Saturday, November 28, 2015

Incoming Books: November, Part 2

This is the second half of the list I promised over a week ago -- I say "promised," even though I very much doubt anyone but me cares -- and now it's finally here, in the middle of a gloriously long and lazy holiday weekend.

(Thanksgiving is the greatest American holiday, to me: a four-day weekend, no serious travel, no real responsibilities, just laziness and relaxation and wasting time. Especially these days, I really need that.)

Anyway, these are all books I got from the great remainder bookseller Edward Hamilton, though they're not all remainders. About a third are silly fluffy books that will end up in the smallest room of the house, and the rest are somewhat more substantial. Since I still pretend I care what other people think of me, I'll lead off with the substantial ones.

Paul Theroux's new travel book Deep South comes first, because it's the newest and because I found a decent-sized cover image online (which isn't the case for all of these books, and lazy weekends don't go well with fiddling with scanners). This time, Theroux wandered around his own country, and I hope you can guess which parts. He's made no secret about liking poor, isolated people best, so this is a smart choice that I hope will make an interesting book.

Kage Baker's fantasy novel The Anvil of the World -- I had it in a mass-market paperback, but I've now upgraded to a trade paperback. She's been dead for a couple of years now -- proof, once again, that the universe is evil and cruel and horrible -- and I still haven't read her two fantasy novels, perhaps so I still know I have Kage Baker books I haven't read in case I need them.

Harry Connolly's The Wooden Man, the SFBC omnibus of his three urban fantasies from Del Rey. (The series was great -- I think I read two of them and then got sidetracked -- but it did not perform as hoped, which happens far too often to really good, smart books.) I bought this as a remainder because whatever entity owns those book-club companies at the moment is never going to get a penny of my money as long as they still exist.

Jasper Fforde's The Song of the Quarkbeast, the middle book (at the moment) of his "Chronicles of Kazam" young-adult fantasy series. I did read it when it came out, from the library, but my younger son liked the first one, and I have the third, so I want to entice him with more fantasy. (Though he's in the middle of Discworld now, which will probably take all of the school year.)

The Odds, a novel by the prolific and wonderful Stewart O'Nan, whose books I don't read often enough. This is really short, too, so I hope I can find time to get to it.

Turtle Recall, the latest edition (and probably last) of the book originally called The Discworld Companion, by Terry Pratchett with that Stephen Briggs fellow. I've read the other two editions -- there were just two, weren't there? -- so I don't see why I should stop now.

I've been looking for Shakespeare's London on 5 Groats a Day -- a pseudo-travel guide to London in about 1600 -- for a while, and finally found it cheaply. It's by Richard Tames, who I know nothing about, but it's a great concept, and the book looks pretty good.

Deep State is a novel by Walter Jon Williams -- one of the great unsung SF writers of our time -- and the sequel to This Is Not a Game, which I read when it came out. I've fallen behind on Williams, like so many other SF writers. Maybe I can catch up.

Classic Put-Downs is a nicely designed book that must have been edited by someone, though the book itself doesn't make that clear. And it collects insults from famous people, mostly about other famous people, through the ages. I have a weakness for quote books -- I had a little book of quotes I'd hand-copied, over twenty years or so, and lost in the flood -- so this is right up my alley.

Carnal Knowledge is subtitled "Baxter's Concise Encyclopedia of Modern Sex," and the Baxter in question is John. Baxter is the author of a number of biographies, mostly of film people -- but also a good book about J.G. Ballard, which I read early this year. He also wrote a memoir about moving to Paris to screw a local girl and research the history of prostitutes there -- We'll Always Have Paris -- and I'm sure several other things, but those are the ones I know. I don't know if he's the best person to write an encyclopedia of modern sex, but I also don't have a good reason to want to read an encyclopedia of modern sex -- aside from the purest of prurient interests -- so I'm sure he's good enough.

Screwed Up English is the book version of an Internet listicle with pictures of signs with badly mangled English from around the world. Well, actually, it's less than that, since it just has text -- no pictures, and no provenance for the bad quotes at all. However, for a book of cheap entertainment, who cares? This was compiled by Charlie Croker.

And last is a book by David Haviland called The Not-So-Nude Ride of Lady Godiva, which is one of those pop-history books that tells you all of the things you know that aren't really correct. I haven't seen a new Kenneth C. Davis book in donkey's years, so someone has to do it. And I guess Haviland is just the guy to take it on.

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