Sunday, June 14, 2015

Half Priced - Full Adventure - What's on your Nightstand

Partner in Grime and I have a Half Priced Books store within a short drive of both homes so we go a lot.  But some of you may not know that in the very back of their stores,  they have "all under $3 Section", a lot of them in excellent condition for only $1. With some careful hunting through the higher and lower shelves there that aren't picked over as much, I brought home several bags of really good condition books, for less than forty bucks.

Always nice to add a few more things to the bookshelf.

I just finished Peter Grant's Forge a New Blade - and it was a deftly enjoyable read, and a great blend of the two separate series of books.  Also on my shelf to be read this week is a re-read of Looking for Lynne by John L. Moore (seriously, if you love Western themes and haven't read Mr. Moore, who Tom Savage called "breathtakingly good" you are missing out.)  But when those are done, I was needing something new to read.

I love to read  - all genres with the exception of lot of YA and Erotica with humans paired with werewoves, dinosaurs (don't even ask), large kitchen appliances (I'm sure those books exist somewhere on Amazon) or sado masochists who are OK because they're cute billionaires.  Everyone has their own tastes but I'll pass.

I want a story I can relate to, or aspire to, and other than the one guy with a serious back hair issue unveiled during a scorching day in a bass boat, I've never been romantically approached by a werewolf.
Abby Normal the Lab, guarding the bookshelves from "her" couch.

There's something about opening up a new book, that sense of impending adventure.  A good portion of Saving Grace - a Story of Adoption took place in the years I was a pilot, those stories written of in that book, not in specific detail, but as how I viewed it, an adventure. . . and my escape.

Even though it's been 15 years since I flew any sort of jet or heavy transport, I can still recall those mornings on the ramp, my bird on the ramp awaiting release to her wandering life.  I'd look out across the long shining stretch of the tarmac,  the setting sun shining obliquely on the winged form that awaited me, noticing everything - the primordial smell of dinosaur in the tar-pit which is what JP-4 always brought to mind, to the tiniest drops of rain on a massive propeller, sparking there like a billion tossed diamonds.  The ramp was quiet - the aircraft still drowsing in the  impending night, looking less like plane and more like somber ruin upon an ancient landscape.
As the C - check was signed off and the fuel truck retreated, the crew chief would wait with the meditative torpor of a disillusioned philosopher. Crew Chiefs seldom said much, conveying as much with a look or the movement of a finger in the air as the most garrulous of narrators.  In the cockpit as well, very little was said until that first checklist began and my aircraft came to life under the soft kiss of fingers on a switch.

There was always a pause there as my ship and I summed each other up as fuel was introduced, and  the engine rotated to life.  My ship, with a form so massive and a weight that was so solid and myself, her skipper, only a small form, a shadow that would fill her flight deck with a unceasing stir. Our truce for the night complete, we launched into the storm tossed skies, darker than the night, and more restless than the thoughts of men.
There was so much in my memories, in your memories, that can't be contained between just two book covers, so many stories, so many grand days  There is so much that is too voluminous for the narrow limits of the written word yet writers continue to write - releasing to the world that which had from the beginning of thought had demanded their eventual release.  I'd write even if there was no one to read  my words and I will read, as long as I have books and breath.

So I look at this big bag of books not as $37 spent but as the writer's life, their greatest adventures real or conceived being offered to me.  There are great risks and great loves, swashbuckling pirates and cowboys, heroes and starships.  There is plundering and mutineers and those moments when men's lunacy has posed as the delicate mediator of fate. There are world's seen from the depths space, a night beyond our own night, viewed through a thin crevice in the glittering sphere of which our earth is a tossed diamond among billions that spark against the darkness.

Now I simply have to decide which one to open first.

What's on YOUR nightstand?


  1. I tend to swap back and forth among complementary books. Recently it's been _General of the Army_, Ed Cray's biography of Marshall, and _The Turn of the Tide_, Arthur Bryant's biography of Alan Brooke. They're quite different books -- the latter focuses mostly on the start of the war through 1943 and is pretty MTO/ETO-centric, whereas Cray covers Marshall's whole life, including the tumultuous postwar appointments, and spends a lot of time on Asia, but they offer different perspectives on many of the same parts of history.

  2. I am close to the end of Mike Z. Williamson's novel, A Long Time Until Now, I have started, The Year's Best Military SF & Space Opera by Baen, and I just finished Still Falling by Martin Wilsey. On one of the bedroom bookshelves, (yes, we have his/hers bookshelves based on the sides of the bed and there are crossover books) I have Koontz, Weber, Drake, far too many Ringos, some Kratman, some Hoyt, a few Coreias, some Flint, and a couple of S.M. Stirlings.

    In my younger, dumber days, I would say that I do not read certain genres. But as I get much older, and a little smarter, I continue to find out that if the author has written a good story, and has engaged me as the reader, then it does not matter so much what genre, as long as the book is a good read. And looking at your books reminds me that it is time to either reread some Pratchett, or dig through and find one of his I have not read.

  3. I would re-read The Stand. Had all the Stephen King but have donated all but that book. It's the best he's ever written. We have no bookstores in town but a great library.

  4. Kick the tires, light the fires and lets get it done! :-)

  5. If you haven't read Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" keep an eye out for a copy at Half Priced Books.

    The introduction of Bilquis in the book isn't a scene for the kiddies, but I guarantee you've never read anything quite like it.

    Warewolves? Vampires? Scary? Puh-lease.

    If the name sounds familiar, Gaiman wrote "The Doctor's Wife" episode of "Doctor Who", but I've been a fan since "Good Omens", his collaboration with Terry Pratchett.

  6. A local village has a village-wide yard sale every June, and we attended this year. One of the popular items at many locations is books. All priced to move, and many are the popular authors, as you'd expect. Great place to stock up!

  7. Thanks for the great suggestions gentlemen!> Jim - I think the two books you mailed us arrived at home. Partner said we had a box. Thanks for thinking of us and those will be great reads.

  8. I also have a borrowed copy of Aaron Franklin's "Meat Smoking Manifesto" that I am working through, but the jury is still out on that one.

    No euphemisms. It is a kinda-sorta cookbook. I won't have time to seriously dig into it until after a midterm this week.


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