Monday, August 19, 2019

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 8/17/19

I've been reading a little more recently, and, as surely as night follows day, if I read two books a week for two weeks in a row, some part of my brain turns on the BUY BOOKS switch, and I end up with about a dozen more in the house suddenly.

It does mean that I'll never run out of books, which is comforting. But I'm not sure it's a reasonable response.

I bought these four books used from ABEbooks about a week ago, and they came in during this week. It was one of those usual things -- I was thinking about one book, it was out of print and my old copy was destroyed in the 2011 flood, so in getting a new copy I somehow bought three other things.

Algis Budrys SF Gateway Omnibus collects the three novels The Iron Throne (which I'd never heard of before), Michaelmas (which has been on my "read it someday" list for probably twenty-five years without my ever owning a copy), and Hard Landing (which I thought I didn't have, but, after buying this, I saw that I do have the SFBC hardcover I did on the shelf). I like the idea of the Gateway omnibuses, and, if this were twenty years ago, would probably be trying to collect as many of them as I could.

Leap Year by Steve Erickson -- this was the book that triggered the whole thing. I've been reading Erickson a lot recently: rereading his first two novels Days Between Stations and Rubicon Beach (post goes live on Wednesday) and catching up with his most recent novel Shadowbahn a couple of years late. You know how for a while it felt like the world was a P.K. Dick novel? Well, the world has been feeling like a Steve Erickson book to me for a couple of years now, so I wanted to get back to this, his first "non-fiction" book. Erickson traveled the country during the 1988 election, accompanied -- as he claims -- by the ghost of Sally Hemings.

American Nomad by Steve Erickson -- his other "non-fiction" book, which I don't remember as clearly. Erickson did somewhat the same thing during the 1996 election.

Trillin on Texas by Calvin Trillin -- I've wondered about this book since I learned it existed. I believe it's a small-press thing, from (obviously) a press in Texas, and probably one more academic than popular. Trillin grew up in Missouri and has spent most of his adult life working in New York City, so I don't get the Texas connection. But this book has a bunch of writing by him about stuff and people in Texas, and Texas always has to make everything about it, so I guess that's the point.

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