on tweets, and reviews, and books, and cool non-English covers

Seriously, how cool is this cover? It’s for the German edition of Jonathan L. Howard’s “The Fear Institute”, an absolutely brilliant book that had its paperback edition released today. (Go buy it!) One of the best parts of the BookGeeks gigs is the chance to read some books I might have missed out on otherwise, and I’ve got to say that Howard’s Johannes Cabal series is seriously, seriously good.

We’ve reviewed them all at BookGeeks (or uh, really *I* have reviewed them all at BookGeeks), and, truly, they are just brilliant fun and each book is better than the last as Johannes swipes, mocks, and strides his way towards his goals. Often leaving others lying prone in his wake, and always with the sort of rejoinder that makes you feel as if he has never, ever, had that moment where you think of a come back hours after an event. Trust me, Cabal gets them in on time, and then dances on the supine bodies of his competitors, left face up so they can watch Cabal win.

All of this, I hope, is making you want to read the books (which, really, GO!), but the bonus on top of the bonus that is finding the books is that occasionally you get things happening like authors retweeting a link to your review. And, wow, that *always* feels weird, bizarre, and just….well, weird. I think I intellectually understand that other people might read the reviews, but emotionally (although I seriously hope that people will believe me and buy the books!) I feel like I am mostly just enjoying the chance to write about something I love. And then I realize people read them.

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tea, sun, and holiday success

photo Sri Lanka was gorgeous. Gorgeous, warm, fascinating, and fun.  It’s always a pleasure to travel somewhere for a happy occasion (we were there for a wedding), and to travel somewhere new, where you might never have gone, is an extra treat.

Of course, for me, a large part of the planning for the trip involved what books to take, which friends I could depend upon to have extra books I could borrow, and, now how much money I was willing to budget to spend on books for the iPad.  The iBookstore is still fairly minimal (especially if you don’t necessarily read books of the NYT best seller list), but I can normally find at least a few, and the ability to buy a new book from an hotel room and read it within a few seconds is…dangerously pleasant. As soon as there are more books available, and e-book formatting gets more consistent, the iPad is going to be one more thing that makes it far too easy to spend money on books.

iPad aside, the most successful book of the trip was definitely Connie Willis’ Blackout–Willis is one of the authors I feel is criminally unknown. She’s one multiple awards for her short stories and consistently turns out fascinating, funny, and wonderful books, but it’s rare to find more than one or two of her books on the shelves at a bookstore and libraries are rarely any better. Continue reading

skyscrapers, booksellers, and school horses

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to go to a physics’ work party (not my work party…but hey, scientists generally throw good ones) that was held on the 43rd floor of the Hilton, the tallest building in Manchester (by a “wide margin” according to Wikipedia). The views were excellent; pizza was consumed in copious amounts, and the beer was cold. It was also fun to get a look into what is definitely one of the premier addresses in Manchester. The views are amazing, but we’ll probably stick with our quieter, cheaper, flat for the time being. Although being able to see the (now under renovation) Central Library (it’s that circular building on the left of the photo) from above was seriously cool. I still can’t believe that that was my public library. The new one isn’t as impressive on the outside, but it’s equally gorgeous on the inside. So cool.

The second highlight of the weekend was a new book, a new series, and a new author. (Colin) Bateman’s Mystery Man is one of the funniest books I’ve ever run across. The combination of random references to classic detective novels, what must be one of the few laugh-out-loud grammar jokes in literary fiction, and an unnamed, totally wacky, detective made it the highlight of my month, if only for quotes like this one (prompted by our not-so-intrepid detective trying to deny both that his store is named “No Alibis” and that its motto is “Murder is our business”.)

Noahbylies–yes, indeed. It’s an….Elvish word. Elvish for bookshop. We specialise in science fiction and fantasy novels. You know, Lord of the Rings. Mordor is our business.

Hee. Continue reading