the Stars by Harlan Ellison (1957)

Classic pulp era Harlan!  The odds are stacked way against junkie Benno Tallant when the aliens called Kyben take over Tallant’s home planet.  He’s in quite a pickle and has to run, literally, to stay alive.  I listened to the audio version of this book read by Harlan himself.  If you haven’t heard Harlan read his own work you’re missing out; there’s no one better.  This fantastic/ pulptastic story fun and excitement are elevated to the stratosphere Harlan’s amped up narration.  Get it.

The Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi (2008)

I picked up this striking graphic novel for my seven year old daughter and she really loved it.  The story is quite creative.  It takes you from the normal world into a strange world full of weird creatures, magic, and adventure.  There are splashes of humor as well.  And the art is really beautiful.  The pictures tell much of the story while being a pleasure to look at.  We are looking forward to book 2. Read Book 1!

’68 Volume 1: Better Run Through the Jungle  by Mark Kidwell and Nat Jones (2012)

The Vietnam War is raging, hippies are protesting, and zombies are hungry!  This full color zombie alternate history tale is loads of fun.  Mark Kidwell’s writing is pretty clever, weaving historical fact into the fiction.  The success of this graphic novel owes much to the stunning and bloody disgusting artwork of Nat Jones.  Dig the full page spreads of dismemberment and gore! Zombie fans can’t go wrong with this one.

Walking Dead Book 9 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (2013)

The Walking Dead is still great.  Damn that nasty Negan.  Can’t wait for book 10!



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