Thursday, May 29, 2014

An Excuse to Buy an Extra Copy

I've never seen a book fair, used book sale, or box full of used books that I've not been compelled to stop and sort through. That's no secret and I almost feel sorry for those people in my life who must suffer in silence when my compulsion flares up in the presence of any of the above.

My local library and its branches have small spots where used books are sold as fund raisers and where I frequently find some good conditioned books for little more than fifty cents. For instance the most recent discovery...

While scanning the titles, I saw "Nightseer" by St. Louis's own Laurell K. Hamilton. I haven't read a lot of her books, and I could tell by the back desciption it must have been one of her "pre-Anita Blake" stories, so I thought it might be fun to give it a try.

The cover artwork and overall style gave me the impression that this was published in the late 80s or early 90s. It was in real good condition, so I decided it was more than worth the two quarters.

That night, I settled into my chair with this obscure little gem, fully intending to read through a few dozen pages, but when I opened to the title page, I saw that it was autographed!!

Well... This put a twist on the evening. The copyright and date of the inscription clearly showed that I was correct in my assessment of the age of the book, and while I don't know who Erin is, I can't imagine why she'd want to donate it away. Sure, maybe it's not worth a mint or anything, but all things considered, I can't imagine it'd be totally worthless to some of those die-hard Hamilton fans. And it left me wondering why Erin would go through the effort to have Hamilton sign it, but then (probably*) not read it, and finally, donate it to a general book resale effort later. Did she even bother to post it on Ebay to maybe find out what she could get for it?

So what's my problem? Isn't it obvious? I still want to read it, especially once I learned that this was her debut novel**, but I don't want to damage this copy. It's made it this far, why alter its condition now? Which means, that it'll join that special shelf I have dedicated to autographed books that I have multiple copies of. It'll sit next to an Anne Rice novel ("Servant of the Bones"), a couple of Jim Butcher novels, a John Skipp and Craig Spector zombie collection, a first edition paperback of "Sins of the Flesh" by brothers Don and Jay Davis, and at least the first four Brian Hodge novels. The only difference is that this one will be the only one not inscribed to me. :-)

That leaves me no choice but to head over to the local bookstore (Rose's Bookhouse) to purchase a used, non-autographed copy.

Damn! Don't I just hate it when I have to make a trip to the bookstore.

Until Next Time...
Signatorialy Yours,

*based on the overall good condition - no creases, barely any visible shelf-wear, and basic color retention.
** this is even a few months prior to the Star Trek novel "Nightshade" she wrote, and the 1995 TSR Ravenloft novel "Death of a Darklord".

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stony Reading

It's silly of me to post about my favorites from the March/April issue of "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" and then not tell you that the May/June issue arrived in my mailbox promptly before I left for vacation. Already had the vacation reading material packed (reread of "The Shadow Rising" by Robert Jordan since I knew a majority of my time would be spent outside adventuring and not inside reading), so while I slipped this in the suitcase at the last moment, didn't figure I'd even open it.

But I'm home now, the issue is here, and ready to be read. I have to say I like this cover more than the previous one, and I'm hoping I enjoy the story that inspired the cover art more than I liked the previous one as well.

Rest assured though that when I'm done, I won't hestitate to offer up my opinion.

Until Next Time...
Greyishly Yours,


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Next Issue Please

Between my vacation and the arrival of the new issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, I forgot to post my thoughts on the previous issue.

Two real standouts in the March/April 2014 issue were "Draft 31" by Michael Libling and "A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide" by Sarah Pinsker. And although Libling's story was mentioned on the cover, Pinsker's story was just as imaginative and deserved a cover mention.

If you get the chance, try to find the March/April issue, or at the very least, keep an eye out for other works by these two authors. I know Pinsker is a musician as well, and her website features music you can sample. I couldn't find an official site for Libling, but his name is all over the web, so it'll simply be a matter of narrowing down where you want to visit.

Until Next Time...
Draftingly Yours,

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Okay, So Maybe I Like King More Than I Realized

A local woman managed the gauntlet and landed on Jeopardy. As a copy editor for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, she bragged to Alex Trebeck that she landed the job because she learned she was an excellent speller. But as we Jeopardy Faithful know, she misspelled Apollo during Final Jeopardy ("Appolo" is incorrect in every known language), and was sent home after this single appearance. Later when asked about what category she thinks she would have done well, she answered "Stephen King".

That got me thinking. I've read a lot of Stephen King over the years; I think the first book I read was "Cujo". That paperback was passed around the class for months, moving from one eager reader to the next, and by the time I got it back, it was a well-read copy and a prime example of the power of a compelling story. (I do know the first movie I saw was the original made-for-television "'Salem's Lot". But that's another story for another time*)

I thought I'd post here a quick list of all the King books I've read, and quickly discovered that list was a lot longer than I realized. So instead, I created a page on my website (Classics and Cheese) which lists all the Stephen King books I've read over the

Some were good, some were bad. And if you study the list, you'll notice there are some gaps. Those are periods of time when, quite frankly, I got tired of him. It's "A Thing" with me; I can only read an author's voice for so long before I need a change, and as much as I apparently enjoy reading King, I sometimes need a break -- a long break.

I'm sure eventually I'll catch up, afterall, he can only write so fast, and by his own admission, he's getting slower as he gets older.

I recently finished "Full Dark, No Stars" and I'll be posting that review soon at the usual spots (LibraryThing, GoodReads, and Amazon), so...

Until Next Time...
Prolifically Yours,

* The images of Ralphie Glick floating up to the window and later Danny Glick tapping at Mark's window gave me nightmares for years! Even as an adult I still consider those scenes some of the scariest ever filmed.