View Full Version : Best Reads of 2005!

yellowish haze
01-15-2006, 11:46 AM
The more I think about this thread, the more I’m unable to decide on a top ten list of books I’ve read last year. All of them are simply FANTASTIC! In fact, there is one aspect of 2005 which is, in my case, quite obvious - it was definitely the most Ligottian year of my life and will probably stay so forever. Not only, after discovering Ligotti in December 2004, did I read most of his stories, but I also have managed to investigate an incredible plethora of authors writing under a strong influence of TL and discover many other weird fiction writers. I must give credit for this achievement to TLO – without this site and all of you I would probably be still reading Dean Koontz and all the other mediocre or main stream writers.
Just have a look at those titles (actually, I included all of the titles. They appear in a seemingly-chronological order):

IN A FOREIGN LAND, IN A FOREIGN TOWN by Thomas Ligotti (my first collection by TL – probably my favorite one)

NOCTUARY by Thomas Ligotti

THE GOD OF FOULNESS by Matt Cardin (thanks Matt, once again!)

MY WORK IS NOT YET DONE by Thomas Ligotti

(at this point I decided to stop reading Ligotti for some time – I was simply afraid that later there would be nothing left)


AGAINST THE WORLD, AGAINST LIFE by Michel Houellebecq (the on-line version)


THE GOLEM by Michael Cisco (I think the first part – The Divinity Student – was much better. However, The Golem was still an enjoyable read )


DEATH POEMS by Thomas Ligotti

SELLECTED LETTERS III by Lovecraft ( yeah, I know… I should have started reading those letter in a chronological order. I was simply too desperate to wait for the first two volumes)


HELLHOUSE by Richard Matheson ( I don’t know if I was satisfied with this one – “I Am Legend” was much better)

CRAMPTON by Thomas Ligotti and Brandon Trenz

A DREAMER AND VISIONARY by S. T. Joshi (this is the British version of Lovecraft’s biography by Joshi as some of you may know. Although it is much shorter than the original, it’s still very comprehensive)


THE SEXUAL LABIRYNTH OF NIKOLAI GOGOL by Simon Karlinsky (In fact I’ve paged through this one only in search of info on my ancestors)

THE CHARNEL WINE by Richard Gavin

THE EXORCIST by William Peter Blatty (I knew I had to read this one some time)

THE WEIRDMONGER WHEEL by D. F. Lewis (on-line) (unfinished YET – no need to explain why :))

THE LOST by Jonathan Aycliffe (pretty cool – maybe because I really like Stoker’s “Dracula”)

OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens ( there was simply no way I could go to see the Polański’s adaptation without having read the novel)

WYSPA ITONGO (THE ITONGO ISLAND) by Stefan Grabiński (there is no translation of this novel in English – we can only hold thumbs for Miroslaw Lipinski, the official translator. Nevertheless, Grabinski is much better in his short fiction).


MR. TEMPLETON’S TOYSHOP by Thomas Wiloch ( great!)

THE WHITE HANDS AND OTHER WEIRD TALES by Mark Samuels (…-this one as well)

That’s all (finally!). I hope everyone is going to share their 2005 best reads. I am looking forward to reading your plethora of titles.

G. S. Carnivals
01-15-2006, 04:09 PM
2005 was a slow reading year for me.

Among the works I read for the first time (and enjoyed):

Both versions of Crampton by Thomas Ligotti and Brandon Trenz
No Beast So Fierce by Edward Bunker
A Swell-Looking Babe by Jim Thompson
The Dealings of Daniel Kesserich by Fritz Leiber
Heart of Whitenesse by Howard Waldrop
The Evil Entwines (Extended Version!) by John B. Ford and Guests
A number of short stories by various writers, most notably "The Town Manager" and "Purity" by Thomas Ligotti (I held out, too, Slawek. I understand the exhaustion of resources and the agony of the deprivation...)

The majority of my 2005 reading was actually a rereading (and worth it):

Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti (His best single collection.)
In a Foreign Town, In a Foreign Land by Thomas Ligotti
The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein & Other Gothic Tales by Thomas Ligotti
My Work Is Not Yet Done by Thomas Ligotti
Noctuary by Thomas Ligotti
Teatro Grottesco and Other Tales (from The Nightmare Factory) by Thomas Ligotti Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison
A number of short stories by various writers in different genres.

I'm rereading T.E.D. Klein's Dark Gods on either side of the new year.

01-15-2006, 09:14 PM
I feel like a snail when I look at your lists...I am lazy and kind of fussy (specially about literature) so I will list four books I loved one I loathed and regreted until the end and one curious discovery...

The Golem by Gustav Meyrink
(I expected a scary book but this one has an encompassing and effective dreamy atmosphere)

Os suicidas - (The suicidals) By Antonio di Benedetto
(A great book for everyone who romanticizes suicide)

Alone with the horrors by Ramsey Campbell
(Didn´t finish this one, but I enjoyed everything I read so far, specially "The Companion", "The Scar" and "Machintosh Willly")

How it is by Samuel Beckett

Disgrace by J M Coetzee
It didn´t work for me at all.

Sex and Character by Otto Weininger
(Controversial.Not recommended to feminists)

The Silent One
01-15-2006, 11:04 PM
IAlone with the horrors by Ramsey Campbell
(Didn´t finish this one, but I enjoyed everything I read so far, specially "The Companion", "The Scar" and "Machintosh Willly")
Great collection. "Macintosh Willy" is one of my personal favorites, along with "Before the Storm" and "The Voice of the Beach".

01-17-2006, 12:02 AM
this year, I don't think I read anything that was "new"...it was more about discovering new authors and focusing more on great storytelling. I read an incredible amount of nonfiction. List of memorable books I read:

American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I thought this was an excellent piece of storytelling, though I was kind of mad when his next book, Anasasi Boys came out because it sounds like a rehash of the same plot.

Stranger than Fiction by Chuck Palahniuk. This is what essentially started my nonfiction kick

The Red Notebook by Paul Auster. This is the book that introduced me to the world of Paul Auster. This book practically moved me to tears it was so amazing. So naturally I picked up a couple more of his books, The New York Trilogy and Moon Palace which have become quick favorites as well.

The Kafka Effekt by D. Harlan Wilson definitely wins for Best Out of Nowhere book. This bizarre collection of short stories was incredibly hilarious and "irreal" (as the author calls it). There is no end to the depth or scope of Wilson's imagination. I quickly snatched up his other books.

there were a bunch of other books. I actually read quite a lot this year. There was also a release by some guy named Thomas Ligotti about a Shadow somewhere, but nobody cares about that :)

01-17-2006, 05:18 AM
Paul Auster is also a great favourite of mine. I think I've read most of his fiction.

01-17-2006, 11:21 AM
I've forced all of my friends to read his books now.

*slowly converting them all*

Starting the year off on a good note! I'm reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (since some of you said it was pretty gruesome and were pretty correct in that)...love it...almost finished with it

01-17-2006, 01:34 PM
Some of mine might be (no order)

COMPANY (Samuel Beckett)
A couple of Borges stories
Ligotti: Reread of SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER
ALL OVER (Edward Albee)
THE DWARFS (Harold Pinter's only novel)

Disappointments, horrificly speaking: "Father Panic's Opera Macabre," by Thomas Tessier, now published with the superb FINISHING TOUCHES.

01-18-2006, 12:23 PM
Starting the year off on a good note! I'm reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (since some of you said it was pretty gruesome and were pretty correct in that)...love it...almost finished with it

What a nice coincidence! I am reading "Child of God", also by Cormac McCarthy.This is the first book I read by him.I am at the first 20 pages, so I can´t say much about it.He has a very peculiar writing style.

01-18-2006, 01:44 PM
Years ago I read McCarthy's OUTER DARK, which is perhaps (I hear) his most disturbing book. I liked it a lot.

01-18-2006, 06:58 PM

01-18-2006, 07:10 PM
What a nice coincidence! I am reading "Child of God", also by Cormac McCarthy.This is the first book I read by him.I am at the first 20 pages, so I can´t say much about it.He has a very peculiar writing style.

enjoy that one. it's probably one of the most awful books i've ever read (and i mean that in the best sense of the word.)

i'll have to go with "head injuries" by conrad williams.

01-18-2006, 08:59 PM
Hmmm...Here's a partial list of the ones I remember off the top of my head...

TAROVFAOGT, Purity, The Town Manager, and Across the Border: More Tales of Corporate Horror - TL
Alone with the Horrors - Ramsey Cambell (Not quite finished yet)
Divinations of the Deep - Matt Cardin
House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski
The Call of Cthulhu and other Weird Stories - HPL (there were a few of these I hadn't read before)

The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon
A Man Without a Country - Kurt Vonnegut
Mirrorshades (Cyberpunk Anthology) - ed. Bruce Sterling
The Mote in God's Eye - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Ringworld - Larry Niven
Snow - Orhan Pamuk
Prime - Poppy Z Brite

A bunch of TL and HPL
Labyrinths - Jorge Luis Borges
Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut

01-19-2006, 06:18 AM
I've read quite a lot this year (once again...), here's what I remember most vividly:

- L.P. HARTLEY – “The Collected Macabre Stories” (great, with some stories tickling the best)
- Robert AICKMAN – “The Model” (very enjoyable, and quite different from his short stories) – “The Attempted Rescue” (I'm not really into biographies, but this one makes me want to find the second part “The River Runs Uphill”) - and re-read some shorts (I can't help it: I need my fix!)
- William SANSOM – “Various Temptations” (Mixed feelings about this one, some stories are really fine, some bored me to death...)
- Arthur MACHEN – “Tales of Horror and the Supernatural” (enough said, some were actually re-reads)
- Rhys HUGHES – “A New Universal History of Infamy” (re-read the original by BORGES at the same time, one chapter of each alternatively, and Hughes stories didn’t suffer from the comparison, yes, it’s that good IMHO!) – “Worming The Harpy” (deliciously funny, but I enjoyed it a bit less than his other, more recent books)
- Reggie OLIVER – “The Complete Symphonies of Adolf Hitler” (great, as his first collection)
- Quentin S. CRISP – “Rule Dementia!” (and yes, it rules!)
- Elizabeth Jane HOWARD – “Three Miles Up” (very nice read)
- Peter CANNON – “Forever Azathoth” (not at all up to my expectations…)

Re-reads :
- Walter de la MARE – “A Première Vue” (don’t know the original title of this novella, it’s about a young man who cannot raise his eyes, so only sees the “lower half” of the World. Brilliant)
- Most of Jorge Luis BORGES short story collections (enough said)
- TL – IAFTIAFL – TAROVFAOGT – “Sideshow and Other Stories” (no need to comment on these either…)
- Jan POTOCKI – “Le Manuscript TrouvĂ© Ă  Saragosse” (I had to re-read it some day, a thread on TLO made me do it : thanks Slawek !)
- Mark SAMUELS – “The White Hands and Other Stories” (you have to read this book if you haven’t already!)
- Michel HOUELLEBEQ – “HP Lovecraft : Contre la Vie, Contre le Monde” (already discussed here)
- JRR TOLKIEN – “The Lord of the Rings” – “The Silmarillion” (yes, I know…)

Currently reading…
Ramsey CAMPBELL – Alone With The Horrors (not very original when I read the previous posts, but thanks to Matt for providing me with this one!)

01-19-2006, 05:17 PM
What a nice coincidence! I am reading "Child of God", also by Cormac McCarthy.This is the first book I read by him.I am at the first 20 pages, so I can´t say much about it.He has a very peculiar writing style.

I almost picked up that one the other day. Blood Meridian was really good...harsh, brutal stuff. Now reading Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

01-19-2006, 05:42 PM
Ender's Game: Great choice. Hope you don't know the "ending."

02-10-2006, 06:03 AM
Okay, I'm a bit late with this and I've forgotten half the stuff I read now but never mind.

Killing Floor by Lee Child. First of Child's Jack Reacher thrillers about an ex-military policeman who keeps getting into trouble. Looking forward to reading more.

Havana by Stephen Hunter. Most recent of Hunter's Swagger series with Earl Swagger dispatched to fifties Havana to carry out a political assassination.

Sacred by Dennis Lehane. One of his Kenzie and Genarro private eye series. Fun but not as good as I'd been led to believe.

Ultimates: Gods and Monsters. Mark Millar's 21st century re-invention of The Avengers. Blockbuster superheroics and political satire graced with Bryan Hitch's beautiful artwork.

The Punisher: In The Beginning. The first of Garth Ennis's Punisher stories on the Max imprint. Cold and vicious. Great fun if that's your kind of thing.

The Punisher: Mother Russia. More OTT and soft-centred than ITB but but great fun if that's your kind of thing.

Prince of Deadly Weapons by Boston Teran. Stripped down prose marred by pompous philosophising. Like James Ellroy writing fortune cookies.

Zero Option by Chris Ryan. Non-thrilling thriller by ex-SAS soldier.

Last Man Standing by David Baldacci. Decent thriller buried beneath bloated page count, dull action scenes and paper-thin characterisation.

Promethea. Alan Moore's mystical superheroine. Tantra, tarot and kabbalistic road trips abound.

Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter. The first of Hunter's Swagger series featuring Earl's son, Bob, a former Nam sniper who gets caught up in a high level conspiracy.

Rational Mysticism by John Horgan. Brilliant overview of modern day mysticism featuring interviews with scientists, philosophers, theologians, mystics etc including Huston Smith, Ken Wilber, Terrence McKenna, Stan Grof and Michael Persinger. Reads a bit like a real-life Borges story.

Various Alan Moore interviews.

Preacher. Garth Ennis's modern day Western/road trip. Throw in angels, demons, vampires, pre- da Vinci Code religious conspiracies and the shade of John Wayne and mix well. Flawed but fun.

02-10-2006, 11:43 AM
I've certainly read some great graphic novels in past years, but none at all for a while. Alan Moore's Watchmen -- great. Frank Miller: Oh, that's right, I did reread some of the series since the movie came out last year!

I continue to love the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald. Couldn't get into the Chandler stuff Tom likes cuz I figured it would take too long and there's too much else. But it was good writing. After Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder, then T. McGee, I've got all the detectives I need.

I can't reiterate enough a 2005 read: Company, by Sam Beckett. It's a short prose paperback. 1980. Highly recommended. You wouldn't believe how spare and beautiful the language we have can get.

02-10-2006, 06:54 PM
SwansSoilMe/SwansSaveMe, mentioning Chandler just reminded me I read The Big Sleep at the end of last year. (Actually, I've still got 30 pages to go. I got waylaid before reaching the end and still haven't got around to finishing it.) As you say Chandler's a good writer but I had two main problesm with the book. One, I kept thinking of the Bogart film. Two, so many people have ripped Chandler off over the years that the novel felt derivative. Although intellectually I knew that Chandler got there first with most of the PI cliches I kept responding to the novel as though he was the plagiarist. :?

G. S. Carnivals
02-10-2006, 09:08 PM
Swans and Stu, although I am a crime fiction enthusiast, I must confess that I am a Raymond Chandler failure. Eloquent prose. Agreed. Elegant imagery. Agreed. But story? I tried, and gave up. I hope I'm to blame by trying to read the wrong thing at the wrong time. However, Mr. Chandler's drunken foray into Hollywood did give us his collaboration with Billy Wilder on the screenplay for Double Indemnity, the best film noir ever made.

Perhaps if I do a Chandler, Lumley, Chandler, Lumley alternation, I can get through some of this stuff I've paid so much money for over the years....

02-10-2006, 11:22 PM
D.F. Lewis' NEMO 5 was my favorite book of 2005, and I didn't even know who the authors were.

02-12-2006, 02:44 PM
G.S., I've not seen Double Indemnity but I enjoyed the novel. And I saw Strangers on an Train which also has a Chandler screenplay.

Swans, thinking about it I read Sin City: Hell and Back last year and was really disappointed. Miller really seems to have lost his way with this series. Even the artwork -- usually the saving grace -- looked awful. Not that I suppose he's too bothered, what with two sequels lined up to the already lucrative movie adaptation.

G. S. Carnivals
02-12-2006, 04:40 PM
G.S., I've not seen Double Indemnity but I enjoyed the novel.


I implore you. Get thee to the video store. Double Indemnity is the best of the many James M. Cain film adaptations. Barbara Stanwyck's goofy nose has never looked sexier.

Realizing My Goofy Nose Fetish,

02-13-2006, 04:59 AM
G.S., I'll keep an eye out for it.

02-13-2006, 12:13 PM
Stu, I decided to forgo the rest of the Miller series after "Family Values" and "Bullets, Broads", etc., which were OK.

I love Marv! Thanks for confirming I shouldn't keep spending on the rest.

And take my advice along with that of G.S., see Double Indemnity. You must get past the image of Fred McMurray as the pop on My Three Sons, you see...

02-14-2006, 05:30 AM
Swans, it's okay, I've never seen My Three Sons so I can avoid that problem.

Btw, has anyone here read John Connolly? Private eye stories with supernatural overtones.

02-17-2006, 08:01 PM
I'd like to add Jonathon Carroll's Glass Soup to the list of best reads. I can't think of anything else. 2005 marked the first time I read Brendan Connell, Matt Cardin, and Mark Samuels. I can't wait to read more these gents.


03-02-2006, 04:28 AM
I like threads like this because I like to see what people are reading. I haven't kept track of the things I read last year, but some I remember are:

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
God's Defenders by S.T. Joshi
The Shudder Pulps by Robert Kenneth Jones
Book of Evidence by John Banville
Bruges La Morte by Georges Rodenbach
Best of D.F. Lewis plus stories from Weirdmonger
White Hands and Other Stories by Mark Samuels
Black Altars by Mark Samuels
Divinations of the Deep by Matt Cardin plus "Teeth"
The Sound of His Horn by Sarban
Some of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon
The Vanishing by Tim Krabbe
The Man on the Ceiling by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem
Lights Out in the Reptile House by Jim Shepard
Brotherhood of Mutilation by Brian Evenson plus some short stories