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

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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.

[read more . . .]

“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

Book News: Badass Librarians, a Grunt Trailer and the Order of Canada

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Badass Librarians – How some awesome librarians foiled Al Qaeda and saved some ancient manuscripts.

Locus Awards – The Locus Awards were held last weekend and here are the awesome winners!

Best Books of 2016 – Book Riot take a look at the best books that read in 2016 . . . so far.

100 Must Read Nature Books – Now that summer is in full swing, we’re all going out a lot and checking out the outdoors, and here are 100 nature-related recommends to add to your travels.

Grunt Trailer – Mary Roach’s new book, Grunt, is out all about the science of the military. Roach is known for her bestselling books Stiff and Bonk. And here’s her entertaining book trailer for Grunt.

100 Family-Friendly Audiobooks – It’s road trip season, which means a lot of time spent in a vehicle and what better way to pass the time than listening to audiobooks, and here are 100 that your kids can listen to as well.

Order of Canada: Bestselling science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer has been appointed to the Order of Canada.

King Capsule No. 2

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Welcome back. I trust you enjoyed your first course of the particular bloody and terrifying horror that is Stephen King. Since you have returned, you are clearly wanting more. Well then, without further ado, here is your next capsule, featuring a larger dose this time.

Capsule No. 1 can be found here.


Carrie (1974): Stephen King’s debut novel that went on to become a bestseller has become part of lore and urban legends and part of the American lexicon. Carrie White wants nothing more than to have a normal high school experience, but high school is never like that. Plus she has a religious zealot for a mom who has controlled her in every way since the day she was born. But Carrie has a secret: she has a special ability that no one else does: she can do things with her mind. And maybe it seems like things might be okay when a cute guy asks her to the prom and gives her a chance to have the perfect night. But this IS a Stephen King novel after all, even if it’s his first, so nothing is going to go the way it’s planned to go.


The Dead Zone (1979): Continuing on the theme of extra-sensory perception or ESP we have the story of Johnny Smith who had a bad ice skating accident when he was six years old and now he can kind of predict things that are going happen, then when he’s in a bad car accident as an adult and spends four years in a coma, he returns to the world with the ability to see what is to come. It is both a blessing and a curse. The good thing is you know when things are going to happen and you can get out of the way and protect yourself; the bad thing is all those other people that are in the way and need saving.


Firestarter (1980): Rounding out King’s ESP trilogy is the incendiary Firestarter. Andy McGee and Vicky Tomlinson participated in a drug experiment when they were younger, but unbeknownst to them it was orchestrated by a secret government group known as The Shop. The child they have, Charlie, develops the uncanny ability to set things on fire. Some things she makes just burst into flame, other things she can make explode into a raging pyre. But she’s also a scared, confused little girl. The Shop wants to get her so they can study her and do experiments on her and find out how her powers work and how they can harness them, regardless of the fact that she is a child. But her dad Andy isn’t going to let them get within a mile of her; so now the two are on the run from a clandestine government body that has limitless resources.


Cujo (1981): This is the story about a dog named Cujo. This dog contracts rabies from a bite and turns rabid. Donna Trenton and her young son, Tad, come up to the old farm one day and discover Cujo who is looking to sink his teeth into anything. And here we have King’s powerful, moving story about a mother and child fighting to survive against a terrible beast. But it is also the story of a special kind of small town that could allow an animal to turn rabid and begin tormenting two of its citizens.


Christine (1983): Arnold Cunningham is your classic Geek who is covered in zits and dreams of being close to a girl, let alone touching one. Until the day he sees the 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine. It’s the first female he ever falls in love with, and the last, and once he buys the vehicle his life changes completely. Whether it’s for the better or the worse, is a matter of opinion, depending on who you’re asking. But all of a sudden he’s looking better, has a gorgeous girl on his arm, and everything seems to be going his way. Except for this close friend. And the fact that people who get in his way tend to end up dead all of a sudden. But who’s behind it? The car? Now that’s just crazy talk.


The Dark Half (1989): We all have our other side, our dark half. Stephen King had it with his pseudonym Richard Bachman. So when successful author Thad Beaumont decides he’s written his last book as Richard Stark (who got him most of his money), he stages a PR set and puts his pseudonym to rest with a fake gravestone. But once everyone leaves, something crawls out of the ground where that gravestone is. It’s coming after Thad. It doesn’t want him to stop. It wants him to write another Richard Stark book. Whatever it takes. Even if he has to write it in blood.

“Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep” edited by Peter Öberg (Affront Publishing, 2015)


When people think of Sweden a number of cliche thoughts and preconceived notions come to mind. When they think of Swedish authors, they are likely two that come to mind: Stieg Larsson of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and John Ajvide Lindqvist of Let the Right One In. One is a thriller writer, the other horror, but what about speculative fiction?

In Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep readers get to experience the genres of science fiction and fantasy in this fascinating anthology from the land of the midnight sun. 26 stories (some quite long) cover the gamut of the genres, with plenty of dystopian worlds spelling doom and gloom. Others will take you to other worlds, others to the future, and others to a very familiar place where things just aren’t quite right.

“Melody of the Yellow Bard” is an unusual story about wormholes and how what you find on the other side isn’t always that great. “The Thirteenth Tower” is a moving tale set in a destroyed world where those within it learn of how good times were before. “The Road” is of an alternate world featuring a female marshal employed by the Road Council, charged with keeping everything in order.

While the dystopian future is a common theme with a few of the stories, there are many others on diverse and unusual subjects, some short some long, providing a great smorgasbord (sorry, I had to) of stories for interested readers.

Originally written on July 9, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.