January reading! I made January a month of short stories and yanno what it was fun! I had two Kirsty Logan collections on my list, A Portable Shelter and The Rental Heart, as well as Tove Jansson's A Winter Book, the Christmas YA short story collection, My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins, and a graphic novel of short stories, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. I do like having a theme to my months, but I was super keen to read a whole novel by the end of it!
A Portable Shelter
I've been waiting to read this lovely little boom for absolutely ages. It's set in tiny coastal cottage in the north of Scotland, where Liska and Ruth tell stories to their unborn child, so I was determined to wait to read it until I was up in my family's west coast cottage. Definitely worth the wait! The couple has agreed not to tell their child any lies, and so pregnant Ruth tells the baby stories while Liska is at work, and Liska tells hers while Ruth is asleep. The stories are dark fairytales, with modern selkies and werewolves and ghosts. Stories of love, lies, grief, loss, regret, life, and death. Each story is accompanied by a beautiful illustration by Liz Myhill, which just adds to the overall beauty of the book as an object itself. Definitely get this on your wish list!
My True Love Gave to Me
I read this at the beginning of January for some post-Christmas wintery vibes. Twelve short love stories by twelve great YA authors, including Ally Carter, Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Rainbow Rowell, Matt de la Pena, David Levithan, Stephanie Perkins, Kiersten White, Kelly Link, Jenny Han, Gayle Forman and Myra McEntire. Festive, romantic, quirky, lovely YA stories to warm your heart on a chilly winter's eve! I recommend to YA romance lovers. Stephanie Perkins' story of a girl befriending the Christmas Tree selling boy was just perfect.
A Winter Book
This was a reread for me from a few years ago probably. I absolutely love Tove Jansson. The gentle humour and playfulness comes through in each story. From childhood to old age, through the seasons, with the latter half of the book focussing on winter stories. There's such magic and light in her stories, I bet she would have been wonderful to spend time with. I love the story 'Jeremiah' about the geologist living on the island one autumn, and 'Snow' about the strangeness of not being in the city for snowfall. As usual for Sort Of Books' publishing Jansson, the book itself is beautiful, will well chosen photographs from her life throughout. Not just for winter this one- add this beautiful blue book to your wish list for sure!
The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales
More short stories from Kirsty Logan, this one from 2014. Very surreal and dark and wonderful stories. The clockwork heart story is beautiful, the coin-operated boy is weird and wonderful. Magical realism mixes with love and sex and steampunk-esque imagery in these intensely rich short stories. The relationships throughout are beautiful woven. There are currently three copies in the LGBT section at Hillhead Library in Glasgow, so if you happen to live nearby, so check one out! I may have to read this one again, as I have a feeling it'll reveal different things to the reader each time.
Through the Woods
I picked this up at Fopp just after my birthday for £9 in paperback. I've been eyeing it up since it came out and fiiiiiiinally bought it. I did not regret it as the stories within are so dark, magical, gruesome, and wonderfully told. It has 24,385 ratings on Goodreads, so this book has certainly been well read. I remember reading His Face All Red, the story about the two brothers, online quite a while ago and was definitely intrigues then. There is beautiful artwork throughout, with copious use of blood red for all the gore. Possibly not for the faint of heart. My counting-graphic-novels-as-novels plan for 2016 is going really well so far. I'm so much more drawn to reading them now they count to the dreaded Reading Challenge! I've also been enjoying my local library's collection, which is helping to save the pennies. Definitely get Through the Woods for your collection, it's a beautiful book and will only maybe give you nightmares.