Just like last year, I’ve compiled a personal best list of my most enjoyable and inspiring e-reads and ebooks of 2015. This time, I’ve not confined the list to the most interesting titles published during the year, but included all the ebooks and e-reads that most influenced or affected me, or stuck in my memory most adhesively. I’ve put them in order of how much of a difference they made to my 2015 – with explanations/excuses attached.
- Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe, by Thomas Ligotti. The first two collections from modern horror’s secret prince, rightly elevated to Penguin Classics status.
- Aickman’s Heirs, edited by Simon Strantzas. A tribute anthology to the extraordinary influence of Robert Fordyce Aickman, almost as utterly strange as its progenitor.
- The Sea of Ash, by Scott Thomas. The most flat-out WTF story I’ve read in a very long time. An instant classic.
- The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos, by Patrick Leigh Fermor. A captivating conclusion to an incredible saga – even unfinished. One of travel writing’s most romantic adventurers reaches the final destination of his epic (now-)trilogy.
- Wylding Hall, by Elizabeth Hand. Oozing atmosphere, this tale of Something Strange in Seventies Brit Folk-Rock is like some warped period piece from an alternate dimension. Withnail and I meets The Wicker Man.
- The Rhesus Chart, by Charles Stross. The darkest, most moving installment so far in a great series. Does vampires like you really don’t want them done.
- Skein and Bone, by V.H. Leslie. A first collection of rare subtlety and power, full of dark horrors flourishing in the most unassuming places.
- Engines of Desire: Tales of Love and Other Horrors, by Livia Llewellyn. The darkest and most twisted of dark and twisted sex, from an author who’s made this area her own.
- Charles XII and the Collapse of the Swedish Empire, by R. Nisbet Bain. I had a fantastic time in Sweden this summer, and this history helped me savor the highlights. An incredible, epic, tragic story of a hero born out of his time, who led his country to triumph – and disaster. And a steal at the Kindle price – or find the free original.
- The Mystery of Edwin Drood, by Charles Dickens. Evelyn Waugh once wrote a fabulous ending which made reading Dickens aloud into the perfect horror scenario. Luckily, LibriVox is there to show that it ain’t necessarily so. This free audiobook introduced me to Dickens that I could actually ingest and enjoy – as well as to a really creepily sociopathic villain.
The special mention goes to a clutch of books that are very much hard copies, and that I’ve barely started ploughing my way through as 2015 draws to a close. That’s the fantastic collection of Robert Aickman rarities that arrived from Tartarus Press via my parents in early December (see below). Those should help see in 2016 in some fine disquieting style. Happy Sedenionmas, everybody.