It’s time for my annual lists, where I share my highly skewed reading and film-watching preferences. First up: books!
I read a total of twenty-four books this year, which is better than I did in 2012 (19 books).
I try to keep up with new releases in order to make this annual post somewhat relevant. I ended up doing better than previous years on that score as well. Half of the books I read this year were 2013 releases.
Here are the books I liked the best.
This was my very favorite book of the year. An engrossing mix of folklore and period fiction, Wecker’s The Golem and the Djinni brings to life, in palpable detail, the experience of Jewish and Arab immigrants in late 19th century New York City. This book definitely has appeal for Neil Gaiman fans, and also for anyone looking for a story inspired by Middle Eastern folk legends.
Far on the other side of the spectrum, David Zelman’s comic send-up to military politics and homophobia was a highly enjoyable, transgressive read. Even better, it’s been banned by Apple iBooks for “objectionable content.” The story and the illustrations are definitely adult material, but its hardly “objectionable” for any adult reader with a sense of humor, in my opinion.
As with The Golem and the Djinni above, I picked up this title while searching for books inspired by Middle Eastern folklore. I became a fast fan. This is the second book in “The Father of Locks” series, and it stands well on its own. Killeen has a madcap tone that goes off the rails for me at times, but the story’s unique mix of Arab-centered medieval history and gay/bisexual characters was a winning combination.
The Persian Boy has been called the best work of ancient world historical fiction (gay-themed or otherwise). It only took me thirty years to finally read it when it came out in e-book format this past fall. It’s long and epic and filled with interesting details about the life of Alexander the Great. Most of all, it was the beautiful evocative writing that I loved..