Just a Box of Books

Several weeks ago Chad Hull and Terry Weyna were commenting on Terry’s blog that they had just gotten their boxes of books from a huge sale at Subterranean Press.  I was envious.  Why didn’t I have a box of books?  (Answer; I didn’t check out the sale.)  It reminded me of summer, when various people at work sign up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes and then bring the extra produce—because there is almost always extra produce—to work; or worse, rhapsodize over the luscious plums, berries or crunchy-sweet carrots they got. 

Well, I certainly wasn’t going to stand for this!  I wanted a box of books too, so I called up the Four-Eyed Frog and ordered the following: 

  • A Murderous Procession, by Ariana Franklin.  I didn’t know then that the writer who used that pen-name had passed away a few months ago. I haven’t read this one yet, but I look forward to Adelia’s next adventure. 
  • The Reapers Are the Angels, by Alden Bell (is that ever a pseudonym, or what? I’m surprised he didn’t just use Acton and get it over with.)  I had read conflicting reviews of this post-apocalyptic young adult fantasy, and it made me curious.  Controversy can be a good thing.  This is one of the most powerful books I’ve read in a long time, by an amazing prose stylist who strides across Cormac McCarthy territory with a confidence that is completely justified. Get some friends together, read this, then re-read The Road.  I guarantee you there’s a discussion waiting to happen. 
  • Behemoth, the second book in Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan trilogy. Loads of fun, and enlivened with pen and ink art throughout the book.  The character of Alek, the heir to Austria-Hungary, developed and grew in this book, and the descriptions of Istanbul were great.  The fantastical elements—such as the manned war-machines called “walkers,” with the faces of goddesses carved into them—were wonderful.  It is not as good as the first book, but worth the investment. 

Please understand, it isn’t that I don’t have books.  It isn’t even that I don’t have unread books, or that I don’t understand how the library works.  It’s the sharp purr of the cardboard as it rips open. It’s the smooth texture of the covers. It’s the smell of new books.  It’s the sheer joy that comes from getting books. It’s everything.   

I liked the experience so much that a week ago I called up and ordered three more, and they came on Friday.  For reasons that will become clearer in a few days, having them arrive that day was a bit special.  If I were superstitious, I might read some cosmic meaning into their delivery. 

This week’s box of books contains: 

  • The Great Improvisation, by Stacy Schiff, in which she recounts Ben Franklin’s time spent in France leading up to the formation of the United States of America. After her Cleopatra, I had to see what she made of this particular founding father. 
  • The White City, by Elizabeth Bear.  I haven’t read any Elizabeth Bear, but both Terry and my new friends at Fantasy Literature write good reviews about her, and the book has an intriguing cover.  Yes, I do know what they say about books and covers. 
  • The Neon Court, by Kate Griffin, the third, and rumored to be last, Matthew Swift book. I think this “rumor” comes from the deeply ingrained pattern that all fantasy series run in threes.  In one interview I read with Kate Griffin, after The Midnight Mayor had been released, she talked about future “books,” plural, so I am on the fence about the trilogy thing.

 Outside, a 60% chance of more rain.  Inside, 100% chance of happy reading for me!

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2 Responses to Just a Box of Books

  1. Chad Hull says:

    Marion, you are entitled to your own box of awesome and never let anyone tell you otherwise.

  2. Marion says:

    Thanks, Chad!

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