MY VIEWING & READING HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2018.

By 3rd January 2019Uncategorised

In 2018 I watched watch far more films than I usually manage, and I also read far more for pleasure – though watching films and reading for pleasure are also vital for inspiration and to recharge the batteries of my imagination. But as a result of so much cultural consumption, I’m now able to pass on my 2018 film, TV and book recommendations; works that may be of interest to those of you who shares my dark, and sometimes peculiar, tastes.

The films that I found most affecting in 2018 that are, predominantly, horror, or at the very least dark, weird, horrifying, or pertaining to the numinous were:

Hereditary and The Little Stranger were my two favourite horror films from 2018. But from the more recent releases I watched, I also highly recommend: What Keeps You Alive, February (aka The Blackcoat’s Daughter), Revenge, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Annihilation, They Remain, The Endless, A Quiet Place, Birdbox, You Were Never Really Here, Apostle, Hold the Dark, Possum, Cold Skin, A Ghost Story, Colossal, Thelma, Mowgli, The Captain.

Films aimed at youngsters: Coco, Christopher Robin.

Older titles that I watched for the first time in 2018 and that left a strong impression were: The Rover, Creepy, Don’t Blink, Nature’s Grave, Yellow Brick Road, Leaving DC, These Final Hours, We Go On, Black Mountain, The Unfolding, I Remember You [with thanks to Jeff Stevenson on many of these].

Television Recommendations: Sharp Objects, Handmaid’s Tale S:2, The Exorcist S:2, Succession, Billions S:2, Sinner S: 1&2, Better Call Saul 1 – 4, Narcos – Mexico (S:4)

Books.

After investigating my reading diary I was pleased to discover that I managed to read 105 books in 2018 (reading remains my favourite past-time). So, for fiction highlights, I think the two most engrossing and impressive novels I read in 2018 were The Lost Country by William Gay and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.

Other exceptional works read in 2018 that I highly recommend are:

Novels & novellas (all genres, but horror novels first):
The Way of the Worm – Ramsey Campbell. Born to the Dark – Ramsey Campbell. Nyctophobia – Christopher Fowler. Little Eve – Catriona Ward. You Should Have Left – Daniel Kehlman. The 37th Mandala – Marc Laidlaw. Subterranean Season – Dale Bailey. We Eat Our Own – Kia Wilson. The Feathered Bough – Stephen J. Clark.  I’ll Bring You the Birds from Out of the Sky – Brian Hodge. The History of Mr Polly – H. G. Wells. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath. The Dig – Cynan Jones. The Voyeur – Alain Robbe-Grillet. The Lighthouse – Alison Moore.

For younger readers: Long Lankin – Lindsay Barraclough. The House at Pooh Corner – AA Milne (reread). The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling (reread). Brendan Chase – BB.

Short Story Collections: The Dummy – Nicholas Royle. Ornithology – Nicholas Royle. Picking the Bones – Brian Hodge. The Best Horror of the Year Vol. 1 – 6 & 10 – Ed’ Ellen Datlow.

Non-fiction – The Inner Level – Wilkinson and Pickett. Goodbye to All That– Robert Graves. Down and Out In Paris and London – George Orwell. The Classical Age – Robin Lane Fox. A Writer at War – Vassily Grossman. Storm of Steel – Ernst Junger. Ardennes: Hitler’s Last Gamble – Anthony Beevor. D Day – Anthony Beevor. The Second World War – Anthony Beevor.

My album of the year was probably Behemoth’s I Loved You at Your Darkest.

I think that’s enough to be going on with. Meanwhile, allow me to finally wish you and yours a healthy and happy new year. Keep those horns raised in 2019!

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