Drew is the new owner here at Towne Book Center and has certainly been trying to fill the big shoes that were left for him by PK. Usually you can find Drew on the floor handselling his favorite books (at this point we all know about Johannes Cabal the Necromancer) or moving boxes as he tries to be somewhat useful. A devotee of Fantasy, Science Fiction and History Drew is an eclectic reader and will talk your ear off if you give him a chance! Below are some of his favorite books (we forbid him from picking Johannes Cabal!)
When people think of Fascism they tend to think of Nazi Germany, however Germany was not the only country to fall prey to fascism nor was it the first. In The Perfect Fascist historian Victoria de Grazia does an incredible job showing how fasism was born and how so many italians were seduced by it while focusing on one mans struggle to define his identity as Mussolini's perfect fascist when his personal life begins to fall apart.
This collection of macabre and terrifying short stories is from one of the modern masters of horror, Clive Barker. If that name sounds familiar it may be because he is also known for his numerous horror films including Hellraiser. Books Of Blood is being turned into a Hulu series and you have a chance to read it before it comes out and be in the know. Be careful though, in horror knowing is not always a good thing!
If you were anything like me during the lockdown then as you sat around and tried to summon up the will to rewatch Stranger things for the twentieth time you realized that you needed more hobbies. Enter Making Stuff and Doing Things! This book is packed full of how to guides on how to build all kinds of cool stuff and pick up a range of new hobbies, its a must have when you're stuck at home!
Set in the universe of Warhammer 40K Slave of Nuceria tells the tragic backstory of the Primarch (leader and gene father) of the World Eaters Legion. Captured as a child and forced into the gladiatorial pits Angron goes from a man whose greatest strength is his compassion to a being driven only by rage. His sons in the legion want to save him, he wants them to become like him and the tragic conflict is inevitable.
Set in an alternate history where Nazi Germany was successfull during the second world war Fatherland is the chilling and at times all too real story of a detective investigating the murder of a highly ranked Nazi official, however the gestapo become involved and the case takes on a polical nature. A terrifying look at how we examine facts and choose to remember history this book is especially poignant in our times.
The only Good Indians is one of my favorite horror novels that I have read in a long time. Normally I like my horror with an element of humor, this is an exception. This book is a story of revenge and what happens when you try to run what you are. A brutal story with a social commentary that makes you ask hard questions this story has notes of a truth that we all should heed.
This is the fourth book in the Stormlight Archive (book one is located over in the holiday staff picks section) and I have got to say that this book absolutely lives up to the hype. Taking place in the aftermath of Oathbringer this book is the first one to focus on the Parshendi race. It is filled with adventure, and a moment that Sanderson has envisioned since he first dreamed up the series, I recommend this book!
Conn Igulden is my go to when I am in the mood for some historical fiction. The story is of two young men named Gaius and Marcus and their respective rises to power. This is how republics fall. I don’t want to spoil anything save to say that this book has all the adventure of a good swashbuckler but with real history backing them up. This book is a must for all lovers of Rome
David McCullough is one of the pre-eminent historians and biographers of our time, and John Adams may be some of his best work. Too often we think of the founding fathers as monolithic when the reality is that they were a fractious group made up of geniuses and scoundrels. John Adams goes out of its way to show Adams as a person first and politician second. I adored Adams after this book, and you will too!
This book really does have it all! Shapeshifting tribes and a complex society built up around what people shift to? Check. Political intrigue that actually feels real and not just like the contrivance of a land grabbing Scooby Doo villain? Check. In this world each person gets their own shape shifting ability and joins a clan with the same ability. So what happens when someone has a different shape? What happens when the tribes unite?
Dune is one of the great novels of Science Fiction if not one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. Epic in scope and with characters that it’s impossible not to root for, and at times plot against, I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. Imagine Game of Thrones but set in Space. That still does not begin to do this book justice. Be cool and read it before the new movie comes out!
If you have ever enjoyed some of the darker and grittier fantasies out there then this omnibus is for you! Glen Cook's Black Companythe "History" of the infamous mercenaries known asThe Black company and the story of how the maybe the heroes we need, not the ones we want. Gritty but with real heart this IS the original gritty modern fantasy.
Elantris is a fantastic novel that turns one of the main concepts of fantasy on its head. It asks the question what happens to a magical society when magic suddenly stops working. When all of the people who were once all-powerful wizards are now beginning to fall apart and decay. Set against the backdrop of a brewing religious conflict (which is masterfully written) Elantris is at its heart a story about healing and hope.
Imagine a world not too different from ours...are you imagining it? Good! Now add magic and magical creatures. If you're doing this right you should be able to picture the world of The House In The Cerulean Sea. In this world not quite our own there exist magical children, sometimes these children are orphaned and so specific orphanages for magical children had to be set up. Which is where Linus comes in. Linus is an inspector of these orphanages and while his life is droll and boring he is quite competent at his job, thats why he gets given a special assignment. He is to asses a house unlike any other with six magical children who could end the world and the mysterious Arthur Parnassus who runs Marsyas Island Orphanage. What Linus finds though could end his own world, for the better! Part love story, part fantasy, part finding yourself and one hundred percent finding your tribe this book is the perfect balm for the roughnes of the last year. T.J. said that he wrote this so that at the end you could sigh contentedly and hug the book close, I've gotta say he succeeded!
A wonderfully beautiful story about magic in the turn of the 19th Century full of all the granduer and grim that comes with the post gilded age. The great wealthy families are not just captains of industry they are also magical titans with each family lead by powerful wizards. There are of course other classes of people, and discontent is bubbling beneath the surface. This is a prose filled book that manages to do urban fantasy while keeping the wonder and otherness that many urban fantasies lack. This is a great read!
A hysterical and completely irreverant collection of short stories set in the fictional town of Night Vale I cannot reccommend this book enough. What started out as a darkly humourous pod cast has now become a bit of a cult phenomena. Each story is presented as nightly new's bulletin for the small southwestern town with warnings to avoid the glow cloud and never mind the goings on in the dog park. If you want to read a series of short stories with an Arizona Gothic feel (or if you're curious what that means) then this is for you!
Oh The Rage of Dragons, I honestly think this book is an opportunity for everyone to get in on the ground floor of something big. I mean it. You guys could be one of the cool people who gets to talk about how you read it before the show.
But what is this books about you ask?
Well let me answer your question with a question of my own. Do you want to read about Dragons, warriors that can turn themselves into giants and a man who’s driven to vengeance after everything is taken from him? Then you may like this book.
In a world that borrows heavily from African (specifically Xhosa) myth the story focuses on Tau’s quest for vengeance ( a vengeance that is well earned) against the Omehi, his own
people. This book discusses colonization from both the colonizers point of view and the native’s and manages to have multiple characters straddle the line between these view points.
If you like Enders Game, Gladiator and Spartacus AND you though they could all use Dragons then this book is for you.
Johannes is back at it again, and this time he is forced to solve a murder mystery on an aeroship. However because nothing comes easy to him Johannes is on said aeroship due to his need to flee the countryf for "inciting a riot possibly with zombies". If you are in the mood for a hysterical whodunit, a Hercule Poirot mystery with Magic, Mayhem, and Sarcasm then this book is the one for you!
Throughout history there have been cities that were centers of learning. From the famed library of Alexandria to the Cordoba Caliphate there are two threads that unite these collections of knowledge. They have all been destroyed and they all played home to three very special books. The Map of Knowledge is the story of how the works of Euclid, Ptolemy, and Galen survived the fires for thousand years and how they helped to pave the way for the modern world, as well as what happened to the fabled cities of lost libraries.
A really fun romp through the gated communities of the south during the early 90’s, with a vampire thrown in too! I have really enjoyed all of Grady Hendrix’s novels thus far and am happy to say that this one continues the tradition. The vampire was good and spooky and it was super refreshing to not just have him feed on peoples blood but also create suffering in the communities as well. Best moment in the book was when the two women were comparing the best ways to clean up after themselves, I literally cackled.
I absolutely adore this book. As a devotee of horror novels I have always had a certain fascination with Lovecraft and the mythos that he created. One of the enduring facets of that mythos is the idea of cursed books or art and none ,save for the Necronomicon, is more famous than the King In Yellow. However unlike the Necromicon The King In Yellow is a real book. It is in fact a collection of macabre short stories and poems that inspired Lovecraft in his own writings! Very similar to Poe's work The King in Yellow is not as gothic but outstrips Poe in terms of nihilistic horror. A great read for anyone who likes scary stories, H.P. Lovecraft or someone with a taste for the strange I highly recommend this book. I even spent 5 years looking which took me all over New England before I finally secured a first edition for myself.
Ahh the Necromancers House! A genuinely spooky story with magic, soviet era spellbooks and the sorts of broken people who need things like that to fill the holes in their lives. I am a huge fan of anything Slavic in its mythology and this is certainly covered in it. From the Rusalka named Nadia to the Baba Yaga herself fans of Russian folk tales will find plenty here to enjoy and even people who are new to the mythos will enjoy the spell being woven. With language like King, monsters like Chort hopping all over the place and an alcoholic magus trying desperately not to go back in to Baba Yaga's cage what's not to enjoy? A great read for those who fear the old woman in the woods, and what exactly is in her bag that keeps...squirming like that..
Meddling Kids answers the question that many of us who grew up watching Scooby Doo have asked at least once, what happened once the gang grew up? In Meddling Kids the answer is...nothing great. Daphne is a bartender with PTSD, Velma is a combat nut, Fred is dead and haunting Shaggy who takes drugs to keep the ghost of his childhood friend quiet. There is still a Great Dane though so don't worry! This book is full of Scooby Doo goodness as the gang has to reunite solve the mystery that caused them to break up, its a Scooby Doo and Cthullu mystery guys!!
Night is the haunting true story about a young man's experiences at Auschwitz, the factory of death. Starting from his induction into the camp and going over day to day life Night is a book that at times feels bereft of hope and helps to make the reader feel a fraction of what life was like in the camps. As more and more survivors pass away true accounts like Night become more and more important to tell, read, and remember. This book may be small but it is quite heavy and it should be burned into the minds of everyone that reads it so that we can ensure that we make sure that horrors of the Holocaust never happen again.
Prisoners of Geography is a fascinating look at the role that geography can play when it comes to politics, history, and why some countries constantly go to war and some likely never will. If you've ever been curious about why Russia felt the need to annex the Crimea (warm water ports) or why India and China are unlikely to go to war (the Himalayas) then this book is for!
"Every ninety years 12 gods return as youn people. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead." This quote opens what is probably one of my favorite comic series to come out in a long time. Twelve different gods from all across the pantheons come back to earth every 90 years and this time around they are musicians. Playing underground shows that are better than any drug it's a total party, but when bodies start dropping questions have to be asked. Questions like what are the gods, and what is killing them?
Set during the Napoleonic Wars His Majesty's Dragon adds a twist to this fascinating piece of history, by adding dragons! Our main character Laurence has his whole life turned upside down when he captures a French ship bearing a dragon egg and finds himself booted from the navy and his high position in society to become a dragon rider. A thrilling adventure and great story of friendship His Majesty's Dragon is a great first novel in this series and a wonderful introduction to alternate history!