Sunday, December 18, 2011
Sunday Morning at the Bookstore
I went to Barnes & Noble this morning to drink coffee and browse. I picked up a cinnamon dolce latte at the Starbucks next door to the bookstore and then began roaming the shelves, beginning with the Mystery section. The first thing that caught my eye was the word Pemberly. Jane Austen fan that I am, I had to have a look to see what author was doing their take on Jane Austen's work this time. (Pretty much everyone does at one time or another. I even have a sword and sorcery plot for Regency England. Don't dare me. I'll write it. Then you'll be sorry.) I was somewhat surprised to find that it was a new mystery by P.D. James, one of the great ladies of British Mystery. Apparently James is also a big admirer of Austen. I might have to give that one a try at some point.
The I spotted a book called Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making, which is John Curran's follow up to his earlier book, Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks. I enjoyed the first book immensely. It was fascinating to read Christie's notes about writing her novels. I've told the story here before of how I once read 23 Christie books in a row and wrote down outlines of the plots to understand how to plot whodunits. This was suggested by mystery novelist Carolyn G. Hart, who provided the list of books in an article in Mystery Scene Magazine. I recommend the exercise to anyone considering writing traditional mystery novels. Christie is still hard to beat in terms of plot.
Anyway, the new book looks to be more of the same. It too, I'll probably pick up after the Holidays.
Then I bumped over to the SF/Fantasy section and had a look around. Still too many Tolkien clones, but now salted with too many Game of Thrones wannabes and far far too many Anita Blake knock-offs. I did find a nice new collection of the short stories of Fritz Leiber which I picked up. Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories, from Nightshade Books has a nice balance of Leibers' fiction. Some horror. Some SF. A few Fafhrd & Gray Mouser stories. It has an introduction by Neil Gaiman, which I was pleased about until I read said introduction and found a dig at Robert E. Howard (or more precisely, at Conan) that I may come back to for a later post. Or I'll just point it out to Al Harron and than Gaiman will rue the day. (Really it's fairly mild but I didn't like it.)
I didn't make it to the history section, figuring I'd just see more stuff I wanted to buy. I try to spend more money on others than on myself at Christmas. heh. Week after next though, the kid gloves are off.