There’s an entire room at A Room of One’s Own in Madison dedicated to advanced proofs. These are the copies of books that publishers send out before the book is released to get reviews and hopefully churn up some positive press. The books are illegal to sell. Most of the time when I see them, they’re simply mixed in with other books at used book shops. Not here! They’re absolutely free!
…for a donation of fifty cents to the local prison library fund.
We gladly donate!
So, what did we find?
Anything by Neal Shusterman is an automatic grab, unless I already own it. And Edison’s Alley by Shusterman and Eric Elfman is book two in a trilogy I didn’t even know existed. I’m a little put off it’s published by Hyperion — Disney’s publisher — but it’s Shusterman. I’ll give it a try. Why not?
Next came The Wide World’s End by James Enge, who wrote another book we own that I haven’t read yet. Sometimes having a large library is a curse. I mean, really, how am I supposed to know if this guy is any good? I mean, I can’t read everything I own. I’d like to, but I have this thing called a congregation I’m supposed to shepherd instead of reading all day. Or so I’m told. Maybe someday there’ll be a nuclear holocaust and against all odds I’ll be the only survivor, and there will be time enough at last, and then my glasses will fall off my head and I won’t be able to read.
And that would be sad. Also, probably a rip-off of a well known science fiction show.
Anyway, the book looks like really neat fantasy with sunkillers and lovers doomed to never see each other again. It’s also book two in a trilogy, because of course it is. And no, the other book we own by him isn’t book one. Because of course it isn’t. But now we have book two!
Next came Boundary by Heather Terrell, which is also book two in a trilogy I don’t have book one of. It must be a curse. Did I build a library on an ancient Indian burial ground or something? Anyway, this is standard teen dystopian stuff, and I’m a sucker for it. So there it is.
Comic books usually have ads for other comic books and sundry other things, but only rarely do they have ads for novels. But this book has had ads in my comic books for a few months, and so when I saw it, of course I got it like the mindless consumer I am!
Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape by Robert Venditti and Dusty Higgins boasts a few pages of comic storytelling wrapped into the prose. In this world, a superhero is actually just a cape passed down from person to person, but no one but the capebearer knows it. And then a twelve-year-old gets it. Fairly standard plot, but I’m trusting this author to bring in both the fun and plenty of plot twists. Unfortunately, because this is an advanced reader’s copy, there’s some errors in the text. I get that. No problem.
This book’s missing the first ten pages of text.
Now, a pair of books my Bride has flipped out about. The first is The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. The second is Adventures in Making a Fake Old Book by the same author. The first book presents a fictional tale of carnival sideshow mermaids that keep drowning. Unique stuff. But when the author first sent in the manuscript to publishers, she actually bound it as if it were an artifact. She aged the pages, used unique binding materials and techniques… and this second book shows how she did it.
I expect some fake antique books in my future the way my Bride has already guzzled that second book.
Also, the second book was sent to retailers to get them excited for the first book. So Adventures in Making a Fake Old Book isn’t available for you unless you trip across it somewhere. So, take that.
And then I found a pair of Cuban science fiction novels. I’ve never read Cuban science fiction. There’s A Legend of the Future written by Agustin de Rojas, who, according to his bio on the back of the book, was convinced that Fidel Castor did not exist. I have no idea what to do with that, but it should make an interesting reading experience. More interesting to me is A Planet for Rent by Yoss, who writes science fiction and is lead singer in a heavy metal band. Because of course he is. The latter book is about an earth that has no pull in the economics of the galaxy and is forced to turn itself into a tourist attraction to stay afloat. I’ve read the first chapter and I’m already hooked.
And then we purchased our books. And then we checked into our B&B, ate Venezuelan food, and… went to Half Price Books. Because, really, did you think that this small sampling would sate our bibliovore tendencies? But I think I’ll chop that up into a different post…