September 10, 2009

Chasing Tale: August '09

Another month, another small slagheap from my visits to used-bookstores. I may not be putting money in the hands of many authors, but I'll still sing the praises of these shops whenever I'm given the chance. But, I have a lousy singing voice, so I'll just stick to listing the finds from this past month.

Honor Among Thieves and As the Crow Flies by Jeffrey Archer - These are two of several hardcovers my neighbor gave me. She's a book hoarder too, but her tastes seem to lean more towards the spy thriller and mystery genres. To be honest, I'm wholly unfamiliar with Jeffrey Archer or his work, but these two titles had a nice ring to them. A couple of Sidney Sheldon novels came with the pile too, but after having his work described to me, I ended up trading those in for credit at the local used-bookstore. It's no guarantee, but I'd like to read at least one of Archer's novels just to say I have. Anyone know his stuff? Do I have a couple of gems here or are they just taking up real estate?

The Looking Glass War by John LeCarre - The other hardcover I kept from the pile my neighbor gave me. Again, the title hooked me. I have The Constant Gardener sitting on my TBR pile already, though, so I'm not sure when or if I'll ever get around to this one. At any rate, you can't beat free.

Alice in Wonderland (and Other Stories) by Lewis Carroll - I can't for the life of me remember how old I was when I read Alice in Wonderland, but I was undoubtedly in elementary school. I remember seeing the spine of it on the bookmobile--did any of you have one of those in your area?--after seeing the Disney adaptation for the first time. Just like The Wizard of Oz, it'll be nice to sit back and read this again. My memory of the story is so Disney-fied now, it will probably feel like I'm reading it for the first time all over again. Plus, there are the other stories by Carroll to be read as well. Neat.

The Nightmare Chronicles by Douglas Clegg - The owner of a used-bookstore gave this tattered paperback gratis. It's a collection of short fiction by the horror author, and I'm always up for adding another horror writer to my reading list. I just hope it doesn't fall apart when I read it. I may need to buy Scotch tape.

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill - Gotcha. I knew it was only a matter of time before another copy of this floated through the valley. It's a paperback rather than the pristine hardcover I let slip before, but it's on the shelf and is one of the first August finds I plan on reading.

Night Shift by Stephen King - King's first collection of short stories, I believe. I haven't read them yet, but have heard this collection touted as the best of the bunch. I'll reserve my judgment until after I've read it, as I really enjoyed Everything's Eventual and Skeleton Crew.

The Shining by Stephen King - It's the ugly yellow paperback, but it cost a buck, so I won't gripe on the looks. For a guy who calls himself a King fan, it's unconscionable for me to go this long without reading one of his most famous novels. Well, I haven't read Carrie either, so sue me. I'm still trying to slough my way through the last two books of the Dark Tower series. I'm only human.

Forever Odd by Dean Koontz - I really liked Odd Thomas, so I'm hopeful that the sequel can make par with the original. There's another series by Koontz with a character named Christopher Snow that I've heard is supposed to be pretty good, if not better than the Odd Thomas series. Anyone know what those books are like?

Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz - Well, what do you know. Towards the end of the month I remembered to look up the Christopher Snow trilogy. Turns out the third book is unreleased and apparently unwritten. Wow, and I thought it took him a long time to write the third Frankenstein novel. At any rate, I learned the title of the first book in the trilogy and, lo and behold, one of the shops had a copy.

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane - I have never--never ever--purchased a book of any kind from a supermarket. That is, until last weekend when I spotted a few titles that the independent bookstore doesn't have in stock. Oddly enough, I didn't buy any of those and instead chose this title that the bookstore had, too. I saw a trailer for the movie a few weeks ago and it perked my senses. So, at 25% off the jacket price, I snagged it.

Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry - After the Stoker Award winners were announced this year, I've been on a bit of a jag, seeing how many previous winners I can find. At the moment, I have over a dozen titles on my TBR pile (many collecting dust for months) that either won or were nominated for a Stoker Award. This book was lucky thirteen in that number, right before I found Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box.

Journal of the Gun Years by Richard Matheson - I haven't read too many western titles, but I keep meaning to. Lord knows I have them sitting on my to-be-read bookshelf, giving me the stink eye every time I don't pick one of them to read next. Well, misery loves company, and they'll have one more friend to grumble with as I spotted a Matheson title that's also a Spur Award winner. It's only two hundred pages or so, which makes it a front runner in the small pile of westerns waiting to be read.

The Judas Strain by James Rollins - I listened to a podcast interview with this author weeks ago and enjoyed the conversation. I believe David Morrell "discovered" him, and that guy seems to know a thing or two about quality storytelling. I spied the spine of this book and the title jumped out at me--good ones usually do--and after reading the plot summary on the back, I was sold. I guess it's part of a series called SIGMA, and there's a recent sequel-of-sorts called The Doomsday Key that sounds intriguing.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling - Unlike the Twilight saga, I fully intend to read all of the Harry Potter novels. I've read the first two so far. Thanks to Charlotte's Library, I have the final three books in the series waiting on my bookshelf when it comes time to read them. I was reluctant to watch the movies or read the books until a friend sat me down one time to watch the first movie. I found myself liking it a fair bit, so I've kept up with the movies when they come out on DVD. And, I've read the first two books in the series.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling - I don't know how any of you have faired in your excursions to the used shops, but this book in the Harry Potter series has been the hardest to track down. What the heck is it that makes this title so elusive? I did manage at the end of the month, however, to find a hardcover edition for three bucks. The binding is a bit loose, but I'm not fussy. And I'll be trading it in for credit again when I'm finished reading it. Ah, the cycle of life.

Nathaniel by John Saul - In an interview, Saul cited this novel as one he was most proud of when compared to his other works. I've read three of his novels, and only enjoyed one (The Blackstone Chronicles, if you're curious). So, if I'm going to read another Saul novel, it will have to be one either lauded heavily by fans or the one he's placed on a pedestal. I'll keep my fingers crossed when I get around to reading it.

Night World (Book 6 in the Adversary Cycle) by F. Paul Wilson - I didn't know this was part of a series when I snatched it up at a shop. I was just so amazed a novel by F. Paul Wilson was in a used-bookstore for once, I grabbed it and added it to the pile. Then, when I got home and read the back, only to learn there are five books preceding it, an audible expletive rang against the walls. Okay, fine. If I don't see The Tomb (the first book in the series) in a shop, I know it's at least at the library.

Well, that's another month of hording complete. And I still have book credit left over to use in the fall. The TBR pile continues to grow, and at its current rate I suspect it will become self-aware before Christmas. As a side-note, a couple of those titles at the supermarket that I almost grabbed instead of Shutter Island were Richard Laymon's Flesh and the sci-fi novel, Flash Forward, which inspired the upcoming television series. Each of those are on my wish list now.


  1. Cool list! Enjoy the reading...I think you'll really enjoy the Harry Potter series as it goes on. It gets darker every book, which is just right and works with the growing older thing.

  2. Well, I'll be happy so long as the story matures along with the characters. Maybe that's the "darkness" you refer to.

  3. Can fill a blank...