Rejoice, ye long-suffering fans of the Grand Master of Fantasy! Finally, there is a new book on the shelf. Return again to the land of hobbits and—oh, what? It's just an illustrated edition? There's still no new fiction? Really? Well, that's disappointing. 

Anyway, it looks like the Tolkien estate is getting on the "Hey, let's put out another edition of the master's classic, but with pictures!" bandwagon. Here be The Lord of the Rings Illustrated Edition. Now, now, before you get all worked up and starting shouting about how the artist doesn't know anything about the deep darks under Dwarrowdelf or the way the winds whip across Weathertop, we'd like to point out that the illustrations herein are by J. R. R. himself. Printed on "forest-friendly" paper, as well. Ooooh. Say it with us. Ooooh. Aaaah. 

And speaking of dragons, here's Fizban's Treasury of Dragons, a shiny new reference book for those who prefer to best the winged beasties with dice and sharp language. Gem Dragons! Commentary from a doddering archmage (that's just his daytime disguise, of course)! Back lore about dragon gods Bahamut and Tiamat that completely ignores the cultural antecedents of their names! Wheee!

This edition of the A Good Book newsletter is sponsored by onomatopoeic mouth noises. Play along at home. 

Anyway, it's not the fall season without a new Lee Child book. Oddly, both Andrew Child and Jack Reacher get equal billing beneath Lee. The title of the book is almost irrelevant, as is the plot, frankly. We're sure it begins with Jack Reacher minding his own business, walking with purpose in some cardinal direction, but oh noes! The author (authors?) have a narrative bone to gnaw, which means poor Jack won't get to where he is going (not that he's going anywhere in particular, mind you; it's all a metaphor for something or other). Then, Reacher will punch some people who deserve it. Women will swoon. The bad guys will get more bad guys. Reacher will punch them too. There will be a point to it all, but Reacher won't care much. And then the book'll end. Hoo-hah!

Now, the cover of the 28th book in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series (two more than Reacher!) is a little easier to read. There's Janet's name, and there's the title—Game On—and the clever numeric reminder is shoved down there at the bottom. So much easier to follow. And what happens in Tempting Twenty-Eight? Well, Stephanie chases hackers and crackers and a six-foot slab of hard muscle and bad attitude named Diesel. All in day's work for New Jersey's perkiest bail bonds enforcement agent. Hear that? That's the "zing!" of pure entertainment. 

And speaking of delightful entertainment, Marissa Meyer is back this week with Gilded, a gloriously glittery retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, wherein undead kings snatch unwary children and stories get told with ruthless abandon. Promises are made, hearts are broken, and magic happens. Ah, you know how this works, and Meyer delivers another fantastic fairy tale reimagining. Breeiring! Breeiring! 

Meanwhile, here is Rosemary Mosco's charming A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching. Yep. There's no secret here. It's a book about pigeons. What they eat. How they find their way around without Siri. What they're thinking about when they are pretending they don't know you are watching them. How they mate, make new pigeons, and raise their pigeonlings. How they play Ping-Pong. (Rather well for birds, thank you very much.) You don't know pigeons as well as Mosco does, and thank goodness she's willing to share. Coo Coo Ca Choo! 

And speaking of Paul McCartney, here's a coffee table bender for you. Weighing in at nearly nine pounds and over nine hundred pages, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present is more than just a comprehensive collection of Sir Paul's lyrical musings. It's got pictures! It's got paintings! It's got ephemera! Ob-La-Di! Ob-la-Da!

Oh, hey. Peter Kingsley's Catafalque is back in print. Mark'll be excited. He can scratch that one off his list. 

And speaking of end times, A. J. Hackwith is finally wrapping up their Novel from Hell's Library trilogy with The God of Lost Words. We've been delighted with the first two books in the series—The Library of the Unwritten and The Archive of the Forgotten. In fact, we have trouble keeping them in stock. This time around, rebel librarian Claire must find a home for all the books before the demons from Hell can withdraw everything for all eternity. Clever stuff. Highly recommended. 

And speaking of the high recommends, Matt Fraction's and David Aja's run on Hawkeye has been reissued in a shiny single volume collection. Hawkeye, as the modern media monstrosity that is Marvel has assuredly told you, is the Avenger without superpowers. Though, come on. The dude never misses? That's totally a superpower. Anyway, Fraction and Aja did some marvelous (*groan*) things with Hawkeye during their run, and The Saga of Barton and Bishop is presumedly the basis for the upcoming Disney+ series that'll be dropping in the new year. Get ahead of the curve, friends! Patoing! 

And if you ever thought, "Man, I wish someone would give me the highlights of the last year's worth of literature," well, we have something for you. Here is The New York Book Review: 125 Years of Literary History. Editors Tina Jordan and Noor Qasim present a thoroughly idiosyncratic selection of the best, the worst, and the strangest coverage of the literary landscape over the last 125 years. Surely, this will help you decide whether or not you really need to go read some of those classics. Whoop whoop bazing!

And with that, we'll sign off on this edition of our utterly incomplete survey of what came out this week. Check out this week's list for a few more titles, and be sure to shop early (shop often!) this holiday season. There's little chance of us running out of books altogether, but there's every chance we'll run out of the one you really want. 

And don't forget that you have a few more days to tell James Patterson about your favorite bookseller. 

Overheard At The Store »»

HODGE: Hello, and welcome to the bookstore!

PODGE: Are you looking for books on plants? 

CUSTOMER: I . . . uh . . . do you have—

HODGE: Books meant to gnawed on? Yes, yes, we do. Right over there. 

CUSTOMER: No, I was looking for—

PODGE: Love and affection? That's aisle 4. 


HODGE: They're color-coded. 

CUSTOMER: But . . . you gave me a number. 

PODGE: Hmm? 

CUSTOMER: You said "aisle 4."

PODGE: Did I? 

HODGE: I don't recall you saying anything about aisles. Or fours. 

PODGE: Look around you, sir. Do you see aisles? 


NADIA: What's going on here? 

CUSTOMER: I was just—

HODGE: Hello! How can we help you? 

NADIA: I work here. What are you doing here? 

CUSTOMER: I was looking for a book on Jung. 

PODGE: Young what? 

CUSTOMER: No, Jung. 

HODGE: . . . Isn't that what my friend just asked? 

NADIA: In the red nook. 

CUSTOMER: Thank you. Thank you. 

PODGE: Are you shelving them by age now? 

NADIA: What? 

PODGE: The books. 

NADIA: What does—why are you two here? 

HODGE: We're helping!

PODGE: Look! I'm wearing glasses. They make me look approachable. 

NADIA: You're not—what's this?

HODGE: Some kind of officious documentationing. The hound said we should give it to you. 

NADIA: The hound? 

PODGE: Whasshisname. 

HODGE: Gesundheit. 

PODGE: Thank you. 

NADIA: "Court-ordered community service"! 

HODGE: Whatever that means. 

PODGE: Popple-cockery. 

HODGE: That's a funny noise you just made with your mouth. 

PODGE: It made my lips tingle. 

NADIA: I'm stuck with you two? For the whole season? 

HODGE: Popple-cockery!  You're right, Podge. It does make your lips tingle. 


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