Saturday, February 20, 2010

Incoming Books: 20 February

The Montclair Book Center -- now as always, my favorite independent bookstore, and well worth a visit for anyone in North Jersey -- called earlier in the week to say that my special order had come in, so I dragged my two sons over there this morning to pick up some goodies. Thing 1 also grabbed the first book of The 39 Clues, and Thing 2 found (as usual) three random Garfield collections. And I got the following:

The Complete Stories of J. G. Ballard -- nearly 1200 pages of Ballardian goodness, with an introduction by Martin Amis that, I imagine, adds up to a major claim of "is too literature." (And he's right.) It even contains two stories that weren't in the original 2002 UK edition, so, once again, I see that procrastinating has worked in my favor. It also has a three-page listing of original publications in the back, which makes it an almost perfect reprint collection. (Only almost because it only gives the year and name of the publication, and because it doesn't say where those two added stories originally appeared.) Everyone who reads both SF and literature should own this -- and I don't see why anyone wouldn't read both SF and literature.

Just before Christmas, Shelf Awareness, an e-mail newsletter for booksellers, listed a bunch of things that various contributors thought should be hand-sold to customers for the holiday season. Two of them sounded good to me, so I filed them away for further review -- and I just bought them today.

The first was Poisoned Pens, edited by Gary Dexter. It's a quote book -- and I've been reading those for at least two decades now -- containing nasty things said by one writer about another. Once I get a chance to start paging through it, expect it to enliven my "Quote of the Week" for some time to come.

The other book Shelf Awareness recommended is Obsolete, by Anna Jane Grossman. It's an alphabetical listing of things that don't exist anymore, from Polaroids to cyclamate to gas station attendants to vacuum tubes, and it looks like a great book to read a little bit at a time.

Matthew Hughes's third "Hengis Hapthorn" novel Hespira was finally published at the beginning of this year. It's the follow-up to Majestrum and The Spiral Labyrinth, by one of the best (and probably the most criminally underrated) writers in the SFF field.

The University of Chicago Press has been issuing Donald E. Westlake Richard Stark's "Parker" novels in matching trade paperbacks, and they've just gotten past the point where the last reprinting (from Warner, about a decade ago) stopped. So now I can start buying the UCP books, and maybe even go on a Parker spree sometime soon. I got the most recent batch of three books: The Seventh, The Handle, and The Rare Coin Score. The Parker books are some of the best hardboiled fiction available, and these are right in the middle of the series; I'm sure I won't be disappointed.

And last was a book I didn't special order, but found while I was browsing: Scott Westerfeld's new steampunk YA novel Leviathan. I read Scott's two-book space opera series from Tor, many years ago (and stuck them into a two-in-one at my then-employer the SFBC), but I haven't managed to read any of his books since then. I still have hopes of getting to Peeps (which is on the to-be-read shelves somewhere), but this one is shiny and new, with a great map on the endpapers. And buying shiny new books by good writers is what we all should do as often as possible.

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Listening to: Prototypes - Ici Ou Peut-Être Demain
via FoxyTunes

3 comments:

Kerry said...

Obsolete looks like such fun! Thanks for the rec. I've been eying Leviathan for a while now, but haven't yet committed. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

Robin said...

Thanks for the @shelfawareness shout-out!

Howard said...

Leviathan is awesome, even given that it's just book one in a series (3 books?).

Andrew, you really need to catch up on Westerfeld...Peeps is excellent.

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