Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Where do books go when they die?

Ah, the scent of the used book store. Charing Cross Road in London is filled with noise, people, traffic... and books. There's the famous Foyles for the bright and new, a reminder that books are alive and vibrant and fun. Then there are the used book stores, with their peculiar, wonderful scent, and their peculiarly wonderful assortment of fascinating literature. Used, perhaps; rejected even; but these books most surely aren't dead.

Closer to home, Oregon has  Powells, where new and old books share the walls, stand side by side, and proudly complain, we're not dead!

And then... One of my book reviews today proved peculiarly elusive. Not listed on Amazon. Not listed on Barnes and Noble. Not listed on Powells. I tried Smashwords - perhaps it's "just" an ebook - but it wasn't listed there either. I'd only been given the book in May, and my review's just a month overdue. So I wondered, where could the book have gone to in so short a time, and where do books disappear to when they die.

Proving it's not quite dead, I eventually found the book on Goodreads and posted my review. But there's something sad about the fact that the buy link goes nowhere. It renews my determination to keep my books on sale, somewhere, somehow, even if my latest quarterly payment won't buy me a single cup of coffee.

You'll have to buy your own coffee while you read this blog, I guess. Meanwhile I'll  savor its scent and offer you book reviews. Don't forget, the stars are for flavor, not for ratings.

First, I guess, is that absent, semi-demised friend, The Mind of the Living, by J Kaihua. It's more of a short story really, slightly mystical, ponderous, and gorgeously illustrated. Enjoy its answers to the questions of mankind and happines with a suitably intense cup of five-star coffee.

The Last Orphans by N W Harris poses questions of happiness and survival in the guise of a teen horror novel where a teenager balances love for family against care for himself and others, ultimately ending up caring for a band of survivors when the world falls apart. Gory but relatively clean, it's one to enjoy with a suitably bold, dark five-star coffee.

Shadows over Somerset by Bob Freeman is contemporary horror for a more adult audience, but it adheres pleasingly to the old rules of horror, with an authentic feel of plot and counter plot, age-old protagonist, new member in ancient society, and powers greater than mankind. Lots more dark five-star coffee required when reading this classically terrifying tale.

Eternal Curse, Giovani’s Angel, by Toi Thomas is another contemporary horror tale, set around another dark American mansion. The romance is heavier, and the faith more real and weighty than in Somerset. But the backstories run to greater length making it a slower read. Enjoy with another dark five-star coffee, and then...

Twin Powers by David Pereda is more suspense than horror, though there are some pretty horrifying scenes. When a child is kidnapped, both parents find they have dangerous secrets to reveal. The Castro family's involved, but the book spans continents and is chock-full of action, sensual and otherwise. Enjoy with another dark intense five-star coffee---I seem to be drinking lots of five-star coffee at the moment.

But here's something completely different: Storyality, by J T Velikovskyy, claims to present a scientific and empirical analysis of movies in an attempt to determine how they go viral, returning high percentage returns on investment. The result's not terribly scientific, though it's certainly interesting. And the best bit, well-hidden more than half-way through, is the use of golden ratios to design your story/screenplay. Skip the pseudo-science, and jump to the spiral, while enjoying a mild one-star coffee. Then write a book or screenplay that doesn't die.

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