Thursday, June 30, 2016

Arabella of Mars - Signed Edition

Hi folks, here's one to keep your eye on — especially if you're a sci-fi lover:

Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor, July 12, 2016)

Synopsis: "A plantation in a flourishing British colony on Mars is home to Arabella Ashby, a young woman who is perfectly content growing up in the untamed frontier. But days spent working on complex automata with her father or stalking her brother, Michael, with her Martian nanny is not the proper behavior of an English lady. That is something her mother plans to remedy with a move to an exotic world Arabella has never seen: London, England. However, when events transpire that threaten her home on Mars, Arabella decides that sometimes doing the right thing is far more important than behaving as expected."

For fans of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire books, Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories.

This is Levine's debut novel. His short stories have won him a number of awards / nominations, including a Hugo.

Publishers Weekly starred review

No print run numbers are available.

Powell's will be having a signing on July 13th. You can preorder your copy here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Feeling the Need to Re-read

I think we all have those few books in our lives that when we first read them they had such an impact or pull on us that we just wanted to flip the book over and start re-reading — either to re-immerse ourselves in the world from which we just reluctantly emerged or to more fully process the lessons and situations that we, along with the characters, just experienced.

I find that this list, for me, is a rather odd grouping. Some of the titles are more universal, and I think, "yes, well, of course. good." While others are, I don't know, just fun to read.

On my 'feeling-the-need-to-re-read' list:
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas 
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. 
  • Fluke by Christopher Moore. 
  • Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. (and also The Eyre Affair.) .
  • People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia. 

How about you? What books have you reread (or are feeling pulled to re-read)?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Last Chance for 50% off Sub Press Preorders

I got this reminder email from Subterranean Press this morning:

Save 50% on Preorder Items for TODAY only! 

Reminder: the preorder sale lasts through the end of today and then disappears, likely for a year or more!

By my lights, it's been more than a year since we last ran a 50% off sale on preorders, so here we go. As usual, there are some rules.
  1. Prices are already changed for the eligible books, which include almost all SubPress preorder titles. (Other publishers' titles and in-print titles are not eligible.)
  2. There is no limit to the number of books or orders you may place.
  3. The discount does not apply to past orders. (If you cancel a past order and place a new one for the same title, you will be charged the full price.)
  4. The sale lasts only through the end of business on Tuesday, June 28. At that point, we'll return books to their usual prices.
  5. Shipping is not discounted.
That's all, I think. Thanks to everyone who participates in our once yearly sale, and picks up some great reading at unbelievable prices.

(I'm not a Subterranean Press affiliate - this is just an fyi)

Given that most of the preorder titles are listing for half off today, it might be a good time to get any of those fantasy / horror / sic-fi books you may've had your eye on. (you know I'm taking advantage of this and getting the China MiĆ©ville titles.) They don't have a list of the titles on sale, although the books listed in the left-hand "At the Printer" column are among those on sale. Unfortunately, George R.R. Martin's A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms and Robert McCammon's Boy's Life are sold out.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

June's Indie Next List

For those of you who are like me and are just now getting around to checking it out, here are a few titles from June's Indie Next list — Hot picks from the nation's independent booksellers. You can get the full list here (PDF):

(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781501126925, $22.95)

Synopsis: In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about KevinI’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page…and never lets you go.

Debut novel

Before the Fall: A Novel By Noah Hawley
(Grand Central Publishing, 9781455561780, $26)

Synopsis: On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

The Insides: A Novel By Jeremy P. Bushnell
(Melville House, 9781612195469, trade paperback, $16.95)

Synopsis: Ollie Krueger’s days as a punk kid practicing street magic are are mostly behind her. Now she’s a butcher at Carnage, a high-end restaurant offering deconstructed takes on meat. On busy nights Ollie and her partner, Guychardson, race to see who can produce the most finished cuts. Ollie’s the better butcher, but somehow Guychardson always wins ... and Ollie thinks maybe it’s because the mysterious knife he uses is magic.

This is Bushnell's second novel. His first, The Weirdness, was published in 2014. For fans of Christopher Moore, Will Self, & Max Barry.

Smoke: A Novel By Dan Vyleta
(Doubleday, 9780385540162, $27.95)

Synopsis: Welcome to a Victorian England unlike any other you have experienced before.  Here, wicked thoughts (both harmless and hate-filled) appear in the air as telltale wisps of Smoke.
 Young Thomas Argyle, a son of aristocracy, has been sent to an elite boarding school.  Here he will be purged of Wickedness, for the wealthy do not Smoke.  When he resists a sadistic headboy's temptations to Smoke, a much larger struggle beyond the school walls is revealed.  Shortly thereafter, on a trip to London, Thomas and his best friend witness events that make them begin to question everything they have been taught about Smoke.   And thus the adventure begins... You will travel by coach to a grand estate where secrets lurk in attic rooms and hidden laboratories; where young love blossoms; and where a tumultuous relationship between a mother and her children is the crucible in which powerful passions are kindled, and dangerous deeds must be snuffed out in a desperate race against time.

This is Vyleta's 4th novel.
For fans of Harry Potter and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

(Graywolf Press, 9781555977412, trade paperback, $14)

Synopsis: Here he is, husband and father, scruffy romantic, a shambolic scholar--a man adrift in the wake of his wife's sudden, accidental death. And there are his two sons who like him struggle in their London apartment to face the unbearable sadness that has engulfed them. The father imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness, while the boys wander, savage and unsupervised.

In this moment of violent despair they are visited by Crow--antagonist, trickster, goad, protector, therapist, and babysitter. This self-described "sentimental bird," at once wild and tender, who "finds humans dull except in grief," threatens to stay with the wounded family until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and the pain of loss lessens with the balm of memories, Crow's efforts are rewarded and the little unit of three begins to recover: Dad resumes his book about the poet Ted Hughes; the boys get on with it, grow up.
Part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief, Max Porter's extraordinary debut combines compassion and bravura style to dazzling effect. Full of angular wit and profound truths, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers is a startlingly original and haunting debut by a significant new talent.

Winner of of the International Dylan Thomas Prize
Finalist for the Guardian First Book Award
Finalist for the Goldsmiths Prize 


Booklist starred review

Friday, June 17, 2016

Debut: Security by Gina Wohlsdorf

Apologies all, life went and did what it usually does — got a bit hectic, and I was pulled away from the blog for a bit. (Something I hope to remedy.) But I was reading through some book reviews this morning and came across this title, a debut by Gina Wholsdorf. And, I don't know, maybe it's because I need some escapist reading or maybe it's because there's a Daphne du Maurier connection, but this sounded somewhat promising.

I feel I have to put in a trigger warning here, given recent events. This is a murder mystery and has, according to the synopsis, a Stephen King slant, as such, people are killed. Some may not find this an escapist read right now (or ever) and that is okay. I definitely have to be in the right mood for it. I have a post on Southern fiction coming up — always good for a get away. So just hang in there, and maybe go get a lovely cup of coffee or tea (or whatever the appropriate drink might be given the time of day you are reading this. It is, after all, five o'clock somewhere).

In the mean time...

Security by Gina Wholsdorf (Algonquin, June 7, 2016)

This is her debut novel and is getting some starred reviews, so worth a look.

Synopsis: "Manderley Resort is a gleaming, new twenty-story hotel on the California coast. It’s about to open its doors, and the world--at least those with the means to afford it--will be welcomed into a palace of opulence and unparalleled security. But someone is determined that Manderley will never open. The staff has no idea that their every move is being watched, and over the next twelve hours they will be killed off, one by one.

Writing in the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, and with a deep bow to Daphne du Maurier, author Gina Wohlsdorf pairs narrative ingenuity and razor-wire prose with quick twists, sharp turns, and gasp-inducing terror. Security is grand guignol storytelling at its very best."

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Booklist (starred review)

Happy reading!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Book Sale Weekend

Every year St. Francis Episcopal Church, around the corner from my house, hosts a 3 day book sale extravaganza. Tens of thousands of books, donated year-round are put up for sale and people come from all over the region to find their treasures. Usually, I'm there on their preview night (or early the next morning) to grab the good titles.

This year, however, I decided to wait until the last day to make an appearance. The decision to wait was partly financial (on the last day books are cheaper) and partly strategic. Most of the books that remain by day 3 are either those for which they have 100s of copies (and subsequently not books I'm interested in) or those that are a bit more on the obscure side. I knew if I waited, there would be fewer books that I'd feel the need to bring home. Given my lack of shelf space, I thought that a good thing.

So my partner in crime and I hit the sale on $10 bag day. Most years I have no problem filling one or two bags to the brim but this year I wasn't so confident. I decided to be ultra picky. I would only  bring home books in near-fine condition, only first printings and only titles I honestly wanted to read. In a sea of well-worn Faye Kellerman, Nora Roberts, and John Grisham titles, this narrowed my options tremendously.

Tracy, on the other hand went for poetry books. Apparently NO ONE buys poetry books at this sale because she could've filled the entire bag until it was bursting with just poetry. Even after being picky, I think she managed to bring home 22 books of poetry (so thin that they filled only half the bag). And as for me, I left the book sale with its thousands of books, having only bought 3. Seriously. I mean how many of you can say that on $10/bag day that you left a sale with just 3 books? There's a certain amount of pride in that statement for me. A sense of willpower. And yes, I am impressed with myself.

The three books that I bought? (Don't laugh):

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (Grand Central Publishing, March 2010)
Listing for between $4-$40 in near-fine condition (unsigned) over on ABE Books.

Grahame-Smith's books are collectible because they're odd and the first of the horror-classic mash-up genre. His first in this series was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009), followed by Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (2010), Unholy Night (2012), and The Last American Vampire (2015) - sequel to Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn (Atria Books, September 2012)
Listing for between $7-$12 on ABE Books.

Tracy likes this series and I know she'd not read this one yet. One of the book collecting gurus that I used to follow predicted that Quinn's debut novel Dog On It would be highly collectible (although, I think signed it might be valued at $30 in the current market). Honestly, I just like the premise of having a dog be the main character / narrator. It speaks to my sense of the absurd (and my love of dogs).

The Mayor's Tongue by Nathaniel Rich (Riverhead Books, 2008)
Listing for between $5-$20 (unsigned) on ABE Books.

Book synopsis: "In this debut novel, hailed by Stephen King as 'terrifying, touching, and wildly funny,' the stories of two strangers, Eugene Brentani and Mr. Schmitz, interweave. What unfolds is a bold reinvention of storytelling in which Eugene, a devotee of the reclusive and monstrous author, Constance Eakins, and Mr. Schmitz, who has been receiving ominous letters from an old friend, embark from New York for Italy, where the line between imagination and reality begins to blur and stories take on a life of their own."

Not really a collectible, but the cover appealed to my design sense, and it sounded like a good read.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

2016 Edgar Winners Announced

Best Novel: 
Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy 
(Penguin Random House - Dutton)

Best First Novel: 
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen 
(Grove Atlantic – Grove Press, 2015)

This is a big collectible, having won the Pulitzer among a number of other awards. First printings are rare and list for $125 to $150 (unsigned) on ABE Books.
Best Juvenile: 
Footer Davis Probably is Crazy by Susan Vaught 
(Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)
Young Adult: 
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis 
(HarperCollins Publishers – Katherine Tegen Books)

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