I started this year by reading two relatively short psychological horror/suspense stories. So far, so good…

I was sad to read of William Peter Blatty’s death on January 12, 2017. His 1971 novel The Exorcist and the subsequent 1973 movie adaption are two of the most remarkable, effective and important works of art I’ve ever encountered. Seeing the film and reading the book in my mid-teens changed my life, and that’s no exaggeration.

I started this year by setting myself a reading goal of 65 books for 2017 (over at my Goodreads account – check it out here). Last year my target was 60, which I found quite challenging. I only just scraped the achievement by finishing my 60th on the evening of December 31.

2016 has not been a good year. The passing of several much-loved and respected artists and musicians (starting as early as December 2015 with the death of Lemmy) seems to have to engendered a general sense of gloom and sadness for many. Additionally, the stressful and ultimately depressing preparations and results of both the UK EU Referendum and the US Presidential Election has meant that many now feel as though they are being suffocated with a sense of alienation, paranoia and anxiety. Continued reports of racial hate crime in both the UK and US, as well as the seemingly increasing frequency of worldwide terror attacks and the tragedies involved in Aleppo’s very recent recapture has made for an extremely turbulent year for humanity.

As we lurch towards the end of this annus horribilis, I nevertheless find myself in this festive season with joy in my heart, booze in my belly and a collection of hangovers which seemingly last longer than thought possible. I thought I’d try to keep track of my book-based activities so far this month in this post.

This month, Lucy and I visited Gran Canaria for a week. Normally our holidays are fantastically hectic, itinerary-based, do-as-much-as-we-can-a-thons, but this time we really wanted a “nothing holiday” (as I’ve been calling it), so we could spend time just lying in the sun and reading. I was halfway through Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space […]

Shirley Jackson’s first novel may not have the same level of sublime terror found in her more well-known classic works, but this is still a fantastic tale of a suspicious, occasionally malicious community going about their daily lives on Pepper Street, California.