Monday, October 01, 2018

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 9/29/18

This week, I have books in all three major categories for Reviewing the Mail: one upcoming book sent by the publisher, one book I bought myself, and two from the library. And I'll tackle them in that order:

First up is the complete surprise: Rudy Rucker has a new novel, it's a sequel to one of his old books, and he published it himself through his Transreal Books imprint. So I was thrilled to see The Hollow Earth & Return to the Hollow Earth turn up unexpectedly in my mail. (There was a Kickstarter campaign, which I must have missed. This omnibus edition also includes both 1990's somewhat steampunky Hollow Earth, about a young man, his wild friend Edgar Poe, the secret world in the center of the Earth that they both discover, and the man's One True Love he finds there. Return is, I suppose, what happened after that, and that sounds like it includes a way back into the center of the Earth. Rucker is a unique writer in so many ways, and it's great to see him back with a new book.

Chester & Grace: The Adirondack Murder is the book I bought: it's the latest self-published book of old murders from Rick Geary and the first in yet another series of similar books from Geary -- this one is subtitled "Little Murder Library." This is the case that Theodore Dreiser fictionalized into An American Tragedy and which was further fictionalized into a couple of classic movies. I got it through the Kickstarter campaign, but it will probably be available in Geary's webstore before too long. Right now, though, it seems to be out in the world only to those who backed it.

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag (from the library) is a middle-grade graphic novel from the artist of Strong Female Protagonist (which I see I read one collection of and then lost track of). It's yet another one of the "you will secretly be awesome at the thing you want to be, even though everyone says you can't do it" stories that are perennial popular for adults to tell kids, since we want to believe that's true ourselves. In this case, it's a boy from a magical family where all the boys always become shapeshifters and the girls always become witches -- but guess what? Yeah, check the title.

And last is Nick Drnaso's big graphic novel Sabrina (also from the library), which surprisingly landed on the Booker longlist earlier this year. (I think the first comics-format work to do so.) I've heard good things about it otherwise, and it's from the dependably classy Drawn & Quarterly, and it has killer quotes from Zadie Smith, Adrian Tomine, and Jonathan Lethem. (Drnaso is also the author of the linked collection of comics short stories Beverly, which I read last year in a library copy damaged by a sizable number of missing pages.)

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