Just in case anyone might be interested in what I’ve been reading, or more to the point putting on my bookshelf to read at some point, here are the books I’ve obtained recently with a short note for each one. I’ll probably do this semi-regularly, I figure that authors like all the promotion they can get!
I’m quite excited about the first entry on the new arrivals list – The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. This is the first time I’ve had access to an ARC and I’ve put aside the book I was currently reading in order to give this one a look. Expect a full review once I’m finished.
My first impressions – John is making a grab for Rowling’s crown, trying to capture the youth fantasy market now that the Potter series has completed.
The back of the book makes this pretty clear, claiming the book is in the tradition of “C.S Lewis, J.K Rowling and Phillip Pulman”. So what you’ve got there is Narnia, Hogwarts and The Dark Materials, that’s about as close to a YA Fantasy holy trinity as there is.
I’ll be talking about this one more once I’ve finished it but I have to say, so far it’s been pretty good, if a bit predictable at times. I’m waiting hopefully for the Dwarves to show up.
This one drops on April 2011.
Next up is the book I was reading when I picked up the Emerald Atlas.
Personally I found Lovecraft’s works inspiring and frightening. I’m not normally a fan of what you would consider “Horror” works but there is something about Lovecraft’s work that gets under your skin and keeps you thinking. I’ve seen his influence coming out in my own writing, most obviously in a tale I wrote which is set in the same ‘Mythos’.
I’m about a quarter of the way through this and any serious Lovecraft fan is going to know the name S.T. Joshi. Joshi is perhaps the worlds foremost scholar on all matters Lovecraft and in this book he goes over the man’s life with a fine toothed comb, missing nothing and yet somehow making all of it incredibly fascinating. For anyone with an interest in Lovecraft I’ll say this – it’s one thing to know academically that Lovecraft was a proud racist (and he was), but it’s another thing altogether to read those sentiments in some of his early poetry.
I picked this one up out of pure whimsy, and with the thought that my daughter will probably love it when she gets a bit older.
For those of you who don’t recognise the title, the poems in this book are perhaps, these days, better recognised as the lyrics to the the musical “Cats”.
This particular edition has some very cute illustrations and all of the original poems. It’s a lot of fun.
This is a book I am very excited about. Not for the book itself, though I’ve never read Vance and am looking forward to getting the chance, but for the third release in this series of classic genre fiction by Gollancz. I have the previous two, The Chronicles of Conan by Robert E. Howard and Necronomicon, The Cthulhu Mythos stories by H.P Lovecraft. Jack Vance joins these two masters of the weird tale with his own fantasy series.
I love the production values and the pure look of these books, and the fact that the stories within are works by the masters of the craft.
I am slightly disappoint by the length of time it took them to produce this third volume, and I had heard rumours that the next volume was originally planned to be a selection of non-Conan stories by Robert E. Howard, which would have been excellent. Oh well.
There’s not much to say about this one, it was a spur-of-the-moment buy. I’ve been thinking a lot about reading some Poe, particularly since I’ve been reading a lot about him in Lovecraft’s biography.
When I saw this particularly beautiful edition I just grabbed it. It contains all the works you would expect a collection of Poe to contain, though I must confess so far I have only read “The Raven” previously. I’m looking forward to pulling this one off the shelf.
This final one was a last-minute purchase. I was fairly shocked to see it sitting in the bargain bin for five dollars so I picked it up without hesitation. I have read the “First Man in Rome” previously and quite enjoyed it, though they are a lot of work to get through. That was about Gaius Marius and Lucillus Sulla, the two whose ambitions paved the way for the fall of the republic and Caesar’s famous crossing of the Rubicon.
This book, if the title is any indication, is set a generation on from that previous series and focuses on Caesar’s most trusted and loyal lieutenant and the relationship that would prove to be the end of his position. I’m looking forward to it.
That’s it for this addition of new arrivals, if you feel like sharing sound off in the comments – what have you been buying recently?