Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Library Loot (30 September 2009)

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

After a noon-time visit to the dentist, I hopped across the street to the other branch of the library. Now I don't usually go to this library because of its very limited free parking and its much smaller collection. But since I was in the area, I figured I'd check out some books I couldn't find in my usual branch such as the 2nd book of the Sandman series (they have everything else!).

Red Sorghum: A Novel of China by Mo Yan
A legend in China, where it won the major literary awards and inspired an Oscar-nominated film, this is a novel of family, myth, and memory, set during the fratricidal barbarity of the 1930s, when the Chinese battled both Japanese invaders and each other.

The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman
This volume of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman book series features the first appearance of Death, the Sandman's older sister. As Clive Barker says in his Introduction, ". . . there is a wonderful willful quality to this mix . . .slapstick comedy, mystical musings, and the grimmest collection of serial killers this side of Death Row."

The Sandman Library 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman
The third book of the Sandman collection is a series of four short comic book stories. What's remarkable here (considering the publisher and the time that this was originally published) is that the main character of the book--the Sandman, King of Dreams--serves only as a minor character in each of these otherwise unrelated stories. (Actually, he's not even in the last story.) This signaled a couple of important things in the development of what is considered one of the great comics of the second half of the century. First, it marked a distinct move away from the horror genre and into a more fantasy-rich, classical mythology-laden environment. And secondly, it solidly cemented Neil Gaiman as a storyteller. One of the stories here, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," took home the World Fantasy Award for best short story--the first time a comic was given that honor. But for my money, another story in Dream Country has it beat hands down. "A Dream of a Thousand Cats" has such hope, beauty, and good old-fashioned chills that rereading it becomes a welcome pleasure.

The Ghost in Love by Jonathan Carroll
Finally got hold of this one!

A man falls in the snow, hits his head on a stone curb and dies. A ghost that's been sent to take his soul to the Afterlife arrives just as he falls. But something strange occurs: the man doesn't die. The ghost is flabbergasted. This is unprecedented. Going immediately to its boss, the ghost asks, what should I do now? The boss says, we don't know how this happened but we're working on it. In the meantime, we want you to stay with this man and watch to see if he does anything that might help us figure out what's going on.

Unhappily, the ghost agrees. It is a ghost, not a nursemaid. The last thing it wants to do is hang around watching a human being walk through his every day. But a funny thing happens—the ghost falls truly madly deeply in love with the man's girlfriend and things get complicated. The Ghost in Love is about what happens to us when we discover that we have become the masters of our own fate. No excuses, no outside forces or gods to blame—the responsibility is all our own. It's also about love, ghosts that happen to be gourmet cooks, talking dogs, and picnicking in the rain with yourself at twenty different ages.

It's tough being a ghost on an empty stomach.

See more Library Loot here.


Linda said...

Ghost in Love sounds great. Looking forward to your review. Great loot.

Blodeuedd said...

Sounds interesting, and I should read more Gaiman. Have fun

fleurfisher said...

Looks like a great set of books. I'm particularly taken by Ghost in Love, and will be checking my library's catalogue. One day I will get to The Sandman, but my library has the latter books but not the earlier ones.