24 August 2009

Books Received

The majority of the books I receive from publishers and writers are, unfortunately, not ones that spark my interest. They find homes at local libraries, with more appreciative readers, etc. (unless really desperate for cash, I don't sell books I get for free).

The ones that do, for some reason or another, arouse my curiosity are still more plentiful than I have time for. Consider, for instance, two current piles of books I intend to do more than just glance at the cover and publicity materials for...



And that's just stuff that's arrived in the last few weeks...

Some of these are books I will definitely read -- indeed, one of them, Lev Grossman's The Magicians, I read this past weekend. (Not sure if I'm going to write much about it anywhere, because I had exactly the response M.A. Orthofer had at The Complete Review, and I don't think I have anything to add beyond what he said. But we'll see.) I'm writing a piece for Rain Taxi on Wallace Shawn, so will be plunging into his two, as well as brushing up on all the rest of his books, this week. Beyond that, well...

I'm intrigued by each of the Night Shade books, but am most excited by Paolo Bacigalupi's first novel, The Windup Girl, since I've had a few things to say about his short fiction in the past. I intend to read the others, but if I only get to one of them, it will be The Windup Girl.

The little book on top of one of those piles is an advance copy of The Original Frankenstein from Vintage, and it's an interesting attempt to reconstruct the earliest manuscripts of Frankenstein. Editor Charles E. Robinson seeks to show the exact nature of Percy Shelley's influence on the novel, and makes what appears, at least at first glance, to be a strong case for Percy as a collaborator with his wife on the book. The collaboration is complex, though, and for anyone who has previously been fascinated by the changes between the published editions of Frankenstein, this volume will be essential. As a reading text of the novel, though, it's awkward, given how much the scholarly apparatus has to intrude upon the actual text, so it's not a book anyone will want to read as their first encounter with Mary Shelley's "hideous progeny".

I'm intrigued by Penguin's re-issue of Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton's novel Who Would Have Thought It? not only because I had never heard of it or because it is billed as the first Mexican-American novel, but because it tells the story of a Mexican girl raised by Apaches who ends up in New England amidst hypocritical abolitionists.I don't usually find a plot to be the most intriguing things about a novel, but that's a plot that intrigues me!

Finally, among the books you may not have heard of, sits my friend Caroline Nesbitt's horse novel, Ride on the Curl'd Clouds, which I am curious to read not because I know anything about horses (I don't), but because I've known Caroline and her writing for years. One of these days I'll get around to interviewing her about the book and about her decision to publish it via Lulu.com, a decision she and I talked about a lot -- Caroline had previously published a nonfiction book in the traditional way, but we thought she might be able to have more success publishing her novel herself and marketing it within the equestrian community, a world she knows well.

The other books are there because at one point or another they seemed interesting to me and so I hope to get to time to read at least some of them. We shall see...

3 comments:

  1. I love books, specially ones on unique and interesting topics. This post about so many books intrigued me. Keep writing!

    This is Nancy from Israeli Uncensored News

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  2. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the 'tip-off' (spotted it amongst all the other books in your photos!) about John Langan's new/first novel, "House of Windows". I really liked "Mr Gaunt", so I'm looking forward to this.

    DANNY O'DARE

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  3. Noticing The Song Is You in your stack: I blogged it here....

    http://crowesmostlymovies.blogspot.com/2009/05/book-i-read-song-is-you-by-arthur.html

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