This is Year Four of A Good Book Newsletter, and we’re only mentioning it (again) because we’re still somewhat mystified how we’ve managed to hit this mark every week (more or less) for as long as we have. Persistence wins, we’d like to note. And, in light of this milestone, we’re going to bring back one of our favorite games: Speed Dating with Books. Mainly because what we’d really like to direct your attention to this week is this:

Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell on “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming.” 

[We’ll note that this essay is being published in concert with the UK publication of Gaiman’s Art Matters. We have to wait until late November for the book to arrive over here in the US. However, we’ll be happy to take pre-orders.]

So, go read that little illustrated essay. We’ll wait here for you with a handful of interesting looking books. At which time, we'll flash 'em past you, Speed Dating style. 

Ready? Here we go. 

Wherein Angus Watson attempts to out-grimdark You Die When You Die, the first book in the West of West series.  What is that? Grimmerdarkerung

Sells itself, really. 

Since the Weird US crew have collected commentary on all the strange stuff in America by state, they’re now organizing it by category. Next up: “Weird Stuff in your Neighborhood.”  Like the old Thomas Guides but if they were written by John Horace Tobin. 

[That's okay. We'll wait for you to dig up the reference. We went deep in nerd ectoplasm for this one. ]

Pensive Founding Father figures out our Fisher King-esque malady. Doesn't get enough credit. 


You can’t make missiles without science. Discuss the awkwardness of that realization. 

All day. Every day. Thank goodness someone has finally figured it out. 

The perfect date, really. Smart. Witty. Well-presented. What more do you need?

If possible, even more irascible than we are. More picturesque setting, though. And the Scotch is cheaper. 

Because it's time to acknowledge that we need fierceness more than taffeta in our lives. 

Still dead. Audience isn't. Therefore books keep coming out. Publishing 101, really. 

Also still dead. But writing new series now. Audience doesn't seem to mind. Publishing 102, as it were. 

Not dead. Not Dirk Pitt novel. Plan accordingly (we did). 

No spoilers here. 

The Essex Serpent meets Water for Elephants in a rollicking Georgian romp. What? You know you're curious now. 

This is the orange one. 

Remember A Million Little Pieces? This is, like, Not a Memoir Novel but also a Memoir-esque Novel that is supposed to make us all feel better about the redemption power of a Good Woman to heal the agonizing heartbreak of a Misunderstood & Tortured Artist but mostly feels like four hours of your life you can't get back. 

Plan accordingly. 

Pirate Queen Alert. 

"Good fun for fossil freaks," says Kirkus Reviews. It's okay to admit it. We are too. 

Father of Grimdark returns with the quintessential fantasy badasses. Has it been long enough for us to forget Soldiers Live? Hmm. Boy, we're not quite sure . . . 

Eccentric. Mythic. Viking-esque. Fabulist. Literary Maverick. Stunning Storytelling. 

Choose your own adjective. It probably fits. 

[Bookmark tip to our favorite librarian for pointing us at the Gaiman and Riddell essay.]

Overheard At The Store »»

COLBY: Welcome to the bookstore. Please don’t bend any pages. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, unless you're inquiring if we have any Harry Potter 1st editions. 

NADIA: Yes, I—

COLBY: Please don’t touch the marmot. 

NADIA: Oh, I didn’t mean to . . .

COLBY: The marmot does not like to be touched. 

NADIA: Are you referring to yourself in the third person? 

COLBY: The marmot does not deign to discuss semantics at this time. 

NADIA: What about ontological eschatology?

COLBY: The marmot does not parse metaphysical persiflage after lunch. 

NADIA: Too busy digesting sour grapes? 

COLBY: . . . 

NADIA: I’ll just go check out this "theme shelf" you got over here and see how subjectively self-referential and obscure it is while you find your wit, furbag. 

FERDIE: Oh, I like her. 

COLBY:  . . . Who?

FERDIE: Nadia? She's a new hire.

COLBY: New hire? When did that happen? 

FERDIE: When I realized you were better at talking about books than hand-selling them, "furbag." 

COLBY: It's this weather. It makes my fur all sticky. 

FERDIE: And smelly too. 

COLBY: It's a natural scent!

FERDIE: So is patchouli, but that doesn't stop you from complaining all the time!

COLBY: I am a sensitive woodland creature. That many parts per million of patchouli oil is not natural!

FERDIE: Neither are talking animals, but you don't see me complaining, do you?

COLBY: Actually you are!

FERDIE: Oooh!  I am not!

COLBY: Are too!

FERDIE: Oooh! You frustrate me, you furry narcissist!  

COLBY: What? 

FERDIE: And you're classist, too!

COLBY: What?! Why, that's defamatory language, you spindle-legged sprout-eater!

CUSTOMER: Ah . . . can I . . . can I buy this book? 

NADIA: Sure. I'll help you. I think those two are going to be at it for awhile. 

CUSTOMER: Do they . . . do they do that a lot? 

NADIA: I dunno. It's my first day. 

CUSTOMER: Oh, well, good luck. 

NADIA: Thanks. I might need it. 


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