Book News: Los Angeles’ Best Indie Bookstores, Why You Should Read YA Lit, A Conversation Between Stephen and George & More!


UK Indies Fight Back

How independent bookstores in Britain are finding ways of getting customers in their stores.

More Dark Tower

Everyone’s getting excited with the adaptation of Stephen King’s opus and here are some more groovy photos.

L.A. Indie

The next time you’re in Los Angeles, check out these awesome bookstores.

Why You Should Read YA

A great article with nine reasons why you should be reading young adult books.

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“Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans of War” by Mary Roach (Norton, 2016)

Mary Roach has wowed her addictive readers with corpses (Stiff), sex (Bonk), and life in space (Packing for Mars). In Grunt she delves into a new arena with the world of the military and the science behind it that protects them in every way possible.

Roach begins with the military combat uniform and its development over time. The author does her job – as usual – as she delves back into America’s military past providing shocking and insightful tidbits, leading up to the current model. She dedicates entire chapters to combat medics, how the military and technology works with extreme heat, how to deal with excessive noise, military vehicles and how they are developed to protect the soldier in every conceivable situation.

The two chapters that are the most moving and poignant of the book are “Below the Belt” and “It Could Get Weird.” With the disturbing evolution of improvised explosive devices or IEDs, the number of men coming back from the front lines alive but often maimed and mutilated below the waist has increased significantly. Often IEDs go off beneath vehicles or from a low vantage point beneath the person causing the explosion to go upward and usually in the groin area. This had led to an astonishing and impressive development in penis reconstruction and genital transplants. Roach goes into fascinating detail with this line of medicine and surgery, as well as the slower development in therapy and helping these injured veterans in living their lives with their families again.

The book ends with a sobering chapter on the autopsies performed on the fallen men and women in action and how they are learning from this to help those soldiers fighting on the front lines.

With most of Mary Roach’s books there is a learning curve, but in Grunt the author learns and develops along with the reader as the military is one of those facets of our society that most of us are not brave enough to be a part of, and sometimes – perhaps often – take it for granted in the incredible daily job those women and men do, and know very little about. Grunt does a great job of educating us on this.

Originally written on July 12, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Grunt from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: How to Sleep More, More eMusic and Books are Doing Well


Tanith Lee: On remembering the bestselling science fiction author.
How to Sleep More: Apparently using an ereader before bed, like – no doubt – many people do, can affect your sleep habits.
eMusic is Back: After being the big thing in the 90’s, eMusic is rebranding themselves as eStories.
People are Still Buying Books: Book sales rose in May, yay!
All the Colors: Coloring books are still a hot item.

Book News: World’s Oldest Library Reopens, Remembering Elie Wiesel, Amazon B&M Comes To NYC & More!


A New Comic Book Store
Ariell R. Johnson is the first black woman to own a comic book store on the East Coast.

World’s Oldest Library
The world’s oldest library, started by a woman in Morocco in the 9th century, is back in business.

Remembering Elie Wiesel
On remembering the well-loved and well-respected author of Night.

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“The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon” by Andres Ruzo (TED Books, 2016)

There is a Peruvian legend that Andres Ruzo once heard his father tell him, of a mysterious river deep within the Amazon jungle that consists of rushing boiling water so hot that anything living that falls into it is immediately boiled alive. It seems like little more than an entertaining folk tale that can’t possibly be true, but now a geoscientist, Andres Ruzo intends to find out whether there is any truth to this “boiling river” story.

Ruzo starts with the research, uncovering what stories he can about this unique river and reading what evidence there is. Through special grants and research trips each summer he travels to his native Peru in search of this river. He eventually is able to track the location within a sacred spaced watched over by local shamans and must gain permission before he can take his team there. When he finally sees the boiling river, through a cloud of steam, he cannot believe it. As he continues his research, he must consider what it means to preserve this sacred site from misuse and neglect.

The Boiling River is a fascinating story about one man’s discovery of this phenomenon that blends science with the Peruvian culture, as Ruzo provides plenty of photographic evidence to back up what he is documenting.

Originally written on March 3, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Boiling River from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Rivers of London: Body Work” by Ben Aaronovich & Andrew Cartmel, illustrated by Lee Sullivan (Titan Comics, 2016)

With six books now available in the popular and bestselling urban fantasy Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovich, the author turns to a different medium to tell a story set in his invented world. While other authors tend to adapt their novels into graphic novel format, Aaronovich just wants to tell a whole new story in Rivers of London: Body Work.

PC Peter Grant finds himself involved in an unusual case once again. It begins with a possessed car running amok, trying to kill people. Peter eventually discovers it’s something to do with a car part that is “haunted” and that there are various car parts out there also suffering these paranormal effects. Soon enough Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale joins him and they are on the hunt for the Most Haunted Car in England.

The graphic novel brings to life the book series, as readers get to see what the various characters look like, presumably from the author’s mind. New readers might want to start with the first book in the series, however the graphic novel does give details on the characters to clue readers in on who is who. Body Work is a great story to suck new readers into this incredible world and its amazing characters.

Originally written on March 22, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Rivers of London: Body Work from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Olague (3): Almost 35,000 Words!

It’s been a while since I’ve done an update on my novel-in-progress, Olague. I shut it down last year once the holiday season kicked in, but since the beginning of 2016 it’s been going very well. Last night I finished up Chapter Three and am delighted with how the novel’s turning out. While I like to use outlines, especially when it comes to novels, they’re usually pretty vague outlines, more like a rough structure to the chapter and the part of the book, to get me going, and then I like to just let the characters do their thing, live in the world and tell the story.

It still amazes me – and I know I’ve said this a couple times on Bookbanter – how the characters will act and react, and simply live in their world, making choices and decisions that I never predicted, expected, or sometimes saw coming in any way. I’ll be stuck on some plot point wondering how it’s going to play out, and when I can’t figure it quite out, I’ll just sit down and write and let the characters figure it out . . . which they always, astonishingly, pleasantly do.

What has perhaps been the surprise that has made me happiest is the growing length of the novel. I knew it was going to be long, likely the longest thing I’ve ever written. I slapped on an estimated word count of  a quarter of a million words, which is just a round about figure, but seems a pretty accurate one so far. I’m just happy that my characters so far have had a lot of their own stories to tell, filling the pages (or the screen) with words.

Now for some fun numbers. Below is the breakdown of the chapters of the novel so far and the total word count at the bottom. I have an ongoing word count meter at the top of the main Bookbanter page on the right side, which I update as the word count changes.

Prologue:                                2,352 words
Chapter One:                       11,675 words
Chapter Two:                         8,811 words
Chapter Three:                    12,154 words

TOTAL WORDS:                  34,992 words