Bookbanter’s Top Ten Reads of 2012

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson: From the author of the Mars trilogy, as well as many other bestsellers, comes a science fiction novel that pushes the boundaries of the genre through story and character and writing to keep the reader hooked from start until finish.  2312 is a lengthy book that will stay with you long after you have turned and read the final page. Continue reading . . .
Little Star
Little Star by John Adjvide Lindqvist: From the international bestselling author of the chilling and horrific Let the Right One, Handling the Undead and Harbor comes a new novel that appears innocent and charming at first, but eventually leads the reader down a long dark path, covered in blood and filled with bodies.  Little Star will lull you into enjoyment and then terrify you all the way to the end. Continue reading . . .
Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines: Libriomancer is one of those books that feels like it should’ve been written a lot sooner, given its subject matter, and yet when one is done reading it, one is left wishing they could read it over again for the first time.  From the author of The Princess novels, Libriomancer is the first in the Magic Ex Libris series that will hopefully make Jim C. Hines the well-respected and appreciated author that he already is. Continue reading . . .
Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King: To the delight of many fans across the globe, Stephen King returns to his familiar Mid-World in this new Dark Tower tale with The Wind Through the Keyhole.  King has fun here, with the book set between the fourth volume, Wizard and Glass and the fifth, Wolves of the Calla, as he tells a story within a story within a story. Continue reading . . .
Lucky Bastard by S. G. Browne: The bestselling author of Breathers and Fate returns with another entertaining and funny book that is well keeping in the style of one S. G. Browne.  Readers who have come to enjoy Browne’s particular style, humor, and characters will be delighted in this latest offering with Lucky Bastard. Continue reading . . .
Redshirts by John Scalzi: Most scifi fans are familiar with the curse of the “redshirts.”  For those who are not, it applies to the original Star Trek show where any minor character in an episode wearing a red shirt ultimately ended up getting killed on an away mission before the end of the episode.  Bestselling author John Scalzi takes this humorous concept to a whole new level in his appropriately titled novel Redshirts. Continue reading . . .
Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell: In the sixth book of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales, he makes it clear with the title that this is the most important book of the series, as it’s the one where Alfred the Great finally passes from this world, leaving this torn country with an uncertain future, and it will be up to his successor to decide what to do. Continue reading . . .
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed: Saladin Ahmed has been on the writing scene for a little while, publishing stories in the likes of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show and StarshipSofa, as well as receiving praise from the likes of Publisher’s Weekly and Locus.  And now he arrives with his first novel, the surprisingly slim, but action- and detailed-packed Throne of the Crescent Moon, the first in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms series. Continue reading . . .
The Death of King Arthur translated by Simon Armitage: Simon Armitage’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was a delight to read and well-received by many readers (it remains one of the top read reviews on BookBanter), and now Armitage is back with his new translation of The Death of King Arthur, appearing in 1400, also known as The Alliterative Morte Arthure; it is imbued with the passion and panache of Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf. Continue reading . . .
Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez: Bestselling author Daniel Suarez delighted readers with his gritty and hard-edged take on technology gone haywire with Daemon and Freedom, and now he’s back with his next techno-thriller, Kill Decision, scrutinizing the subject of unmanned drones that cover our skies when we’re not looking.  Suarez certainly seems to be fortifying a bridge between the late, great Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy, which fans of either or both will thoroughly enjoy. Continue reading . . .

Faces of Publishing: An Interview with Brady McReynolds, publicist for Ace/Roc

Just finished updating the BookBanter site, where you can find a brand new Faces of Publishing interview with one entertaining and funny Brady McReynolds, a publicist for Penguin Putnam’s imprint’s Ace/Roc, a sample of which you can find below.  You’ll also find the latest BookBanter column on Ray Bradbury Remembered, as well as the latest book news from Forces of Geek.  I’ve also made it easier for you to download copies of my free ebooks: In that Quiet Earth and Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers, simply click on the covers and download the ebook in the format of your choosing.  There’s also a guest post from TW Brown on the Zombie Summer Blog Tour.  Finally, I’ve included links to the various BookBanter columns that I’ve published on the sidebar of the site.  Enjoy!

Brady McReynolds

Brady McReynolds grew up near Atlanta, GA and Asheville, NC, and he is the son of two high school teachers. Brady grew up reading and before long enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2010, he joined Penguin’s Ace/Roc publicity department and has been working there ever since!

Michael Homler

Alex C. Telander: How did you first get started in publishing?

Brady McReynolds: Well my first gig in publishing was as an intern at Algonquin Books in Chapel Hill, NC. During my junior year at the University of North Carolina I knew that I should start looking for opportunities outside of academics and a friend who knew of my love of books recommended I start there. It was only a couple of hours a week (and consisted mostly of filing and mailing) but I thought it was fascinating to be a part of the book creation process.

Alex: Did you always want to work in publicity?

Brady: Well since I started working in publishing all I’ve ever known is the publicity side of things. It wasn’t until I landed my current job with Penguin that I began to see the other types of work (editing, marketing, agent-ing [?]) that people do. However, now that I am doing publicity there isn’t any other job I’d want to do. I really enjoy working with authors to promote their books once the editorial and promotion processes are finished.

Alex: Who are some of your favorite authors you’ve gotten meet and/or work with?

Brady: Well my auto-generated reply as a publicist is to say that “all my authors are my favorites!” but I feel like it wouldn’t make for interesting or enlightening reading. As someone who grew up reading science-fiction and fantasy, I’ve now had the privilege of working with a lot of the genre’s great contemporary authors. Charles Stross, Harry Turtledove, and Jim Butcher immediately come to mind. I also had a blast at last year’s New York Comic-Con working side by side with Taylor Anderson, Jack Campbell, and Myke Cole (all great guys) whose books I can’t recommend often enough.

[CONTINUE READING . . . ]

The Literary Acrobat: An Interview with Genevieve Valentine

Genevieve Valentine Interview

Genvieve Valentine
Genevieve Valentine, in addition to publishing a number of short stories, is the author of the interesting dark fantasy, Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti. In this interview, she talks about where the idea for Mechanique came from, what sort of research it required, as well as how she created the characters. She also talks about things like who she likes to read and what she likes to do for fun.  [Read the interview . . .]

Mechanique

What’s Going on with BookBanter

After a heavy eight-day stint of nonstop working, I have a rare three-day weekend off, and while I was planning to have a new interview with Genevieve Valentine up on BookBanter, instead I’m going to be going camping this weekend — for the first time in many years — and so will not have the time to update the website.  However, I plan to get it all up and running come Monday.

In the meantime, I’ll be putting up the new BookBanter Boon giveaway tomorrow morning before I leave, so stay tuned!

BookBanter Episode 37 with Dan Wells

Dan WellsPhoto by Micah Demoux Eyeris

Dan Wells is the author of I am Not a Serial Killer and the recently released Mr. Monster. He likes to begin his readings with: “I am not a serial killer. My book is an autobiography.” His protagonist, John Wayne Cleaver, is a fascinating teenager who has his own issues to deal with, but when there’s a serial killer on the loose, John pushes these thoughts aside and does what he does best: gets into the mind of a cold-hearted murderer.

In the interview, Wells talks about how he got started writing, where he got the idea for John Wayne Cleaver, how many other books there will be, and a little on what else he’s working on. You’ll find out the unusual location of his everyday writing office and what hobbies he likes to get up to in his free time.

To play the episode go to Bookbanter; to download, right click on THIS LINK.

Until next time, keep reading.

Alex C. Telander.

 

Goal Achieved: “I’m on the cover of a book!”

Today I discovered I’ve achieved one of my goals.  I’ve been reviewing books now for over ten years, starting in 1999 for the Long Beach Union.  During the month of March I will likely hit the 300 review mark for the BookBanter site, and while my initial goal with reviewing books has always been to critique what I’ve read and then to interest and entertain (and in some cases warn) readers about various books, I have also been looking to gain a popularity and notoriety with my book reviews, and now with my BookBanter podcasts.  And now I’ve achieved another goal in getting a quote of one of my reviews not only mentioned in a book, but featured on the front cover, which is more than I could wish for.

The book in question is the recently released Amber Benson’s Cat’s Claw, the sequel to Death’s Daughter which I reviewed for the Sacramento Book Review almost a year ago.  Here’s the review, and below is an enlarged photo of the book cover with a quote from my review on it.

Cat's Claw

This is great for the Sacramento Book Review, but also makes me feel pretty great.

And the longer quote featured on the first page is: “Amber Benson does an excellent job of creating strong characters, as well as educating the reader on some great mythology history . .  a fast-paced and very entertaining story.”

Feeling pretty psyched right now.

And for anyone interested in revisiting, or perhaps checking out for the first time, my interview with Amber Benson, click here.

Part 1 of Interviewing: Techniques and the Interviewees

As we encroach upon the one year anniversary of BookBanter, which technically falls on Tuesday, October 13th, but I’m commemorating this with the new episode on Thursday, October 15th (or between 11PM and midnight the night before for you BookBanter Readers waiting for the new episode), I’m going to talk a little about interviewing on BookBanter.

With the eighteenth episode going up next week and sixteen successful interviews under my belt covering a wide range of authors on numerous subjects, including fiction and nonfiction; I’ve realized an interesting facet to interviewing: with each interview I undertake, they fall into two categories.  Now bare in mind these categories are on equal standing, and no one is better or worse than the other, they’re just different, and both just as enjoyable to do.

There is the interview where I feel like I’m always running the show.  Obviously I’m pretty much always in this position, being the interviewer, but there are some authors who either have some preset answers or are just good at responding to questions and know where I want them to go with it and what information I’m looking for.  These are the situations where I feel like I’m “mostly” running the show.  It’s almost like they are running the interview and I’m simply shooting out the questions every once in a while when they’re done answering the previous question.  These are fun as the listener gets a lot of information about the author, as well as personal anecdotes and some interesting stories that I never would’ve expected to hear and never thought to ask as a question.  These are usually with authors who have been writing and published for some time and have a number of books under their belts; though this is certainly not always the case.  These also tend to be longer interviews.

The other type is where I give the question and the author answers specifically to the question, occasionally giving extra information, but for the most part sticking to the question.  In this situations I feel like I’m completely running the interview, as the author is reacting and responding to me and not the other way round (as is the case in the first type discussed above).  What makes these interviews just as fun and interesting is it forces me to improvise more and make up new questions that will probe a little more into the author’s life.  The result again is some new and interesting information that I’d never planned on asking and yet leads to a fun and unique interview.  These authors are usually relatively new authors (again, not in all cases) and tend to be shorter interviews.

I want to once again stress the point that I thoroughly enjoy these two types of interviews equally, as the result each time is a very entertaining and enjoyable interview that I know is special and unlike any other.  This guarantees for me — which is a big part of why I love doing BookBanter — that each interview I do will be a totally different experience to any one I’ve done before and will therefore, I think, make it all the more interesting and entertaining for the BookBanter Reader and Listener.