The Dream Stealer - Gregory Maguire. I'm slowly workin' my way up to the more adult books by Maguire. I have really enjoyed his Hamlet Chronicles series. I thought the cover on TDS was great and the book was pretty fun to read. It's a malgam of some Russian folk tales like Baba Yaga, the Firebird, and Vasilisa the Beautiful. A small Russian town is in danger from the Black Prince, a large wolf that kills you and eats your soul. That kinds of sucks, huh. It's up to two kids to save it. It's a short book but there's lots going on.
Wildside - Steven Gould. I'm still not a fan of Gould, no matter how many of his books I read. This was a more interesting story than Jumper or Blind Waves. It's pretty much hard sf. Some young guy finds a door to an alternate Earth in his Uncle Max's barn. They capture some passenger pidgeons's and sell them to finance their gold mining operation. The FBI comes down hard on them and things get pretty screwed up for a while. The book spends a lot of time talking about flying. Too much like Tom Clancy for me. People on Amazon are comparing it to the Heinlein juvies that I read years ago. I didn't like it as much as I remember liking those books. I have a box of them somewhere and really should dig them out to re-read. As with all Gould's books they are going into the sell pile.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling. Here's one that I'll keep and re-read again. The original book was hand written by Rowling. She made seven copies and gave 6 to friends. The 7th copy was bought by Amazon for nearly 2 million pounds. The money went to charity. Amazon also published a special edition. I made due with the nice hardcover that came out in December. It's also illustrated by Rowling. There are introductions to each of the 5 stories by Albus Dumbledore. The stories are tales that wizarding families tell their children to pass on morals and lessons. If you read the last Harry Potter book then you know the story of the three brothers that created the deathly hallows that are so important to the story. The other stories are equally entertaining and education. As Albus says , "it was through Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump that many of us [wizards] first discovered that magic could not bring back the dead." A good lesson to be learned.
The Thief Lord - Cornelia Funke. Based on Dragon Ryder, which I liked most of, I picked up several of Cornelia Funke's books. They can be found in abundance in the used stores. I liked her Ghosthunters series. Written for the smaller set they are fun but I didn't keep them. I read Inkheart and was one of the few that didn't like it very much. None of the characters are very likeable, even the good ones. Mostly they don't learn anything and they make the same mistakes over and over again. A couple of young boys run away to Venice. They are escaping the evil aunt and uncle. There's a detective who looks for them and then befriends them. He's a pretty good character. I kind of liked him. The two boys hook up with some homeless kids who are being protected by The Thief Lord. He's a young boys who steals to support them. They live in an old abandoned movie theater. Turns out the Thief Lord is a spoiled rich kid and his dad owns the theater. He steals stuff from his house and sells it. His big fakeness and pigheaded attitude gets them all into trouble. I like the first part of the story and the intro of the characters but the end kind of peters out but it has a mostly happy ending.
Helm - Stephen Gould. I don't read much science fiction any more. Helm is set in a world that space travelling human's have settled ages ago. The people are somewhat lo-tech. Except for the Helm. A glass helmet that gives the user some great store of knowledge. A guy we meet gets charged up with smarts and during the book he uses them to defeat the other groups that are grasping for power. I liked this more than most of Gould's books, but I didn't keep it.
House of Many Ways - Diana Wynne Jones. I'm such a big fan of Diana Wynne Jones that as soon as I heard this was out I rushed over to DreamHaven and picked it up. It takes place in the world of Howl's Moving Castle. That's a really fun book to read and this is too. Jones is one of the better fantasy writers. She gets kids and people and her writing style is top notch. She makes reading a pleasure. Charmin goes to take care of her uncle's house while he's sick. It's a wizards house that has doors that lead to many places. There are lots of characters and lots of stuff happens. I can't recommend her books enough.
Ginger Pye - Eleanor Estes. This was a fun book about the Pye family and their new dog Ginger. You can see where the title comes from. That's not the cover to the one I have but it is a nice cover. That's Ginger in the forground and the Pye children in the back ground. Ginger is the dog that Jerry buys from a neighbor lady. Costs him a whole dollar, which he earned by dusting the pews of his church for an older boy. Ginger is a smart dog that is kidnapped after Jerry has him just a while. Don't worry, the kids find him near the end of the book. It's a slow moving book, gentle and sweet. There are other books in the Pye family series, which are set back in the early part of the twentieth centrury, in the same town as the Moffat family stories are set. I like the kids. The Pye children, Rachel and Jerry, have an Uncle Benny who is famous, in their area, for being an uncle the minute he was born. He's only three in the book and he's partly responsible for finding Ginger after his kidnapping. I got a few more of Estes books to read. I liked some of them better than others and I liked this one better than most.
The Yowler Fowl-Up - David Lee Stone. This is the second book in The Illmoor Chronicles series, the first being The Ratastrophe Catastrophe . The second volume is pretty much as funny as the first and there's quite a bit of mayhem and action. Duke Modeset, the ruler of Dullitch, was run out of town in the first book after he screwed up with the rats and the piper. He sneaks back and accidently gets involved in a plot to resurrect the Stone God. Unfortunately the evil group planning to do this needs to turn everyone in the city to stone to get the job done. Well, the Duke can't have that. He might not like the city and it's people very much but it's his town and some crumbs aren't going to take that from him. The Duke has help from a sad vampire, a crappy thief and some other assorted miscreants and oddballs. I'll keep these and keep an eye out for more. He's up to 5 or 6 in England but only 3 are out here in the USA. I'd recommend them so someone who wants a humorous fantasy tale, but humor is pretty subjective and it's hard to know if others would like them. It's like Christopher Moore. I read the first chapter of his first book and laughed and it was all down hill from there. I never read anything as funny by him after that. I quit reading his books, though both the owners of the two worlds largest SF bookstores here in the Twin Cities tell me his latest Fool is really funny. Nearly made both of them pee their pants. Yeah, well, nearly isn't good enough to get me to go back. I'm like Joe Pike always movin' forward. Why bother once the magic is gone. Jasper Fforde was the opposite. He just keeps getting better and better. Not that those books have anything in common with each other.
The House of Mystery #2 is a collection of the DC comic House of Mystery. In it's 552 black and white pages it reprints all the stories and covers from issues 195 to 211. These originally came out from 1971 to 1973. I got it because there are many pages of great art and some ok stories to read. Artists like Mike Kaluta, Bernie Wrightson, Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Gray Morrow, Wally Wood, and Jim Aparo supply the art and some other guys supply the stories. The art is often better than the story. I read all these issues when they were new but sold them when I moved to the USA in 1978. I'm glad I didn't keep them. I'd probably never bother to re-read them, being too lazy to haul them out of the attic to look at again. I don't read comics as regularily as I used to. They have a tendancy to sit for a while before I plow into the stack for some batch reading. Not actually working in a comic shop anymore has made me less excited about even the stuff I like to still pick up, which is not so much anymore. I don't quite feel I want to quit, as I still enjoy reading most of the issues I do get when I do read them.