January 3, 2010

Chasing Tale in December '09

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. They say it's better to give than to receive, but I'll tell ya that it feels pretty good to receive too. Here's what I amassed over the holidays.

Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America by Bill Donohue - This is one I won via a book giveaway hosted by Alternative Reads. The last time I heard Donohue speak, he was on cable news railing against the film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code. Sufficed to say that I chalked him up as one more source of hot air provided by the twenty-four hour news cycle. Still, I occasionally act as audience to pundits and prattlers, so I can possibly decipher a coherent reason for the disdain held towards non-conservatives and non-believers. I'll get around to reading this, though I suspect I'll be less than spellbound. (I won another book through Alternative Read called Leaning into God, but that one I exchanged and used the credit to get a couple of the books listed below.)

What the Dog Saw (audiobook) by Malcolm Gladwell - I was lucky enough to win this from ... I can't recall where, in November. After listening to a few audiobooks over the last couple of years, I find I prefer non-fiction in this format over fiction. Maybe it's the conversational tone authors like Sarah Vowell and David Sedaris have while narrating their own work that I appreciate. At any rate, Gladwell is another writer with a real knack for compelling non-fiction.

Blanket of White by Amy Grech - I received this short story collection after a request from Amy Grech to read and review it. I enjoy a good short story, as well as discovering new names in horror (and other genres for that matter). She's sold over a hundred stories in her time, so she's got me beat by over a hundred--sigh. Plus, this was my first chance to sample the offerings of Damnation Books, which is apparently one of the up-and-coming small presses for dark fiction. They managed to raise an eyebrow at io9. You can read my review for this title here.

Vlad the Last Confession by C.C. Humphreys - I got this novel for Christmas. I put it on my wish list back in the summer and had completely forgotten about it, so it ended up being a pleasant surprise. If I had Dacre Stoker's Dracula: The Un-Dead, the two books would make great companions for each other I bet. At any rate, I look forward to checking out this title to see if the reviews for it were justified.

Writers Workshop of Horror by Michael Knost (editor) - Yay, this was my first Christmas present of the season. I got it the second week of December and have been immersing myself in each and every article included. I have Mort Castle's On Writing Horror a couple of years ago, but this book from Woodland Press makes for a great companion book, and definitely stands up as indispensable for an aspiring writer like me.

Bad Chili by Joe R. Lansdale - On the same day I received Writers Workshop of Horror, I found this title sitting on a shelf in my local used-book store. Not only have I been keeping an eye out for a Lansdale novel in the shops, but he's also a contributing author to the workshop book. Two very good reasons to grab this one. It's apparently got a couple of characters from previous novels, but the story should stand on its own well enough, I figure. I hope.

Savage by Richard Laymon - Laymon telling a story set in Whitechapel during the height of Jack the Ripper? Oh yes, I think I shall. A young boy witnesses one of Jack's most vicious murders while hiding under a bed. Traumatized and haunted, he makes it his mission to hunt down Jack the Ripper. I've only read a little of Laymon's work, but I have a feeling that this one could be especially gruesome and fun.

Face by Tim Lebbon - It's been a while since I've read a hitchhiker story, and I'm not referring to Douglas Adams either. I'm talkin' about, "Didn't your mother tell you not to pick up hitchhikers?" I think the last time I read a book involving hitchhikers, Richard Laymon wrote it. Regardless, I grabbed this title while at a used-book store because I've wanted to check out Lebbon's work and Bar None, the sole title of his that's available through my local library, has been queued for weeks. He's also a contributor to the Writers Workshop of Horror.

The Red Church by Scott Nicholson - Another contributor to Writers Workshop. I found this book the same day as the Lansdale novel. It was a nominee in 2003 for a Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. That award went to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, which is one of my all-time favorite books. I'm interested to see what Nicholson's debut effort has to offer.

Crown of Vengeance by Stephen Zimmer - Stephen was generous enough to send me a review copy of his new book, the first in a series of fantasy novels. I'll be reading this one early in the new year and hopefully have a review for it by the end of January. I'm still trying to warm myself up to the swords and sorcery kind of fantasy novel, but I find I'm becoming more acclimated to it with each book I read. I don't think it's going to become my genre of choice though any time soon.

So these are my spoils from the fields of book collecting. Some keepers, some are what you might call catch-and-release. Have you had a chance to read any of the books I've listed here? If so, what did you think? Any interesting acquisitions over the past month to your TBR pile?

No comments:

Post a Comment