cthulhu fhtagn! best of 2010 part two – books

December 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Posted in musings, not bloody music | Leave a comment
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Who ever thinks they read too much?  For years I have been feeling guilty about my intake of the written word which I perceived as rarely better than average and often pretty lazy.  In January of this year I cleared a shelf and embarked on a little experiment.  During the course of 2010 I would put any books I finished on this shelf so I could watch an entire year’s reading gradually pile up.  As of yesterday, that shelf contained this lot:

Not too shabby, eh?  Click on the pic for a larger, clearer version.  I’m not going to list them all but will happily offer opinions if you’d like to quiz me about particular volumes in the comments.

My favourite book I read this year is The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall.  This is an extraordinary journalistic account of a tragic true story, part sea adventure, part fascinating character study of a troubled man.  Totally compelling.  I read the vast majority of it in one lengthy sitting.  Also worthy of note is Barbara Ehrenreich’s Smile or Die, a wry deconstruction of the bullshit industry of positive thinking.  Lastly, after 25 years of meaning to get around to it, I finally read the (more or less) complete wierd tales of H.P. Lovecraft.  These stories place humankind in an indifferent, hostile universe, utterly helpless in the face of cosmic forces beyond our understanding, let alone control.  The best, such as The Case of Charles Dexter Ward or the incomparable ‘The Colour Out of Space’, are masterworks of tonal horror; perfect examples of sustained, flesh-creeping atmospherics.

Part three will finalise this round-up with a few words regarding film, television and comics.

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