May 3, 2013

Chasing Tale in May [5/3/13]: That New Book Smell

Chasing Tale is a recurring look at the books that I recently added to my to-be-read pile. Some are advance review copies, some I bought from one store or another, and others are freebies from promotional offers that caught my eye.

Over the last several years, I've developed an affinity for those old, pulpy paperbacks. I think my nostalgia is kickin' in big time as I'm getting older. The pulp love has a lot to do with the visual and tactile esthetic. The eye-catching cover art and sensational blurbs adorn nearly all the dime novels I see. The only thing I don't really care for with those old books is the smell. It's not the case with all of them, but quite a few have a really strong must to them.

Some bookworms, however, absolutely love that old book smell. Yuck. If I have to get a whiff of a book, let it be a new one. Books hot off the press have a bit of that new car smell, if any smell at all. Gimme that. Hey, maybe I'm the weird one. Aside from some leather-bound hardcover occasionally drudging up a distant memory, there isn't a whole lot I can think of where I'm happy to breathe in the antiquity of a book.

Castaways that sit in the back shelves of shops and libraries, or stuffed in cardboard boxes on a basement floor have a nostril-pinching effect on me. Ugh. No thanks. Feel free to get off on that odor if you like, but count me out. I think it might stem from my childhood, when the only books around the house or out to camp were old, old books. I was a kid that grew up on hand-me-downs. Hell, books that found their way to me were lucky to still have covers and intact spines.

What's your take on it? Which books pass the smell test with you? Are you one of those people huffing hardcovers in the recesses of bookshops? If so, what's the appeal?

Speaking of old paperbacks, there are even a couple listed below. Have a look.

Worm by Tim Curran - A new novella from DarkFuse that immediately reminded me of that old 80s monster movie, Tremors, which I loved when I first saw it. Heck, I still love it. Here's hoping the giant worms in this book are at least half as memorable.

Vaporware by Richard Dansky - Journalstone has a new novel out this month. I'm not much of a gamer these days, but I still have a deep-seeded appreciation for games, and a horror novel set in that world strikes me as intriguing.

The Georgia Davis P.I. Series by Libby Fischer Hellmann - Sometimes, all it takes is a recommendation. In this case, I saw a tweet from Dave Zeltserman pointing out this three-novel collection on the cheap. I'd already seen recs from authors whose work I enjoy, but Zeltserman tipped the scales.

The Robert E. Howard Omnibus - I have been keeping an eye out for a complete collection of Robert E. Howard's short fiction and this was the best I could do, with an omnibus featuring 99 of the late author's stories. There is another collection with a couple dozen more, but this e-book was a heckuva lot cheaper.

Night Terrors (Savage Species) by Jonathan Janz - Samhain is publishing a serial novel penned by Jonathan Janz, one of the real up-and-comers in the horror genre. Novels in bite-sized installments aren't something I've had a whole lot of experience with, so this should be interesting.

The Science of Monsters by Matt Kaplan - Me and monsters, eh? Well, Constable has published this new book (Scribner did too, in the US), highlighting all the great monsters of folklore. Kaplan looks at the origins behind each famous creature and offers scientific explanations. Sounds fantastic to me.

Threshold by Caitlin R. Kiernan - I saw this book at a used-book store, and since I have been meaning to add a Kiernan novel to my to-be-read pile, I figured this one was as good a place to start as any.

Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath - I read a Jacqueline Daniels mystery novel a few years ago, and I told myself I'd go back and start from the beginning if I read another one. Well, here's the first book in the series, so there I go.

On the Lips of All Children by Mark Matthews - This short novel is due out through Books of the Dead Press, and an ARC snaked its way into my to-be-read pile. Not sure what it's about, but a horror novel with "Children" in the title sounds extra creepy to me.

Thief and Evil and the Mask by Fuminori Nakamura - When the folks at Soho Press sent me an ARC of Nakamura's award-winning novel, Thief, they slipped his newest novel that's due release next month. Both books look incredibly promising.

After: The Echo by Scott Nicholson - Scott started a post-apocalyptic series late last year, After. Well, the sequel is out now. I haven't even had a chance to read the first one yet, and I think the third book is due out later in the year. Effing workhorse, that Scott.

No Hope for Gomez by Graham Parke - People who sign up as lab rats for drug testing are a quirky lot, I'm sure, so I'm curious to see Parke's spin on that setup with one human guinea pig's trials and tribulations.

Unicorn Western by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant - How has there not been a western featuring a unicorn before now? Surely there's one in the old pulp novels of yesteryear--or some tween girl's diary--but for now I'll have to see how this one turns out.

Pork Pie Hat by Peter Straub - I mentioned this book in WLW#86, but it kind of slipped from memory. Then, it showed up in the mail, along with a back issue of Cemetery Dance, courtesy of the CD gang.

The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson - I hadn't heard about this book until I saw the movie trailer--ain't that always the way? Anyway, I haven't seen the movie yet and it kind of faded from memory, then I saw a copy of the book at my local bookshop.

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