6) Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates. (Da Capo Press, 2001, 160 pages).
A revisit of this, one of my favorite reading experiences of the past year. Gillian is an undergraduate student in a Western Massachusetts college, during the 1970s. Arson, passion, erotic art, poetry, and a love that breaks the boundaries of civility and propriety spark the ultimate rocket-ride into a dark Hell. This novella goes for the throat and succeeds magnificently. A chilling psychological tale.
7) Escape From Old Corvosa by Richard Pett. (Paizo, 2008, 96 pages)
Third part of the Curse of the Crimson Throne series of adventure path modules from Paizo.
8) The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. (1997, Ace, 400 pages)
Time travel, ancient Egyptian magic, and a fascinating portrayal of the early nineteenth century combine in this exciting, intelligent fantasy novel. Trista started reading this to me last year, and we only just recently finished. The Anubis Gates is my first Tim Powers, and certainly not my last.
9) A History of Ashes by Michael Kortes. (Paizo, 2008, 96 pages)
Part Four of the Curse of the Crimson Throne series of adventure path modules from Paizo.
10) A Garden of Earthly Delights by Joyce Carol Oates. (Modern Library, 2003, 432 pages)
A complex novel following the life of a woman born to an itinerant picking family in the 1930s, through her flight from an abusive father, to pregnancy, and finally her marriage to an overbearing husband. Though Clara Walpole (later Revere) is the central character here, the three sections are titled for the men in her life: her Father, then her Lover, and finally her Son. Though it lacks some of the immediate prose that I found in the following volume of the thematically linked Wonderland Quartet (Expensive People), A Garden of Earthly Delights offers a slowly burning, visceral novel. Painful and wonderful at turns.
I was not surprised to learn that this book -- Oates' second novel, I believe -- was nominated for the National Book Award when originally published in 1967.
11) Hangman's Noose by Nicolas Logue. (Paizo, 2008, 32 pages)
This adventure module for Dungeons and Dragons v3.5 offers a fine, atmospheric horror tale, which combines the exploration of a haunted courthouse alongside a "And Then There Were None" style adventure. In its brief length, this product produces no less than seven interesting, well developed, nonplayer characters for the players to interact with. The only area that could use some more fleshing out is actually the Player Character involvement. Individual GMs are expected to come up with their own rationales (or no rationales at all).
Currently reading: The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike, though I've an eye to start Dan Simmons' Drood.