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New books

Best Book Stall has another sale going on right now, at YMCA Secunderabad, and I happened to drop in about 5 days into the sale. Much astounded at the clearance sale section which occupied one side of the huge hall – you could select any 5 books for hundred rupees, ten books for one hundred and fifty. A cursory search yielded gems like hardcover editions of Robert Silverberg’s Valentine Pontifex AND Lord Valentine’s Castle. Volume 3 of Brian Lumley’s Necroscope, assorted parts of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, two Patricia Highsmith novels, Tim Dorsey’s Cadillac Beach, which I am looking forward to reading – I hugely enjoyed Hammerhead Ranch Motel. El Doctorow’s Billy Bathgate, Gregory McDonald’s Son Of Fletch, and I hate to say that I haven’t gotten around to reading any of the Fletch novels yet. John Berendt’s Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil which, to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have picked up had it not been for the price. And interestingly, found this out-of-print book called Mrs Coverlet’s Magicians by Mary Nash. I don’t really remember where I had heard of this book – probably while amazon-surfing some day….

The rest of the sale yielded some great finds too. Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish, which I read immediately, and which, like I expected, has very little in common with Tim Burton’s movie except for the broad theme in general, and the ending. John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, which I also finished immediately. An illustrated 1946 hardcover of Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, (John Tenniel’s drawings, of course!) I had resisted buying this for quite a long time. An illustrated unabridged version of The Three Musketeers, and the only children’s book William Faulkner ever wrote, called The Wishing Tree. The Encyclopaedia of the Occult, which seemed much comprehensive when I browsed it on the spot, and a book on the early Warner Brothers’ directors. Yukio Mishima’s Sound of Waves, a love story set in Japan, which I had been hearing good things about ( seems it has been adapted to film some five times). Two Shel Silverstein hardcovers – When The Sidewalk Ends and A Light In The Attic. An interesting children’s book called The Philadelphia Chickens – this came with a free CD that had songs sung by folks like Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep and Laura Linney.

Also picked up quite a few random books on music criticism. Had to go there again later, because I ran out of cash.

Spent the long weekend peacefully completing four volumes of Buddha. Can’t wait to get my paws on the remaining four – and I now understand that the term “Godfather of Manga” is one not easily bestowed on a person. Do yourselves a favour and try reading Buddha if you can. Scans are not available online, as far as I know. The storytelling alternates between cartoony goofiness and gut-wrenching realism between pages, and goddamnit, why is so less Tezuka available on eBay?

Which reminds me, I won a lot of 18 comics that included a signed first edition of Craig Thompson’s Goodbye Chunky Rice, a signed copy of Slow News Day by Andi Watson, and Matt Madden’s One Faraway Beach, also signed. Loads of other stuff too, and all for 22.5$, woo hoo!

And there was also the package I received from mikester, containing multiple copies of Solo, each signed by Sergio Aragones, and a trade paperback of Fanboy, that has a sketch by Aragones inside. Why multiple copies of Solo? Because there are rabid Aragones fans in Delhi, Bombay and Kolkata, and it just didn’t seem fair for me to have a copy and them not having it. Now, now, is my halo showing?

What is Solo, you ask? Oh, well, you don’t, but let me tell you anyways. It’s a series published bimonthly by DC comics, with 48 pages and no adds, and correspondingly has a higher price point of 4.99$ per issue. What really sets Solo apart is that every issue is done by one artist, who is given free reign to do whatsoever s/he wants with DC characters. I believe the series has been cancelled after twelve issues, but each of the artists who have contributed so far are legends in their own right – Paul Pope, Tim Sale, Howard Chaykin, Mike Allred, Ted Kristiansen, Richard Corben, and on issue 11, Sergio Aragones. Coincidence department: I bought the first 10 issues issues of Solo from a comicbook fan at a dollar each just two days before Mike mentioned that Mr Aragones was signing at his bookshop.

I had to play a game this weekend – one of these insane urges to trounce virtual meat that crop up from time to time – so I began Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Excellent gameplay, which was kind of expected when I found out that the game was produced by Tigon games, a company founded by Vin Diesel himself ( I remember asking a question about this company in some quiz or the other when it was launched). Currently midway through the game, and enthused enough about gaming to install Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend, the latest TR game. Graphics are superb, but the camera angles are killing me. Is it time to pick up a controller?

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