Bookmas! with Helen Marshall

Bookmas: when the Shelf Monkeys gather ’round the fireplace and warble Good King Bookcelaus while they roast marshmallows and burn every copy of The Da Vinci Code they can find. Because cheap literature burns best.

Today’s not-so-secret BookSanta: Helen Marshall!

Helen Marshall is an award-winning Canadian author, editor, and doctor of medieval studies. Her poetry and fiction have been published in many publication and have been reprinted in several Year’s Best anthologies. Her debut collection of short stories, Hair Side, Flesh Side, won the 2013 British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer and was short-listed for an 2013 Aurora Award by the Canadian Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Her newest collection (and damned fine it is) is Gifts for the One Who Comes After.

What 2014 fiction would you recommend?

One of my favorites was Robert Shearman’s They Do The Same Things Different There. I also loved The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell and Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I tried reading my way through the Man Booker Prize longlist, and the latter two were my gun-to-the-head favorites.

What 2014 non-fiction would you recommend?

Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction.

What one 2014 book do you believe needs more love?

Simon Strantzas’ Burnt Black Suns.

What book that you’ve read in 2014 (not necessarily a 2014 book) would you recommend?

Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. (I re-read it every year.)

What ongoing series of books would you recommend?

Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy.

What author would you recommend?

Kelly Link, Nathan Ballingrud, Lorna Crozier, Michael Ondaatje, Angela Slatter, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Peter Beagle.

What’s the one book you’ve read in your lifetime that you think everyone should read?

Peter Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.

Let’s go specific: what one book would you recommend for

If, god forbid, people couldn’t find any of your books, who else would you suggest they seek out for a similar literary fix?

Kelly Link and Robert Shearman are both funny, odd, and intermittently terrifying writers. I would try them (and I would try them even if you can find my books!).

And finally, what would you recommend for the holidays in a non-literary context?

Soup. If there are books and soup in the world, I’m a happy person.