Did YOU Win 5 Spring Cleaning Titles?

With spring sprung (springing? springed? sprunged?), that means spring cleaning! Not just that freakin’ pigsty you call your house or apartment, but also your miserable, chaotic life. And, hey, we can help! No, we’re not pushing a mop or listening to you vent, but we do have five sets of five handy books to give away, courtesy of Hachette Book Group, and they’re going to the grubby hands of:
• Naghma Husain of Bay Shore, N.Y.
• Aaron Martin of Aurora, Colo.
• Estela Sagredo of Hanscom AFB, Mass.
• Sara Miller of Oceanside, Calif.
• Eva Mitnick of Venice, Calif.

Thanks for entering, dirty slobs! More contests coming soon!

Keeper of Light and Dust

Remember “the willing suspension of disbelief,” that term you learned in literature class? It’s about the author’s ability to make you turn off your doubting mind and believe just about anything. And that ability gets a major workout in KEEPER OF LIGHT AND DUST, the latest novel from Natasha Mostert.
Her book is filled with perspiration and philosophy; gymnasiums and meditation halls; body odor and incense. As different as these things are, they come together in the complex world of martial arts. But wait. Now add ancient legends of warriors and their spiritual protectors, and you are a little closer to what Mostert is up to.

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Matagorda / The First Fast Draw

Here’s my Louis L’Amour story: When his short story collection YONDERING was published in 1980, the author set out on a promotion tour that brought him to Oklahoma City. I caught up with him at a mall bookstore where fans were standing in a very long line to get an autograph. We were told he had time to sign two books max, so I grabbed that new collection and a copy of the 1967 MATAGORDA.

I set my two books on the table in front of him and he signed YONDERING, but hesitated some when he saw the title of the second one. He looked up at me with a question on his face and I said, “I grew up in Matagorda County.” Grinning, he replied, “I knew there had to be a reason.”

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Cat Eyed Boy: Volume Two

How crazy is CAT EYED BOY: VOLUME TWO? Take the insanity level of Kazuo Umezu’s VOLUME ONE and multiply by any number you wish, as long as it’s greater than 1. Whatever you end up with on the other side of the equal side is as good an approximation as any.

Kazuo Umezu’s horror manga from Japan is so gloriously fucked-up, I can’t believe it’s actually from the late 1960s. Viz Media now presents the second half of its entire run in another enormous chunk of a book, and I loved every page of it … well, as much as one can love a comic whose inside jacket pits its protagonist against villains named The Hag on Your Back, The Meat Face and The One-Legged Monster of Oudai.

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BOOK WHORE >> 3.31.09

book whoreShe’s back, pimpin’ out notable new releases to place on your radar!

THE WARDED MAN by Peter V. Brett — The time has come to stand against the night. As darkness falls, the corelings rise — demons who well up from the ground like hellish steam, taking on fearsome form and substance. Sand demons. Wood demons. Wind demons. Flame demons. And gigantic rock demons, the deadliest of all. They possess supernatural strength and powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards–symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and mystery, and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile.

THE CHAMELEON CONSPIRACY by Haggai Carmon — The master criminal and con man known as the Chameleon has eluded international law enforcement for twenty years. Dan Gordon was sure he finally had him, but he was left empty-handed. Now he won’t rest until the Chameleon is stopped. The Chameleon is actually more than a mere criminal — he’s an undercover sleeper agent. But Gordon is more than he seems, too. He’s an experienced hunter, trained by the Mossad, working now for the CIA.

STAR WARS: FATE OF THE JEDI: OUTCAST by Aaron Allston — After a violent civil war and the devastation wrought by the now-fallen Darth Caedus, the Galactic Alliance is in crisis and in need. From all corners, politicians and military leaders converge on Coruscant for a crucial summit to restore order. But even more critical is the future of the Jedi. Chief of State Natasi Daala orders the arrest of Luke Skywalker for failing to prevent Jacen Solo’s turn to the dark side and his subsequent reign of terror as a Sith Lord. But it’s only the first blow in an anti-Jedi backlash fueled by a hostile government and suspicious public. When Jedi Knight Valin Horn suffers a psychotic break and becomes a dangerous fugitive, the Jedi become the target of a media-driven witch hunt. Facing conviction, Luke must strike a bargain with the calculating Daala: his freedom in exchange for his exile from Coruscant and from the Jedi Order.

MALICE by Lisa Jackson — Opening his eyes in the hospital room where he’s recovering from an accident, New Orleans detective Rick Bentz sees his first wife, Jennifer, standing in the doorway. Then she blows him a kiss and disappears. But it couldn’t have been Jennifer. She died 12 years ago. Once out of the hospital, Bentz begins to see Jennifer everywhere. Could she still be alive? But it was Bentz who identified Jennifer’s body after her horrible car wreck, and there had been no question in his mind that it was her crumpled form behind the whee. He’s never doubted it until now. He can’t tell his new wife, Olivia, about the sightings or his secret fear that he’s losing his mind. But Olivia is also hiding a secret. When a copy of Jennifer’s death certificate arrives in the mail, emblazoned with a red question mark, Bentz follows the postmark trail to Los Angeles, returning to the painful memories he’s tried so hard to forget, and straight into a killer’s web.

THE TEMPORAL VOID by Peter F. Hamilton — Long ago, a human astrophysicist, Inigo, began dreaming scenes from the life of a remarkable human being named Edeard, who lived within the Void, a self-contained microuniverse at the heart of the galaxy. There, humans possessed uncanny psychic abilities, and Edeard’s were the strongest of all. Equally strong was his determination to bring justice and freedom to a world terrorized by criminal violence and corruption. Inigo’s inspirational dreams, shared by hundreds of millions, gave birth to a religion: Living Dream. But when the appearance of a Second Dreamer seemed to trigger the expansion of the Void — an expansion that is devouring everything in its path — the Intersolar Commonwealth was thrown into turmoil; interstellar war threatens to erupt.

DELUSION by Peter Abrahams — The monster storm “Bernardine” did more than devastate the tiny Gulf Coast community of Belle Ville. It uncovered suppressed evidence that exonerates a man wrongly imprisoned for murder. Twenty years ago, Nell Jarreau identified Alvin “Pirate” DuPree as the murderer who killed her boyfriend right in front of her — and she later went on to marry the detective, now the police chief, who made the arrest. She and Clay raised a daughter and had a happy life — but now Pirate is free, leaving Nell haunted by doubt, guilt, fear … and troubling hints that a rot may be festering at her own family’s core. For the sake of her sanity, her marriage and the safety of those she loves, Nell must uncover the truth about a nightmare that will not end. But the search is leading her into twisting dark alleys she might never escape from … where a wild-card ex-con waits in the shadows.

Buy them at Amazon.

SEARCH ME >> 3.31.09

A sampling of some of the bizarro search terms with (thankfully) low numbers that brought people to BOOKGASM over the last 30ish days:

• is the historian non-fiction
• luke skywalker gets a blowjob
• gasmask blowjob
• haley joel osment nude
• 10 news man killed his ex and mad tacos

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Rome Noir

Having read a recent collection
of Italian crime fiction, I was more than ready for more of the same. Sadly, ROME NOIR can’t hold a candle to the earlier anthology, mainly for the reason there are so few stories here that are actually crime-related. Edited by Chiara Stangalino and Maxim Jakubowski, the book comes off more like a collection of Italian fiction — some good, some bad.

It’s a total head-scratcher since Jakubowski has such a great eye for crime fiction, but once I read the introduction, I knew that I should have just placed the book down and moved on, since the editors even admit the people they approached had no clue what to do with the setting of Rome.

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Obscene, Indecent, Immoral, and Offensive: 100+ Years of Censored, Banned, and Controversial Films

Don’t know about you, but whenever some group seeks to censor, ban or just plain gripe about a movie, that only makes me want to see it more, even if my interest beforehand was nil. After all, this is America, isn’t it? Land of the free, right?

Film historian Stephen Tropiano chronicles virtually every right-wing and left-wing hissy fit in motion-picture history in the informative OBSCENE, INDECENT, IMMORAL, AND OFFENSIVE: 100+ YEARS OF CENSORED, BANNED, AND CONTROVERSIAL FILMS. I am thoroughly embarrassed that his introduction deals with the 1997 ruckus over THE TIN DRUM, because it happened right here in my town of Oklahoma City, yet that instance best encapsulates the book’s entire subject.

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Spider-Man Family: Itsy-Bitsy Battles

More all-ages adventures await in SPIDER-MAN FAMILY: ITSY-BITSY BATTLES, a three-issue digest collection. It kicks off with Spidey and half of The Fantastic Four teaming up to capture an utterly lame villain who calls himself The Looter; their efforts require them to go back to prehistoric times and cross paths with Ka-Zar and Shanna the She-Devil, as well as Dr. Strange.

Next, two kids hack into what they think is a game, but actually is a super-secret project at Stark Industries, which they unleash upon an unsuspecting city; Spider-Man and Iron Man swoop in to save the day. In the last and best lead story, the wallcrawler and X-Men’s Marvel Girl are appointed by Nick Fury to “babysit” Bruce Banner, and keep him calm so he won’t turn into The Hulk. Naturally, circumstances all around make this extraordinarily difficult.

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NEWSGASM >> 3.30.09

newsgasmAll the news that’s fit to capsulize!

Nominees for the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers’ 2009 Scribe Awards have been announced, honoring excellence in licensed novels based upon TV shows, movies and video games. Among them are Tod Goldberg’s BURN NOTICE: THE FIX, James Rollins’ INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, Matt Forbeck’s MUTANT CHRONICLES and Greg Cox’s UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS. Keith R.A. DeCandido will receive the Grandmaster Award at the ceremonies, to be held at July’s San Diego ComicCon.

BasedonBooks.net is a new movie review site run by University of Georgia students. Creator Julie Leung said, “It focuses on movies with literary origins, reviewing from the perspective of a person who has read the book. If you’ve ever had a favorite novel turn into an abominable mess onscreen, this blog is for you.”

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