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Holiday Reading List

MPRK
By MPRK

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Weird, wonderful and lovecraftian - I want to spend the holidays immersed in a world that attempts to straddle the contemporary and the past, the real and the supernatural, the weird and the mundane. Contrasts excite me, they throw - through the art of literary comparison our own present state into sharper relief and I want to spend my holidays laughing, weeping, terrfied and horrified and thrilled. 

The 13.5 Lives Of Captain Bluebear

A delightfully illustrated cult novel, literary satire and epic adventure. 'Within the first 15 pages I was carried away by the sheer craziness of it all. Some Minipirates find a baby bear with blue fur inside a walnut shell floating on the ocean towards a giant whirlpool. They rescue him and teach him about knots and waves, and that a good white lie is often considerably more exciting than the truth. Then, when he outgrows their ship to such an extent that he is in danger of sinking it, they abandon him on an island with a bottle of seaweed juice and a loaf of seaweed bread. Thus Bluebear comes to the end of his first life and embarks on his second. By the end of the book, he has expended exactly half of his 27 lives. Again and again, Moers confounds our expectations as the narrative twists and turns, travels backwards and forwards in time. Part science fiction, part fairy tale, part myth, part epic, the book is a satire on all these genres and so constantly satirises itself. Very amusing' - Daily Telegraph

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Pretty Monsters

Weird, wicked, spooky and delicious, Pretty Monsters is a book of tall tales to keep you up all night. Kelly Link creates a world like no other, where ghosts of girlfriends past rub up against Scrabble-loving grandmothers with terrifying magic handbags, wizards sit alongside morbid babsitters, and we encounter a people-eating monster with a sick sense of humour. This edition also features a Brand New story, 'The Cinderella Game'.

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Jerusalem

In the epic novel Jerusalem, Alan Moore channels both the ecstatic visions of William Blake and the theoretical physics of Albert Einstein through the hardscrabble streets and alleys of his hometown of Northampton, UK. In the half a square mile of decay and demolition that was England's Saxon capital, eternity is loitering between the firetrap housing projects. Embedded in the grubby amber of the district's narrative among its saints, kings, prostitutes, and derelicts, a different kind of human time is happening, a soiled simultaneity that does not differentiate between the petrol-colored puddles and the fractured dreams of those who navigate them. Employing, a kaleidoscope of literary forms and styles that ranges from brutal social realism to extravagant children's fantasy, from the modern stage drama to the extremes of science fiction, Jerusalem's dizzyingly rich cast of characters includes the living, the dead, the celestial, and the infernal in an intricately woven tapestry that presents a vision of an absolute and timeless human reality in all of its exquisite, comical, and heartbreaking splendor. In these pages lurk demons from the second-century Book of Tobit and angels with golden blood who reduce fate to a snooker tournament. Vagrants, prostitutes, and ghosts rub shoulders with Oliver Cromwell, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce's tragic daughter Lucia, and Buffalo Bill, among many others. There is a conversation in the thunderstruck dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, childbirth on the cobblestones of Lambeth Walk, an estranged couple sitting all night on the cold steps of a Gothic church front, and an infant choking on a cough drop for eleven chapters. An art exhibition is in preparation, and above the world a naked old man and a beautiful dead baby race along the Attics of the Breath toward the heat death of the universe. An opulent mythology for those without a pot to piss in, through the labyrinthine streets and pages of Jerusalem tread ghosts that sing of wealth, poverty, and our threadbare millennium. They discuss English as a visionary language from John Bunyan to James Joyce, hold forth on the illusion of mortality post-Einstein, and insist upon the meanest slum as Blake's eternal holy city.

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Area X

Annihilation is the first volume in Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, Authority is the second, and Acceptance is the third. Area X-a remote and lush terrain-has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition. Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers-they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding-but it's the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything. After the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the Southern Reach-the secret agency that monitors these expeditions-is in disarray. In Authority, John Rodriguez, aka "Control," is the team's newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves-and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he's promised to serve. And the consequences will spread much further than that. It is winter in Area X in Acceptance. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown-navigating new terrain and new challenges-the threat to the outside world becomes more daunting. The mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound-or terrifying.

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Doctor, amateur writer, bibliophile

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