Friday, January 4, 2013

Eimer's Top 10 Reads of 2012

Well, this was an interesting year of reading for me.

Very cool stuff that seeped through the woodwork and into my brain forever. Truth be told, this was probably one of the best years of reading for me in terms of content. 

From vampires and zombies to Charles Dickens and Jeffrey Dahmer – this was a great year. All of these books are highly recommended and you can easily pick them up at your local library (minus Wool) or at for a rather cheap price.

That said, please enjoy my Top Ten Books of 2012:

A very creative science fiction 'collection' of post-apocalyptic stories by Hugh Howey. Take the word 'collection' with a grain of salt, because - put together - the six stories complete a dream novel come true for this up-and-coming writer who gained a cult following on Kudos to Howey for taking the science-fiction genre in a new, interesting direction. Without giving too much away, he's created a thriller, a murder mystery, a horror story all merged with fantastic dialogue and character development. Highly recommended. This collection, yet again, gives all budding novelists hope that there are other avenues to achieve success then simply receiving a pile of 'rejected' letters from well-known publishers. And, quite frankly, if your work is good enough, self-publishing just may be the way to go. Looking forward to reading more of Hugh Howey's work.

Stephen King rated Simmons' The Terror one of his favorite books of the year back in 2008. I picked it up and, after a couple months, finished it and was flattened by the extensive story line, great characters and fantastic dialogue. Fast-forward to 2012. I heard about this funny book called Drood. Well, again, after a couple months, I've finished what I believe has been the best book that I've read in a handful of years. Fantastic book. Fantastic writing. Great eerie storyline. And Simmons, the bastard. This guy had to have sold his soul to the devil. To be able to write this well, keep the storyline arcs intact, add to that such inter-weaving storylines as well keeping the exact dates and times of the original Charles Dicken's life while spinning an original boogie-man story. And to have the narration of from the narcissistic Wilkie Collins instead of Dickens is pure creative genius (a word I do not toss around very easily when referencing any medium be it film, illustration, literature and painting). The fact that this book kept me enthralled through its 750+ pages is inconceivable. But it did. And it's a damn fine book. It makes me want to revisit and read for the first time some of Dicken's works including THE BLEAK HOUSE and OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. And let's not forget about the title character the book is all about...DROOD. An interesting creation. A great idea for a book. And an overall genius novel that isn't getting nearly enough press. Bravo, Simmons. Bravo. I thought no writer could top THE TERROR. And, lo and behold, you've topped yourself.

What a cool book that harks back to the days of film-noir and 'interesting' detective stories. With dabs of SIN CITY mixed in with NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, THE DA VINCI CODE and a little EYES WIDE SHUT, Brian Evenson creates a stunning, shocking, bloody read that's packed with twists and turns a plenty not to mention a little ambiguousness to keep you on your toes. The plot follows the lead character, Kline, an undercover cop who lost his hand to a crazed maniac, as he slowly gets entangled into a cult of people who cut off their arms to get closer to God. It's weird in all the good ways. And the dialogue, the dialogue is fantastic. Worth picking the book up alone. Very reminiscent of the old detective movies and, as a friend reminded me, Quentin Tarantino. I can't seeing this being made into a movie due to the violence and bloodshed. So, check it out in print form because it's a very fantastic read. Come to think of it, this is more of a horror novel than a detective book. Not for the squeamish. Check er out!

Fantastic book about a group of guys in Bath, Ohio, who happened to be buddies with Jeffrey Dahmer. Illustrated and written by Derf, this is a very cool, interesting fly on the wall story about Dahmer's teenage life as well as his first murder, which occurred in Bath. Being a (former) Bath, Ohio, resident and living about 1/4 mile away from the former Dahmer residence, it's interesting to see Derf mention and draw and refer to some of the popular landmarks including the school, the restaurants, the mall and the roads and highways of Bath. Like I said, it's a well-written, very well drawn book. Read the footnotes section at the back for even more jaw-dropping information.

Very good book. Right from the first chapter, you're wondering 'Where in the Hell is this going?'. Pollock takes you on a fun, entertaining, dare I say disgusting ride into the filth and underworld of Southeastern Ohio. If you've read KNOCKEMSTIFF, you know exactly what you're in for. The characters, the locales and the interesting situations they're put in come together to create a fantastic story 'Natural Born Killers meets Gummo'. Pollock has a knack for dialogue. He can write for dimwits like no other, but he also has a knack to get inside the mind of each character and converse in a way that makes them 100% believable. Great book. Be warned though, it's a bit squeamish in places. This ain't Highlights For Children. But, it's worth the ride. Check ‘er out. Also, if you don't know about Pollock, check out his inspiring back-story. He gives me hope for my personal publishing future every time I think about him.

Good book. Great read. Again, McCarthy is a delicate master of the English language. He really gets inside the main character's sick and twisted mind. But, is Lester Ballard really a serial killer or is he just a screwed up, perverted, sadistic individual? And, I guess, is there a difference? In any event, a nice quick read. The chapters move along at a fast pace. Like THE ROAD, ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, BLOOD MERIDIAN and, of course, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, McCarthy can write great dialogue and he pulls it off fantastically with this little story - especially Lester's remarks and thought process as he relates to the townsfolk.

Great book. Martin is very honest in his representation of his rise to fame. It didn't happen overnight. It took time. In fact, it took lots of time. Maybe half of his life. It also took a lot of failures. In fact, lots and lots of failures. If there's anything to be learned from Martin is that when you get knocked down, you stand back up and continue to strive for your dreams no matter what they may be. Martin offers up an intimate portrait of his childhood, his dreams and his constant internal strife with his father, which - as it appears - fueled his fire for success even more. In addition, this book can be a great self-help book for people who fear presenting in public. Everyone fails in life at some point. The most important thing is what you do after that happens. Martin's story can serve as a motivating lesson to everyone out there about tenacity, creativity, dedication to your craft and never giving up on your dreams. What a great, quick, entertaining and - most importantly - motivating read

Robo-fantastic. Prior to reading this novel, I read a couple reviews from literary snobs who thumbed their nose at this book. My question was 'Why?' This is pure Robot Pulp. And it's freaking awesome. Daniel H. Wilson has done his homework and has intricately played out a potential robot apocalypse on mankind. After reading WORLD WAR Z and then this book (both sort of 'found footage/interview type' books, I can honestly say that Roboapocalypse stands on a higher pedestal. Why? Well, the character development is there, the dialogue is there and the action and thought processes of all characters isn't one-dimensional. A definite page turner a' la works of Koontz, Grisham and James Patterson - Wilson writes action sequences extremely well - and there are plenty. I really don't want to give too much away. However, I would say snag this book up and read it before Steven Spielberg begins production of the film version later this year - for a 2013 release. Highly enjoyable, action packed, thought-provoking and - simply put - ROBOTASTIC! Check er out.

Kudos to Max Brooks for his very, very deep thinking on the eternal question, "What would happen if the entire world were overrun with zombies?" Seriously though, my hat goes off to Brooks for ruminating on the subject for days and days. Very thorough thought process indeed. What would the army do? Where would people go? How would they survive? What happens when it freezes? Does the army get involved? What about zombies that end up in the water? Brooks creative minds answers these thought-provoking questions, and much more, through faux one-on-one sit-down interviews with a number of heros and witnesses to the zombie war. Which brings me to the one fault I have for this book. I thought the narrative, or rather the storytelling process (first-hand accounts) that Brooks thought up to tell his story was a bit weak. I'm not sure if having a regular, straight-forward fiction novel would have done it justice, either. However, having read Justin Cronin's vampire apocalypse fantasy THE PASSAGE as well as Brook's WORLD WAR Z side by side, I can honestly say Cronin's work - a straight-forward fiction novel - rises to the top. That said, I'm looking forward to the film. If they toss half the imagery and ideas that Brooks thinks up in this book, it's sure to be a cool flick.

Wow, what a monster of a book, but well worth the one month of reading in the end. A new, unique take on the Vampire mystique, Cronin's book covers a present day America followed by an apocalyptic America 100 years later. The cast of characters he creates talk, speak and feel lifelike, the decisions they make speaks to the characters themselves and the journey all of these characters travel is also enjoyable and creepy. Keep in mind, this is a graphic book with plenty of bloodshed and murder. Cronin also attacks the action sequences in the book with fervor and passion. He paints a very comprehensive picture of landscapes and scenery. Some beautiful writing thoughout the more than 700 pages made me a bit jealous, which is always a compliment to the author. Comparisons to WATERSHIP DOWN came to mind often as I was reading this book. I'm not sure how much more there is to say besides the creatures and the overall storyline do, in fact, bring some comparisons to films such I AM LEGEND (and the book), THE DESCENT as well as Guillermo Del Toro's BLADE 2. That said, the book stands on its own as a great piece of fiction. I understand there are two more yet-be-released books in the Passage series, which makes sense considering the open-ended finale. Looking forward to the second book of the trilogy, THE TWELVE.

Interested in more great reads from Eimer's past? Check out these posts:

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