July 31, 2009

Chasing Tale: July 2009

I didn't waste any time in July by pacing myself in terms of collecting books. As soon as Canada Day (July 1st) was over, the wellspring of books began again. And it just kept going from there. However, I did shed some of the older books on my shelves—some paperbacks I'd read and some I chalked up to buyer's remorse, as I wasn't likely to read them any time soon. Here's what the month of July provided for me ...

Coldheart Canyon by Clive BarkerA washed-up actor holes up in a secluded mansion after undergoing cosmetic surgery, in hopes of resurrecting his career. Instead, something else is resurrected in Coldheart Canyon and is going to make the actor's life a living hell. I'm game. I hadn't heard tell of this novel. Maybe it's just one of his lesser works, who knows. It's Barker though, so it can't be terrible.

The Damnation Game by Clive BarkerThis was Barker's debut novel, and earned him a Bram Stoker Award nomination for Best First Novel. He didn't win—Lisa Cantrell did—but he's done alright for himself in that time regardless. He even won a Stoker Award in 2004, and for a children's book no less. But, this is his first book, and is probably going to remain in my collection for quite a while after I've read it.

Obsession by Ramsey CampbellI saw this one in a small store on the very bottom shelf—I mean, the BOTTOM shelf—and scooped it up. Four people have their wishes come true in horrific fashion, and years later have to pay the piper. Nice. Campbell is touted as a must-read for any horror fan. Well, I have two novels from him waiting to be read, the second being ...

Incarnate by Ramsey CampbellTwo bucks for this paperback from the 80's. I have no idea yet what it's about. I just saw it, grabbed it, and rushed it home for the pile. I have another of his novels, Thieving Fear, on my wish list. No sign of it yet, but I have enough of his work to sample until that time comes.

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments: Book Two) by Cassandra ClareHah. I knew it. I knew if I waited long enough someone would trade in the second book in this series. It's become too popular among the YA fantasy, urban fantasy crowds for it not to. I have a suspicion I'll be buying the third book in the series brand new come the fall, though. But for now, I'm content to scratch a title off my wish list.

The Thief Lord by Cornelia FunkeThis one was in the children's section of a shop, under a stack of old copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It's a hardcover with a gorgeous cover, and the story of young pickpockets in Venice, Italy caught me. I hope it's good. It's won awards, so how bad can it be?

Darklings by Ray GartonEd Gorman posted a review of one of Garton's novels, Live Girls, which I instantly wanted. I haven't spotted it anywhere, and the only titles under Garton's name at my library seem to be tie-in novels for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I'll pass on those, but this macabre little tale might be right up my alley.

Spook Country by William Gibson - While I'm not huge on sci-fi, I do like it, especially in movie form. And after hearing the term "cyber-punk" thrown around, I thought I should sample some. There doesn't appear to be a bigger name in that game than Gibson, so I looked to see what my local used bookstore had. There was a follow-up to Neuromancer (currently on my wish list), but when I saw the title Spook Country, I was sold. It may not have anything to do with ghosts, but secret agent style spooks will work just fine with me.

Marley & Me by John GroganThanks to Bella over at Bibliophile for this one. I haven't seen the movie yet, and I'm going to try not to until I have a chance to sit down and read the book it was based on. Besides, I have a lower tolerance level for Owen Wilson films than most, especially when they aren't out-and-out comedies. I'm am a sucker for a good dog movie, though. Benji, I miss you!

Messenger by Edward Lee - I happened upon a couple of Edward Lee novels at a hole-in-the-wall used-book store. There was this one and another called Infernal Angel, which looked really interesting. The trouble was that it's a sequel to another book titled City Infernal. I might have bought the second novel, but what are my chances of finding City Infernal when I haven't seen a Lee novel before now?

Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Shit? by Steve Lowe & Alan McArthurI one this comedic lexicon from a huge contest in June through Bookin' With Bingo. Each entrant had a half dozen or so titles to choose from for a chance to win. I was initially hung up between this title and another book with a satirical take on religion. This book by Lowe and McArthur turned out to lambaste everything, including religion. I was pleasantly surprised and grateful to have won it. You can read my review of this book HERE.

Tathea by Anne PerryI had some hardcover credit stored up at one of the shops I frequent, but finding titles that jump out at me is hard. So many are James Patterson, Dick Francis, Norah Roberts, and others who—while successful and quality authors—just don't appeal to me as a reader. Anne Perry's mystery novels could be chalked up in the litany of novelists I ignore (just not a huge mystery fan). but this is a fantasy novel. Her debut fantasy novel. While it's risky for authors to jump into another genre, I'm going to give her a shot.

The Night Class by Tom PiccirilliHere's another author I have yet to read, but have heard some good things, and I have his blog, The Cold Spot, on my blogroll too. It's a horror story set in a university—if it were a movie, I might steer clear. But hey, it won the 2002 Stoker Award, so it must be pretty darned good. I understand it that Piccirilli also writes westerns, at least in short story form. I may have to do some digging on that.

Deja Dead by Kathy ReichsI watched Bones on television one Thursday night; the following Friday I saw this book and decided to get it. You know, since Reichs is the author of the books the show is based on, and it all starts with this one. The two main characters, played by DeSchenal and Boreanz (I doubt I spelled either correctly), are very watchable too, so I have my fingers crossed for the books.

Koko by Peter StraubI have seen copies of this book everywhere, ever since I started trolling the used-book stores. I've never bothered to pick it up. After reading, "Years after the end of the Vietnam War, four veterans ..." I passed. Every time. But lately, I've read a couple of blogs that put this book over as one of Straub's best. Okay, fine. I'll shell out a couple bucks, throw it on the shelf, and see what happens.

The Ax by Donald E. WestlakeFinally. After searching high and low for this title, which is praised again and again, and has been on my wish list just this side of forever, I finally have it in my hands. Maybe I'll love it, maybe I won't. What I do know is that it will be one of the first acquisitions in July I'll be reading.

The Exodus Gate by Stephen ZimmerThanks to Amberkatze and Stephen Zimmer for holding a contest in June, in which I won a copy of the book. Stephen was kind enough to not just send a book, but a slew of promotional items including bookmarks and art cards (Matthew Perry's artwork for the cover and other pictures is fantastic). I recently reviewed this book, which you can check out HERE. It's mainly a fantasy novel, but with some science-fiction and horror thrown in for good measure.

... and that wraps up my book hording for July. God, do I love used-book stores and contests. Would you believe that for this month, with all of those books in my collection now, I spent less than five dollars?


  1. Nice stack of books you have there. Good luck on reading through them!

  2. I haven't read Clive Barker or Peter Straub in such a long time, and definitely not those titles, but they're some of my favorite horror authors. Enjoy your new finds! :)

  3. I've written two westerns: GRAVE MEN and COFFIN BLUES, featuring my series characters Priest & Lamarr. The novels were published by Leisure and are long out of print. Thanks for the interest--

  4. Celia - "Good luck" is right. I'm starting "The Ax" today, which is only the third book among July's horde I've read. I'm at no loss for reading material, however.

    Catherine - Pales in comparison to that massive calamity of books I saw you post on your blog. :)

    Kimberly - The Clive Barker stuff, I suspect, will be a particular treat for me. I've yet to be underwhelmed by his work.

    Tom - Well, thanks for stopping by my blog, first off. And thanks for putting me in the direction of your westerns. I couldn't spy them on my library's website, but I'll be keeping an eye out at the bookstores now.