Over Christmas we’ve all been indulging in some holiday reading – old favourites, books we’ve been meaning to read for years, and ones we probably wouldn’t read on a tram.
Here, Bronte Coates shares her holiday reading list.
Early in the holiday season, I picked up a copy of Courtney Summers' This Is Not A Test on Nina’s recommendation and – wow. Very scary and very believable; this book reinforces my conviction that I am unlikely to survive any kind of apocalypse.
Continuing on my new fully-realised desire to freak myself out with disturbing and distressing books, I also read Melanie Joosten’s Berlin Syndrome, a creepy, psychological thriller set in a crumbling apartment. And I finally opened my copy of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.
After leaving it to waste away on my book shelf for some years, I found myself completely taken in by Tartt’s story of friends who decide to commit murder. It’s a terrific book, unsettling and very readable - I think the line, “Why, looking for new ferns” is now permanently stuck under my skin. I honestly got a chill just then.
Another favourite was Chilean writer, Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai, a tiny, delicately-crafted story of the relationship between romance and art, and youth. Zambra has a new book coming out in just a few week - Ways of Going Home - and early reviews are definitely amping my expectations.
(Speaking of upcoming releases, I am extremely excited for Karen Russell’s upcoming short-story collection, and I think everyone else should be too. Swamplandia, while flawed, was the most original and affecting book I read in 2012.)
And as a special treat, I indulged in rereading some much-loved favourites including Stephanie Vaughn’s short-story collection, Sweet Talk. These stories still kill me, heartbreaking and fantastic stuff. If you’re a short-story reader and you haven’t read this collection yet, please do so. Immediately.