Back in April I did a list of my favourite books of the year so far, and as it’s now July time for another update.
I read thirty books in the first quarter, but only twenty eight in the second (though I didn’t actually finish some of those started in June until July – about half an hour ago, in fact).
In the order I preferred them when I compiled the list just ten minutes ago (and, of course, it may be subject to change), here are my top thirteen books for 2011 so far:-
Frankenstein’s Prescription – Tim Lees (Tartarus)
The Dracula Papers – Book 1: The Scholar’s Tale – Reggie Oliver (Chomu)
The Leaping – Tom Fletcher (Quercus)
Blonde on a Stick – Conrad Williams (Max Crime)
Loss of Separation – Conrad Williams (Solaris)
Sylvow – Douglas Thompson (Eibonvale)
The Thing on the Shore – Tom Fletcher (Quercus)
The Painter, The Creature, and the Father of Lies – Clive Barker (Earthling)
I Wonder What Human Flesh Tastes Like – Justin Isis (Chomu)
I Smell Blood – Ralph Robert Moore (Sentence)
Dracula In Love – Karen Essex (Doubleday)
Dead Sea Fruit – Kaaron Warren (Ticonderoga)
Midnight’s Angels – Tony Richardson (Dark Regions)
The big losers when you compare this list to last quarter, are the anthologies, which have been pushed out of contention completely. Tim Lees remains in top spot, though Reggie Oliver is snapping at his heels, and on another day could easily snatch the pole position. And interesting to find reinventions of the horror genre’s top two archetypes at the head of the field.
Conrad Williams joins Tom Fletcher with two ranking titles, and I really couldn’t decide between his two books – on another day Loss of Separation could edge it, but today I’m sticking with Blonde on a Stick.
Same comments for the Ralph Robert Moore book, which is just losing out to Justin Isis’ I Wonder What Human Flesh Tastes Like for my favourite collection of the year so far, but on another day…
Chomu have replaced Eibonvale as the only publisher apart from Quercus to ‘score’ twice.
Several books I read but didn’t take into consideration as I’ve already read them at least once before 2011 – Dracula, Carmilla, Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula – and it didn’t seem fair to include titles I’m so familiar with.
And, to repeat what I said last quarter, quite a few of these books were first published in 2010, if not earlier, so it is a ‘best of Pete’s reading’ rather than ‘best of the year’.