I All The Pretty Horses Cormac McCarthy (Picador £5.99) A classic adventure from the lost heart of the wild American West. With echoes of Hemingway and Faulkner. McCarthy renders beautifully a coming-of—age novel bursting with lost innocence. revenge and responsibility.

I The Stone Diaries Carol Shields (4rh Estate £5.99) This is one of the most extraordinary yet deceptively simple and beautiful books you will ever read. It records the poignant and bewildering life of Daisy Goodwill from her birth on a kitchen floor in Manitoba. Canada to her death in a Florida nursing home 90 years later.

I The Shipping News Annie Proulx (4th Estate £5.99) Quoer is a hapless hack journalist who heads for a new life in the land of his forefathers. a far flung corner of Newfoundland. Laconic humour. Shark Fin soup and love lie awaiting our ‘hero’.

I Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow Peter Hoeg (Flamingo £5.99) Set against the Arctic ice-cap. this seductively and delicately written psychological thriller with a kick is utterly compulsive.

I Theory Of War Joan Brady (Abacus £6.99) A deserving 1993 Whitbread winner this alternately fierce and enthralling novel tells the violent story of a white boy sold as a slave in post Civil War America. Even a new life as an itinerant preacher fails to erase the psychological scars inflicted from his youth. A poignant and elegant novel that surrnounts the horror of the narrative.

I Short Cuts Raymond Carver (Harvill £6.99) Not strictly this year‘s model but it was republished to coincide with Robert Altman's film version ofthe nine short stories and the poem Lemonade printed here.

I Dogs Of God Pinckney Benedict (Secker & Warburg £9.99) The backwoods mountains of West Virginia provide a suitably psychotic backdrop for the brutality and mayhem that crash out ofthis powerfully written tome. Centred around the deeds of bare- knuckle boxer Goody. the book is as much about frailty and morality as it is about the machinations of violence.

I How That You’re Back A.L. Kennedy (Cape £8.99) This collection of short stories is by turns disconcerting. chilling. comic and tender as they wrestle with the mental states of everyday folk. Kennedy‘s stripped-to- tlre-bone style still succeeds in sensitively communicating the anguish and love inherent in every character's life.

I What A Carve Up Jonathon Coe (Viking £9.99) A young biographer piecing together the grotesque story of his power-hungry family finds himself delving deeper into the parallel history ofa greedy Britain. A melange of whodunnit. comedy and a scornful state-of-the-nation indictment of Thatcherisrn.

I Black Betty Walter Mosley (Serpent‘s Tail £7.99) This dark and heart-stopping thriller is currently taking pride of place on the bookshelves of the White House as Clinton's favourite author doles out another highly addictive slab of blistering crime writing.

12 The List 2-15 December 1994

It's not been a bad year for horror. with highlights including a new on-form hardback from Stephen King Insomnia (Hodder & Stoughton £15.99). a gripping lirst novel by Scotland's own Muriel Gray The Trickster (HarperCollins £12.99). and the UK debut of the excellent Poppy Z. Brite‘s Drawing Blood and Lost Souls (Penguin £5.99).

Short stories collection of the year is Kim Newman's The Original Dr Shade (Pocket £4.99). which takes brief forays into the distinctive pop-culture- driven universe of a writer who is already one of the rrrost exciting British horror novelists of the 90s. For nrore traditional fireside holiday shivers. try Ghost Stories: A Classic Collection or Haunting (Warner £5.99). in which anthologist Marvin Kaye organises a quaint gathering of secular spooks.

Racist attacks. religious cults. rising numbers of homeless. drug abuse a

rniasrrra of modern nightmares come together in Stephen Laws‘ Macabre (Hodder & Stoughton £15.99). Fellow British genre star Christopher Fowler turns his hand to the Faustian legend in Spanky (Warner £6.99). in which a hapless sales assistant finds his circumstances turned around after meeting a charming post-yuppie demon. Fowler invites rrs on a darkly comic journey. spiked with tongue-in- clreek nastiness. as our hero tries to escape the destiny now latched onto him.

Last year‘s vampire bonanza continues to produce superb works that dismantle and reasserrrble the legends. but few are written with the intelligence and psychological insight of Roderick Anscombe's The Secret Lite Oi Laszlo, Count Dracula (Bloomsbury £14.99). A rich brew of historical. political. cultural and medical detail. this literate novel reassesses vampirisrn as mental imbalance rather than supernattrral myth.

Druggy nightmares from Stephen Laws

Finally. The Starry Wisdom (Creation £9.95) is a sincere and imaginative tribute to HP. Lovecraft that avoids slavish impersonation of the writer's style. Lovecraft‘s legacy is seen directly in contributions by Lumlcy and Campbell. more tangentially in those by Ballard and Burroughs; the visual power of his Cthulhu stories is captured in artwork by John Coulthart and in the prose work of graphic novelists Grant Morrison and Alan Moore. And with stories from such unexpected sources as The Swans' Michael Gira and My Bloody Valentine‘s David Conway. this edition is a cult reader's drcanr. (Alan Morrison)

Muriel Gray. author of horror novel The 'Ii‘it'ksler: The Collected Shari Stories of MR. James. ‘lt's a classic turn-of—the-century collection of ghost stories. Without being any kind of splatterfest it really is the stuff of nghtmares and the suspense is absolutely killing.‘

This year. Santa's sack is positively overflowing with right riveting reads for music fans. For the serious rock scholar there are a variety of weighty biographical tomes. The Carpenters: The Untold Story by Ray Coleman (Boxtree £15.99) is. in The Carpenters‘ 25th anniversary year. an oft-told story. but probably never in this much depth. As it's nigh impossible to place timeless music in a particular context. Coleman instead concentrates on Richard. and especially Karen‘s personal lives. relationships and traumas in minute. diary-like detail (Karen goes to buy a washing machine. etc). providing a lot of general information on anorexia into the bargain. Across The Great Divide: The Band And America by Barney Hoskyrrs (Penguin £7.99) is a detailed and easy- to-read account of the career of The Band and its members from their days as The Hawks through to The [art lib/1:. Easy to read if you dig The Band that is. Waiting For The Man: A Biography of Lou Reed by Jeremy ‘no relation‘ Reed (Picador £14.99) should likewise only be attempted by Reed obsessives. aspiring psychologists and lyric analysts. lts account ends with the release of Magic Am! Lass in 1992. when Lou turned 5(). Didn‘t he get together for a few shows with some old

pals after that? Neil Young fans have more fun in

3 store. Neil Young: The Visual Documentary by John Robertson

(Omnibus £12.95) is an attractive pictorial record of Young’s life with month-by-month diary-type entries. the style of which does become a bit dry. but the photographs expertly chronicle the changing look of his Neanderthal haircuts. Pink Floyd: learning To Fly by Chris Welsh (Castle Communications £1 1.99) may interest Floyd completists but you're probably better off clutching your Earls Court tour programme. The photographs are of dubious quality and the writing won‘t tell you anything the recent Omnibus special didn‘t manage better. ()n the reference side of things. there‘s The Pocket Companion To Opera and Opera On CD (Mitchell Beazley. both £7.99). The former is aimed at the keen layperson with detailed synopses of more than 150 operas. while the latter advises on the best recorded purchases. The Guinness Who’s Who of Rap and Dance (Guinness £12.99) is a

thoroughly modern and inclusive guide

book with easily digested entries on everyone from veterans like Gil Scott Heron through to young guns like

l Kaliphz. However. in Roncospeak. All

Time Top 1000 Albums (Guinness

1 £14.99) is the perfect Christmas gift. an

addictive read for those with even the

slightest trainspottcr mentality. While your elderly relatives digest the ()ne Fm)! In The Grave Christmas special. you can retaliate with cries of ‘1 can't believe it 1‘ when you read that Tina Turner's l’rii'a/e Dancer is placed above Love's I'D/ever (.‘lrairges' and .S'ergean! Pepper‘s still regarded as the greatest album ever have our tastes advanced so little? (Fiona Shepherd)


Douglas Maclntyre. record company mogul at Creeping Bent: My Marla! lz'irenrv by Willa Cather ‘lt's more a novella than a novel but I have this thing for these old Southern dairies like Cather and Carson McCullers. This is a brilliant 1920s tale of love and loss.‘