Hello, and welcome to summer. We seem to have skipped over any sort of lingering, slow rainy day sort of spring around here, and have gone gallivanting right into Short Pants and Ice Tea sort of weather. Time to stock up on some books for the coming days when you crouch beside the fans with ice cubes in your pockets. 

Though it is not quite summer reading season in publishing land. We’ve got some new editions of favorites, forgotten gems, and restored classics this week. 


Stephen King’s The Colorado Kid—one of Hard Case Crime’s early classics—is back, with a new cover (very summery!), a new trade size, and some interior illustrations. Fun!


And speaking of lavish illustrations, here’s a new edition of Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, an annotated and illustrated edition of the classic seventeenth-century guide to what to eat and not eat from your yard. Crack herbalist Steven Foster is providing the notes this time around. 

Culpeper’s guide will be handy, of course, when you are doing a little campfire cooking. DK Publishing has spotted an untapped market with outdoor cooking, and have deftly stepped forward. We assume “grilling” is a key ingredient in most of these recipes. 

Celeste Ng’s modern classic Little Fires Everywhere is now out in paperback. Okay, okay, so this is beach reading, but it’s been awhile since the hardback came out, and we’ve been terribly patient, haven’t we? Ooh, look. It's got that magical seal of approval from Reese! 

John Ross’s The Promise of the Grand Canyon: John Wesley Powell’s Perilous Journey and His Vision for the American West is out in paperback too, as well as Simon Winchester’s The Perfectionists. Ross’s book will hit your naturalist streak, and Winchester’s will satisfy that grueling need for order that we secretly like to indulge. 

Also, Robert B. Parker may be dead, but his characters live on. The latest Spenser novel, as written by Ace Atkins, is out this week, in that perfect form factor for reading on the train or bus or back of a bicycle. In Old Black Magic, Spenser digs into the black market art scene to investigate a cold case of dangerous proportions. 

And speaking of dangerous cases, Peter May’s Beijing detective Li Yan and American forensic pathologist pal Margaret Campbell are back in The Runner. This edition of May’s China Thriller series takes place around the Beijing Olympics, and involves the death of several competitors—neither of which are runners. Because that would be too obvious. May is much more clever than that. 

And finally, in the What’s New That’s Not New department, our favorite All Too Terrifying Prescient and Timely novel has been reissued with a touch-up to the gloriously red and black cover that was on the hardback a few years ago.. That chimpanzee still scares us, as does Bradley’s vision of the future. 


Right. Now, on to new things. It seems fitting to follow Chimpanzee with The Big Activity Book for Anxious People. Written by Jordan Reid and Erin Williams, the TBABAP (pronounced Tuh-Bah-Baa-P) will make you laugh, cringe, cry, and be filled with angsty self-analysis. It’s perfect for those evenings when you don’t want to read, but you’d rather not be staring into the empty void that is your phone. Do some stress management activities! Analyze your proclivity for anxiety! Find a path to serenity! It’s all here. 

Also out this week is Rebecca Solnit’s Cinderella Liberator, which is a retelling of Cinderella for a modern audience, by which we mean, a more evolved and more feminist sort of modern audience. We took it out of the box the other day, started reading out loud, and sold the book immediately. So, there you go. 

[Ed. note: Earnest reader not included with the purchase of this product, of course.]

Our favorite deconstructionist illustrator, David Macaulay, returns with Crossing on Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World. Macaulay, as you may recall, was one of the creators of The Way Things Work, which is one of those books that reveal the inner workings of the world. In Crossing On Time, Macaulay provides the same amazing eye for detail and illustration, and even goes so far as to give us a massive gatefold cutaway of the SS United States. All the tiny details about how steam ships work. Swoon!

And finally, speaking of things that make us swoon, we have the Stranger Things Dungeon & Dragons adventure pack. If you know how these things go together, then you know why you must have it, don’t you? It’s okay. We’ll be standing by. 

Oh, and one more thing. We realize this came out a while back, but since we’re talking about things made new and retro stylings and what-not, check out Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism. Here’s the publisher’s marketing copy: "An unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist that blends teen angst, adolescent drama, unspeakable horrors, and a mix of '80s pop songs into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.” 

Right? We'll have a copy of that for you, along with your Stranger Things D & D set. 

Oh, for crying out loud, how could we forget the new R. J. Ivanovic? Ivanovic is back with another HPL beginning reader. This time, it's the story of Dagon, which, of course, will make your children afraid of any body of water larger than a teacup and will give them endless nightmares about fishy things. 

It's never too early to rip off that Band-aid and expose them to the utterly bleak existential ennui that is life, you know . . . 

Overheard At The Store »»

NADIA: Okay, since games are a thing, apparently, let’s try this out. Has everyone got some paper? 

HODGE: I have several sheets. And pens too. 

PODGE: Am I supposed to doodle here or here? 

NADIA: You’re not supposed to do anything yet. We haven’t started. 

PODGE: But he has. 

MIME: [continues moving his pencil across the paper]

NADIA: He’s not playing. Well, he’s playing an NPC. 

PODGE: What’s an NPC? 

HODGE: Are there going to be a lot of acronyms? 

NADIA: Non-playing character. No. There won’t be a lot. Just NPC, and THAC0, and—

PODGE: Taco? 

NADIA: THAC0. There’s a zero on the end. 

PODGE: There is? That’s not how you say it. 

NADIA: That’s how I write it. 

PODGE: But it’s not how you say it. 

HODGE: I’m confused already. 

MIME: [turns sheet over, continues drawing]

PODGE: I feel like he’s judging us. 

NADIA: He’s not—Just . . . never mind. Let’s just start, okay? 

HODGE: Okay. 

PODGE: Okay. 

NADIA: First, I need you to roll up your stats. 

HODGE: Our whats? 

NADIA: Your stats. Like STR and DEX and—

HODGE: Too many acronyms!

NADIA: These aren’t acronyms. They’re . . . uh, abbreviations. STR stands for “strength.” 

PODGE: Oh, I see. Look, Hodge. They’re on the sheets. Strint-whizz-dee-X-conch-rrr. That’s what it says. I’m going to put down ’11.’ 

HODGE: What?

PODGE: My strint-whizz-dee-X-conch-rrr. It’s ’11.’ 

HODGE: Oh, should I put that down too? 

PODGE: Eeeeh . . . 

HODGE: What?

PODGE: Maybe . . . ten and a half. 

HODGE: Ten and a half? Why? 

NADIA: That’s not how it works. 

HODGE: Why am I ‘ten and a half’? 

PODGE: We’re not the same, as anyone can plainly see. Isn’t that right, Mime? 

MIME: [Avoids confrontation with stoicism]

PODGE: Is that—Are you playing charades? Is that ‘Pretending Not to Hear’? 

MIME: [Maintains serenity]

PODGE: That is! That is what you are doing. 

HODGE: I’m going to write ’11.5.’ 

NADIA: No, you need to roll some dice. 

HODGE: Dice? This is a gambling game? 

NADIA: No, it’s for random number—

PODGE: You know, for a non-playing character, you are giving me a lot of attitude. 

MIME: [Silently wishes he was elsewhere]

HODGE: How many dice? All of them? My paws aren’t that big.

NADIA: No, not—

[SFX: Front door bell jangles]

NADIA: Oh, thank goodness. A customer. 


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