Hey thanks, Graywolf! Otherwise I would have just read that other book backwards and upside down. Imagine my embarrassment.(This is the dual galley for their Dyer reissue, which I will be reading the shit out of, standing on my head, probably.)
Here are my two picks for “Best Books of 2013” that I wrote for Book Riot. Only the Bennett Sims review made it, because I took too long in submitting my piece for Elliott Holt’s amazing novel.
1. A Questionable Shape by Bennett Sims (Two Dollar Radio)
This book’s cover is what attracted me first. But the book’s content makes it one of my favorite reads of the year. Sims crafted a book about zombies without ever needing to call them zombies. It’s not really even about them (I mean, it is, but it’s so much more). It’s about, I think, the human condition of fear motivated by isolation and isolation motivated by fear. But this isn’t a horror novel. It’s about the relationship between a son and his father (a young man tries to find his father, most likely dead, in the aftermath of an undead pandemic). It’s about the relationship between lovers (how can you trust the one you love, when that love is a liability in the face of contagion?). Sims’ narrative voice is clear and genuine, funny at times but always respectful of his characters.
This novel spoke to me. I finished it and immediately wanted everyone else to read it so that I could share that feeling. I’m thrilled that this is the first novel by Bennett Sims, but I’m saddened that it’s the only novel by Bennett Sims. Expect big things.
If you’re a fan of the zombie genre, you need to read A Questionable Shape. If you’re not a fan of the zombie genre, but you value thoughtful, moving, well-written prose, you need to read A Questionable Shape. Look. You need to read A Questionable Shape.
2. You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt (The Penguin Press)
Wow. I had no idea I was going to love this book as much as I did. This is a book about friendship, paranoia, and the lengths we’ll go to convince ourselves of what we want to believe is the truth. It’s hard to write about the plot without giving things away, but there are twists and turns throughout, and an ending that was particularly satisfying. My advanced reading copy passed through six readers before I saw it again, and everyone was crazy for the book.
I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine for two years. For two years, I lived in a world that felt like a distorted mirror of my own. A country that wanted to be Westernized, while simultaneously wanting anything but. It was cold, and dark, and I was (justifiably) paranoid. Reading You Are One of Them brought me back there. It felt like I was being let in on every inside joke, every subtle reference. That’s how well Holt has crafted the world of her novel. She nails the mood, the cultural nuances, and the paranoia. So much paranoia.
You Are One of Them is a book that you’ll read until you have to come up for air, only to plunge right back in again. Get to it.
Find the full Book Riot list here. Then start reading.
DEANCON2: THE TRIPPENING
I’ve still got commissions on the list for #Deancon2013, the fundraiser I held last month to replace my Mountain Dew’d MacBook Pro. Thanks so much to everyone who ordered a superhero sketch from me. But as you can see from the above picture, my car, the Bat-Jetta, is in need of more auto repair expertise than I can provide at Trippe HQ. (I do feel unusually handy for deciphering the problem and getting it running well enough to get it to the shop without a tow.) I need to buy two parts for installation, and have a coolant leak fixed.
So, I’m opening the doors for commissions once again, at the same lower-than-usual rate. Honestly, I’m having a great time working on these. I think they’re the most consistently solid commissions I’ve ever done, and while a lot of it has to do with being in the zone and staying warmed up, I honestly think it’s due in large part to how overwhelmingly grateful I feel to the folks who ordered these and helped me get back up and running on a new machine so quickly.
If you missed out on #DeanCon2013 (which I’ll be caught up on by the end of the month), and would like a superhero sketch of your own, #DeanCon2 is the same deal:
$35 - Single Character, Inked (superheroes and supporting cast only), 5.5” x 8.5”
$50 - Two Characters, Inked (superheroes and supporting cast only), 5.5” x 8.5”
+ $5 for shipping in the U.S. (Email me for international shipping.)
Once again, I have a number of slots available on a first come, first served basis, so you can PayPal me (email@example.com), and include the character(s) you want in the notes.
These will be drawn an shipped during October and November, so they make good Christmas gifts.
Pretty great having my computer and my car break down within a month of each other, but I can’t complain too much, since I somehow get to solve problems by drawing superheroes. And I’m reminded of this:
“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.” - Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
SHARES AND REBLOGS APPRECIATED.
Massive spoilers for those who haven’t read the books.
Come October, this is something you will be able to buy from your local bookseller, courtesy of Coffee House Press. You can leave it out on your living room table to impress dates when they come over. Your date asks, “You have a book about tape, flags, meetings, and city buses?” and you say, “Yes, I do,” and your date says, “This date just got interesting.”
If I weren’t already excited about this book, the above scenario would seal the deal.
I hope that makes the back cover.
Hey, you’re a guy. You like your beer cold, your engines revved and your girls gone wild. So come on down to the heteronormative party of the year — He-Fest! The only chromosome that matters this weekend at the Roy is “Y,” with testosterone-torqued displays ranging from the outdoors to…
We need your vote!
Every year Penguin selects the best book videos for The Davids, named after our CEO David Shanks. And in 2013, we’re opening the voting to the public.
So head to www.penguin.com/thedavids and cast your vote. Note that you don’t have to vote in every category.
Of course we strongly, strongly recommend you choose our Thomas Pynchon entry for Best Animated Video. (You would not believe the amount of trash-talking in the offices this week between the imprints.)
Do this today.
Via the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Jason Adkins (Director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference) is saying that the GLBT community isn’t equal. Not equal? There should be no such thing as second-class citizen.
That’s some bullshit. Adkins is a fool. And what’s the public purpose of marriage at all? You don’t need to be married to reproduce, and there’s certainly no guarantee that marriage creates a more stable population.
Marriage, at least the contemporary, 21st-century version of marriage (which is all that matters, since that’s what we’re living), is a love license.
but I can’t go on twitter to complain about it. so
When you see the broken Twitter Robot, instead of the Twitter Fail Whale, you know things are really wrong.
I’m trying to remain calm.