Here we are, those final minutes before all our schedules change up and we have to start caring about getting up in the morning. Where did we put our keys? Are all the lunches packed? Oh, dear God, did we forget to buy all the school supplies? (Answer: yes, we did forget.) There's still time for books, isn't there? Oh, let's make the time. And here we go . . .
It's the last week of the month, which means mass market paperback week, doesn't it? Ah, but this week is different. This is "Let's Sneak Our Fall Books Out Before Everyone Else's Fall Books" week. And who is jumping the queue?
Oh, "James Patterson" is your answer? Cheeky. You're not wrong, but we all know that's sort of a gimme. And yes, Juror #3 (co-written by Nancy Allen) is indeed out in mass market paperback this week, but it's not quite the answer we were looking for. (What? It wasn't a rhetorical question.) Anyway, Juror #3—in case you missed it in the hardback, trade, and audio book versions—is 12 Angry Men meets To Kill a Mockingbird, but with more luridity and incendiary secrets.
More to the question posed earlier, we were thinking of something like The Golden Wolf, the third volume in Linnea Hartsuyker's spirited Viking sibling saga. We've been enjoying these, and we're delighted that Hartsuyker has the ending in sight. We're ready to be swept away to ninth-century Norway and points farther north for the gloriously blood-soaked and prophetically doom-laden conclusion of this family drama.
Meanwhile, Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache is back in A Better Man. Gamache, as you may recall, suffered a bit of a professional setback in the last book, and A Better Man finds Gamache a bit humbled and a bit introspective as a violent spring flood brings a terrible crime to light. Will Gamache get his mojo back? Will the village of Three Pines recover from the tragedy that strikes the quaint village? A six-time Agatha Award winner, Penny knows how to keep a series from getting stale, and we think A Better Man is an excellent addition.
And speaking of long-running series, Depth of Winter, the 14th book in Craig Johnson's series is out in paperback this week (setting us up for the September release of Land of Wolves, the 15th book, of course). We have to admit our attention has wandered during the last few adventures of Absaroka County Sheriff Walt Longmire. Johnson has been taking the character in a direction that hasn't always been to our liking. The good news about Depth of Winter is that it seems to wrap up the narrative that has been working its way through the last few books. Land of Wolves seems like it might be a return to the mood and temperament of Hell is Empty, an earlier book in the series. Let's get caught up and ready for the fall!
We read Hell is Empty for book club a few months ago, by the way. You've been keeping up on our book club, haven't you? We had some spirited discussions about Martine Fournier Watson's The Dream Peddler last week, and we'll be starting our eight-month long read-through of Stephen King's Gunslinger series next week (September 5th). We'll be reading This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone later in the month. Stephen King's The Shining is our October read, and then we'll be doing Mick Herron's Slow Horses in November. We still have tickets available, but they are going fast. More details about book club can be found on the corresponding Facebook Event listing, so check those out and plan accordingly.
And speaking of planning ahead, what have we got from the still-deceased William W. Johnstone this week? Oh, look, Too Soon to Die, a "Jensen Brand" novel that is titled like it's a James Bond movie. This one is about a family event—a wedding, in fact—that goes from "foot-stomping hoedown" to "gun-blazing showdown." Remember, dear readers, this is Johnstone Country, and the phrase "till death do us part" is not something you say lightly . . .
And speaking of treading carefully, here is Jaron Lanier's Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. They're pretty good arguments, too. Even if you don't hit that big red DELETE button, Lanier's timely and persuasive volume might give you something to think about in regards to social media and the Internet, which might be just as valuable. Here's a hint, though: read more books.
You're welcome. We're always available for that sort of advice.
Meanwhile, Katherine Arden, who made us swoon with her Winternight Trilogy, has a new book in her spooky tales for young readers series. Dead Voices, the follow-up to last year's Small Spaces, sees Coco, Ollie, and Brian go on a ski trip to a brand-new ski resort that happens to be terribly haunted. Ghosts, weird dreams, and paranormal investigators complicate things, but Arden never loses sight of telling an exciting and richly rewarding story about friendship and facing your fears.
Rainbow Rowell is back this week too. Working with artist Faith Erin Hicks, she's here with Pumpkin Heads, the story of two teens who see each other for the short pumpkin season. This year will be their last, as they are both planning on graduating the following spring. Instead of moping about, one of the pair decides that going out with a bang is much better than a whimper, and they hatch a plan to write their own ending. Told in classic Rowell style and delightfully illustrated by Hicks, Pumpkin Heads is going to delight long-time fans and find all sorts of new ones.
Oh, hey, here's a goat. Once Upon a Goat, written by Dan Richards and charmingly illustrated by Eric Barclay, is the story of a king, a queen, a fairy godmother, and a loosely interpreted wish. You have to be careful, you know, when you wish for a "kid," because not all kids are the same. Sometimes they are goats. Richards and Barclay present a humorous and delightful tale about the perils of frazzled fairy godmothers and the rewards of love and acceptance.
And speaking of love and acceptance, Kerrigan Byrne is back with How To Love A Duke in Ten Days. Byrne, who tantalized us quite well with The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo, continues to evoke the spirit of Victoria Holt while cleverly slipping some modern sensibilities into her Victorian romance. Which is good, because the Photoshop job on that cover is, uh, well, let's just say there's something up with that Duke's trousers. Either he's got his legs crossed because he really needs to pee or he's exceptionally well—you know what? It's not important. It's all about the words anyway, right?
Hey, look. A Philippe Druillet reprint from Titan Comics! Remember when graphic novels were strictly a French phenomena, and they were all psychedelic and Technicolored, like someone dosed your eyeballs with LSD and made you listen to hours of German prog rock? No? Just us? Well, now is your chance to get caught up. The Night is Druillet's introspective meditation on death, framed as a "darkly flamboyant apocalyptic comic" (says Bleeding Cool). Not that we need more darkly flamboyant apocalypses in our lives, but show up for the psychedelic art and stay for the cosmic wonderment.
And we'll leave you with that sentiment, dear readers: stay for the cosmic wonderment. Read as much as you can this week. Next week will be busier, especially as the fall season officially kicks off. And remember this is the last week to get those summer book bingo cards turned in! There's still time to finish a row (or two or six) and get a slip (or two or six) into the box for the raffle drawing!