I did a guest shelf for Green Apple Books! Stephen Sparks asked me to suggest ten books, and I thought I'd share them...
Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake: The second book of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast Trilogy is a Gothic fever dream. No need to read Titus Groan first—you’ll catch up on the plot in the deliriously beautiful opening pages.
Get in Trouble by Kelly Link: Vampires, pyramids, and superhero conventions: Link’s latest collection shimmers with her unique and unpredictable energy. I didn't know this when I added it to my shelf, but it's also A PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST.
The Physiognomy by Jeffrey Ford: Welcome to the Well-Built City, the hallucinatory metropolis of this World Fantasy Award-winning novel. Read the first paragraph; you’ll be hooked.
The Drowning Girl: A Memoir by Caitlín R. Kiernan: An intricate ghost story told by a seductively unreliable narrator, this novel is an unforgettable siren song.
Humanimal: A Project for Future Children by Bhanu Kapil: Part history, part memoir, all poetry: Kapil’s meditation on the Bengali “wolf girls” traces the links between humans, animals, and the monsters in between.
Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou, translated by Helen Stevenson: Narrated by a murderer’s animal double, this novel delivers an eerie tale with a weird, breathless lyricism.
Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials by Reza Negarestani: This theory-fiction follows lost archaeologists and ancient gods, investigating an occult substance: oil, the fuel of war in the Middle East. A brilliant and timely work of speculative philosophy.
Event Factory by Renee Gladman: The first book of Gladman’s Ravicka trilogy, this is the story of a linguist in a city eroding due to a mysterious crisis. Poetic and philosophical, it’s a novel of slow disintegration.
Leena Krohn: Collected Fiction, by Leena Krohn, with nine translators: A landmark collection of the Finnish author’s bizarre and marvelous tales, available in English for the first time.
Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih: In 2004, the Arab Academy of Damascus named this the most important Arabic novel of the 20th century. Written in the 1960s, this story of doubles, murders, and postcolonial anguish still glows in a superb translation by Denys Johnson-Davies.