Thursday, August 28, 2008

Incoming Books: 28 August

I haven't done one of these posts since April 12th, since I haven't been on a big book-shopping trip since then. (I've been living off the mail and the library for a while, in a so far futile attempt to slow the growth of my to-be-read shelves.)

But I went back to the Montclair Book Center today, finding some of their shelves (especially in the children's section) a little sparser than I expected, but I still managed to buy more books than I'll be able to read in the next month:

I did grab something for each of my two sons -- for the ten-year-old Thing 1, Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School, and for the seven-year-old Thing 2, some random "Henry and Mudge" book.

I forget where I heard about it, but I finally saw a copy of Scouts in Bondage (edited by Michael Bell), and grabbed it. It's a collection of covers from books of yore -- printed large and in color -- that now sound funny. Some examples: The Humour of Germany, How Nell Scored, and 50 Faggots.

I'd vaguely known that Lawrence Block's new novel was Hit and Run, but I hadn't kept track of it -- so I was surprised to see that it was already published. I'm really getting out of the habit of knowing when things are publishing these days.

There was a great panel at Readercon on revisions by editors that turned into a discussion of what Gordon Lish did to the Raymond Carver stories collected in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and it made me really want to read that book. (I'd hit a couple of Carver stories when I was in college, and we didn't get along well at all. But I think I'll appreciate them more now.)

I finally bought Don DeLillo's 2007 novel about 9/11, Falling Man. (I picked it up and looked at it on every trip to the library for about six months, but never checked it out.) Maybe I'll even read it; I've read all of DeLillo's other fiction.

It's sad to see that George MacDonald Fraser's last book is The Reavers -- not the book itself, which I hope will be excellent, but that there won't be any more from him. But there is one last Fraser novel, and that's something.

Ian Frazier, author of the wonderful Coyote V. Acme, and many other books (both funny and not), has a new book of comic essays, Lamentations of the Father. The cover is more than a little off-putting, but I bought it anyway.

I've been slowly picking up all of the new Penguin editions of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, with an eye to reading a chunk of them in one big gulp. So this time I got From Russia with Love.

I read two great Stewart O'Nan novels late last year -- Last Night at the Lobster and The Speed Queen -- but I hadn't picked up anything else of his since. The Book Center had one copy of A Prayer for the Dying, which I'd figured I'd read next of his anyway, so I took that as a sign.

I've heard good things about Ed Park's Personal Days -- yet another serio-comic novel of modern business, a niche I'm coming to be very interested in -- so I bought it.

And I accidentally got a second copy of Paul Theroux's The Pillars of Hercules, because I hadn't crossed it off my list. Well, now I have the choice between a hardcover and a trade paperback when I finally get around to it, so it's not that bad.

Neil Gaiman has a new book for kids out, with illustrations by Chris Grimly. It's called The Dangerous Alphabet, and it looks less particular and special than The Wolves in the Walls or The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, but I bought it anyway.

And last was the new treasury-sized collection of Stephan Pastis's Pearls Before Swine strip, The Crass Menagerie. This one has lots of commentary from Pastis, like the first two treasuries, and I'm particularly happy since I managed to avoid the temptation to buy one of the two smaller books that has all of its cartoons doubly reprinted here. (I really like Pearls Before Swine, but I think I can stand just having all of the cartoons in permanent form once.)

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