Monday, June 03, 2013

Reviewing the Mail, Week of 6/1

This week the Package Fairies only brought one book -- one completely free book delivered to my house without my doing anything, which is pretty damn awesome, mind you -- so I'll lead off with that, and then throw in books that came into La Casa Hornswoggler by other means.

As usual, I haven't read any of these books yet -- I'm reading pretty slowly these days, for various reasons, though I always hold out hope that the old days will return again -- but I can tell you things about them even with that handicap. So, without further ado, here's what the Gods of Publicity bestowed on me this past week:

Reviver is the first novel by Seth Patrick, by day a videogame programmer in the UK. It's a near-future supernatural thriller, in which a system for temporarily reviving the dead has been perfected -- though it seems to be a personal (magical?) skill, rather than a scientific method. Our hero, Jonah Miller, is the best Reviver around -- of course -- and he discovers, during the course of one revival, that a terrifying presence is on "the other side" watching him and the living world. It's promised to be the first in a trilogy, and it's being published by St. Martin's Thomas Dunne Books on June 18th in hardcover and the usual arrays of electrons.

Swag from BEA:

I went to the big book-industry trade show briefly -- it's a three-day shindig, out at the horrible and badly placed Javitz Center, but I was there for less than three hours on Thursday morning -- and, for a long time, it looked like I would get out of it without picking up a single book. (There are vastly fewer giveaways then there used to be, though you can still see minor bookstore personnel and obscure librarians running in herds to grab every last freebie they can get their hands on.) But I did find one thing for myself, and then one galley my younger son was very happy to see (the third "Janitors" book by Tyler Whitesides, coming in September from Shadow Mountain, which would be his favorite publishing company if he thought in those terms).

And that book I grabbed was The Best Business Writing 2012, edited by the crack team of Dean Starkman, Martha M. Hamilton, Ryan Chittum, and Felix Salmon. As it says on the tin, it's a collection of the best journalism from last year about the business world, which intersects pretty solidly with what I do at the day job. This is the first year for this series, which comes from Columbia University Press as a project of the Columbia Journalism Review. It's got work from the usual suspects -- Matt Taibbi, Gretchen Morgenson, James B. Stewart, Paul Krugman, Steven Pearlstein -- and a couple of dozen more.

Midtown Comics:

On Saturday, my two sons and I were in midtown Manhattan to see The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly -- a good show, though generally pitched for kids a bit younger than my boys' 12 and 15 years -- and, since we had a little time between lunch and the show, we hit the local comics shop. I got a stack for them to earn (by mowing the lawn, reading a prose book and telling me what was in it, or whatnot), and the following books for myself:

The Property, the new graphic novel by Rutu Modan, creator of Exit Wounds. I gave that book a mixed review for ComicMix a few years back, but it's stuck in my memory -- and so has Modan's bright, almost animation-cell-looking art -- so I picked this up when I saw it.

Similarly, everyone and her fox terrier has been raving about the newish Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples series Saga, so I noted that the first volume was $9.95 and decided to give it a whirl.

My simmering project to re-read all of the Hernandez Bros. Love and Rockets series is still simmering, and I'm filling in the holes as I get a chance -- this time out, it was New Stories, No. 2, completing that cluster. (I still need about half of the new chunky trade paperbacks reprinting the first series, though -- the first time around, I collected the original TP series, but I don't want to try to rebuild those this time around.)

The Stinking is the latest treasury collection of Darby Conley's "Get Fuzzy" strip. I still wish that Conley would add commentary to these books, the way Stephan Pastis does with the similar "Pearls Before Swine" books, but that's just me wanting everyone else to work harder for my entertainment.

And last was Marble Season, a new semi-autobiographical graphic novel from Gilbert Hernandez. It's gotten respectable review attention so far, and it's not a L&R story, so it wouldn't have to wait for the big re-read. (Not that new L&R stories have to wait for the re-read, but my mind like to make things excessively tidy.)

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