I’ve been caught up with my new obsession, horror, but still managed to read some great bizarre books this winter. The books below were my favorites. I should note that these are books I’ve read in 2019, not necessarily books that came out in 2019.
1. IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT A TRAVELER by Italo Calvino
Technically, this is a re-read. Calvino is my favorite author of all time and this book is one of my favorites by him. Calvino uses his chameleon style to give us the first chapters of 12 different books, alternating with the metafictional search for the conclusion of each. Like all Calvino’s work, I would wholeheartedly recommend it.
2. CROSSFADED IN NARNIA by Ian Kappos
This slim chapbook (only 48 pages) resonated with me enough to make it second on this list. What it lacks in pages, it makes up in power. In its five stories, we see five lives affected by abuse, addiction, and loneliness. To tell these stories, Kappos uses the surreal masterfully. Pick it up if you can.
3. SCUMMER by John Wayne Comunale
This grimy, yet beautifully written novella took hold of me and pulled me in. In this ridiculously readable tale, John Wayne shows us a world of stench and filth, inhabited by one of my favorite characters in bizarro fiction: Scummer. Watch as the lonely protagonist finds meaning in life by imitating Scummer’s deplorable habits. Definitely recommended, if you have a sturdy stomach.
4. BIG MEAT by Carlton Mellick III
The kaiju genre (giant monsters à la Godzilla) has become oversaturated ever since Pacific Rim came out, but Mellick gives us a fascinating, original look at what happens afterwards. His novel explores future Portland where a gargantuan monster corpse rots. My new favorite Mellick book.
5. THIS IS A HORROR BOOK by Charles Austin Muir
Told in his unique voice, this collection of bizarre short stories is a wealth of humor, emotion, horror, and above all, fun. As always, Muir combines literature with film, giving the reader both nostalgia and vivid metaphors at once. See my review HERE.
See you next week!