Sunday, April 13, 2008

Incoming Books: 12 April

I took a trip to my favorite local bookstore, the Montclair Book Center, yesterday, and brought up a good-sized pile -- so I'll list those books separately from the usual Monday "Reviewing the Mail" post. My two boys accompanied me, and I let them each pick two books -- Thing 1 chose two Yu-Gi-Oh volumes (which I wouldn't link to even I could remember what they were -- probably middle books of Millennium World), and Thing 2 picked:

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems, latest in the picture-book series about a pushy pigeon by a guy who's won a couple of Caldecotts already. It's the fourth book in the series, but it's still energetic and original -- Willems isn't milking the concept yet.

Flotsam by David Wiesner, which won the Caldecott itself a year or so ago -- it's an engrossing wordless book with a wonderful gimmick that I won't spoil. Wiesner has done a bunch of great wordless picture books, like Sector 7 (about a boy who vists the Empire State Building and befriends a cloud) and Tuesday (about the very strange occurrences one Tuesday night) -- he's good at image-to-image transitions in ways that I bet comics people would be interested in as well.

And then, for me, the loot included:

Four P.G. Wodehouse books from Overlook Press -- Plum Pie, Money for Nothing, The Inimitable Jeeves, and The Girl on the Boat -- because I'd somehow gotten behind. I love this series: they're cleverly-designed and very eye-catching, with impressive production details. And Wodehouse is one of the funniest writers of all time, as always.

Flann O'Brien's The Complete Novels, in a handsome Everyman's Library edition -- I didn't know this was going to be published, but now I can get rid of my ratty old copy of The Third Policeman and, with any luck, actually get to read At Swim Two-Birds this year. Or maybe next.

Rick Geary's biography of J. Edgar Hoover snuck past me earlier this year -- it was published by Hill and Wang's "Serious Comics" imprint and seems to have mostly avoided comics stores, but I finally saw it and nabbed it immediately.

I'd been hoping the Morrow people would send me Jeffrey Ford's new novel The Shadow Year for review, but that didn't happen, so I bought it myself. Jeff Ford is always worth it.

I also continued getting the new snazzy Penguin edition of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, with Moonraker. Someday I might just sit down and read five (or all?) of them in a row. As I recall, they do progress from book to book, so it could be an interesting experiment to read them as a meta-novel.

I special-ordered Greg Egan's Dark Integers and Other Stories, since I didn't expect to see it in person until a convention (if then). I probably should have done a bit more research, since it contains five novellas, four of which I've read -- I'm still happy to have more Egan short fiction on my shelf, in a durable form, but I was looking forward to reading more new stuff by him, and this won't be it. (Perhaps the new novel will come along soon, though.)

Sex and Sensibility is a book of cartoons by women cartoonists, with some interpolated essays, about sex and love and related matters. It's a big new collection of magazine-style cartoons, which I love, so I couldn't resist it. It's edited by Liza Donnelly, and, oddly, was published by Twelve, the big newish Hachette imprint which does one book a month and promotes the hell out of it -- I wouldn't think this could sustain that level of hype.

And last for me was Martin Amis's new nonfiction collection with the exceptionally long title: The Second Plane: September 11: Terror and Boredom. I've heard that Amis's views on Islam are controversial, to put it mildly, but he's always an engaging writer, even when he lets his own hobbyhorses run away with him (as in Koba the Dread and, fictionally, in Night Train).

So that's way more than I'll be able to read soon -- plus a big pile of review books that I'll list tomorrow. Better get to cracking those books...

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