I have been an avid reader for many years now. In fact, my Dad still reads about 3-5 books a WEEK! Well I have read some DOOZIES this year and I am confident that you will enjoy them as much as I have. Here is a list of books that you REALLY need to either get for yourself OR put under the tree as the perfect gift for the holidays.
A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga Of The Smiths by Tony Fletcher – Random House. Their music is the inspiration for many of today’s bands, their legacy is eternal and their struggles are well documented. ANY fan of this band or fans of music in general needs to have this on their bookshelf.
The Smith’s formed in 1982 and although they were only together for 5 years, their catalog of songs is mesmerizing. Lead singer Morrissey and lead guitarist Johnny Marr proved themselves to be an unstoppable dynamic duo until the band dispersed in 1987.
Tony Fletcher paints a vivid portrait of the fascinating personalities within the group: Morrissey, the witty, literate lead singer whose loner personality and complex lyrics made him an icon for teenagers who felt forlorn and forgotten; his songwriting partner Marr, the gregarious guitarist who became a rock god for a generation of indie kids; and the talented, good-looking rhythm section duo of bassist Rourke and drummer Joyce.
Despite the band’s tragic breakup at the height of their success, A Light That Never Goes Out is a celebration: the saga of four working-class kids from a northern English city who come together despite contrasting personalities, find a musical bond, inspire a fanatical following, and leave a legacy that changed the music world–and the lives of their fans.
Cap this off with a fantastic dust cover by artist Raid 71 and you have a book that will give you more insight to one of the most influential bands in music history. It will also have you firing up your Pandora and playing their music for days on end. You can purchase the book HERE.
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes – Mullholland Books “Utterly original”, “completely kick-ass”, “something special”, “enthralling and dazzingly inventive” are all apt words that have been used to describe this one. It’s easy to see why Lauren has previously won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the fact that one of the living masters of modern literature, Stephen King, enjoyed it speaks volumes.
In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras, leaving anachronistic clues on their bodies, until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and turns the hunt around.
This one has a bit of awesome for everyone who loves a good story: time traveling, murder/ mystery, a creepy serial killer, a determined heroine and suspense all wrapped up into a cohesive story that will keep you turning the pages one after the other until the wee hours of the morning. The Shining Girls will wrap itself around you so completely that may even call in sick to work so you can finish it! (Just don’t tell your boss we suggested it.) The book can be purchased HERE.
This behemoth clocks in at a whopping 704 pages and was hands down, one of the best reads of the year. Impossible to put down, Hill weaves a tale with NOS4A2 that is creepy, imaginative, nightmarish and visual. He gives us characters we care about and others we loathe and fear.
Victoria McQueen is a very special girl. On her blue Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she can travel anywhere she likes and retrieve anything lost by simply crossing a rickety, bat-filled covered bridge that magically appears whenever she needs it. But every journey takes its toll.
Charlie Manx is a very evil man. Ageless, creepy, and just a little bit charming, in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith – with the vanity license plate NOS4A2 – he takes kidnapped children for rides from which they never return. Slipping out of the everyday world, Manx’s destination for these children is a place he calls “Christmasland,” an astonishing playground of amusements (think Candy Land on acid) where every morning is Christmas morning and you never grow up and you never die. But you are transformed into something absolutely terrifying. ONce again, every journey takes its toll.
One day Victoria goes on one of her journey looking for trouble….and find it. Charlie Manx. But young Vic is the ONLY child EVER to escape his grasp.
But that was a lifetime ago. And now the only kid to ever escape Charlie’s unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget the time she spent with him. But the end of one nightmare is just the beginning of another because Charlie Manx hasn’t stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen, and he hasn’t stopped abducting children with his trusty new associate, Bing. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son Wayne.
In a life-and-death battle of wills – her magic pitted against his – Vic McQueen is going to get her son back and destroy Manx once and for all. Or she’ll die trying.
Hill’s NOS4A2 puts him smack dab in the middle of other greats like Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, and his Dad, a guy named Stephen King. NOS4A2 can be purchased HERE but beware. Once you let Charlie Manx in he will haunt your dreams over and over and over again.
Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division by Peter Hook via It Books. Another music book that blew our minds this year was this intimate account of this massively influential band told by one of its members, Peter Hook. The band’s music is legendary and is the backbone for many bands today including Interpol, Editors, She Wants Revenge, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, U2 and countless others. Bono had this to say about the band:
“It would be harder to find a darker place in music than Joy Division. Their name, their lyrics, and their singer were as big a black cloud as you could find in the sky. An yet I sensed the pursuit of God, or light or reason… A reason to be. With Joy Division, you felt from this singer beauty was truth and truth was beauty, and theirs was a search for both.”
Joy Division changed the face of music. Godfathers of alternative rock, they reinvented music in the post-punk era, creating a new sound—dark, hypnotic, and intense—that would influence U2, Morrissey, R.E.M., Radiohead, and numerous others. The story is now legendary: in 1980, on the heels of their groundbreaking debut, Unknown Pleasures, and on the eve of their first U.S. tour, the band was rent asunder by the tragic death of their enigmatic lead singer, Ian Curtis. Yet in the mere three years they were together, Joy Division produced two landmark albums and a handful of singles—including the iconic anthem “Love Will Tear Us Apart”—that continue to have a powerful resonance.
Now, for the first time, their story is told by one of their own. In Unknown Pleasures, founding member and bass player Peter Hook recounts how four young men from Manchester and Salisbury, with makeshift instruments and a broken-down van, rose from the punk scene to create a haunting, atmospheric music that would define a generation. Peter talks with eye-opening candor and reflection about the suicide of Ian Curtis; the band’s friendships and fall outs; the evolution of their sound and image; and the larger-than-life characters who formed a vital part of the Joy Division legend, including Factory Records founder Tony Wilson and producer Martin Hannett. Told with surprising humor and vivid detail, Unknown Pleasures is the book Joy Division fans have awaited for decades.
Being huge fans of the band, we found this one to be riveting. You can purchase the book HERE.
Innocent Blood by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell – William Morrow New York Times bestselling authors have added a new chapter to their hit series, “The Order of the Sanguines.” There is a secret sect within the Vatican, one whispered as rumor but whose very existence was painted for all to see by Rembrandt himself, a shadowy order known simply as the Sanguines.
Innocent Blood is the follow-up to The Blood Gospel, the first book in the thrilling and atmospheric Order of the Sanguine series. It’s packed with international adventure, intrigue, suspense, and supernatural mystery involving a modern scientist, a highly secret eternal spiritual order, and a terrifying power who must all join forces to bring down a ruthless and cunning enemy and prevent the Apocalypse.
A vicious attack at a ranch in California thrusts archaeologist Erin Granger back into the fold of the Sanguines, an immortal order founded on the blood of Christ and tasked with protecting the world from the beasts haunting its shadows and waiting to break free into the sunlight. Following the prophetic words found in the Blood Gospel—a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries—Erin must again join forces with Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and the dark mystery that is Father Rhun Korza to discover and protect a boy believed to be an angel given flesh.
But an enigmatic enemy of immense power and terrifying ambition seeks the same child—not to save the world, but to hasten its destruction. For any chance of victory, Erin must discover the truth behind Christ’s early years and understand His first true miracle, an event wrapped in sin and destruction, an act that yet remains unfulfilled and holds the only hope for the world.
The search for the truth will take Erin and the others across centuries and around the world, from the dusty plains of the Holy Land to the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean, from the catacombs of Rome to an iron fortress in the Mediterranean Sea, and at last to the very gates of Hell itself, where their destiny—and the fate of humankind—awaits.
Give this series the attention it deserves. Rollins and Cantrell have crafted something compelling here and you will be left desperately awaiting a follow up story, that is, IF, the characters survive what awaits them in Innocent Blood. You can purchase the book HERE.
I know what you are thinking, this looks gruesome, how can THIS be a Holiday gift? Well you are correct, it IS gruesome….EXTREMELY gruesome but the story crafted by Scott Snyder and the art created by Greg Capullo is so superb it really does deserve to be under your tree.
This is hands down, one of the best Joker stories EVER told and was so good that it earned the moniker of New York Times Best-Selling Series. It really highlights how brilliant both Snyder and Capullo are and despite how horrifying it is, there is a brilliance that shines through and leaves you feverishly turning the pages to find out what happens.
I’m not even going to give you the storyline on this one because you need to go into it blind as a “bat.” NOT knowing anything will make the experience even MORE incredible so just take our word, get this one! I CAN tell you that it is action-packed, touching, demented and a million other adjectives. Get it, read it, you can and WILL thank us later. You can purchase this phenomenal book HERE.