October 4, 2009

Chasing Tale in September 2009

Oh, man. Halloween is coming up so fast. I wonder if I should carve a pumpkin this year. Knowing my luck, the local kids would only bludgeon it into pulp minutes after I placed it on the step. Besides, pumpkins make much better pies than lawn ornaments.

But onto the books. Two things contributed heavily to this past month's acquisitions: book blog contests and my local library's book sale.

Oh, lord, that book sale. In July, I wrote briefly about the last time the local library held a book sale. It was fairly crowded that morning, but it was nothing compared to the shoulder-to-shoulder cramming that took place this time. I now know how a canned sardine feels. I'm a big guy and usually have to watch out so I don't step on little old ladies within my immediate vicinity. It was unavoidable this time, however, as everyone who arrived in before the doors opened were corralled into a classroom sized area with one-third of the floor space taken up by tables and wheeled bookshelves. I'd say I felt like a bull in a china shop, but it was closer to the sardine simile.

It might not have been so bad if there had been an ebb and flow to the people milling around the cramped space, but there was none of that. There was no togetherness, if you follow me. Unlike a herd of sheep or school of fish, everyone in the room--and they just kept coming--milled aimlessly like drunken zombies. It was like a gaggle of chickens in a coop at some KFC farm, penned in so tight our feathers poked through the chicken wire. I grabbed what few titles I could, threw down my fiver, and got the heck out of Dodge. That's about the closest I've ever come to feeling claustrophobic.

But I digress. Here are my finds for the month.

The Innocent by Harlan Coben - Coben's a guy whose books I usually see on shelves, but never given a second glance. I'm not sure what blog interview or podcast praised him, but I thought I could keep an eye out and get something of his. I spied this brightly colored book at the library sale, so I snatched it up.

Haunted: The Ghost on the Stairs by Chris Eboch - I won this children's book from The Spectacle in mid-summer and received it early in the month. There are three books in the Haunted series, all released this year I believe, so if you have kids or know some that like spooky tales, mention this title.

The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans - Another title won, this from Fantasy Book Critic. It's the second book in the Iron Elves series--I've borrowed the first novel, A Darkness Forged in Fire, via an inter-library exchange--so it may be a little while before I get to this fantasy tale. The cover is crisp, though, ain't it?

Count Zero by William Gibson - I'm hoping to read Spook Country before the end of the year. I have a sneaking suspicion I'll like his work, so I spied this book at the library sale and figured it was worth a dollar ... even if it takes me a year to get around to reading it.

Needful Things by Stephen King - In the farthest corner from the exit at the library sale--only fifteen to twenty feet and dozens of book lovers between me and freedom--there was the turnstile of paperbacks. This King title, which I have yet to read, was on the bottom rung. For fifty cents and an excuse to snake my way out of there, I grabbed it.

The Quick and the Dead by Louis L'Amour - This old western was sitting on the top of a stack of novels on the sidewalk. All the books were going for twenty-five cents each. I picked it up, since the title instantly reminded me of that Sharon Stone film, and after sighing with relief to read it was not the book which inspired that movie, I plopped a quarter in the collection box and gave it a new home.

The King's Daughters by Nathalie Mallet - The fourth book received this month that was won through a book blogger giveaway, this time from Graeme's Fantasy Book Reviews. Turns out Nathalie Mallet used to live in the Atlantic provinces--who knew. She also dug my name, as she wrote as much when she signed the book and sent it to me. Well, Nathalie, if you care to name sword fodder after me, I'll consider it a modest privilege.

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett - On the off chance I will find a Pratchett novel as good or better than Mort, I picked this one up for a dollar at the library sale. For a pristine hardcover, that's a bargain. And I like the premise of the god of winter having a sociopathic crush on a young lass.

Halloweenland by Al Sarrantonio - I caught a podcast interview he did on Diabolical Radio and seemed an affable sort, so I thought I'd keep his name in the back of my mind while book hunting. Sure enough, at my of the used-bookstores I spied a single book by him. I believe it's the third in a series, but in his interview he stated something to the effect that he likes his books to be inclusive, so a reader can jump in at any point without having to go back and read the whole series from start to finish. Fingers crossed.

The Long Last Call by John Skipp - Another horror author whose work I've never sampled. He's heralded as a master of "splatterpunk." Hmmm. If that's the buzzword for "gore for the sake of gore," that may explain why I haven't read his work yet. At any rate, I heard an interview he did on Pod of Horror #50 a while back and enjoyed it. I'm always trying to cast a wide net with my reading too, and it's shown I can't discount a sub-genre because it doesn't initially appeal to me.

Hell's Angels by Hunter Thompson - I vaguely recall the Johnny Depp movie, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Back when it first came out, I ignored it and was completely unaware it was based on a real guy. So, to see one of the earlier novels by the man who inspired Depp's surreal performance, I couldn't resist grabbing the book to take home and add to the pile.

And that sums up the books I've added to my shamefully large collection of books. Man oh man, I look at the pile of books I've read and kept and compare it to the books I have yet to read, and there is a startling disparity there. I wish I could speed read. I might catch up with the rest of the world.


  1. I adore Harlan Coben's thrillers. If you like his stand alone books, you should try his Myron Bolitar series - fantastic.

  2. I'll have to keep an eye out for that series. Thanks, Cate.