Friday, May 22, 2009

Incoming Books: 22 May

Because of the holiday, my company's offices closed at lunchtime today. And, since my train line runs almost entirely during rush hours, the easiest way to get back to where my car was parked was to take the PATH into New York, and then a bus back out to the appropriate part of Jersey.

But with an afternoon free, and being in NYC...I ended up at the Strand, one of the great bookstores in the world, and of course I didn't walk out empty-handed. I bought a Garfield book for the boys, and a whole stack of good things for myself:

Death By Laughter, a collection of cartoons by Harry Bliss, all on the subject of death. I like dark humor, I like Bliss's work, and I hadn't even suspected that this book existed -- it's all good.

Explainers: The Complete Village Voice Strips (1956-1966) by Jules Feiffer, collecting the first decade of his cartoon for The Village Voice. It's great work, and I've read in this book without having a chance to run straight through it yet. Another interesting thing -- and one that proves there truly is nothing new in the world -- is the fact that Feiffer drew these cartoons for free for the first eight years of his run. Yes, folks, he did it to get exposure and to generate other work, which of course it did. So don't let anybody tell you that no creator ever did anything for free before this newfangled Internet thingy.

The Idler's Glossary by Joshua Glenn and Mark Kingwell, designed and illustrated by Seth. It's a cute little book with definitions of lots and lots of word about work and the shirking thereof. I don't detect any specific connection with the periodical The Idler, but I might have missed it.

Poems and Translations by Ezra Pound, the Library of America edition from 2003. I've given up on the LoA at this point -- I've joined a couple of times in the past decade, but I end up getting one book and then they mysteriously (and silently) cancel that membership without sending me any of the books I wanted to pay real money for -- like this one. And Pound is a writer I've meant to read for a long time.

A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross. Lasko-Gross is a major up-and-coming cartoonist, and I didn't read her first book, Escape from "Special." And I've seen short work from her that was impressive, so I grabbed this new book of hers. And about her name: I've heard, but don't know for sure, that "Miss" is actually her first name, and that people who know her call her "Missy."

Sounds of Your Name collects early comics by Nate Powell, author of the amazing and powerful Swallow Me Whole. (Vote for it for the Eisner, if you're eligible!) This was published by a tiny press three years ago, and I'd never heard of it before -- but it was on a shelf at the Strand next to a couple of copies of Swallow (which I almost bought, since I only have a galley and not a finished book). This is early work, and a variety of shorter pieces, so I don't expect it to have the ominous, overwhelming impact of Swallow, but I'm eager to read more of Powell's stuff.

The Time Engine by Sean McMullen, the fourth book in the "Moonworlds Saga," an extraplanetary fantasy series set on worlds of humanoid non-humans on the moons of a super-Jovian that may be sometime in the far future. I'm quite fond of this series, and I'd listed it (among many others) on the Tor publicity checklist a few season back, when it was published. (And what that teaches, as if I needed to learn it, that it's the publicity folks who decide how many books to send out and to whom. As a reviewer -- or a "media outlet," as we tend to call them on the other side -- what I do is ask nicely and be happy when I get free stuff.)

Stop Forgetting to Remember by Peter Kuper -- a well-reviewed semi-autobiographical graphic novel from a couple of years ago that I missed at the time.

And last was The Blue World by Jack Vance, in a classy Gollancz SF Collector's Edition from earlier this decade. I might already have this in a crappy mass-market, and I'm not sure I've read it, but this one is definitely an upgrade. (And I have to mention that I didn't spend much time in the Strand's SF section -- or mysteries, for that matter. I don't know if it's the setting, or the selection, or what, but those sections just feel like they're packed with disposable, horrible junk compared with the books they're surrounded by. So don't go to the Strand for genre fiction.)

Tomorrow is a trip to the library, which may mean another book or two for me. And then I need to write up what came in for review this week -- including two Seth-intensive boxes from D&Q today -- for my Monday-morning post. In short: there are a lot of books here, and that's wonderful. I hope your lives are equally filled with good books.

2 comments:

Jvstin Tomorrow said...

(And I have to mention that I didn't spend much time in the Strand's SF section -- or mysteries, for that matter. I don't know if it's the setting, or the selection, or what, but those sections just feel like they're packed with disposable, horrible junk compared with the books they're surrounded by. So don't go to the Strand for genre fiction.)
I unfortunately learned that long ago when I lived in NYC. I went to the Strand and wandered around, but the SF section always seemed like an unwanted stepchild of a section that visibly shrank over the years.

Anonymous said...

When you're up in Boston, you could check out the New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton, which doesn't have an SF section at all (although I do think they segregate mysteries and romances). But you'll probably find all of your books neatly shelved by title under "Wiley".

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