Why did I put this one off for so long? Why, why, why?
Brilliant. Simply brilliant. Certainly one of the finest novels about the magic of childhood that I've ever read — and probably the most realistic, at least based on my childhood experiences. Maybe it's because I, like the protagonist of this novel (and Robert McCammon himself), grew up in Alabama. Boy's Life is spot-on, and I felt like a child once more while untangling the mystery of the strange murder in Zephyr.
Not much I can say about this one, except it's just friggin' wonderful. I only wish it were longer. Thank you, Mr. McCammon, for reminding me that magic does exist.
“You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves."
I am currently reading three books, and hope to read at least seven this month. I'venot been reading much, though, and generally suck at sticking to TBR's (I tend to see a shiny, get distracted, and run off chasing flutterbies and pretty new books), so don't expect to see all of these books come my monthly wrap-up.
1. Swag - Elmore Leonard - Currently Reading
A couple of low-level scumbags start committing armed robberies in pursuit of the good life in 1970's Detroit. Fun thus far, but not one of Leonard's best. I've been told the ending's a pip, though. I'm about a hundred pages in, and it is picking up.
2. The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov,Diana Burgin,Katherine Tiernan O'Connor - Currently Reading
One of my occasional stabs at reading a classic, in this case Early Russian Magical Realism. So, the Devil comes to Stalinist Moscow to see what Hell is really like. There's also a giant talking cat named Behemoth. Not a quick read, only fifty pages in, but delightfully bonkers.
3. The Wolf's Hour - Robert R. McCammon - Currently Reading
Or, The Bourne Lycanthropy. A WW2 set spy thriller with a werewolf in the lead. Not as campy as it sounds, but doesn't seem to take itself too seriously, either. This is the second McCammon for me, after Boy's Life, which I didn't like as much as I wanted to. Still, the first hundred pages of this have been nifty, so...
Have read bits and pieces (heh), and it seems fast, fun, and funny. Cool.
Seems like a natural next step, yeah?
6. The Song of Roland - Anonymous,Dorothy L. Sayers - To-Read
Because, deep down, I want to be the guy who reads classics for pleasure, even if that means reading epic poetry. Besides, wouldn't it be funny if I, a life-long mystery fan, read Sayers's translation of this before any of the Lord Peter Wimsey novels? I thought so, anyway.
Look, I have hundreds of books, as well as access to book stores. I'll think of something.
2016 has been a great year here at Char's Horror Corner, with many phenomenal books being read. Here are the ones that I liked the most, in no particular order, (if you're interested, click on the titles to see my reviews):
The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee. Caity is a dog that I will never forget, (that's her in silhouette on the cover there), and the Cross family is one I loved to hate. Bringing dysfunctional family stories to a whole 'nother level, The Secret Life of Souls brought out a lot of emotions in this cold, dark heart of mine.
You can get a copy here: The Secret Life of Souls: A Novel
Fellside by M.R. Carey. After reading The Girl With All the Gifts, I had to give M.R. Carey another try, so I grabbed Fellside and I was NOT disappointed. Even though it wasn't exactly the horror novel that I expected, the storytelling was what got to me. With a plot that kept me guessing for quite a while, this book was a real winner for me. You can get a copy here: Fellside
Darktown by Thomas Mullen was a book that I requested from NetGalley based on the description alone. An historical fiction novel about the first black policemen in Atlanta, Georgia. Painful to read but beautifully written, this book was a testament to the strength and bravery of those officers. You can get your copy here: Darktown: A Novel
A Time of Torment by John Connolly is the latest entry in the Charlie Parker series. One would think for a series that has gone on for so long, the later entries would be weaker, but in this case the opposite is true. These books just keep getting better. However, I believe I sense Charlie's time is coming to a close. Though I hope that is not the case, I will be glued to the rest of this series either way. You can get a copy here: A Time of Torment: A Charlie Parker Thriller
Freedom of the Mask by Robert McCammon is the 6th book in the Matthew Corbett series, (which happens to be yet another series that is getting better and better.) This one started with a crazy voyage overseas, imprisonment in the filthy Newgate Prison, and a rescue mission gone badly awry. I've never had such fun with an historical fiction series in my life! I can't wait to see what's in store for Matthew next. You can get your copy here: Freedom of the Mask
If you're still here, thanks for reading! I hope that you'll join me here again next year, for what I foresee as being another great year of reading!