I've been in a book slump. My mood most always dictates my reads and, therefore, my enjoyment of them. This past week and weekend, perhaps with the excitement of a new job and dealing with Mike's knee, I've had a hard time determining what kind of reading mood I'm in.
Whenever this happens, I waste mucho time staring at my bookshelves trying to make a decision. That's valuable reading time! I've abandoned a few reads in the past week -- I'll get back to them soon, but nothing was quite hitting the spot. And you can't really force it, you know?
I finally decided that maybe it was a holdover from reading Boneshaker and since I wasn't ready to jump into another of that genre yet, that maybe another by Cherie Priest would do the trick. So last night, belly full of cookies and toes defrosting in the tub, I started reading Four and Twenty Blackbirds, the first in Priest's Southern Gothic Eden Moore trilogy. And it's good! I'm about halfway through and was getting major goosebumps last night!
You know a ghost story is good if it gives you the tinglies! I figured that since I wasn't quite done, though, I'd tell you about another book that gave me chills. And, seeing as how it's the holidays and everyone is crazy busy, I chose Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts as today's book.
If you haven't heard, or if you have yet to read him, Hill is a great new horror author who comes by his talent the good old fashioned way: it's in his genes! I've no doubt that being raised in a creative household helps nurture a person's creative genius. And being the son of Stephen King, well...
Hill's got one novel, Heart-Shaped Box, and this collection already out on shelves, and his second novel, Horns, will be out in Feb. He's also got a series of comics out and has contributed to a slew of horror collections. And he's fabulous.
20th Century Ghosts is the winner of the 2005 Bram Stoker Award for best collection, the 2006 British Fantasy Award for best collection, and the 2005 International Horror Guild Award, again for best collection. It's a great introduction to his talent and the perfect set of chilling, touching, and even some humorous, short stories for a busy time of year.
Hill's collection revealed a new gem with each turn of the page. Each tale was something different and exciting. I don't think I can even pick a favorite at this point: it's the kind of collection that sticks with you, stories evoking new emotions each read and each time you think back on them. You can read one and ponder it over, or you can jump right into the next and see what he's got in store in the following story. I know some readers are iffy on short stories, but this is definitely a collection that I recommend, not only to horror fans and Hill fans, but to anyone who thinks they aren't a short story reader. This collection will convert you!