Buying reading local, whenever possible…

My reading queue seems to be growing faster than I can finish stuff. :-)

I had posted before about setting Sundays aside as my reading days. As of late, that habit has been broken, though I have been doing a relatively decent job of reading through books. As soon as I finish books, however, I end up adding more to replace them. The queue is ever-changing, and what may have been a high-priority read at one time sometimes ends up at the end of the line. Amusingly enough, the three books I mentioned in the aforementioned post are still in the “to read” queue.

Admittedly, the majority of our book buying recently has come from Amazon, if only because of the price and convenience. That being said, whenever possible we like to buy from local bookshops… and by local, I mean “locally owned”. We try to avoid Barnes and Noble if we can at all help it, for example, but we have been known to go into Half-Price Books. On our last couple of trips to Austin, we made a point to stop at BookPeople, an independent bookstore which has the claim to fame of being the largest in Texas (independent or chain). My last trip, I bought several books, including the proto-Lovecraftian horror anthology The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers, both volumes of The Intergalactic Nemesis, and a non-fiction book called Doctor Who and Philosophy.

Today, as part of our errands, Jennifer and I were in the Rice Village area. Instead of hitting Pearland Coffee Roasters for coffee, we decided to hit House of Coffee Beans in the Village. As it so happened, House of Coffee Beans is literally next door to my favorite Houston bookstore, Murder By The Book, so Jennifer had no problem with us going there first. :-)

It might come as a surprise to some, but my favorite literary genre right behind science-fiction/fantasy is the mystery story. I don’t collect mystery books anywhere near as much as I do sci-fi/fantasy, but I really do enjoy them when I get them. Some of my favorite TV shows have also been mysteries, like the various incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, Castle, Diagnosis Murder, In the Heat of the Night, and so on. A whole bookstore of mystery novels, as you might imagine, is right down my alley.

The problem, however, is that I get lost easily, as my knowledge of the mystery genre is not nearly as advanced as my knowledge of sci-fi. That’s where the staff of Murder By The Book shines, in that they have always been friendly and willing to help and lend their expertise. As a result, I end up leaving with a book I didn’t even know existed (much less had intended to get). For example, as mentioned in the previously referred post, I had noticed a book by ex-CIA operative Valerie Plame on display, and bought it on the staff’s recommendation. I ended up enjoying the book.

This time, while Jennifer picked up the latest Christopher Moore book, I picked up two books for myself. The first was a book by an author named C. Robert Cargill called Dreams and Shadows. While Cargill had written the well-received horror movie Sinister, I had first become aware of him when he was a reviewer for Ain’t It Cool News, under the pseudonym “Massawyrm”. Cargill’s reviews were easily my favorite thing about the site at the time; I had known of his book, but this was the first time I had seen a copy and decided to pick up a copy for myself.

The second book I picked up was called Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr. Unlike Dreams and Shadows, which I had at least heard of, Loki’s Wolves was completely unknown to me. The series itself is called The Blackwell Pages; I saw the second book on a table, with a note from a staff member recommending it, especially if one liked the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. That in particular drew my eye, as Jennifer and I both enjoy that series. (She’s much further along in it than I am.) I eventually found Loki’s Wolves (the first book), and my decision to purchase it was cemented when the gentleman checking us out praised the book rather highly.

Both books are in my reading queue now; I’m thinking I may have both read by the end of the month, but if worst comes to absolute worst I’ll save them for our upcoming trip to Corpus Christi. After all, other than playing in the water, my favorite thing to do at the beach is sit back in a chair and get lost in a good book. :-) I’m just hoping I can find time to go back to Murder By The Book at some point soon to get some more reading material.

But then, that would depend on me making space in my reading queue so it doesn’t become unmanageable. ;-)

(BTW, if you have a Goodreads account, you can find mine here. I don’t review books per se, but you can see what I’ve rated books I’ve read, and what’s in my queue.)