Thursday, September 28, 2023

My Son's Books from the 2023 Book Sale


The books showcased in this post are a selection from my son's purchases at the book sale. He reads mostly fantasy, science fiction, and nonfiction. 

The Planned Parenthood Book Sale ran from September 15th through September 24th, over two weekends. We visited five times. My son usually selects books that look appealing and sound interesting, often by authors new to him. 

Winning Mars (2010) by Jason Stoddard

Jere Gutierrez is the head of a television network, Neteno, that specializes in reality shows. Unfortunately, the network is failing. Evan McMaster comes to Jere with an idea for saving the network: they will create a new reality show and take it to Mars. All they need is funding.

This book was reviewed at by Michael M Jones.

At the Table of Wolves (2017) by Kay Kenyon

This is the first book in the Dark Talents series, which now totals three books.

Description at the publisher's website:

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy meets Agent Carter meets X-Men in this classic British espionage story where a young woman must go undercover and use her superpowers to discover a secret Nazi plot and stop an invasion of England.

In 1936, there are paranormal abilities that have slowly seeped into the world, brought to the surface by the suffering of the Great War. The research to weaponize these abilities in England has lagged behind Germany, but now it’s underway at an ultra-secret site called Monkton Hall.

Night of the Living Trekkies (2010) by Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall

This story is set at a Star Trek convention, and features a zombie takeover. From reviews I have read, it satisfies both Zombie fans and Star Trek fans.

We have been watching a lot of Star Trek lately (Voyager, Strange New Worlds, Discovery), so I think I will be reading this one also. Publisher's Weekly gave it a starred review when it came out, and Charles Gramlich liked it, so I am even more convinced it will be a good read. See Gramlich's review at his blog, Razored Zen.

Butcher Bird (2007) by Richard Kadrey

Description from the back of the book:

Spyder Lee is a happy man. He lives in San Francisco and owns a tattoo shop. He has his favorite drinking buddy, Lulu Garou, and other friends all over town. One night a pissed-off demon tries to bite his head off and he's saved by a stranger—a small, blind woman with a sword as wicked as her smile. After that, Spyder’s life is turned upside down.

The demon infected Spyder with something awful—the truth. He can suddenly see the world as it really is: full of angels and demons and monsters and monster-hunters; a world full of black magic and mysteries. 

Ghosts of Gotham (2019) by Craig Schaefer

This book is described as an urban fantasy. The summary from the back of the book follows:

Irresistibly drawn to mysteries, if only to debunk them, reporter Lionel Page exposes supernatural frauds, swindlers, and charlatans. His latest case is an obsession—at least for an ancient and wealthy heiress: verify the authenticity of a lost Edgar Allan Poe manuscript circulating through New York City’s literary underworld. But the shrewd Regina Dunkle offers more than money. It’s a pact. Fulfill her request, and Lionel’s own notorious buried past, one he’s been running from since he was a child, will remain hidden.

The Four Fingers of Death (2010) by Rick Moody 

A science fiction novel from the author of The Ice Storm. Summary from the back of the book:

Montese Crandall is a downtrodden writer whose rare collection of baseball cards won't sustain him, financially or emotionally, through the grave illness of his wife. Luckily, he swindles himself a job churning out a novelization of the 2025 remake of a 1963 horror classic, "The Crawling Hand." Crandall tells therein of the United States, in a bid to regain global eminence, launching at last its doomed manned mission to the desolation of Mars. Three space pods with nine Americans on board travel three months, expecting to spend three years as the planet's first colonists. When a secret mission to retrieve a flesh-eating bacterium for use in bio-warfare is uncovered, mayhem ensues.

This sounds like a book within a book, with Montese Crandall's story the framing story, and the novelization of The Crawling Hand being the book within. But from descriptions and reviews it is hard to tell. It is over 700 pages long.

Have you had any experience with these books or these authors? We would love to hear about it, if you have.


Kathy's Corner said...

Hi Tracy, The 2023 Book Sale sounds like it was alot of fun and I am particularly interested in Night of the Living Trekkies which your son picked out. I love Star Trek although zombies I have a mixed relationship with. They were never my thing but then the Walking Dead began and I was hooked the first two or three seasons but then the show in my opinion began to get even darker than it already was and I bailed. But it was a powerful series.

TracyK said...

Kathy, I have never sought out zombie books or films, but I have enjoyed many of them that I read or watched. I like World War Z, book and film. I have seen a couple of humorous zombie films. And there is a zombie / mystery crossover series that I read one of (Death Warmed Over by Keven J. Anderson) and it was fun.

We have watched a lot of Star Trek on TV and the movies. We never saw Deep Space 9 or Voyager when they came out, but in the last few years we have watched all of DS9 and are in the middle of Voyager. Lots of fun.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have read THE ICE STORM and something else by Moody. But not the fantasy novels. Have seen a lot of Star Trek but never tried the novels.

Margot Kinberg said...

Your son chose some fascinating-looking books, Tracy! I'll be honest: sci-fi isn't as much my thing, but I do sometimes read non-fiction. And I have nothing but admiration for authors who create compelling sci-fi universes.

TracyK said...

Patti, I have seen the film of The Ice Storm but never read the book. After reading about Moody's writing, I am interested in reading the book and maybe others by him. I also think The Four Fingers of Death would be a good read, but the 700 pages is daunting.

TracyK said...

Margot, I agree. I admire writers who create the science fiction or fantasy worlds they write about.

Lark said...

I liked Ghosts of Gotham! I read it 3 or 4 years ago and remember it being a very fun supernatural suspense novel. And Winning Mars looks like fun; I'd read that one. :D

TracyK said...

Lark, thanks for letting us know that you enjoyed Ghosts of Gotham. Based on the description, it sounds like a good read to me too.

Cath said...

I don't know any of these but will be looking up The Table of Wolves as it sounds like my kind of thing.

TracyK said...

Cath, I plan to try The Table of Wolves myself, especially because it is espionage and an interesting time period. I just have to remember he has it. Actually all of these sound good enough to try out and see how I like them.

Todd Mason said...

I have to wonder how thoroughly the blurb writer had tongue in cheek while referring to the Classic nature of AT THE TABLE OF WOLVES, but authors can't usually be blamed for blurbs. All sound like they have a chance at being good enough, though I suspect Moody (he and Kadrey are the only writers here I've read, and have mostly good thoughts about that work) is having a bit of fun at the expense of bad films, of which THE CRAWLING HAND is definitely one, rather than writing an actual sf novel (unless somehow it becomes one in its not-inconsiderable length).

Would be interested in all your responses.

TracyK said...

Todd, sometimes I get very irritated with the descriptions of books by publishers, but in some cases I have no other option but to use them. I doubt that At the Table of Wolves is really a "classic British espionage story" but it sounds good enough for me to try it.

Regarding The Four Fingers of Death, one reviewer said it was like four separate books, with only one of them being good. Parts of it would be over my head, I would guess, but worth a try. I doubt if I ever saw all of The Crawling Hand, but I have seen the MST3K version several times. It does have Alan Hale Jr., who is always fun in that kind of movie.

I think all of these books that my son found are worth a try, but I already have a stack of his books I haven't read.

NancyElin said...

Every year I look forward to the books your husband and son select at The Planned Parenthood Book Sale! I cannot imagine a more "varied" book loving family than yours.
SciFi- Fantasy- Novels -short stories -NF -CF.
You must have some great "book discussions" at the dinner table!

TracyK said...

Thanks, Nancy. It is nice to have a variety of books available for reading, and nice to have a reading family. When I was growing up, I was the only one in my family that read a lot. Except for my grandmother. My father liked books and would bring them home from the library, but they were mostly books about art or history with lots of photos that he perused in the evening.