June 1, 2009

Chasing Tale: John Marco, John Farris, Richard Laymon, and more

Another segment I hope to continue is a recap of my monthly excursions to my local bookstores, new and used, and always independent. I had a fair haul this month thanks to weeding out some of the paperbacks I'd been hording. After exchanging them for some more in-store credit, I've increased my to-be-read list even more. So, here's a list of all the books I bought, received as gifts, and even won.

Phantom Nights by John Farris – I spied this name author's name either at Ty Schwamberger's blog or Brian Keene's. Either way, it was the first time I came across one of his novels while shopping, so I scooped it up. I've since read it and will likely add a review sometime in June. I wasn't overwhelmed by this novel (spoiler alert?), but I'm at least interested to read more of his work in hopes of better fare.

Bite by Richard Laymon – Ty Schwamberger held a giveaway contest for a Richard Laymon two-in-one book, which I won, so to get better acquainted with Laymon's work I picked up this quirky tale of a young man's encounter with one of the strangest "vampires" I've come across in literature. Another book I'll probably review this month.

Nightshade: 20th Century Ghost Stories (a collection of short stories) edited by Robert Phillips – I'm a guy who enjoys a good short story, and I've managed to collect or at least read some good anthologies. After reading Bill Jessome's Maritime Mysteries, I was in the mood for some spine-tingling ghost stories, and I'm willing to bet this fits the bill.

The Sea and the Supernatural by Edith Mosher – This is another collection of regional ghost stories. These kinds of books are fantastic when you want to be better acquainted with the myths and legends of a specific setting. There's a book about some of the folklore from Quebec, but I forget the title, which I'd like to get my hands on as well. All in good time.

Starfinder by John Marco – In mid-May, I won a signed copy of this gem of "steampunk" (a term I'm still getting used to using). I barely had it home from the post office before I tore it free from it's packing and read it in record time. I've since written a review for it, and the book's received even higher praise from other blogs and critics. It's a keeper.

The 5th Witch and The Chosen Child by Graham Masterton – I recently listened to a podcast interview with J.A. Konrath, and he cited Masterton as one of his favorite horror writers. That's one of the immediate blessings to getting involved with the blogosphere: I'm always picking up more and more names to add to my wish list. I haven't read a Masterton novel yet, but by the end of the summer I'll have remedied that.

Cold Blue Midnight by Ed Gorman – I enjoy Gorman's blog; his novel, Rituals, not so much. Never one to dismiss an author outright by a single reading experience, I spied another of his books in May and figured it was about time I read his work again. He's got a diverse bibliography, so it's not unreasonable to expect I'm going to love some piece of work he's written. Rituals wasn't bad, mind you, but it didn't really hook me.

Ellison Wonderland by Harlan Ellison – Here's a guy I've heard about for years and years, but I've never come across his books. He's one of those authors who, unless you can buy books online or have access to a bigger selection of bookstores, is very hard to find on shelves. Well, I finally scoped out this collection of some of his short stories. I believe this is the first short story collection he had published, but even if it's not it's still Ellison. I became an instant fan when I saw the documentary, Dreams with Sharp Teeth. Watch it if you get a chance.

Books of Blood: Volumes 1, 2, & 3 by Clive Barker – Finally. A hardcover of all three volumes together. I have only seen a little paperback of the second volume in my searches, and I wanted to hold off until I could find them all together in a single book. I lucked out and grabbed it. Barker is one of my favorite authors, and I suspect I will not be disappointed at all with this find.

Psycho by Robert Bloch – I'll see the twist coming a mile away, but I think I owe it to myself to read another classic tale of terror. If it's good enough for Hitchcock, it's good enough for me.

A very good haul in a single month for me. I have an even bigger pile of books ready to go to another used-book store this month, so I'll see what I can find. Plus, there's another library sale happening this weekend. I've got some coin squirreled away for that day, as I intend to be the first one in line that morning. It's tight quarters every time, and I'm a big guy. The sooner I can get in there, find what I can, and get out, the better it is for everyone—I nearly crushed an elderly lady under my boots back in February during the last sale.

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