What I Read – February 2022

These last several years I’ve been intimidated by longer books. After all, I was on Goodreads, which rewards readers who consume as many books as possible. Now that I’ve shed that site and its philosophy, I find myself drawn to longer works once more. As such, two of the four books below are over 500 pages.

So much can be accomplished in a sprawling 900-page epic that a normal 300-page novel just can’t do—character development in particular. The only caveat: it must be good. I’m not dedicating two weeks of my life to some slog whose characters I don’t sympathize with (then again, one of the books below is just that).

With the combination of some books my friend Ira sold me and a generous gift certificate from my brother, I accumulated over 30 books in February. Whatever happened to reading faster than I buy? Still, I did purge 16 books from my shelves that I’ll never read (or re-read).

Chlorophobia: An Eco-Horror Anthology ed. A.R. Ward

As you may know, I have a story in this anthology, and I was eager to read what my fellow contributors wrote. In all honesty, there wasn’t a bad one in the bunch. Certainly, there were some I liked more than others, but overall, the quality was consistent. Some were amazing. My only qualm was that 3 of the stories were written in 2nd person. Is that a common convention now? I haven’t encountered that POV with such frequency in an anthology before. Not that I disliked the stories. It just struck me as unusual.

Necroscope III: The Source by Brian Lumley

Why do I keep reading the Necroscope series? I ask myself that every time I pick up one of these 500-page books. This third novel in the series continues the story of vampires, Cold War intrigue, and psychic spies—a promising combination if not for Lumley’s awkward construction and humdrum characters. I’d never seen a 40-page backstory shoved haphazardly into a novel before I began this series. There are 15 more books in the Necroscope epic, which I will NOT be reading. Then again, I’ve said that twice before.

Duma Key by Stephen King

This book reminded me why I love King’s work so much. It is the story of Edgar Freemantle, who after a severe injury moves to Duma Key to reinvent himself as an artist. But his paintings are more than pretty pictures. They grant him incredible psychic powers, allowing him to discover the dark secrets of this mysterious island. I often feel King can easily shave 100-200 pages from his books. But at close to 800 pages, Duma Key didn’t have a wasted word. That said, with all that setup I hoped the climax would be more satisfying.

Farallon Island by Russell James

There is a treasure trove of great horror put out by smaller presses. This novella from Silver Shamrock Publishing is a wonderful example. It is the riveting tale of lighthouse keepers on a haunted island set during the 1930s. James has published over 20 books and his skill and experience shows. The writing is crisp, the characters well-crafted. That said, I had a few problems with believability, which briefly took me out of the story. Unfortunately, I read Stephen King right before this. No matter how good of a book, it’s hard to follow the King.

Keep reading!


One thought on “What I Read – February 2022

  1. Pingback: Writing & Reading Update – March 2022 | Zé Burns | Blog

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