TSM Recommends – Novels, Short Stories, and Other Wordy Things

TSM Recommends

I don’t know if you guys remember this, but for a while last year I posted weekly recommendations from blog articles and books to videos and other wordy-based things. I will now be returning to this series, albeit on a monthly basis (or every four weeks). As I get back into the blogosphere, I will be reading some of the amazing posts you all are putting out there so I can share them with our readers; however, given my rather terrible blogging style as of late, I’ve been reading mostly books — or offline in general — so my recommendations for this month are more from the outside publishing realm, rather than the blogging one.

Below you’ll find the most recent readings and recommendations. Robyn and Chris have kindly contributed their recommendations for the month, as well.

Happy Reading!


Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

This one is Robyn’s recommendation, your friendly neighborhood writing mentor. She says: No one is potentially more afraid than the creative person about completing and sharing their work. Daring Greatly isn’t just for artists and writers. It’s for anyone who deals with vulnerability and/or shame and is a guide to getting out of your head. Brene Brown has a warm style and a great knack for explaining her research, but it all comes down to this: being vulnerable makes us stronger and more resilient than holding back or protecting ourselves.



The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohoe

This chilling tale of a troubled boy trapped inside the confines of his home and tormented by the endless need to draw monsters had Chris resigned to sleeping with the lights on. With creepy visions and beautiful, fleeting descriptions, this book is a masterpiece in psychological horror.

Literary Historical

Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch

Apparently the Muses have a thing for darkness, because though this novel starts off lightly enough, bathed in the adventure we dream of as kids and touched with a poetic London in a by-gone age, it quickly transforms into a haunting coming-of-age tale, rocked with tragedy, but held aloft with hope. Part of this book’s charm is the voice of Jaffy Brown, the main character, but the other part is the imagery. Birch has the ability to turn a phrase that paints this dark adventure into a mesmerizing reality.


Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

The final book in the Imperial Radch trilogy. I put the last one here since it was published most recently (and I also read it recently); however, I hope if you haven’t read the first two that you will start from the beginning. The main character, you discover, is not your typical sci-fi heroine. The first novel in the series, Ancillary Justice, won pretty much every speculative fiction award available, including the Hugo and Nebula Awards.


Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith

This book of poetry won the Pulitzer Prize in 2012. Though the title may invoke thoughts of space or science fiction, these are poems that are very much about our life here on Earth. Highly recommended to any lovers of poetry who enjoy a touch of the universe — both the one in which we inhabit and the one in our heads.


The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

This speculative short story (published by Lightspeed Magazine), interestingly enough, has a rather low rating on Goodreads. It was originally on the list for the Hugo awards. I quite liked it. Chris and I even had a discussion on how we wish we had thought of the idea ourselves. Well, you know how it goes. Though the main character isn’t your traditional likeable hero, I thought he suited the story, and I do think he grows by the end. So, mission accomplished. Give it a go and see what you think.

Have any other book recommendations? We here at TSM are always looking for more to read. Let us know your current favorites in the comments below!