Thursday, September 4, 2008

Book Hunting and What I'm Reading Update #2

First the weekly update of what I'm reading:

In the bedroom: Still reading Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell. As I get deeper into the book, it keeps getting better and/or I'm less tired when I go to bed and can read a little longer each night.

In the downstairs bathroom: I'm now reading a collection of short stories about my favorite comic duo; you know, the ones I need to read in order to write my Story Idea #1.

At the office: Still reading The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

In the car: I finished Slan Hunter by A.E. van Vogt and Kevin J. Anderson. If you pretend it was written in the 1940s, it's great and full of surprises. I haven't started it yet, but last night I picked up The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon on cd.

One thing I haven't written about in this blog so far is one of my favorite things about books. Buying them and collecting them (I always laugh when a book store clerk asks me if I have any store credit; what you mean trade books in, never!). While the internet has made it infinitely easier to find books, sometimes you just want to enjoy the hunt, the smell of a used book store, and not having to pay shipping charges. And as often as not, you find things you didn't know you were looking for.

Wednesday afternoon when I left my office in Roswell Georgia, instead of heading east towards home I headed west to Marietta to visit several book stores I only get to a few times a year. Unfortunately I got out of the office at 4:20 instead of the planned 4:00 and by 6:00 I only made it to the first two of the stores on my carefully google-mapped route (why in the world do some book stores close at 6:00, don't these people realize that some of their customers have to work?).

Armed with a business card with the following author's names written on the back to help me remember all of the authors I am hunting for (at the moment anyway) I scoured the shelves:

Fredric Brown (one of the few authors where I love his novels but strangely haven't enjoyed his short story collections as much)
Michael Carroll (yet to find any of his books in a store)
Philip K. Dick (only a handful of books left I haven't read but chances of finding them in a store are minimal at best. Why is this? A quick search of ABE books shows almost the same number of used boosk for sale, about 10,000, as PJF, but typically all you ever find in stores is a copy of Blade Runner)
Ignatius Donnelly (just started looking)
Harlan Ellison (short story collections are great bathroom reading)
Philip José Farmer (chances of finding something I don't already have, about one in a billion, but I have to look)
Rhys Hughes (yet to find any of his books in a store)
Joe R. Lansdale (only two books found in stores to date)
Stanislaw Lem (so far none of his books I've read have been as good as the first; The Cyberiad)
Chris Roberson (just started looking)
Spider Robinson (I love this guy!)
Rudy Rucker (the only author mentioned in this Modern Scholar lesson that I wasn't familiar with)
James Sallis (yet to find any of his books in a store)
Charles R. Saunders (only one book found in store to date; Imaro!)
Somtow Sucharitkul (I keep looking but I don't think the 2nd and 3rd Aquila books actually exist)
Wilson Tucker (I've only read a couple of the books by him I already have, but I keep buying more)
Howard Waldrop (only two books found in stores to date)
Connie Willis (just start looking on a recommendation)
P.G. Wodehouse (anytime I find one for a couple of dollars or less I buy it, even if I probably already have it)

At the end of my hunt the only books I bought were Naked Came the Stranger (which was written by twenty five Newsday writers in 1969, which inspired thirteen Miami area writers to write Naked Came the Manatee in 1996, which inspired thirteen central Illinois writers to write Naked Came the Farmer in 1998). Even though he wrote the first chapter, Phil Farmer wants to assure everyone that he is not the naked Farmer in the book. And Barron's Book Notes: Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. I paid a quarter for each of them.

A disappointing conclusion to an otherwise enjoyable afternoon.

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