In drear-nighted December / Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne’er remember / Apollo’s summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting / They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting / About the frozen time. ~ John Keats
We are finally moving back into our house for real. There are still some small items to be finished but the floors are done enough that we can move furniture in, and more importantly, sleep on our own bed for the first time in five months. It has been a surreal and long slog. Glad to be getting back to ‘normal.’
It also means that I have had a difficult time keeping up with reading and reviewing. My correction of that begins now. Which means some of these titles may not be new for December, but still fairly recent.
THE BIG BOOK OF JACK THE RIPPER
I love these anthologies put together by Otto Penzler. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of pulp and obscure literature that makes these collections so fantastic. Along with known stories like “The Lodger” and known authors like Lyndsay Faye, Penzler finds dusty gems from pulp magazine pages long out of print.
Penzler also includes essays by criminologists, reprints of the Ripper’s own letters, newspaper clippings of the era and more ephemera than you can yank a garotte around. By the time you finish, you will wonder if you’ve figured out the case that has stymied Scotland yard for more than a century.
Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original
Paperback: 864 pages
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (October 4, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.6 x 9.1 inches
My thanks to Angie at Vintage for the review copy.
I’m sorry that the author has decided to limit his Thomas deQuincey series to just three books. These adventures have been dark, fun, and steeped in historical nuances. Here the book uses the true case of Thomas Briggs as an inciting incident.
Briggs was the first person to be murdered on board the new British railways, in a first-class carriage no less. DeQuincey and his unstoppable daughter Emily, also passengers on the train, must employ new forensic principles to this decidedly modern case.
Morrell has been most impressive with his depiction of sooty, gaslit London, even among the more gentrified and educated classes. His portrayal of the famous opium-eater is complicated — sympathetic, troubled, imperfect, brilliant and destructive.
Series: Thomas and Emily De Quincey (Book 3)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Mulholland Books (November 15, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
Read via NetGalley.
CHOOSE YOUR OWN MISERY – THE HOLIDAYS
This had me cracking up. The writers totally nailed the tone of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series that we all read as kids. Now updated for adults, this book forces you to navigate choices that will never end happily — much like real life.
After your flight to a Caribbean destination gets cancelled, you can decide to stay with your sister on the couch or meet the parents of the girl you just started dating. And predictable hilarity ensues.
This is probably the right read while you are in traffic, in the airport or on the train on the way to see relatives for the holidays. No matter what happens, it won’t be as bad as this. And it’s not like you have a choice anyway.
Series: Choose Your Own Misery (Book 2)
Paperback: 362 pages
Publisher: Diversion Publishing (October 18, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
Read via NetGalley
Mister Memory: A Novel by Marcus Sedgwick
The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden