Brilliant Book Titles #145

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.


Teenager Sexton Furnival is contemplating suicide when he is befriended by death. Death herself is being hunted by evil forces which prey on her new vulnerability now that she is human. Meanwhile, Mad Hettie threatens to kill Death’s suicidal friend if Death won’t help her find her heart.

Dream States: The Collected Dreaming Covers by Dave McKean

dream states cover

I’m a big fan of Dave McKean’s artwork so I was delighted to see that alongside the new edition of Dust Covers (his covers for the Sandman series), this now existed, collecting his The Dreaming covers and various Sandman Presents and miscellaneous work.

McKean’s illustrations are peerless and unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. They look wonderful in their unadorned, lavishly put together fashion in this book. We also get, as we did in Dust Covers, lots of other smaller work from him littered through the book.

dream states 1

My big gripe with this is that its missing the voices of Dust Covers, wherein Dave and Neil Gaiman commented on the covers and their creation. This would’ve been a perfect opportunity to do that with the various writers of the series. In particular, I would’ve loved to read the dialogues between primary The Dreaming writer, Caitlin R Kiernan, and McKean, but instead we get one page of text, about McKean’s work about The Sandman Overture covers. This shouldn’t surprise me, since Vertigo has always seemingly (incorrectly, in my view) seen The Dreaming as the poor cousin of The Sandman no one should talk about (which is why, bar the one out of print collection that collated various issues from the middle of the run, I guess they’ve never bothered putting out The Dreaming as collection editions WHICH IS TOTALLY SOMETHING THEY SHOULD DO).

dream states 2

Still, it’s wonderful to have McKean’s stellar Dreaming work collected in one book. There’s also a new McKean-illustrated, Gaiman-written comic at the start, but I wasn’t crazy about it, and it’s not a patch on The Last Sandman Story from Dust Covers.

In short, excellent, but if they had’ve treated this book as Dust Covers’ equal, instead of its little brother, it could’ve been much more engaging.


You can reserve on South Dublin Libraries a copy of Dream States here and a copy of Dust Covers here.

The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer

art of asking

I don’t really listen to audiobooks. They always seem like a huge time investment compared to reading books (which they aren’t) but more so, I can’t do anything else when listening to audiobooks (whereas when reading, I’d normally listen to music also). Anyway, my main criteria for listening to an audiobook is who is reading it, and like this one, I tend to only listen to ones read by the author and of author’s I’m interested in.

I’m a long term fan of Amanda Palmer and her former band, The Dresden Dolls, who I’ve listened to for well over a decade now, so I was looking forward to getting this book. I initially got it in paperback but I didn’t get very far with it; I was distracted, and also I wasn’t mad about reading it, however, I ended up getting it through Audible and due to some unusual circumstances, I found myself in the position to listen to hours and hours of an audiobook.

And I was very glad I did. The book completely comes alive when Amanda reads it. More than that, she has punctuated sections with her own music, and occasionally, the music of others, the conceit of which works really well when she’s talking about a specific song.

The book stemmed from her crowdfunding over $1million for her record, Theatre is Evil, and the subsequent TED talk she was asked to give which introduced her to a whole new audience. It’s about much more than that though. Part memoir, part journey through an artist connecting with her fans, part self-help at times (in a good way), this book starts with her working in an icecream shop in Boston and on her days off being a living statue, the 9ft tall “The Bride”, replete in white facepaint and an old wedding dress. She talks about this and how it was good training for connecting with an audience and more than that, being unafraid to ask for help when needed, being unafraid of connecting with someone.

There is so much in this book that I could go on and on about it for ages. Like she is in her music and online, she doesn’t hold anything back, going into detail about her relationship with Neil Gaiman, her abortion, what it was like being hated on the Internet, but more than anything, this book is about a musician seeking to connect, seeking to be an artist, and not feeling ashamed for either. Recommended.


You can reserve a print copy of this book on South Dublin Libraries’ online catalogue here.

5 Horror Novels To Watch Out For

im thinking
I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (14 Jun 2016)
“”I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read. Iain Reid has crafted a tight, ferocious little book, with a persistent tenor of suspense that tightens and mounts toward its visionary, harrowing final pages” (Scott Heim, award-winning author of “Mysterious Skin” and “We Disappear”).””
You will be scared. But you won t know why
“I m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It s always there. Always.”
“Jake once said, Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can t fake a thought. ”
“And here s what I m thinking: I don t want to be here.”
In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago s early work, Michel Faber s cult classic “Under the Skin,” and Lionel Shriver s “We Need to Talk about Kevin,” “I m Thinking of Ending Things” is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page and never lets you go.”

The Binding by Nicholas Wolff (28 Jun 2016)
When a rare mental disorder begins to consume his small-town neighbors, a young psychiatrist digs up the past for clues to the epidemic s bone-chilling source in this brilliant supernatural horror debut, written in the bestselling tradition of Peter Straub.
Convinced that evil spirits have overtaken his daughter, a desperate father introduces her to Nat Thayer, a young psychiatrist in their sleepy blue-blooded Massachusetts college town. Thayer quickly diagnoses the girl with Cotard Delusion, an obscure condition sometimes described as walking corpse syndrome. But Thayer soon realizes his patient and many of the local families are actually being targeted by a malignant force resurrected from the town’s wicked history. Thayer must discover the source of the spreading plague before there is no one left to save.”

in the shadow
In the Shadow of Frankenstein: Tales of the Modern Prometheus
(5 Jul 2016)
Frankenstein… His very name conjures up images of plundered graves, secret laboratories, electrical experiments, and reviving the dead.

Within these pages, the maddest doctor of them all and his demented disciples once again delve into the Secrets of Life, as science fiction meets horror when the world’s most famous creature lives again.

Here are collected together for the first time twenty-four electrifying tales of cursed creation that are guaranteed to spark your interest with classics from the pulp magazines by Robert Bloch and Manly Wade Wellman, modern masterpieces from Ramsey Campbell, Dennis Etchison, Karl Edward Wagner, David J. Schow, and R. Chetwynd-Hayes, and new contributions from Graham Masterson, Basil Copper, John Brunner, Guy N. Smith, Kim Newman, Paul J. McAuley, Roberta Lannes, Michael Marshall Smith, Daniel Fox, Adrian Cole, Nancy Kilpatrick, Brian Mooney and Lisa Morton.

Plus, you’re sure to get a charge from three complete novels: The Hound of Frankenstein by Peter Tremayne, The Dead End by David Case, and Mary W. Shelley’s original masterpiece Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. As an electrical storm rages overhead, the generators are charged up, and beneath the sheet a cold form awaits its miraculous rebirth. Now it’s time to throw that switch and discover all that Man Was Never Meant to Know. ”

raven and skull
Raven and Skull by Ashley Lister (7 Jul 2016)
Jean-Paul Sartre said, ‘Hell is other people.’ But he was only half right. Hell is the other people who work in the offices of Raven and Skull.After a week of horror and upset, six colleagues from the Raven and Skull offices get together in the pub to exchange stories and decide which of them has had the worst week.Each one has had a week plagued by adultery, theft, betrayal, murder, cannibalism, black magic and death. The stories they share are dark and twisted and reflect the regular reality of Raven and Skull. Do you dare to hear what they have to say?

Pressure by Brian Keene (13 Jul 2016)
Off the coast of tropical Mauritius, an ecological catastrophe with global implications is occurring. The ocean’s floor is collapsing at a rapid rate. World-champion free diver and marine biologist Carrie Anderson joins a scientific expedition determined to discover the cause-and how to stop it. But what they uncover is even more horrific. Deep beneath the surface, something is awake. Something hungry. Something…cold. Now, the pressure builds as Carrie and her colleagues must contend with the murderous operatives of a corrupt corporation, an unnatural disaster that grows bigger by the day, and a monstrous predator that may spell the extinction of all mankind.”Pressure” is this summer’s hot new thriller from bestselling author and World Horror Grandmaster Award winner Brian Keene.