Top Five Books – July to December 2016
Top Fives / 22/12/2016

After bringing you the Top 5 books for the first half of the year (Top 5 Books Jan to June 2016), here are 5 more books to put on your must read list: Colson Whitehead’s magical realist history of slavery imagines the underground railroad as a real train, carrying escaped slaves to the North. In The Underground Railroad, escaped slave Cara experiences different realities of the slavery experience as she rides the rails. Ann Patchett comes home to America for Commonwealth, an engaging, heartfelt, non-linear family drama. Another historical novel with a magical element – Eowyn Ivey’s To the Bright Edge of the World follows an expedition into a mystical Alaskan interior in the 1850s. At the same time Ivey also focuses on the expedition leader’s wife, left behind at a military camp and discovering a new way to express herself. Sam Carmody’s debut novel The Windy Season takes him into Tim Winton territory. A young man takes a job on a trawler out of a small town on the Western Australian coast trying to find out what happened to his missing brother. Another great Australian debut, Rajith Savanadasa’s Ruins takes readers into post-war Sri Lanka and the lives of a…

Top Five Crime 2016
Crime , Top Fives / 20/12/2016

There was lots of great crime this year. These are five of my favourites: Jane Harper’s debut crime novel The Dry was a revelation. A classic crime novel in a classic, rural Australian setting, with strong characters dealing with universal issues. Thomas Mullen exposed modern attitudes in Darktown – a tense, multi-strand procedural set in 1948 Atlanta. Zane Lovitt is likely to be back in award contention for his second novel, Black Teeth, a highly original, dark Australian crime novel with humour as black as its title suggests. Nadia Dalbuono’s Leone Scarmacio series keeps getting better with this third outing. In The Hit, Scarmacio is dealing with a kidnapping that threatens to expose his own mafia past. Double Golden Dagger winner, Bill Beverly’s Dodgers is a timely crime debut that delves deep into the psyche of modern America.       Honourable mentions: Slaughter Park by Barry Maitland Made to Kill by Adam Christopher The Windy Season by Sam Carmody Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama Signal Loss by Garry Disher

Top 5 Science Fiction July – December 2016
Science Fiction , Top Fives / 15/12/2016

While there were some science-fiction classics in the first half of the year (Top 5 sci-fi for Jan to June 2016) there were plenty of great science fiction reads to round out 2016. Click on links or images for the full review: Kaufman and Kristoff’s second of the Illuminae Files, Gemina is ostensibly YA but is a science fiction treat for young and old. A cross between Aliens, Die Hard and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with a little bit of romance and plenty of other geek delights thrown in. Becky Chambers follow up to her stunning self-published debut (The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet) is smaller in scale but deeper and more heartfelt. A Closed and Common Orbit once again uses science fiction tropes to explore what it means to be human. Review pending. Two words : Space Pirates. Alistair Reynolds has alot of fun in Revenger set in a new ancient solar system. A young girl joins a (space) pirate ship and and encounters dark secrets, buried treasure and a dreaded pirate foe. Madeline Ashby delivers a post-cyberpunk, timey wimey thrill ride. Set on an oil rig turned city off the coast of Canada, Company Town, stars ass-kicking security guard Go-Jeung Hwa…

Top 5 Fantasy Books 2016
Top Fives / 08/12/2016

Whether you’re into epic fantasy, urban fantasy or new weird, the Pile’s Top 5 Fantasy books for 2016 ranges across a wide spectrum of speculative fiction. Angela Slatter’s Vigil was an Australian debut urban fantasy novel from a writer who has already received plenty of notice for her short stories.   Anthony Ryan’s The Waking Fire was the first novel in a steampunk-inspired epic fantasy series with great characters, well-written action and, of course, plenty of dragons.     China Mieville once again changed gears in The Last Days of New Paris a book in which an eldrich weapon has brought to life the visions of the Surrealist art movement on the streets of World War Two Paris.   Paraic O’Donnell’s The Maker of Swans was a debut set in contemporary England but with an old world feel, with magic and mystery tied up with the written word   Den Patrick’s The Girl on the Liar’s Throne tied up a beguiling and inventive Italianate modern fantasy trilogy.  

Top 5 Science Fiction Books – Jan to June 2016
Top Fives / 28/08/2016

Looking for a great science fiction book? From political intrigue to young adult space adventure (with zombies) to the mind blowingly-weird here are the top five science fiction books reviewed on Pile by the Bed in the first half of 2016. Click on the cover for the full review: