New Books & Novel Discoveries (June 2020)

June was certainly an anomalous month for book purchases, thanks to some strange discoveries I made about certain books being available at a certain chain of stores. Many of these were purchased in retail locations, respecting social distancing guidelines and all that. I am fortunate enough to live in a small city with very few cases, and in turn less restrictive regulations, otherwise I would not have shopped the way that I did. I just don’t want to encourage irresponsibility.

Let’s check out these books!

New Books

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Devolution by Max Brooks is the only novel here that I did not purchase at a second-hand store. I loved his books The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, and have had my eye on this new book, giving an account of a Sasquatch massacre, for a while now. I discovered the hardcover edition on sale online and snatched it up.

Star Wars: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka is a collection of three short stories/novellas(?) about each respective character on the cover, set before Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. I didn’t have any particular plans to ever read this book, but finding it for cheap second-hand was enough to get me to pick it up.

Look at that lovely novelization of King Kong by Delos W. Lovelace. I’ll probably read it some day, but I mostly picked it up for its beautifully pulpy cover art. It’s a hardcover too, and in surprisingly good condition considering the inside cover dates it to the 1970s. I just couldn’t pass it up.

The Acolyte is the one book by Nick Cutter that I’ve been the least interested in, though I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’ve never seen it’s cover art designed in a way that matches it with his other novels. Nevertheless, I enjoy his horror novels and seeing a used copy in good condition was enough to get me to pick it up.

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Now there were so many of these dang Star Wars graphic novels that it actually warranted another photo. All of these, along with those from last month, I purchased at a chain of dollar stores called Dollarama. I realized, a little too late, that it wasn’t just one store that had gotten a load of these books, but nearly every store in town. So, I went on a journey to check each location and see what I could find.

While this haul is substantial, it’s unfortunate that neither the volume of The Empire nor The New Republic are the first volume in their respective collections. Apparently they were all available early on, but I realized the wondrous thing that was happening too late. So, I picked up what I could. Each “Epic Collection” is normally over $50, so getting them for $4 each was a steal regardless of if I can start reading them in order or not.

These are the only two digital purchases I made this month. Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels was the final volume in Marvel’s series set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, so I was keen to finish the series as soon as possible.

The other book is The Immortal Hulk: We Believe in Bruce Banner by Al Ewing et al, the sixth volume in the series. I had a couple to read before getting to this book, but the series was having a sale on Comixology, which as you know is often enough to secure a purchase from me.

Novel Discoveries

The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories I was excited to discover in another blog’s WWW post. The title is basic and informational, yet something that immediately appeals to me. This book was almost under the “New Books” heading, as a matter of fact, but I decided to reign in my purchases a little.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll I heard about while watching a video discussing horror graphic novels. This was one of a couple books given as an example of better Western horror comics that have come out recently, and that was enough to get my attention on it.

Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru found its way onto my virtual shelf by virtue of how much I liked White Tears as a novel, deciding to check out more of the author’s work. I don’t know a whole lot about it, except that it involves magic realism and people disappearing and reappearing changed in the Mojave Desert.

Inside Mari by Shuzo Oshimi I also learned about from the above-mentioned video about horror comics. It is a body-swap story, where a man in his twenties wakes up to find himself in the body of a teenage girl. While a story like this usually has more of a screwball tone, this series apparently takes it in the direction of psychological horror as our protagonist struggles with losing their sense of self while living in the body of another person. I’m really interested in checking this series out, the only thing holding me back being the nine-volume investment that reading through it would be.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin is yet another book that caught my eye in a WWW post. Apparently a classic of gay literature, the story follows an American in Paris in the 1950s who struggles with his sexual identity as he pursues a young woman for marriage while simultaneously having an affair with another man. It’s not a topic I usually go out of my way to read about, and it’s always good to mix up one’s reading habits. This looked like a good book for that.

Closing Thoughts

I’ve been feeling worn down as of late, despite being in a fairly fortunate position all things considered, so I’m sure there are many others out there having a harder time of it. I just hope people stay strong and stay safe out there.

Have you had a book’s title so perfectly jump out at you, as The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories did for me? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Until next time, thank you for reading.

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