OK, everyone. I’m guessing all of you have already gone out and bought a copy of Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens for everyone in your family (*stern face* you have, haven’t you?), but if you’re still looking for something, here are one or two ideas. I’ve been meaning to do proper reviews of all of these, but have singularly failed to do so – something I aim to rectify in the New Year.
I’m a bit torn when it comes to recommending a single best novel out of the ones I’ve read this year, so I’m going to cheat. The best paperback novel I’ve read this year is undoubtedly John Harding’s Florence and Giles. If you’re looking for an example of the power of a unique narrative voice, look no further. And it’s wondrously creepy too. The best hardback novel I’ve read this year is Vanessa Gebbie’s The Coward’s Tale: a lovely, warm patchwork quilt of a book with one of the most utterly satisfying and perfect endings I’ve read in a long, long time. Best Christmas stocking filler is
Scott Pack’s Steve Stack’s 21st Century Dodos – like its progenitor’s blog, witty, entertaining and informative.
Best left-field oddball I’ve come across is probably Stanley Donwood’s Household Worms – as you would expect from Radiohead’s in-house artist, he has a completely unique voice. The best newcomer I’ve comes across this year is fellow Scott Prize winner Cassandra Parkin with her New World Fairy Tales, and I can only repeat what I’m quoted as saying on the cover: “A beguiling collection of present-day fables that effortlessly transcend their folk origins”. (I’m also really looking forward to reading AJ Ashworth’s Scott collection, Somewhere Else, or Even Here.) Finally, for the writer in your life, the best how-to book of the year has to be Nicola Morgan’s Write to be Published. It even has a mention of Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens in it – what more do you want?
So plenty of ideas there if you’re still looking for something. Probably too late for Amazon, but you can still go into a bookshop. There are a few left if you look around.