Tag Archives: Ransom Riggs

Best of 2011: Shock Totem Staff Picks

As we enter 2012, let’s take a quick look back at some of our favorite things (that we could actually remember) from 2011.

FAVORITE SMALL PRESS NOVEL/NOVELLA/NOVELETTE:

Ken’s Pick

Skullbelly, by Ronald Malfi

Mercedes’s Picks

Bear in a Muddy Tutu, by Cole Alpaugh


“Map of Seventeen,” by Christopher Barzak

John’s Pick

The Damned Highway, by Brian Keene and Nick Mamatas

Nick’s Pick

Animosity, by James Newman

FAVORITE ANTHOLOGY/COLLECTION:

Ken’s Pick

Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King

Sarah’s Pick

The Zombie Feed, Vol. 1, Edited by Jason Sizemore

FAVORITE MAINSTREAM NOVEL/NOVELLA/NOVELETTE:

Mercedes’s Pick

Mrs. Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

John’s Pick

There Is No Year, by Blake Butler

Nick’s Pick

11/22/63, by Stephen King

Sarah’s Picks

Tie between Treachery in Death and New York to Dallas, by J.D. Robb

FAVORITE MOVIE:

Ken’s Pick

Red State

Mercedes’s Pick

Hugo

John’s Pick

The Muppets

Sarah’s Pick

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

FAVORITE DISCOVERY:

Ken’s Pick

The brilliant work of Darrell Schweitzer

Mercedes’s Pick

Gemmy Butterfly Collection™

John’s Pick

The Memphis Morticians

Nick’s Pick

The Parlor Mob

Sarah’s Pick

Lie to Me

FAVORITE ALBUM:

Ken’s Pick

Dystopia, by Iced Earth

John’s Pick

Bad as Me, by Tom Waits

Nick’s Pick

Thirteen, by http://www.megadeth.com

Unfortunately, for various reasons, we couldn’t all give picks for certain categories. I didn’t read a single novel last year that actually came out in 2011, for instance. So no Novel pick from me. Sarah didn’t read any small-press novels/novellas/novelettes that came out in 2011, so no pick from her.

And the old gray matter just failed us on other things. Which of course means right after this goes live the answers will become clear…

Anyway, as you can see, we have varied tastes that extend well beyond horror. Check out some of our picks; you’ll probably discover something great.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I can sum this book up in one word: wonder.

When this book rolled in, I couldn’t believe my luck. The cover itself was extremely striking; a vintage girl with a crown levitating above the ground. They say that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what happened with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. “Hmm,” says I. “This cover is attractive. Interesting. Ghostly and slightly disturbing. I wonder if the contents are the same.”

They are. And they are delicious.

When Jacob’s grandfather dies a grisly and mysterious death, Jacob is left to wonder about the tales that his grandfather told about his childhood. They are tales of an old house, peculiar children, and monsters. The language in this story is beautiful. The old pictures, actual found photographs, are charming and gave me the impression that I was reading a picture book for adults. The entire presentation of the book was quite stunning, actually.

After the mystery of his grandfather’s death was solved, the narrative slowed dramatically. I read on for the sweet burgeoning love story and the charming descriptions of the children, but not necessarily for the plot. Still, this is an enjoyable read.

This isn’t a book for a waiting room or while you have a few brief minutes to spare. It’s meant to be read when the house is silent and you can savor it one chapter at a time.

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