April Gutierrez's Best of 2009 Picks

Tops on my list for 2009 is definitely Tachyon's release of James Morrow's Shambling Towards Hiroshima. Few books have elicited such extreme emotions from me -- howls of laughter followed by tears of sorrow and despair only a page or two later. Morrow's scathing indictment of nuclear war is balanced by his obvious affection for schlocky horror and monster movies, and these disparate threads work seamlessly in this masterful novel.

Last year I found myself catching up on Bill Willingham's superb Fables comic series, so had a veritable bounty to choose from. Four volumes, in fact -- Sons of Empire, The Good Prince, War and Pieces, and The Dark Ages, taking the Fables through the end of their battle with The Adversary and into their new adventures. The story and art continue to be stellar and promise of much more to come.

Another comic collection captivated me last year, much to my surprise -- G. Willow Wilson and M.P. Perker's Air: Letters from Lost Countries. Air is imaginative, unpredictable and simply tons of fun to read!

And my last pick for 2009 is the trade paperback release of Stephen King's After Sunset collection. I've been a fan of King's short stories since I was a child (yes, King was a staple of my 10 year old self's library, whatever that may say about me) and I feel he's only gotten better over the years. This collection shows off King's range, and has some genuinely creepy moments for those who need that little frisson of fear to charge things up!