Monday, March 26, 2012

In My Mailbox - March 26, 2012



“In My Mailbox” is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren in which bloggers can showcase all the books they’ve received/purchased/absconded with.  Seeing as how I keep acquiring new books all the time, I figured it would be a handy way to showcase the new loot and squeeze a post out of it.  Let’s see how it goes.

This week there are more books than usual, and all of it is to be blamed on a business trip to Orlando.  More on the hows and whys of that later.  For now, it’s on to the books.

From the Library

The Dramatist by Ken Bruen – As is my custom for long car rides, I made a pilgrimage to the library to scope out audio books to listen to during the trip.  This book and the next two were the product of that visit.  The Dramatist is a short crime novel by Ken Bruen, modern Irish mystery author and someone whose work I’d enjoyed before (in the form of The Max, which was co-written by the imitable Jason Starr).  I already finished it, and if I learned anything from the reading, it’s that Ireland is a shit hole.  More to come on that subject later.

The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst – Currently reading this one—a fairly well known and recent entry into the catalogue of espionage fiction.  It’s set in 1938 in Europe shortly before World War II, and tells the story of a foreign journalist employed by the Reuters agency as he covers the pinnacle of the Fascist movement in several different locations.  As the world marches inexorably toward war, the foreign correspondent gets sucked into the world of pre-WWII espionage.

Fear of the Dark by Walter Mosley – I’m not exactly sure what this book is about, but it’s the third entry in Mosley’s Fearless Jones series.  Ever since reading All I Did Was Shoot My Man earlier this year, I’ve wanted to dig further into the Mosley bibliography.  Well this is my chance, and I’m eager to see what else he has in store.


From the Store

The Drowning Pool by Ross MacDonald – Remember that review I did a while back for the Ross MacDonald’s The Moving Target where I said I was going to be buying the next book in the Lew Archer series post haste?  Well, not wanting to be a low-down no good liar, I made sure to pick this one up during my pit stop at the best bookstore in the universe (i.e., The Chamblin Bookmine in Jacksonville, FL).  There’s no question about it being good.  The only question is, how long will I be able to resist reading it? 

Made in Goatswood by various authors – It’s The King in Yellow’s fault (see below).  After finishing that volume of weird tales, I had a hankering for more of the same.  Chaosium is a publishing house that has made a name for itself by publishing stories from and inspired by the Cthulhu mythos and the body of work of H.P. Lovecraft.  Over the years they’ve released a lot of short story anthologies in that vein, and this one happens to be a compilation of stories inspired by Ramsey Cambpell, a British author who was in turn inspired Lovecraft.  And thus it’s proven true that all roads (at least in the horror world) lead to Lovecraft.

Weird Tales:  32 Unearthed Terrors by various authors – Back in the 20s some of Lovecraft’s first stories were published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales.  Like the title would suggest, it was a publication dedicated to the horrifying and the macabre.  It had an astoundingly long publishing life for a pulp rag, and it served as a launching platform for many of the godfathers of the horror genre.  This anthology presents 32 tales from the magazine’s heyday.

The Hastur Cycle by various authors – The Hastur Cycle is another short story compilation from Chaosium.  This one focuses on the “old one”Hastur (which Lovecraft stole from Chambers, and Chambers stole from elsewhere, and so on) and the many stories it has spawned since.  I know I said that I hate short story anthologies, but damn it, I can’t help it.  Cthulhu stories are like crack to me.

From Elsewhere

32 Caliber by Donald McGibeny – Speaking of crack, there’s a crack-tastic website out there called booksshouldbefree.com that has all sorts of public domain books downloadable for free, many of which are available as audio books.  I got this book and the next two from there.  It’s 14 different flavors of awesome.  As for 32 Caliber itself, I’d never heard of it before, but I understand that it’s an early crime/mystery novel, and, that being the case, I must devour it.  I mean, it’s the rules, right?

The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers – As I mentioned before, Chambers was a huge influence on Lovecraft.  His most famous work, The King in Yellow, is divided into to parts.  The first is a collection of strange and creepy short stories centering around a fictional play called The King in Yellow that drove all who read it into madness.  Think, The Ring in oldschool format.  The second half is a collection of romances, which have nothing to do with The King in Yellow.  Strange, I know, but the version I obtained did not include the romances, so at least I’ll be spared that horror.

The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston LeRoux – Remember that play/movie/tv show called The Phantom of the Opera?  Well the book that all of the various spin-offs and adaptations were originally based off of was written by Gaston LeRoux.   The Mystery of the Yellow Room is another of his novels, an early mystery (duh) in the tradition of Poe and Collins, which is well admired in the genre.  I’ve never read anything by LeRoux, but I imagine I’ll probably end up liking it.  Dunno when I’m going to get around to reading it, though.


And now that I’ve shown you mine, it’s your turn to show me yours.  What’s in your mailbox this week?

21 comments:

  1. I am starting to think someone should dare u to read a love story. Not a romance for god's sake. Maybe one with a tatooed guy who doesn't own a car but rides a Harley and sets micro nukes in the Hindu Kush and sets his girlfriend on the coffee table cuz she's so short. What is a chthulhu? I hear so much about them.

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    1. I think he has a book on its way that may qualify!

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    2. Love stories are great. I like love stories just fine, but more when they're incorporated as subplots into something else. The love story for love story's sake is what generally does not interest me. And the Cthulhu bit comes from a short story by H.P. Lovecraft called "The Call of Cthulhu." Basically it involves a long slumbering "elder god" that will awaken and reclaim the earth "when the stars are right, and to learn of this creature is to begin a descent into madness. It spawned all sorts of spinoffs, and eventually other authors mashed a bunch of Lovecraft's work into the Cthulhu Mythos which they then used as fodder for more stories along the same vein. Good stuff, I highly recommend it.

      And as for you, Ryan, I can only say, "Thank you kindly."

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  2. That's funny, I thought my mom and I were the only Americans who read Ken Bruen. I used to read his series about the Irish detective but the protagonist was *so* self-destructive I got tired of it quickly. And the Weird Tales book: I'm reading Stephen King's memoir "On Writing", and he references that magazine as something he read growing up. Very cool!

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    1. Maybe we both read from the same series. I cant remember the main character's name, but he was pretty damn self-destructive (substance abuse, relationships, you name it).

      I hear King's "On Writing" is one of the best writing "how to's" out there. Funny how the same thing happens to pop up in different areas at the same time, huh? Happens to me all the time.

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  3. I think we all know which book I'm curious about. I'll be awaiting your blog about the Weird Tales.

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    1. I'll move it up in the "to read" stack just for you. ;)

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  4. Looks like you got a lot of books. The question is which one are you going to start with? That's always my biggest problem after getting so many good books. I haven't heard of any of these books, but I'm looking into some of them now. By the way you're comment on my IMM made me laugh out loud. Thanks for stopping by. I'm following you on twitter now.

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    1. Thanks, Harley. I'm glad I could give you a laugh.

      To answer your question, I'm probably not going to get to any of these very quickly (except for the audiobooks, I mean). My physical book backlog is so large, I probably won't get to any of them very soon--except for maybe the Weird Tales one. I've had a special request for that one, so I'll probably be moving it up the list.

      Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to seeing more of your posts!

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  5. Nice lot of books! I read The Mystery of the Yellow Room some time ago and loved it.
    The Dramatist looks interesting. I've read many crime novels set all over the world, but I don't think I've ever read one that takes place in Ireland, so I'm looking forward to your review. The library I go to has it (and several other books by the same author) so I hope to read it myself soon.

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    1. Thanks! I'm looking forward to "The Mystery of the Yellow Room" evenore now that it has uour seal of approval. ;)

      And I think you'll like the Irish mysteries, too. They're dark--Stygian dark sometimes, but they're good. I think it has something to do with being Irish. Anywho, I didn't like this most recent one as much as some others, but so it goes.

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