Tuesday, July 05, 2011

All the books of the world (a retro book post)

I remember an earlier comment by JP about how our book tastes have diverged since we've known each other since the Cretaceous Period (in internet time), from genre books to more far-ranging titles.

Admittedly, my reading tastes still go with speculative fiction and specifically with the trio of fantasy, horror and science fiction. However, looking at the past book purchases, I thought that this isn't totally true given a number of books I've picked up here and there.

For example, see what I've gotten for the month of March:
  1. The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (expanded) - Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi, editors
  2. The Crippled God - Steven Erikson
  3. Sideways in Crime - Lou Anders, editor
  4. The Fallen Blade - Jon Courtenay Grimwood
  5. Generation Loss - Elizabeth Hand
  6. The Insult - Rupert Thomson
  7. Voices of Time - Eduardo Galeano
  8. 54 - Wu Ming
  9. Cracking Mountain and other stories - Osamu Dazai
  10. Dr Mukti and other tales of woe - Will Self
  11. Pattern Recognition - William Gibson
If you noticed, there's a handful of books here that wouldn't be regarded as genre, like Rupert Thomson and Will Self. What's more, what I like about the books I picked up for that month was that they weren't just from the usual US/UK writers with Eduardo Galeano from Argentina and Osamu Dazai from Japan. (Wu Ming is actually a group pseudonym, being the same group of writers who wrote under the name of Luther Blissett and came up with the novel Q.)

Of course my prize purchase for that month was Manguel and Guadalupi's grand-looking Dictionary of Imaginary Places, a catalog of fantasy places whether literary or genre. Perusing through the book, I'm amazed at how the editors have also managed to include locations from forgotten and obscure stories.

For the month of April, I tried to run up a book blockade again, feeling that I had too many. (It happens. *shrug*) Unfortunately I failed when I saw a copy of Simon Ings' Weight of Numbers, which Chiles had heavily recommended to me and especially after I read Ings' contribution to the VanderMeers' The New Weird anthology. The other books I bought for that month were a hardbound copy of Tad Williams' The Dragonbone Chair (which I've always wanted to match the rest of the trilogy I owned) as well as the anthology Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora edited by Sheree Thomas.

For the month of May, my reluctance to add to the ever-growing pile of books at home was still present. But like the previous month, I couldn't resist picking up hardbound copies of Carlos Luis Zafon's The Angel's Game and Daniel Abraham's The Price of Spring, as well as Mike Resnick's the Pyr trade paperback The Buntline Special. I fell in love with Zafon's Shadow of the Wind when I first read it but I held off buying the sequel because I was looking for that perfect cover match. (No, it's still not a match but the cover's lovely. Really, sometimes you just have to get that second copy to make everything match on your bookshelves.)

Lastly, for the month of June, I kind of splurged again with a mix of genre and literary books. These included:
  1. Books of Blood - Clive Barker
  2. Fantastic Worlds: Myths, Tales and Stories - Eric Rabkin
  3. Our Tragic Universe - Scarlett Thomas
  4. The Girl with the Glass Feet - Ali Shaw
  5. Under Heaven - Guy Gavriel Kay
  6. Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6 - Nikki Alfar, Kate Osias
  7. The Spirit Stone - Katharine Kerr
  8. God's Demon - Wayne Barlow
I used to have a copy of Barker's seminal Books of Blood but I gave it away as a gift. The Rabkin is described as more of an academic collection than a real anthology so I'm interested to see what the crits/essays in it have to say. With regard to the books by Scarlett Thomas and Ali Shaw, I've been waiting for these titles (together with a long list of similar books) for a long time so I immediately snapped these up with my new credit card. (Yes, I finally got one. No, I can't use it anymore. What do you expect, give a bookhound a credit card and he'll max it at a bookstore.)

So, that's where my money's been going for the past four months. At least even if I go hungry, I definitely won't be bored.


dodo dayao said...

Arguably, even the Gibson (Pattern Recognition) isn't exactly science-fiction anymore. And that's despite having all sorts of speculative tropes in it. Still very very good, though.

banzai cat said...

yeah i heard gibson's going for near SF nowadays. but i figured after a long hiatus of ignoring his work after reading virtual light, i might as well try again. nothing against him though, i just figured there were other books to fry... er, read.