Books ‘n Stuff

Every time my grandparents come for a visit, there is a hurried cleansing of my house. Alcohol, magic, masks, certain music and movies, etc, all have to be hidden away. We gave up on hiding the coffee a long time ago. Some battles just are easier to fight and get over.

Unfortunately, the hardest part of the cleaning is the books. Now, coming from a family that considers FOLKLORE to be of the Devil, my f/sf/h library is not real family-friendly. The only upside of this is that I often find books I’d forgotten about.

So, here are some forgotten treasures, and a few new treasures as well.

1.) Jonathon Carrol is one of the weirdest, most exquisite storytellers I’ve ever encountered. Logical madness is the only way I can think of to describe his stories, and his prose is lovely. Do yourself a favor though, and start any of his books early in the evening. Trust me, you won’t be able to stop once you start. I recommend starting with The Wooden Sea.

2.) David Gemmell is possibly about as far from Jonathon Carroll in style and voice as I could get. Gemmell is the third fantasy author I ever read, and I enjoyed his works all through my teenage years. (Embarrassing, but I will admit to plotting a little bit of fan-fiction in his worlds…) Although he wrote classic Sword and Sorcery, and had a fairly predictable plot formula, he touched on some good themes and wasn’t afraid to hurt his characters badly. Start with either Legend or White Wolf. I started with Stormrider, and loved it, but its also in the middle of the series.

3.) The Dragon Quintet is a lovely collection of stories by the likes of Tanith Lee, Orson Scott Card and Mercedes Lackey. A stellar cast with stellar stories. I honestly cannot choose a favorite here!

4.) The Dark Glory War is a prequel to Michael Stackpole’s DragonCrown Cycle, and the best story of the four books, in my opinion. Told in first-person, and less lofty than the Cycle itself, the prequel is a great, classic High Fantasy. Also check out Talion: Revenant and Once a Hero.

NEW BOOKS!!

1.) Jeff VanderMeer’s Booklife. I picked this up at VanderMeer’s Chapel Hill reading as a prize for some forum-related contest. Skimming through it, I realized that I had to have a copy for myself. Well, let’s make that two copies, just in case I need to give another away. Besides that, having met Jeff, he’s a true gentleman with a great sense of humor, and the instant respect I developed for him makes the words that much better.

2.) Encyclopedia of Spirits and Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells. Ok, so these aren’t the light reading sort of thing. They are, however, exceptional reference books recommended to me by Paul Jessup. I spent about an hour chasing down some questions about the Morrigan last night in the Spirits book, and it is good. Just don’t drop either of them on your toes: both are over 1000 pages, and hardbound.

While you’re at it, check out Natania Barron’s excellent Aldersgate Cycle podcast, and Mur Lafferty’s new podcast on Tor.com.

Happy reading, all!

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