Haunted by the unread, vol. III

Follow me, if you dare, on another adventure into shame and regret; we will meet yet more of my unread books and, perhaps, confront the dreaded unholy half-read!

We press on, lower into that same ever-verging-on-toppling downstairs stack – where so many of my embarrassing failures linger – that we investigated in volume II. (Do I win a prize for getting five dashes into one sentence?)

Beneath the three books we saw on our last excursion, we come to Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti. Small (UK) trade paperback from 2008, 10th printing, from Virgin Books. Condition: shiny and unread. Odd that a famous American master is not fully in print in the States. This, and it’s companion My Work is Not Yet Done, had to be imported. Possibly US publishers are scared, and not just of losing money. They should be. If the quality of the Penguin Classics collection of Ligotti’s stories is anything to go by, these should be gravely disturbing. I’m… preparing myself.

Next down is City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett; trade PB from Broadway Books, 2016, first printing of the first edition. Condition: crisp and unread. This is the sequel to City of Stairs, one of the better fantasy novels I’ve read in the last year or so. From the blurb, it seems that one of the supporting cast gets centre-stage in this installment, which otherwise seems to follow the first book by setting the action in a fantasy version of Baghdad, c. 2010. I’m no hurry to read this one, really: the first novel span its big idea out to a logical and self-consistent conclusion.

Last of today’s trio: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. Tragically printed in that foul insult to all that is proper and right in the universe, the modern ‘slim and tall’ mass market paperback format. Such heresy disgusts me, and generally I make a point of simply ignoring the existence of these foul abortions. In this case I made an exception, which obviously wasn’t worth the compromise of my principles seeing as I haven’t yet read the book. Anyway, this is the Saga Press 1st printing from earlier this year. It is reassuringly hefty (622 pp. before the irritating excerpt from the inevitable sequel) and has small type: I deduce that there are many words within, so it would have the virtue of value-for-money were I to actually read it. Hype from the front cover verso suggests that it is, ‘…the Wuxia version of Game of Thrones.’ It might be just as valid to say that GoT is the laowai version of any given wuxia epic: less silk, more of those feasts Georgie likes so much.

We have evaded the unholy half-read, this time. Phew. But we are not even close to half-way through this stack, and there are plenty more stacks. Check back soon to find out more of my dark secrets in volume IV of… Haunted by the Unread!

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