Monday, January 01, 2018

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 12/30

Welcome to 2018!

This is my third post for the day, and there are several more in the hopper -- a smarter person would space those out, but this is the way I do things, and I'm not likely to change now. So I'd better get to this.

Every week, I list new books -- the purpose originally was for those that came in from publicity outlets (since I was getting a flood of them for a while there), but the publicity flood has shifted elsewhere (to digital formats and to reviewers who post more regularly and positively), so I've retooled it to include all new books from whatever source. I think that's more interesting and useful, anyway.

Unsurprisingly, I didn't get any review books during the week after Christmas, when many publishing companies are traditionally closed. I did, however, get a number of books as gifts for the holiday, only two of which I bought myself for The Wife to wrap up. (When you've been married for twenty-plus years, you learn to get your own gifts to make sure you get what you want.) So here's stuff I got because I actually asked for and wanted it:

Nabokov's Favorite Word Is Mauve, a data-filled look at literary and popular fiction by Ben Blatt. I like data, I like fiction -- this book appears to be aimed squarely at me.

Vallista, the new Vlad Taltos novel by Steven Brust. If I'm counting correctly, this is #15, which means there's only a few left.

Baking With Kafka, a new collection of cartoons and drawings from Tom Gauld. Gauld may be more of a writer's cartoonist than an artist's cartoonist, but I'm more drawn to writing than art anyway. (Or I could be wrong: but I do remember a vituperative attack on his whole art style recently, probably from those even-tempered folks at The Comics Journal.)

Home and Away, a graphic novel from a German guy who works as Mawil. I've read a couple of his books in the past -- notably Sparky O'Hare, Master Electrician -- and this book is from the UK house Blank Slate, which doesn't publish much and has never steered me wrong yet.

The Bloody Cardinal, the most recent book of mayhem, terror, oddities, and barefoot girls from Richard Sala. This was, I think, all serialized on his site originally, so I've already read it as individual pages. I imagine it will be better all together, though. (Also: the mascot for our local high-school is the cardinal, so violent-looking anthropomorphic cardinals are much more familiar to people from Pompton Lakes, NJ than for anyone else in the world.)

The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance by Kevin Underhill. Underhill is the funniest lawyer I know. Yes, that sounds like damning with faint praise, but he's quite funny regularly in his Lowering the Bar blog, so I'm up to see his assemblage in book form -- I think this is mostly reworked stuff from earlier years of the blog.

Satania, a graphic novel (or bande desinee, if you want to be pretentious) written by Vehlmann and drawn by the wife-and-husband team known as Kerascoet. The last book from this team was Beautiful Darkness, which was amazing, and Keracoet and Vehlmann have also been very impressive with other collaborators (Beauty, and Last Days of an Immortal, respectively), so I have high hopes. I believe this is about an expedition to Hell -- not on purpose, but that's where it ends up.

And last was the short story collection Prophecies, Libels & Dreams by Ysabeau S. Wilce. These stories, I think, are all Flora Fyrdraaca stories, and it's the only thing I've heard of from her since the third Flora novel in 2012. I hope she doesn't disappear: those are great books, and I/m sure she has more great books in her.

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