Saturday, May 12, 2012

Incoming Books: May 12th

It had been far too long since I'd been to the Montclair Book Center, my favorite independent -- probably because it's big, and reasonably close, but those are not bad things -- so I placed a big special order a couple of weeks ago and went to pick up most of it (and a few other things, too -- who can walk into a bookstore and just pick up the books he ordered?). This is what I came out with:

A big stack of Parker novels by "Richard Stark" (a pseudonym for the late Donald E. Westlake, used for this particularly dark series of crime novels and a few other related books), comprising Deadly Edge, The Sour Lemon Score, The Outfit, The Green Eagle Score, The Score, Plunder Squad, The Hunter, Slayground, The Man with the Getaway Face, and The Mourner. (All in the fine new University of Chicago editions.) I have hopes of another reading project, once I complete the series -- once again I curse last year's flood, since it destroyed the nine or ten books I had in the series then, including the eight from the last decade -- which might be in late summer, after and assuming I get rid of the towering stack of things I haven't reviewed yet.

Hide Me Among the Graves, the new Tim Powers novel, which is also a distant sequel to his excellent The Stress of Her Regard.

Caine's Law, the fourth novel in Matthew Woodring Stover's tough, bloody, utterly compelling Caine series, which in a better world would be massive bestsellers. (I bought most of Stover's novels -- his early two-book series, Iron Dawn and Jericho Moon; the first two Caine novels; several of his surprisingly excellent Star Wars novels, including Shatterpoint and Traitor -- for the SFBC, back in my misspent youth, and spent a lot of time and ink hectoring the members to buy those books, without as much result as I hoped.)

An Uncommon Scold, a book of nasty quotes -- I think all from women, but I might be confused -- compiled by Abby Adams.

Hav, an odd travelogue-as-novel, by noted travel writer Jan Morris. I've heard good things about it for at least ten years, and there was a nice new edition with an intro by Ursula K. Le Guin (probably telling me to stand up straighter, eat my beans, and be nice to my grandmother, since it's new).

Changeling, a minor Roger Zelazny novel, since I'm going to have to rebuild my Zelazny shelf eventually, so I might as well start now. This is the original trade paperback with the Esteban Maroto illustrations: that is, the right edition.

Moby-Duck, a nonfictional account of that flotilla of rubber ducks that were swept overboard a container ship a few years back and then ended up in the most unlikely parts of the world. It's an interesting story, and I think I've heard good things about this version of the story (by Donovan Hohn, whose work I don't know).

Pocket Kings, the new novel from Ted "son of Joseph" Heller -- because I really liked his first novel, Slab Rat, quite a while ago; and even managed to enjoy and have fond memories of his second book, Funnymen, which I read almost entirely in Roosevelt Hospital, waiting to hear if I'd had a heart attack; and because it's been nearly a decade since that second novel. This one's about poker, I hear.

Jerusalem, the latest of Guy Delisle's graphic novel memoirs of a year he spent working in an interesting city somewhere in the world (after Pyongyang, Shenzhen, and Burma Chronicles) -- and, by the way, it's amazing how jealous I am that someone has that as his "job."

And, last, the two Library of America volumes of Mark Twain's Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, & Essays -- one covering 1852-1890, and the other 1891-1910. I had copies of both (flood, again), and had very happy memories of reading them both, interspersed with the usual work reading, in the late summer/early fall of 1993 or 1994.

Montclair, unfortunately, did not have one book I was really hoping for -- William Carlos Williams's Paterson, a book-length poem that's one of the best ever written, and criminally neglected. I want to read it again, and my copy...yes, yes, the flood again. So I'll have to find that elsewhere, or break down and actually order it. But bookstores in this area should be required to carry that book, honestly.

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