Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 10

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 10

The New Year is upon us, and with it comes list after list of everyone’s favorite books of 2016. However, here at Zoetic Press we don’t let the constraints of the calendar dictate what thrilled us. Welcome to the Zoetic Press Best of Books List, curated by the staff and placed here in your timeline in hopes it will inspire you to read and discuss. What were your favorite books this year? Let us know! It’s like a comment section book club!

My Tall Handsome- Emily Corwin

Emily Corwin’s interconnected collection of poetry is the dark side of a fairy tale. It’s buttons made from bone on a wedding dress. It’s ice cream with sauce, but that’s not strawberry, it’s blood. The beautiful language of this collection bangs through my head on a regular basis, the imagery so solid that you can almost touch the crabapple trees. Hands down the best poetry collection I read this year.

Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All Gone- Stefan Kiesbye

Last year, one of my top book choices was given to me by my friend Jessica, and this year is no different—this is the book she gave me in our holiday swap. Your House is on Fire… is like if “The Lottery” were longer, The Witch were good, and they had a spooky baby. Each chapter is told by different children in the town of Hemmersmoor as they grow older, and there is an undercurrent of something wrong in each tale. I devoured this book in a day. You should, too.

-Kolleen Carney, Social Media Coordinator

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 9

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 9

The New Year is upon us, and with it comes list after list of everyone’s favorite books of 2016. However, here at Zoetic Press we don’t let the constraints of the calendar dictate what thrilled us. Welcome to the Zoetic Press Best of Books List, curated by the staff and placed here in your timeline in hopes it will inspire you to read and discuss. What were your favorite books this year? Let us know! It’s like a comment section book club!

Big Magic- Elizabeth Gilbert

This book has become my Bible. There’s not only a copy on my bookshelf, but an audio version perpetually lodged in my car’s CD player.

I expected Gilbert to be haughty and distant because of the huge success of Eat, Pray, Love but she is the exact opposite of a condescending bigshot. Gilbert’s advice soothes the fevered fears around life, creativity, and passion and nestles somewhere in the heart.

Big Magic is a call-to-action, a guidebook, and an irreverent romp through holy truths. Every time I read it, it brings my focus back to why we are creative in the first place: because we like to make things.

-Lauren Harwyn, Associate Editor

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 8

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 8

The New Year is upon us, and with it comes list after list of everyone’s favorite books of 2016. However, here at Zoetic Press we don’t let the constraints of the calendar dictate what thrilled us. Welcome to the Zoetic Press Best of Books List, curated by the staff and placed here in your timeline in hopes it will inspire you to read and discuss. What were your favorite books this year? Let us know! It’s like a comment section book club!

The Passage- Justin Cronin

I hate starting a series and waiting for the next book to be published then the next (Song of Ice and Fire, anyone? I mean Game of Thrones was published twenty years ago). I was late to the party with the television drama Breaking Bad, but no one had spoiled it for me, and that summer of binge-watching was so satisfying—I didn’t forget significant plot points and characters between seasons!—that I’ve tried to apply the same principle with books. When the final book of Justin Cronin’s post-apocalyptic series was published this past summer, I bought the first one, The Passage, and fell into the spell of book the way I once did as a kid on summer break. If you’ve given up on the poorly written, over-the-top shenanigans of The Walking Dead but you still crave a fascinating drama of humans trying to survive as humans in a post-human world, pick up this book. And the rest of the trilogy too. I read a lot of good books this year, but this one had everything. Cronin is a literary writer with a gift for intricate plot and action writing, and the film adaptations are inevitable, so read it now and get ahead of the hype.

-Chauna Craig, Associate Editor

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 7

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 7

The New Year is upon us, and with it comes list after list of everyone’s favorite books of 2016. However, here at Zoetic Press we don’t let the constraints of the calendar dictate what thrilled us. Welcome to the Zoetic Press Best of Books List, curated by the staff and placed here in your timeline in hopes it will inspire you to read and discuss. What were your favorite books this year? Let us know! It’s like a comment section book club!

The Skin of a Lion- Michael Ondaatje

I know he has been in the market for a while, but The Skin of a Lion was the best read for me in 2016, particularly for anyone who is interested in mining the seams between genres. Ondaatje’s strength as a poet, coming through traditional format, was a wonderful discovery.

-Bri Thomas, Associate Editor

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 6

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 6

The New Year is upon us, and with it comes list after list of everyone’s favorite books of 2016. However, here at Zoetic Press we don’t let the constraints of the calendar dictate what thrilled us. Welcome to the Zoetic Press Best of Books List, curated by the staff and placed here in your timeline in hopes it will inspire you to read and discuss. What were your favorite books this year? Let us know! It’s like a comment section book club!

A Separate Peace- John Knowles

With LGBT+ and coming-of-age being themes in my own current work, I chose this book initially as research for my own projects. The novel pulls us into protagonist, Gene’s, world of reminiscences of his time at prep school in the 1940s during World War II with his best friend and roommate, Phineas (Finny). When Gene causes Finny to injure himself, which impacts on Finny’s sense of self, we see Gene stumble into questioning his own self and the depth of his feelings towards Finny.

I identified with Gene’s introverted and quiet personality, and found this book difficult to put down. ‘Coming-of-age’ is but one of the many themes the story addresses. It was that and so much more. First published in 1959, the book transcends its era. It is a touching and tragic tale with the backdrop of the War, showcasing a teen struggle with who he is and how is actions impacted on one person he cares for the most in this world. I went in looking for mere coming-of-age research, and came out with another addition to my favourite books list.

Lani Watt, Associate Editor

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 5

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 5

The New Year is upon us, and with it comes list after list of everyone’s favorite books of 2016. However, here at Zoetic Press we don’t let the constraints of the calendar dictate what thrilled us. Welcome to the Zoetic Press Best of Books List, curated by the staff and placed here in your timeline in hopes it will inspire you to read and discuss. What were your favorite books this year? Let us know! It’s like a comment section book club!

Leave Me – Gayle Forman

Leave Me follows the life of a hard-working mother called Maribeth Klein. The novel begins as she suffers her first heart attack. During Maribeth’s recovery, she realizes how much her family relies on her from day-to-day; this overwhelms her so much that she leaves her home without telling anyone and stays for several weeks in Pittsburgh. There, she meets a number of interesting characters with heart-breaking stories.

This isn’t the sort of book that has you on edge like a thriller or action movie; it’s an emotional journey that focuses on how Maribeth evolves over the course of her recovery; how one near-death experience can make someone see their life, and the lives of others, differently.

Tiegan Dakin, Associate Editor

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 4

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 4

The New Year is upon us, and with it comes list after list of everyone’s favorite books of 2016. However, here at Zoetic Press we don’t let the constraints of the calendar dictate what thrilled us. Welcome to the Zoetic Press Best of Books List, curated by the staff and placed here in your timeline in hopes it will inspire you to read and discuss. What were your favorite books this year? Let us know! It’s like a comment section book club!

The Sellout- Paul Beatty
It made me profoundly uncomfortable and discomfort foments… well, something. Something good, hopefully. Besides, who doesn’t love a little satire to smack us around a little bit, disrupt our routines, remind us that righteousness is a silly human construct and that no topic is unbroachable in the right hands—not even racism. The Sellout a book that cannot be talked about because to talk about it would be to do it a disservice, so I simply recommend it to the reader without much comment.

-Alex Simand, Associate Editor

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 3

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 3

The New Year is upon us, and with it comes list after list of everyone’s favorite books of 2016. However, here at Zoetic Press we don’t let the constraints of the calendar dictate what thrilled us. Welcome to the Zoetic Press Best of Books List, curated by the staff and placed here in your timeline in hopes it will inspire you to read and discuss. What were your favorite books this year? Let us know! It’s like a comment section book club!

The Library at Mount Char- Scott Hawkins

I heard The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Volume 8. So instead of appreciating it when it came out, I devoured it over one hot day in the summer of 2016. I love horror and I’ll keep reading great stories about ghosts, Lovecraftiana, or witches as long as people keep writing them, but this book was just so stunningly new. It tells the story of Carolyn, a woman raised in a cult-like community devoted to studying a strange library with other children. Carolyn’s voice is compelling and her character is a motley mix of admirable, detestable, and some totally alien traits. Not afraid to be totally madcap, this book is filled with ancient gods of nature, the land of the dead, suburbia, and a mass murderer as absurd as he is dangerous. Where a lesser book would end after the big showdown between the main conflicting parties, this goes on for an unbelievable final act. It’s much more intimate than the rest of the book but goes on to highlight yet another novel type of monstrosity.

-Amelia Gorman, Associate Editor

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 2

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 2

The New Year is upon us, and with it comes list after list of everyone’s favorite books of 2016. However, here at Zoetic Press we don’t let the constraints of the calendar dictate what thrilled us. Welcome to the Zoetic Press Best of Books List, curated by the staff and placed here in your timeline in hopes it will inspire you to read and discuss. What were your favorite books this year? Let us know! It’s like a comment section book club!

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

All the Birds in the Sky is a story of friendship and the threat of apocalypse, of magic and scientific discovery. The story centers around Patricia and Laurence, a natural witch and a scientist, both of whom survive and cope with their rough childhoods in their own flawed ways. Almost-friends as kids, they become almost friends when they find each other as adults, as well. Their two very different people, each with different philosophies on how to fix the screwed-up world. It’s their failure to understand each other that brings magic and science into a clash that threatens to destroy the world instead of save it. Anders’ writing is a beautiful mixture of details, humor, and emotional resonance, and it’s fascinating to explore the differences and similarities in how magic and science view the world.

 


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

In The Underground Railroad, Cora escapes slavery through an actual network of trains hidden underneath the United States. Her journey takes her from Georgia to South Carolina and beyond, presenting a landscape of systemic racism in a variety of forms, some overtly violent and blunt, others subtly disguised as aid. Cora’s journey is thrilling, moving, and powerful. The story is often uncomfortable, as I expected it to be. It’s also beautifully written and a book that will linger with me for a long time to come.

-Andrea Blythe, Associate Editor

 

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 1

Zoetic’s 2016 Book Picks, Part 1

The New Year is upon us, and with it comes list after list of everyone’s favorite books of 2016. However, here at Zoetic Press we don’t let the constraints of the calendar dictate what thrilled us. Welcome to the Zoetic Press Best of Books List, curated by the staff and placed here in your timeline in hopes it will inspire you to read and discuss. What were your favorite books this year? Let us know! It’s like a comment section book club!

Kraken by China Miéville

Miéville’s genius lies in taking the particularly English predilection for magic and keeping it well grounded in the world of here and now. Billy Harrow is a cephalopod specialist at the Darwin Centre of the London Natural History Museum, but when their prize exhibit, a preserved giant squid, goes missing, the investigation sends him into the seedy underground of “knacking,” or magic. This gritty, small-scale, un-glamorous kind of magic is both more believable and more engaging for adults than the cloistered, hidden world of Harry Potter. In a single year, I’ve re-read it twice, just to wring every last bit of meaning from every beautifully-crafted word.

-Lise Quintana, EIC