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Showing posts from 2010

The books are piling up...but I'm getting there.

I never didget to that second WFC blog post, did I? Well, life rolls on. And I just returned from Barnes & Noble, in Bayside, where I was picking up some gifts and a few things for myself, of course.

That, and a few books that have come in the mail, and once again, I'm way behind on my reading. Here is what's on the immediate agenda for this reader.

First off I should mention that I'm reading, at the recommendation of my sister, who has taken on a role of a fantasy reader (a new love in addition to her thriller and horror roots), the Jim Butcher Codex Alera series. I purchased on my android phone using the B&N Nook app, and am almost done with book one, The Furies of Calderon. Good pacing, interesting magic system, and a world that is just starting to take shape for me.

And today's B&N purchase included British fantasy author, Joe Abercrombie, and his novel, The Blade Itself, which I've been meaning to pick up since I met the guy at NY Comic Con back in O…

My World Fantasy Con weekend, part I report

Well, I'm back from World Fantasy Con in Columbus, Ohio. I was bummed to miss last year's show in California, but glad to be back.Since I work full-time now, and have a child, getting to conventions is harder than ever, but this one is near and dear to my heart and I'm glad I made it back, to socialize with friends, fantasy publishing industry veterans, and new friends alike.

Being surrounded by so many passionate people left me inspired to find more related freelance editing work, and it also left me with something else... an updated pile of books and authors I have to read. Uh, it also left me severely dehydrated from all the time spent at the bar, but that is where most of the hanging out happens.

I did participate in my first WFC panel, The Art of the Mashup (along with veteran editors Jeff Connor and Jim Frenkel). It was fun to discuss the likes and dislikes, definitions and variations of this popular trend in publishing. Being one of the first panels of the convention…

Lazy Sunday morning blogging

I know Sunday morning isn't exactly a hotbed of blogging activity. But I am up, just fed little James, and he's playing while I check the Times book review section, and assorted other sites to see what's going on this early Sunday.

Rec'd a copy of The Dark End of the Street yesterday from the good folks at Bloomsbury. I think I received this as part of's Early Reader program, so I'll be sure to post my review on there as well as on here. I only just read the Introduction by mystery veteran S.J. Rozan, and will work my way through these noir stories of sex, crime, and, well, whatever else is in there.  

I'm also about half way through The Bloodstained Man, the Heavy Metal Pulp book I mentioned last time. It's fun so far, I hope to have a full report once I finish it.

Just a quick note, enjoy the day.

Reporting in, Sir...

Let's see what I've been up to since we last spoke. Well, first I broke down and bought the the 3rd volume of The Walking Dead. Amazing, I'm even more psyched for the AMC television series if it is possible. Trying to control myself, and borrow someone's copies of volume 4 on, but I might not last. I need to have it. 

I also picked up Stieg Larsson's book one of the Millennium trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Not always one to read what everyone else is reading, I felt I needed to know what the fuss was all about. I was surprised at how dark the book was, I wasn't expecting that. I can admit it when I'm impressed, and I was sucked into the story. I feel the saddest part is that the poor author died soon after submitting all 3 books. I will be picking up the rest of the series at some point.

I hear The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins is very good, I may pick up a copy of that soon. Also, a friend gave me a copy of The Bloodstained Man ARC (adva…

Finally catching up: The Walking Dead

Someone recently told to me that I'm always late to the game, but I do show up. Well, that is definitely true in the case with me finally reading the first two volumes of Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead. I had only heard good things, reviews, press. What took me so long? And what makes the book so good?

The human drama, that's what it comes down to. Kirkman masterfully plotted out how life would be for this band of survivors, and how it would go on, the big picture. No quick movie end, this is life after, and how hard it is, as the people all around you dwindle one by one.
I am excited in a way, because there are about 10 more volumes in existence for me to find and devour like the party of friends finding some precious food in the bleak story and cherishing it. The fact that the survivors haven't accepted the fact that at any moment any one of them can die, and they still grasp onto family, friends, and what may have once been normal life, creates a desperate situati…

Review of The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

I was hard pressed to find parts of this novel I didn't like, even the zombies were ok in my book. Written by a guy who teaches in New York; obviously well educated, well read, and with a nack for imagery and symbolism, this book was beautifully written. The protagonist, Temple, or Sarah Mary Williams, her real name maybe, was tough and scrappy, and I immediately liked her.

Temple travels in a post-apocalyptic world, still in its infancy at about 25-years since end of civilization as we know it. Temple is looking for something, or maybe nothing, but in this world she avoids zombie-like creatures, or meatskins, as she calls them, who lumber in far less dramatic fashion than usual throughout the empty streets.
She encounteres some aweful and amazing things in this book, like the electric-fence guarded plantation home, existing oblivious to the decaying world outside the baricade, with a sad and desperate family within. But even with fresh food and shelter, the wanderer, feels the call…

The Terminal State by Jeff Somers - a Review full of bullet holes

What can I say about The Terminal State, the fourth installment of Jeff Somers' Avery Cates series? Let's see. The plot moves along at a brisk pace, once again putting Avery in a god-awful situation to start. And with, shall we say, a little augmentation, Avery shakes some dust off those old bones and gets into action.
Manipulation I think is the best word to describe the overall vibe of this book. Around every corner, down every dark tunnel, are forces manipulating each other, and especially poor Avery. But when you're the best gunner around, it comes with the territory.
When the Army snatches up Cates for a hand in the newest war against all-out annihilation, he unwillingly drags his feet, and is quickly resold to the highest bidder. Sent off to work a special mission with two odd accomplices, one a tattooed freak calling himself The Poet, and the other a mysterious female that feels oddly familiar, Avery is forced to start off on a job lacking the one thing he knows he …

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow - a late review

In 2008 I went to see Cory Doctorow  talk about books, Big Brother, and rights-free content. That night I bought a book, which I intended to read soon after and just got to this month, a few years late. Such is life sometimes for the Bookrastinator.
As I finished reading Little Brother on the express bus heading home to my home in Queens, I felt a sense of relief. I was free.
I looked down a street which was closed off for a block party and realized that even in today's restrictive world, we still live in a place where we can close off the street to throw a party. This is not the case in many parts of the world.
I really enjoyed Little Brother, even if half of it was a whirlwind of hacking terminology and lengthy explanations, with me being one of the least techy people I know, I sometimes felt out of my league. I kept thinking, man, I have friends who need to read this. They’d love it.
I did totally dug the main character, tech-obsessed high school senior, Marcus, known online …

Review of Wolverine Noir by Stuart Moore and C.P. Smith

I picked up the premier hardcover of Wolverine Noir a few weeks late as I was having a hard time finding it at a few local shops. I was expecting the compact, roughly 5 x 7 trade paperback like the other Marvel Noir books I'd purchased (i.e. Spider-Man, Daredevil, and X-Men) but for some reason Marvel decided to release this noir book in a standard (larger) comic book size hardcover. I'm not sure why.
Regardless of that bit of format discussion, the treasure is what lay inside. A tale of a lowly P.I. -- one Jim Logan. Inspired heavily by the Wolverine Origins book from 2000, this noir retelling focuses on many of the characters from that book, Dog, Rose, and James Logan of course, with a sprinkling of some of Wolverine's other regular cast: Victor Creed, a gangster in the Bowery section of New York City, and the Asian women of Logan's past: Mariko, the femme fatale, and Yuriko, training ninjas as thugs.
It is an interesting mix, and Logan slipped easily int…

Catching Up on the Classics: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

One great thing about having access to the various mobile reading devices these days, is it allows me to catch up on those classic books, now all easily accessible through various applications. And we all have them, we all have books that we've somehow missed over the years, for any number of reasons.
Using the Masterpieces app on the iPod Touch, whenever I am without a proper book (or new ebook), I scroll through their bookshelf collection and give something that I've missed a try. This week, it was H. G. Wells and his classic, The Time Machine. This is one of the great ones that I've missed.
Oddly, I still had an odd affection for this story, as I was first introduced to the 1979 film, Time After Time, that was based on a novel of he same name that was published that very same year. This was something that I was not aware of until researching for this blog post. I thought that some Hollywood execs got together and just thought to combine H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper. I …

My Book Expo (BEA) Experience with Comics of course!

I will be writing more about my one-day at Book Expo this week at the Javits Center in NYC. But here's a quick bit about one of the books I picked up.

At the IDW booth, I grabbed the "Exclusive BEA Preview" copy of The Man with the Getaway Face (A prelude to The Outfit featuring Richard Stark's Parker adapted by Darwyn Cooke). Still trying to find a good image of the preview cover, but this cover to the right is what the actual book cover will look like when it debuts in July.

I just read it this morning, and it is terrific, a perfect bridge story between last year's Hunter graphic novel and the upcoming, The Outfit adaptation. The preview is over-sized, 8 x 12, and really shows off the beauty of Cooke's artwork and style.

I'll have more from my day at the show soon, but just wanted to update the blog (finally) and mention this great book. Keep your eyes peeled for it.

From the Rooftops. My review of DAREDEVIL: Noir TP written by Alexander Irvine and illustrated by Tomm Coker

Depression Era, New York City. Neighborhood, Hell's Kitchen. Two mob bosses fight for their stretch of the street and all bootlegging and hard living they can handle.

But some forces have lived in Hell's Kitchen a long time too, and have seen a whole lot of nastiness. Or have they?

Carlton Fisk and Jimmy O'Halloran meet over dinner to discuss their rivalry and just what they're going to do about it. Just two men discussing work over a meal. 

Writer Alex Irvine did a great job of bringing these characters to life, even Foggy Nelson seemed more street wise then he is often portrayed.

In the story, a beautiful femme fetale wanders into the law office of one Foggy Nelson, and bemuses his sidekick, blind assistant Matt Murdock. Eliza. Temptress.

In an attempt to protect his new love interest and find out more information, our blind friend becomes his other self, a vengeful street force, as mysterious and fearful as they come. And so it begins.

If ever there was a Marvel character…

Book Review: Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst

Walk the streets of Salonika alongside special police detective, Costa 1940s Greece.

War is in the air. You can feel it. The Germans have moved across northern Europe like a tidal wave. The Greeks are used to struggle. Their beautiful stretch of islands have been sought after for millenia. The Persians, the Turks, even their neighbors, the Italians. History has been a long struggle with occupation.
Costa has seen a lot during his time as a police officer in northern Greece. But he can feel that things are only going to get worse. This policeman decides to make a crucial decision to help some people escape Berlin. It won't be easy and he knows he is putting his life at risk, but he can't help it, feels its the right thing to do.
Reading Alan Furst is like enjoying a fine wine. At one point in your life maybe by mistake or by recommendation, who knows, you happen upon one of his books. Once you've had a taste, you can't figure out how you've gone so long wit…

Delicious. My review of: BRAINS: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker

Ok, first, the good stuff. What I liked about Brains: A Zombie Memoirby Robin Becker. When I try to think of what Brains reminds me of the most, I'd have to say the Marvel Zombies series (started by the infamous Robert Kirkman). The idea that some of the mutants in that story retain levels of sentience after "turning" immediately came to mind when I started to read the story of this unfortunate professor who was unable to escape the zombie apocalypse.

What Becker does is lead you on the shambling path of said zombie as he gathers like-minded, sort of, zombie crew, creating a party intent on reaching a goal--aside from the all-consuming goal of eating brains of course. At every turn humans are consumed, the remaining military appear, guns blazing, and we are witness to the desperation of this particularly undead situation.
My pet peeves. I don't mind when an author spews forth pop culture jargon in an endless zombie-like stream. In fact, I like it. And Becker does a go…

The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett out today. Grab one!

The second book by fantasy author, Peter V. Brett debuts today, The Desert Spear. This is the follow up to his debut novel, The Warded Man (The Painted Man in the UK).

Pete Brett is a good friend of mine--I've mentioned this countless times on this site before, because these days this is the transparency people have come to expect.

I've read this novel and can vouch for it's awesomeness and skulduggery. This is not a review--as I am too close to the material to fairly judge it.

But I can say, in my expert opinion, that it is awesome. And look at that cover, it is kick ass! So is the book.

Grab a copy, join the fight against the endless tide of demons in the night. You won't regret it.

Penguin Sets December Pub Date for New Clancy

Penguin Sets December Pub Date for New Clancy: "Bestselling author Tom Clancy will deliver his first newbook in seven years w..."
It has been way too long since Clancy put out a novel (7 years to be exact). This will be huge for Penguin come December. I missed having a new Clancy novel the last few years while running Military Book Club -- I look forward to seeing this one.
Just a quick note. Back to work.

Bloody Clever. My review of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

How else can I describe this novel from literary mash-up author sensation, Seth Grahame-Smith?
Bloody clever.

I had seen all the hubbub about his New York Times bestselling, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and knew that he was approaching things a bit differently. He was creating a hot new trend.

I made a request for a bound galley, through one of my trusted literary source connections and it arrived a few days later, in a package--just like how a bunch of secret diaries appear at the beginning of the novel, filled with secrets.

So there is my disclaimer: I was sent this book, via a publishing connection, for free. I intended to review it here from the get go.

I began reading ALVH with trepidation, knowing full-well that people were going to get axed. After all, that is how Abe developed that lean physique, splitting wood in the yard all the while teaching himself to read and write and building up that wicked smart mind. 

He was a force to be reckoned with. And with the same conviction he u…

A great post of one author's writing process: Antony Johnston

I thought to link to the wonderful blog of Antony Johnston, writer of many comics and such, whom I've reviewed on this site before (Wolverine: Prodigal Son), and is also the writer on the comics: Wasteland [which I keep meaning to pick up], the Dead Space: Extraction adaptation, and current co-scribe on Daredevil.
He recently talked about his writing process, discussed what works for him, adding great snapshots to his post of everything from his hand written notebooks, to his transferal of notes to his Mac, then his outlining and drafting, which differ according project-to-project.

Although every writer must find the system that works best for them, whether it is the random scrawling of those who do not outline, or the painstaking detailed approach that works for others. As an editor, and sometime writer myself, I am always intrigued by stories of other writers' processes.

Here's the link. Enjoy.

Digital-re-read: BALTIMORE: Or, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire

In my new guise as a person getting to know the different e-reading devices on the market, I've gotten the chance to plow through books, both old and new, through use of several convenient e-readers.

I wanted to talk about a book I've become re-fond of, and that is the wonderful collaboration between Hellboy creator, Mike Mignola, and fantasy author of great renown, Christopher Golden.

This 2007 book, BALTIMORE: Or, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, from the Bantam Spectra imprint of Random House, is a force to be reckoned with. Still. And this is my second time reading it. The creepy text is complimented by black and white illustrations by Mignola, an assortment of random images: a toy soldier, a crumbling statue, a shadowy beast... just enough to whet your appetite and shape the images already clawing their way into your mind as you read.

I was wondering how the black and white images would appear on the Kindle that I chose to read this book on. They looked as crisp …

My copy arrived: The Great Bazaar

If you've read this blog before, then you know I'm good friends with fantasy author, Peter V. Brett. This is something I'm very proud of, and in 2007 when I went off to try to be a freelance editor, Pete's writing career was just taking off. We hit the road, and convention circuit together, like two samurai, fighting the hordes back-to-back.

We originally met many years ago, early in our careers, while working in medical publishing. It may have been an X-Men calendar in my cubicle that started our conversation, I'm not sure, but we've been evil twins ever since. That's a photo of us from our first WFC, the 2007 World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga, NY, dressed all snazzy for the awards banquet.

Well, before his second novel, with Del Rey books, The Desert Spear, goes on sale in April (right around the corner), a small limited edition hardcover has just been released. A prize collection including his masterful novelette, The Great Bazaar, and snipped scenes …

this might be the my notebook/journal/notepad of the future.

The news of the upcoming Microsoft Courier digital journal, as reported by Engadget, looks to me to be the journal of my future.

The compact clean display and fact that it is a text recognition, stylus-enabled device is right up the alley of this old school journal writer.

The ease of writing, looking things up on the web, and writing into web address bars -- with the stylus instead of a keyboard, is really, really neat.

The videos on the engadget site look amazing. The ability to use streamlined multi-tasking feeds which can coordinate with your personal or business contact list, it also allows you to share "virtual journals" online and coordinate both visual as well as text elements, integrated with ease. That looks perfect for this guy.

Check out the above link for amazing creative use videos and if you hear of this item's release sooner rather than later, please shoot me an email.

Did I mention it'll also act as a Microsoft e-reader? Sweet.

And so it goes...

Just had a thought to not think too hard about what to blog about and to just do it.

I am at my desk at home, little James is in his room next to mine sleeping quietly, and the lady of the house is in her subterranean lair at the forge.

I have some Band of Horses playing and I'm working on the 2011 King calendar. Editing mostly, and some writing as well. It's all good for a cold Saturday afternoon.

Watched RocknRolla last night. Eh. Not bad, but certainly not Ritchie's best work. I have to see the new Sherlock Holmes soon to see what all the hubbub was all about. He does love to create crazy tough hitmen, those two Russian guys were crazy bad ass (although not as tough as Bullet Tooth Tony).

Anyway, work is good, and I've been reading a bunch which is one of the pluses of my express bus commute. By the way, waiting in the rain or snow for bus to arrive -- not so much an advantage of bus travel.

Excited that the SyFy channel is playing a sort of marathon of King-relate…

I've also picked up something new..

Sure, I am trying to read all of the books I already own, a task many of us agree is difficult at best, but this didn't stop me from picking up a book I've heard a lot of chatter about, while I was while browsing through the aisles at B&N the other day.

And so far I'm enjoying The Silver Skull by Mark Chadbourn,  although I admit I've only just started it. Like many blog sites I decided to mention it early on, as I also plan to come back with a full review when finished.

Maybe I can get my author friend to loan me his copy of, The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie, and I can loan him this when we both finish our respective dips in the Pyr books list. Captain Lou [if I may call him that] is doing amazing things over at Pyr.

It is always exciting to try a new author, just as it is fun to return to old favorites. Not being a book club editor anymore, I'm not exposed to the plethora of early materials that I had become very much used to. After 10 years of that luxury,…

Reading what I own

Woke up to make coffee and re-read the 2nd half of the award-winning STITCHES graphic memoir by David Small. I talked about it here last year, after picking up a copy at the Book Expo convention. Then I placed the book in the attic library among my other treasures.

I was reminded of the touching and troubling personal story and why I left it on the night table, to re-read and browse through from time to time. He works magic with his ink and shading, evoking his troubled youth and his saving grace... ART. A reminder to us all, the importance of art in a young person's life.

Off to run some errands and hit the B&N in Bayside, to browse and pick up a few things.

Lazy Sunday, Big Game

Caught a little bit of Wonder Boys this morning on tv while coming to my senses, reminded me to attempt to 'read my own books' as I have many things on the shelves unread. In this case, I have a copy of Wonder Boys' signed by Mr Chabon, to Fotini, from when we met him at the 92nd street Y for a conversation about The Yiddish Policeman's Union, also on the shelf, signed, and unread. Need to fix that. Although in the case of TYPU, it is a wonderful bound galley with french flaps, and is almost too perfect to commute with. I'll think about it, the collector in me is hesitant to rough it up at all.

After talking recently with friends Kerry, then Matt, about making a resolution to 'read all the books you own' I obviously have my work cut out for me. And I'll be finished with Under the Dome tonight (after the game of course), and I look forward to jumping into reading other unread books that I already own.

I also caught most of the film, Emotional Arithmatic, …

Saddened by the death of J.D. Salinger

I'm one of the millions saddened by the death of J.D. Salinger. At 14-years-old, as a freshman in high school, I read The Catcher in the Rye, and like so many others connected with Holden and his crazy little story. It is a special book. That's all I'll say about that.

Salinger lived his life the way he wanted to, to the chagrin of society. I read a great story in the Washington Post today about a very small publisher and his attempt to publish an out of print story of Salinger's. Link here. It's a wonderful little article. A one-man publisher running his operation out of his home. A random letter sent to Salinger on a lark. A response years later. An exchange of letters. A meeting. Then things fall apart. This story alone could be made into a movie.

Is it strange that I keep thinking of the movie, Conspiracy Theory? Like it or not, that film uses Salinger's celebrated book as a key element into looking at the twisted mind of a man with some serious mental issu…

It's official...the iPad exists.

Apple's iPad starts at $499 with various versions pricing up to $829. 

Here's a link to the detailed specs of the device. 

My favorite pic with keyboard doc station accessory:

Small post. Enough has been said about this device already today.

Very cool. But I'll admit I wasn't surprised by anything which is slightly anticlimactic. I thought I would be.

Still want one though...

today is the greatest day that ever was...

Well, in a few hours Apple will have made it's major announcement as we all wait for the maelstrom to begin. I'll be at the comic shop at lunch today and will certainly hear all about it when I get back to the office.

Hopefully I'll pick up a few interesting books to write about. And I have a post coming soon on an upcoming Ultimate Guide.

Stay tuned.

So two guys hit Midtown Comics shop... and what I picked up.

Made my way back to Wednesday comic book day with my good friend Matt this week, initially worried that the holiday on Monday shifted the 'new books' release date--which it did not. I've made that mistake many a Wednesday in the past.

We discussed many things from Jeff Loeb's Ultimate universe storytelling (or lack there of), being life-long yet hesitant Los Bros Hernandez fans, as well as marveling that we both want to read Crumb's mammoth and intricately illustrated Book of Genesis from Norton, and were both shocked to see a very reasonable price tag of $24.95 on such an impressive tome (might be purchasing it soon).

My pick this week for the grownup readers is the  little hardcover by Gilbert Hernandez, THE TROUBLEMAKERS. I was initially taken in by the compact hardcover presentation. Personally, as I move more and more into the digital book field, I have an ever-growing appreciation for smartly constructed (and good looking) hardcovers for the home attic library.…

Book of Eli screenwriter interview on CBR

Another quick post related to the upcoming film, The Book of Eli, as it just keeps coming up as I read things online. And as I continue to remain impressed that this was an original screenplay, as learned in an interview at Comic Book Resources with screenwriter, Gary Whitta, which solidified my thoughts on the work.

Read the interview here. The article by CBR staff writer, Erik Amaya, tells some great details about Whitta selling the script, Denzel pretty much "protecting it" so that it was filmed very close to the original script written, and even Comic Con fans asking what graphic novel it was based on when teased last year with those fans being surprised to hear it was an original work, even in a time when adapted screenplays are all the rage in Hollywood. It is an interesting article worth checking out.

Oh, and books, I will get back to talking about them soon. Thing is, the last two books I read were of the "yet to be published" variety, so I can't reall…

A Creative Endeavor in a new Journal.

In an attempt to start the new year off right, and because I feel I don't have enough on my plate these days (ha!), as I made my rounds through my favorite websites last night I returned to the blog dedicated to the legendary Moleskine notebook, Moleskinerie.

While on there reading through recent and older posts, I found an interesting post about an initiative by the Art House Co-op in Brooklyn. And I signed up. Here's a quick quote from the Molskinerie website:

Exciting update from Shane Zucker at the Art House Co-op:
"(Our) latest Sketchbook Project ended up with 3,600 artists participating in it! ...We just launched a new project called The Fiction Project which focuses on telling a story through writing and art, with the Moleskine being the vessel. Each person will receive a randomly assigned theme and a ruled Moleskine Cahier journal to create a work of fiction in. In the end, each book will be included in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library..."