I haven’t done one of these in a while, so I won’t attempt to literally list every book I have acquired since I did the last one. That would be…a lot of work. So what I’ll do here is focus on the books I acquired during my recent trip to San Diego and Los Angeles. I’m an east Coast-kind of guy, but I usually manage to make it out to California at least once a year. I love the weather, though the lack of seasons, earthquakes, and wildfires bug me.
I ended up hitting three used bookstores in the Encinitas/Cardiff area, and wasn’t incredibly impressed. Two were tiny and with unimpressive stock. The store I bought the two books from had one of the worst organization (non-)schemas I have yet encountered and one of the others had some good stuff but was WAY too expensive. I always kind of resent paying a premium for the store’s location. If anyone know of a particularly good used bookstore in the greater san Diego area, let me know, as I have not yet found one I really like there yet. Still looking.
More impressively, I spent a day in the Burbank/North Hollywood area doing nothing but pawing through used bookstores. The day started off with breakfast with a friend I had never before met in the flesh! We’ve been corresponding for years about all things bookish (and otherwise) but had never had the chance to meet in real life. Fortunately, neither of us turned out to be serial killers so we spent the day talking about books and going to four great used bookstores. The first was Dark Delicacies, a really nice shop that specializes in horror. They seem to do LOTS of book signings there. Had a good conversation with the proprietor, Del Howison. Then it was off to two stores that were across the street from each other: Brand Bookstore (on Brand St., natch) and Mystery and Imagination. Brand is a general-purpose used bookstore and had some good stuff. I’d be proud to have this one in my own area, though it was the least interesting of the four L.A. stores. The next was Mystery and Imagination, a used bookstore specializing in pulp, SF/fantasy, crime/mystery, etc. They also do lots of signings, and had a nice chat with Christine Bell, one of the proprietors, who also took the time to show me some signed books I just didn’t have the money to purchase. The final stop of the day was the Illiad Bookshop, the largest of the four stores and one with used books of all kinds. Lots and lots of books there. All in all, it was a great way to spend a day: booking and hanging out. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND all of those stores and am looking forward to checking them out the next time I find myself in the Los Angeles area. I also hit a local used bookstore that I had let lay fallow for a while when I returned home.
Enough about the stores – what did I buy? Here are the highlights in no particular order:
- The second Solar Pons collection by August Derleth. Pons was a Sherlock Holmes rip-off with just the names changed. I have the first volume (though I have not yet read it); there were seven altogether. I have heard this one also contains a Fu Manchu crossover, which I’m looking forward to.
- Eight more Richard Blade men’s adventure novels. Kind of a guilty pleasure of mine. These have so far been pretty formulaic, but there’s something about them that’s very appealing.
- Philip Jose Farmer’s Flight to Opar. My goal is to complete my collection of Farmer’s various pulp pastiches and sequels to classic adventure novels.
- Dennis Wheatley’s The Fabulous Valley. Not one of his Black Magic novels, but looks like a fun one about an inheritance and an ill-fated expedition to Africa. How can you go wrong with that?
- Talbot Mundy’s Queen Cleopatra. Part of the Tros of Samothrace historical fiction series. I’m also very interested in collecting the rest of his Jimgrim novels.
- James Blish’s A Case for Conscience. I’ve been looking for this one for a very long time.
- Three Vatican conspiracy thrillers by Daniel Easterman. It’s a fun sub-genre that I’m interested in, and Easterman has written a lot of these sorts of books.
- Brian Lumley’s Iced on Aran, the fourth of his Dreamlands books. Not everyone likes Lumley’s particular vision of the Cthulhu Mythos, but I applaud his efforts even though there are some aspects of his writing I don’t care for. Still need the third one though.
- Two sword and sorcery novels by Lin Carter: Thongor in the City of Magicians (just need one more Thongor novel to complete my collection) and Down to a Sunless Sea (this was the last of his Mars series that I needed).
- Desmond Cory’s Undertow and Timelock. One of his Johnny Fedora series (I have one other). A friend turned me on to these. They are a surprising challenge to collect. This is going to be a very long-term project as they are hard-to-find in stores and expensive to purchase online.
- Turn Loose the Dragon by George C. Chesbro. One of the last of his books that I needed. This one is a stand-alone, but I really like his Mongo Mysteries.
- Legend in Blue Steel by “Spider Page.” The final Spider novel, published in 1979 with all the names changed for legal reasons. Supposedly not an awesome novel, but for a completist fan of the Spider – one of the most brutal and over-the-top pulp heroes – this was a must-buy. Never seen it “in the flesh” before.
- The three Magira books (War Gamers’ World, Army of Darkness, and Messengers of Darkness) by “Hugh Walker,” published by DAW. I love all DAW books for their covers and trade dress, but this set really intrigued me. These were written by German author Hubert Strassl and were inspired by a long-running German fantasy wargame in the 1970s. Looking forward to reading these.
- Mike Hammer omnibus #1 (first three novels). I already own a copy of this one – so why did I buy this? Well, because this copy was signed by both Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins. How could I pass that up?
- Dark Delicacies II: Fear, edited by Del Howison and Jeff Gelb. Bought from Del Howison himself, and signed by both editors. Looks like a great scary collection.
- Beastmarks by A. A. Attanasio. I really enjoyed his Radix Tetrad (weird, wonderful, mind-bending SF at the end of time that hasn’t received nearly enough attention; seriously, a dissertation could be written about this series). This is a collection of his short stories I didn’t even know existed.
- Emerald Eyes by Daniel Keys Moran. Read this years ago and have the rest of the Continuing Time series (except the last one, which has only been released in eBook format thus far.
- The Man of the Future (chapbook) by Edward Bryant. Not familiar with the author, but it was illustrated by Dan Simmons (!) and signed by both Bryant and Simmons.
- Also picked up a variety of odds and ends, mostly one-off mass market paperbacks, but I don’t want to list each and every one, so I’ll just stop here.
So that was a really fun (and successful) trip!