Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It's been awhile since I posted here and it's basically because I bit
off more than I can chew when I said my next post would be a book
review of Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear. To paraphrase,
reading is easy but reviewing is hard. I might give it a shot again
later with a less massive book.

Meanwhile, a discussion over on Facebook by Stacy Jones about
Neil Gaiman gave me an idea for some other posts here. I happened
to mention that I had a copy of  Neverwhere that Mr Gaiman had
signed for me when he did an appearance at the Lauriat Bookstore
I worked at in the Taunton Silver City Galleria Mall back in 1997.
Stacy said she'd like to see a picture of it so I found that and another
of Mr Gaiman's books in my collection, took the pictures and posted
them in an album on Facebook I called Autographed Books and Other
Treasures. It occurred to me thatI could post a series here about the
books I own that were autographed and include what memories I have
about the author and the signing.

So here's the first, and it is indeed about Neverwhere,

I was assistant manager of the store at the time and the resident science
fiction and fantasy fan on the staff. I was pretty psyched up over this
since Mr Gaiman was already very well known for his Sandman graphic
novels and I knew we would have a good turnout for the event. My
only problem was water. The publicist had mentioned that Neil liked a
certain brand of flavored bottle water and I must have stopped at five
different stores between Abington and Taunton on my way to the store
that day trying to find some but without success. But miraculously a
restaurant on the lower level of the mall had some in stock so I was
able to relax.

We had a line already formed in the store when a man in a black leather
jacket approached me and said he was there for the signing. I'd never
seen Neil Gaiman before so I at first thought he was another fan but
then I realized who he was and the event began. Neil was a real
gentleman, staying until all the fans books and graphic novels were
signed, even when five or six of them dove under the store's gate as
it was coming down for closing time.He also signed a copy of
Neverwhere for me and the cardboard sign for the event.(He used
a pen with gold ink to write"Mind the Cracks!" on the sign.. I had
the sign for years and then sadly lost it during the move here to my
new apartment last year). It was a very successful event.

I have another book of Mr Gaiman's in my collection that it is not signed but
falls under the listing of "treasure". Publishers send out Advanced Readers'
Copies of books for reading by reviewers and booksellers, although some
now are switching over to digital versions now. Usually these are addressed to
the manager of the store and they pass them on to the staff. When I was at
Borders there were several of us who were avid sf and fantasy readers so I wasn't
as lucky getting ARCs as when I was at Lauriat's. But I happened to be eating
lunch in the breakroom when my manager asked me if I liked Neil Gaiman and
gave me this very nice boxed paperback ARC of Gaiman's Stardust:

It looked so nice I didn't want to ruin it, so I read another copy of the book!

I 'll be blogging about other signed editions. Thanks, Stacy, for the inspiration!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


As many of my friends know, the Borders store I work at is closing in a few weeks
and I'm going to be a man of leisure, to put it politely. I haven't quite figured out
what I'm going to do about my future except that I'm pretty sure it won't
involve Borders Books.

With that in mind, I decided to do something with this blog I haven't tried before:
monetize it. To do that, I've become an Associate.Let me say right
off the bat that I don't expect to make large amounts of money with this but if I
make a few bucks here and there from it, that would be nice.

So, I'll be writing more book reviews and if one should make you want to
read the book, please use the links here to purchase it from Amazon,com!

First off will be a review of Patrick Rothfuss' excellent The Wise Man's Fear.
The Wise Man's Fear[ THE WISE MAN'S FEAR ] by Rothfuss, Patrick(Author)(Hardcover)Mar 01 2011

I'll have it up in the next day or two 

Sunday, March 6, 2011


As promised, here's a look of the books I've downloaded so far
onto my Kobo ereader from and the new Google ebook
store. The titles marked with asterisks are those I paid more than a dollar
for and most of the others were free. The Bulwer-Lyton book is actually
five seperate volumes.   

No, I haven't read all of them yet. Ebook shopping is like being a kid in a
candy shop for me. I see familiar authors or titles, or books I once saw
somewhere on a shelf and never bought. The books by Bury, Bryce,
Bulwer-Lyton and MacCaulay, for instance, fall into that category.  These
are all works I actually saw for the first time in the stacks at the old
Bridgewater State College library when I was earning my B.A. in history.

And yes, I know they are sory of geeky. But I am a History Geek, and this
is how  we roll!

Abbott, The Empire of Austria: It's Rise and Present Power
Akers, Scorpio Reborn *
Brownsworth, Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire...*
Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire
Bulwer-Lyton, Athens: It's Rise and Fall Book I to V
Bury, The Cambridge Medieval History Vol1
Bury ,The Cambridge Medieval History Vol2
Bury, A History of the Later Roman Empire from Arcadius to Irene
Bury , A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great
Caesar, Commentaries
Carlyle, The French Revolution
Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop (library)
Emerson, Essays
Frazier, The Golden Bough
Herodotus,  History
Lamb, Tales from Shakespeare
Lang, Blue Fairy Book
           Myth Ritual & Religion
           The Arabian Nights Entertainment
Macaulay, The History of England Since the Acession of James II
McKillip, Bards Of Bone Plain *
Oman, Europe 476-918
Parkman, Count Frontenac & New France Under Louis XIV
                   France & Englamd In North America
                   Montcalm & Wolfe
Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Greeks & Romans
Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars
Tacitus, The Reign of Tiberius
Thucydides, History of the Peloponessian War
Tyler, England in America 1580-1652
Windham, The Inheritance of Rome:Illuminating the Dark Ages*

Sunday, February 27, 2011


So last July I posted here my thoughts on whether or not I should buy an
e-reader. Well, I gave in and bought one at my store back in November.
It was more an occupational decision than for any of the usual reasons
one buys a an e-reader. I work at Borders so I bought our Kobo reader
so I could better learn all about the machine I would be selling our
customers. I have to say that I'm happy with it. It's a basic black & white
screen reader, but that's all I need. I already have a laptop to surf the
web and send emails, so when I'm reading my Kobo, I don't have those
distractions to tempt me away from what I am reading. 

It came already loaded with one hundred classics and I've read some of
them already, The first was Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book which I'm
ashamed to say I hadn't read before. I've also downloaded a bunch of
free books, including a five volume history of ancient Athens by Bulwer-
Lyton. Plutarch's Lives, and Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars .
(Hey, I'm a history geek!) I've also actually purchased several books,
two of them books on ancient history and the third a fantasy novel.

That last one is The Bards of Bone Plain a wonderfully poetic work
by one of my favorite writers, Patricia McKillip. I enjoy the book, but
I have noticed that it doesn't feel the same as reading an actual physical
copy. Oddly enough, this is the only e-book I've had this sensation with
while reading it. Perhaps because she is a favorite author? I've had no
similar reactions reading my history books on the Kobo.

If I have one complaint about the e-books, the older ones especially, it
is that I can't flip past the long introductions to get to the the actual text.

Anyway, you can read an excerpt from Bards of Bone Plain here !

And I'll give a more complete list of "What's on My E-reader" soon.
I can't do it now, because it's recharging at the moment!