Saturday, July 18, 2015

Incoming Books: Most of July

This blog has been very quiet lately -- any little thoughts I've had have been little enough that they can go onto Twitter (and from there to Facebook, where people probably hate me for the Twitteresque five posts in two minutes style). I do have a stack of books I want to write about, but I'm not getting to write about books except for weekends these days, and not always then. (I could blame the still-pretty-new job and its substantially longer commute, but I should be honest and point at laziness and a preference for playing video games when I'm in front of this particular glass-and-metal box, like usual.)

But I do have a different stack of books, which I bought recently, and by my silly laws, I need to list them here before they go onto the normal shelves. (Oh, like you don't have silly rules for yourself!)

Anyway: I bought a couple of things online for my younger son [1] recently, and got some books for myself at the same time. (As you do.) And I hit a comics shop about three weeks ago, and bought some books -- although, of the seven, I later realized I already had two. (A bad average: I used to know what I had and didn't have, but the flood and aftermath have screwed up that memory forever. There are things I think I have that were flooded, things I don't think I have that I've bought since, and probably even things I don't recognize lurking around somewhere.)

Lawrence Block is not just a great crime writer, but one of my favorite writers period: he has an easy, conversational style that comes out in everything he does, and he early mastered the tricky business of writing books where it's just easier to keep turning one more page. So I've read pretty much everything he's done: funny mysteries, serious mysteries, thrillers, early pulp, how-to-write books, memoirs about racewalking, you name it. And these days he's doing a little bit of his own publishing -- collecting the bits of string that his regular publishers don't care about, I guess -- and that's how The Crime of Our Lives came to be. It's a collection of introductions and other occasional pieces about other crime writers, and I'm afraid it will make me add a dozen things to my read-this list. How horrible, right?

I'm going to read through all of Donald E. Westlake's Dortmunder books -- sort-of as a bookend to my read-through of his Parker novels (as Richard Stark) in Starktober a couple of years back -- and so I re-acquired three more of them: The Road to Ruin, What's So Funny?, and What's the Worst That Could Happen?So I now have five of the fourteen novels; it might take a while until I'm ready.

Speaking of re-buying, I'm sure I had a copy of the Overlook edition of P.G. Wodehouse's Thank You, Jeeves before the flood -- I know I read it, though that may have been in my first run through Wodehouse in the mid-90s in the Harper trade paperbacks -- but I didn't last month, and now I do again.

And then we come to the comics-shop stuff: the two books I already had were Paul Pope's The One Trick Rip-Off and Jason's The Last Musketeer. The rest were actually new books to me...

Petty Theft, from Pascal Girard. Girard's the cartoonist of Nicolas (which is deeply personal and magnificent) and Reunion (which is good) and Bigfoot (also good) and possibly other things I haven't seen yet: he's French-Canadian and works in French, so his work has to be translated before Anglophones like me can read it.

Grip: The Strange World of Men, a new standalone graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez. I'm not sure if this is "really" a standalone, or if it's an "adaptation" of another movie from his usual fictional world. (Hernandez gets a bit odd and metafictional quite a lot of the time, to be honest. It's one of the things I like best about his work.)

Dungeon Monstres, Vol. 5: My Son the Killer, the latest 2-in-1 of the manifold and long-running French comics series, as always written by Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar, with art by Blutch and Bezian (respectively) this time.

Howard Chaykin's Black Kiss 2 the long-unexpected sequel to the first big smutty comic from a mainstream comics creator. I have a vague plan to re-read the whole sordid mess at once and try to make sense of it; there's also a one-shot comic, I think. (And even BK2 is a few years old at this point.)

Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot, another adaptation of a Jean-Patrick Manchette crime novel by the master French cartoonist Jacques Tardi. (Like West Coast Blues and I think at least one other book -- Tardi's done a lot of stuff, and I don't have a great handle on his career.)

[1] He's a freshman in high school this year, and had to pick two books from a long list for his Honors History class. He'll read them and then do some kind of paper once school starts. So we talked a bit, and he ended up getting two books on The Great War -- Tuchman's The Guns of August, which I recall is pretty good, and a one-volume by Martin Gilbert that's well-respected.

I also decided to give my two sons Dad Required Reading this year, just because. The younger son -- one of these days I'll start using their names, probably -- got Daniel Handler's first novel The Basic Eight, because he likes sneaky smart things. And the older one, my mythology nut, got Neil Gaiman's American Gods. (No link; I read it and bought it for the book club when it was published.) They each have to talk to me about the books once they're done: that's the "homework."

No comments:

Post a Comment