Murphy’s Law for bookstore shopping

When I find an intriguing fantasy series to read, Books 2 and 3 will be there but Book 1 is always long gone.

These are Melanie Rawn’s Exiles series, Angus Wells’ Godwars and Kathleen O’Neal’s Power of Light trilogy (hey I’m a sucker for a foil embossed cover, ok?).

But I did finally find the first in Michelle West’s The Sun Sword series, The Broken Crown as well as a replacement for my trick- or-treated copy of The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams…

And! An old friend!

Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly.


Half-Price Books, Sugarland TX

MystiCon 2013 Book Haul

This is a list of what I’m coming away with. Maybe some of these titles and authors will spark with any of you? I realized that many of these authors are women, so if you’re doing the Worlds Without End women writers challenge thingy, these might be of interest to you.

These were mostly purchased from Orielis’ Books.

Top Three Contenders:
1) when a 20+ year bookseller threatens me for not yet having read the Zenna Henderson she sold me last year, I’m gonna sit down immediately and begin reading the one that she has in stock. Yes, Zenna Henderson is a captivating writer. I’m already swept away in the couple’s grief and then entranced and mystified by the foundling discovered in the woods. Henderson has a very empathetic way of drawing in a reader.

2) YAH! The Clockwork Phoenix 4 ARC! Thanks, Mike!

3) James Maxey still has a few print copies of Nobody Gets the Girl, and now one of the few remaining print copies is mine, all mine! Muah-Ha-Ha-Ha! Signed to me and everything! This book, and its relationship to this blog, is an interesting and rather long one. New Darkcargoites: this novel and the accompanying soundtrack written and performed by Jonah Knight are highly recommended. Both are available electronically. I think there are three reviews for this one book on Darkcargo, so that should tell you how much we like it.


Two by Octavia Butler:Dawn (1987) and Mind of My Mind (1977). Her Kindred redefined my reading values and I would like to read more by her. nrlymrtl liked Dawn and the others in the series, with reviews here, and she wrote this really funny article here about exactly how bad the original covers were. This cover is much better, I suspect.

A beat up copy of one of my all time faves, Sword-Dancer by Jennifer Roberson. The latest novel in the series just came out. Roberson is one of those authors that defines my core by which I judge other authors. If you’re looking for strong, kick-ass (literally) no-fluff female characters, you might like this one. Roberson doesn’t muck about with her characters. She gives you grit and conflict. I love her fantasy novels.

After the Henderson, Roberson, and Butler went on the pile, the booksellers added Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle, along with a glower that suggested I’m up for an ass-whoopin’ if I don’t read this. It’s got maps, appendices, a glossary, aliens, spaceships and so I think I will not find it difficult to do my homework assignment.

I’ve been looking for anything by Samit Basu, and they had a copy of The Samoquin Prophecies. I haven’t read Basu yet, but Turbulance has been talked about by readers I respect.

The Last Legion of Earth by A. A. Attanasio I picked out all by myself. How could I pass up something where the back blurb starts “Seven billion years from now…”?

the signed copy of Dark Side of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon is a surprise for Tonya, don’t tell her.

The booksellers also suggested that I try out The Liaden Universe series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Through Wolf’s Eyes by Jane Linskold, and The Truthsayer’s Apprentice by Deborah Christian.

I got Hush by James Maxey. I like very much the first in the series, titled Greatshadow.

I also replenished my was-loaned-and-now-lost copy of Clockwork Phoenix 1.


The Penguin Library of American Indian History

Heck! This is cool!

One of the reasons I love browsing a bookstore is so that I can be presented with stuff I didn’t know existed before I swung that door open.

Here’s one of today’s finds. I haven’t read these so this is neither a recommendation nor a review, but I wanted to bring it to your attention because I find it interesting. It’s good to share these more obscure treasures, I think.

Penguin Books is publishing a series of American Indian History. There are six titles already published, and the entire series is selected and edited by a governing board of authors and experts.

The titles thus far are

Holding Our Our World Together by Brenda J. Child (this is the one I have)

The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears by Thea Purdue and Michael D. Green

The Shawnees and the War for America by Colin G. Calloway

American Indians and the Law N. Bruce Duthu

Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier by Timothy J. Shannon (that one sounds especially interesting)

Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi by Timothy R. Pauketat (I’m going to read that one next)

The Lakotas and the Black Hills by Jeffrey Ostler (no wait, definitely this one next)

I’m super excited to have found these!


Athens Book Company

Local bookstores rule!

My Of Choice right now is the Athens Book Center, Athens OH:

Some neat features:


the Sci-Fi section is designed for Harry Dresden.



They have relevant and meaningful displays.


They mail me stuff! and quick, too! (Cold Days by Jim Butcher,
Defiant Peaks by Juliet E. McKenna)



The toys and games are educational and/or and intelligent (those aren’t always the same thing)


There’s a used comic book section! That’s sa-wheeat for us non-collector types.


They offer new and used books, can order what they don’t have in stock, and have a larger, inventoried collection for on-line sales which is the heartblood of all bookstores nowadays, they say.

The Book Room

The Book Room is my local Used Book store of proximal and least-amount-of-traffic-to-get-there convenience. The photo yesterday is of The Book Room. Many of you have received books from me that were once in The Book Room.

They are the most stereotypical Used Book Store I have ever been in, it’s almost surreal. But! I’ve been a Book Room patron for two years so I thought I’d give them a shout-out.
So, what’s so stereotypical?

So many books you can’t hardly catch your breath just walking in the door.


Treasures! under piles, mid-pile, and behind-pile. I didn’t know I was looking for a copy of Grimus by Salman Rushdie until I uncovered it, diving into this pile for the book on the bottom.
The kids’ section–totally unsorted–is fun to plow thru for reading material for my ESOL students or books for friends’ kids.
who has National Geographic anymore? Cool! Also unsorted. 1957, 1987…
Where you find stuff depends on who had been shelving last. This pile is: Edward, Steinbeck, Dickens, Miller…This is the classics and literature shelf, there’s more Steinbeck in the “oversized paperbacks”.

And so forth. The finest thing about this store is the way their un-sorted-ness invites serendipity. To be fair, they do sort in a very macro way: romance, science fiction, mysteries, non-fiction, etc. but again, “po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to”, what I might have shelved in humor someone’s put in paranormal romance. (sorry, that could be taken as snark: actually that example was Christopher Moore, You Suck.) Sherlock Holmes is in Kids’, Mysteries, and Literature. What a treasure hunt!

Plus they have a lot of turnover, so there’s always something new, even for a semi-monthly regular like me.

The book sellers actually know their shit, too, which is a boon over B&N and other impersonal box stores. Patrons’ questions are always preceded with the caveat, “Well, if I were the owner, which I’m not, we’d find that book…”

The booksellers have their quirks, which always cause me a smile while hiding behind the Literature stacks. This one has a chip on her shoulder concerning poli-sci books, that one hides the Hardy Boys and will only admit to their existence to patrons 4′ and under, that one is, um, loud. But they are all super nice, love and devour books, and love chatting books with their customers.

And they do credit. Remember all those books I was de-booking two years ago? I just zeroed out my $300+ in book credit today. Whew! Achievement Unlocked!


Well, a flat on I-81 had us walking the dogs around a dull little shopping center in Hagerstown, MD while Mr. Tire did their tire-ly magic. Bored bored bored, but grateful, glad and thankful for it being Friday, populated area, cell-phone reception and AAA. (Ever been stuck in Shamrock TX on a Sun evening?)


‘Round the corner is a sidewalk sale of…books? Yes! A serendipitous used bookstore, plopped down fortuitously in my path!

And not only just any used bookstore, but Wonderbook, with over a million titles.
A friendly gal with hair shorter than mine (no small achievement) came out to chat with us and offered the dogs water. Of course, I happily followed her back into the store.


Holy crap! Seemingly miles of out of print treasures awaited me under flaps of hot pink “Latin America”, “Doyle! (Sherlock Holmes)” and “Lost? Pick up a Store Map”.


The ephemera posted to the ends of the bookshelves were fascinating in themselves: need a pamphlet from the 1976 Montreal Olympics? Right here, past Ecology-Equestrienne.


Most of my picks today were from the Latin America aisle, but I have something for two of you: an ILLUSTRATED edition of several Sherlock stories, Kelley Jones, illustrator, published by IDW publishing; and The Monkey’s Wrench by Primo Levi, an Italian “writer-chemist” whom I have fallen madly in love with. ( Don’t look at me like that– many of his stories are sci-fi or about science.)

To celebrate the unforeseen events of today, let me know which of these two books you’d like via comments. I’ll pick winners when I get home on Sunday evening.


Book Shopping

I treated myself to a haircut and a trip to the Last Bookstore In America* today. Here’s what I found.

First, it took me a while to even find the bloody books. Here’s a photo. You walk in and are confronted with a WALL of Nook Stuff. (see the front door back there?) It used to be that when you walk into a bookstore you were bombarded with NYT bestsellers, magazines, and New Releases. Now I’m innundated with a product I have no interest in. Boo.

Ok, past that. I went in to see if maybe (just maybe!) Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon was out early, put on the shelf by a non-regulations-following bookseller. Where in the hell are the goddamn new releases? The first tower of books I find past the Nook Shit is “Dieting and Health”. Huh.

Ok, moving on.

I found an edition of Moby Dick that has notes and so forth, excellent! It’s an ugly book, printed like it came off a home desk-jet printer, but the material is good.

Next, there were three copies of M.L.N. Hanover’s Killing Rites. This cover is repellant to me. How many of these have we seen? How many of this type of novel have I started and tossed and is now decidedly on my Avoid catergory? However, I have been assured by MyAwfulReviews that this is not one of THOSE books, just ignore the cover. However, MAR also liked Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, so that’s a negative point. However, I really loved Leviathan Wakes, another novel by this same author (pen names). However, it’s got a Zia on the front. So I bought a copy to make up my own mind.

Next. Another stupid cover. Why do publishers ruin books in this way? Why don’t they just save themselves a buck and make plain-text cover that says: Steampunk Fantasy by an Author You’ve Read Before and like? Ok, sounds great! Steven Harper wrote a murder mystery on the Moon that was an enjoyable read and I have been looking forward to snother by him for a long time. This one is called The Doomsday Vault.

The Treasure I discovered is this other, previously unknown to me, novel by R. A. MacAvoy. MacAvoy has written a lot, and I really liked her Tea with the Black Dragon. Death and Ressurection looks to be more from the same universe, plus some Southwest-“y” spiritual elements tossed in. I love finding small presses that take risks like this. This publisher is Prime Books.

So, let’s dive in!

*I know there are other bookstores.



A Pile Of Books

My father died recently and left me his books.

He was a big reader and passionate about space opera. His house had piles of books, boxes of books, shelves broken under the weight of books. He preferred hard cover to paperback, aliens over alternate history.

He was a bit of a horder. My brother and I kept finding new book deposits throughout the house. Books on the delta blues. Books on Native craft and art work. Special orders about the legend of the Wandering Jew (look that up for a fascinating story).

My brother only wanted the complete collection of Carlos Castaneda and told me to take the rest, so now I have around 350 new books in my basement.

Now, space opera is not my thing. I’ve taken out the 50 or so that I want to read or keep bi that still leaves me with about 300. 300 new used books that I will most likely not read.

What do you do with your old books?
Have you ever tried to get rid of a massive piles of books at one time?

The Best Panel

Larry Smith, Bookseller, is a conventions bookstore. He and his wife, Sally Kobee sell new genre fiction books, primarily SF/F. They are out of Ohio, so in addition to Dragon*Con, we see them at ConText.

They’ve been doing this for freaking ever, they know freaking everybody, and it seems like they have every single freaking book in stock. They sell at a convention somewhere in the country about every other weekend, approximately 34 per year.

They also chaired World Fantasy Convention last year. That’s pretty cool, no?

My Darkcargo pals allowed me to volunteer them into helping the Booksellers tote their boxes (and boxes) of books down to the loading dock after the vendor room closed down. That was cool, too.

It was fun for me to do, at least. Interesting to see some of the workings of a convention this large, and some small insight into the life of a travelling bookseller.



Carroll & Carroll

Independence is dependent on literacy and the right to free speech. To celebrate, today we take a tour of one of my favorite bookstores, the first of an occasional series.

Carroll & Carroll are the local booksellers in Stroudsburg PA, home of my in-laws.

A trip to Carroll & Carroll is a portion of the activities during family visits.

They’ve been here for bloomin’ ever and it shows on their shelves. All of the volumes are clean and in good repair. No musty, mouldy bargain bins here. They know their trade, pricing books appropriately, which always intrigues me: why is this copy of this book so much more expensive than other volumes of the same title next to it?

They carry both new and used books, which provides a collection even more complete and various (times a million) than chain bookstores.

The store’s precariously piled stacks and treasure heaps on the floor invite exploration. I especially love the double-shelved titles. What’s lurking behind there?

The stock rotates frequently. I only get up here on a semi-annual or annual basis, but I have been in many bookstores which are, title for title, exactly as they were when I visited last. There is so much to look at on these shelves that my funds limit me long before my interest. Hours, I’m telling you.

The layout is sorted by subject and genre, including a spinner rack of westerns, columns of “movie tie-ins”, and a center-stage S&SF– so many titles that I get a neck cramp trying to make sure I’ve picked through them all. The fiction wraps around the perimeter wall like a big hug, and the more or less alphabetical shelving style is much appreciated. I tend to not want to paw through fastidiously set up store displays. These are not, these are groupings. What I’m looking for should be here, if it’s not, they don’t have it. Easy. Welcoming. Low on the fuss-o-meter.

Carroll and Carroll know nearly everyone who walks in their shop, asking after relations and family news. I was even asked about my in-laws this time. Yah! Plus One for Regular status!