Behold, the bounty of books being enjoyed at my household as we speak! Huzzah! Most are new, one is not, all shall be explained for your enjoyment and edification.
Starting at the top left we have "Your Hate Mail Will be Graded" by John Scalzi. Scalzi is one of my most favoritest authors, and the majority of his stuff that I've read has been over at his site. I've also read almost all of his books (more on that later) but seeing how I've been visiting his site daily for several years now, most of what I've read has been his internet musings. The best of these musings are compiled into this volume. Oh sure, I could go back and read his stuff on his site, but where's the fun in that? I don't always agree with him but I'm always entertained by him, so I'm very much looking forward to this one. On a related note, Subterranean Press, the publisher of this book, make some really nice books. Check them out when you feel the need to consume words.
Next up is "The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian" by Robert E Howard. These are Howard's original Conan stories in the order that he wrote them and they are completely awesome. I've been reading the Dark Horse comics adaptations of these stories for a while now, but it's still good to read the original tales. The cool thing is how much they jump around. In one story Conan is a thief, then a king, then a pirate. I can see the interest in having the stories arranged chronologically to make things easier on the reader, but this way is so much more interesting. It's amazing how bloody and gory the stories are considering that they were written almost 80 years ago. All of Howard's stories, with all of his character have been assembled in similar volumes and I'll probably end up getting them all. Crom's bones!
After that is "Waiting for Athena" also by John Scalzi. This book/pamphlet thingy came with "Your Hate Mail..." and is a collection of writings done by Scalzi as he waited for the birth of his child. I honestly didn't remember that this would be coming with the book, so yay for free stuff. Having waited for two kids now, I'm sure I can find some stuff in common, however as Scalzi didn't fly halfway around the world for his kids, I doubt that our experiences will be all that similar. Still, I'm sure it'll be a good read.
On the bottom row, left side is "Zoe's Tale", also by John Scalzi. "Zoe's Tale" is the last book in Scalzi's Old Man War universe and is a retelling of "The Last Colony" from the point of view of Zoe, the protagonist's teenage daughter. I quite liked "Old Man War", the first book and absolutely loved "The Ghost Brigades", the second book, finding "The Last Colony" to be the weakest of the three. It was still good though, hence this purchase. The reviews that I've read have said that Scalzi nails the teenage girl thing, so at the very least, this will give me a glimpse of the future with my daughter, minus the roving band of space werewolves. Well, I hope so anyway.
Finally we have "The Great Outdoor Fight", a collection of strips from the absolutely hilarious online comic "Achewood". This book contains the entire "Great Outdoor Fight" story in which Ray Smuckles, one of the cats residing in Achewood finds out that his father was one of the greatest combatants to ever set foot in the Great Outdoor Fight. Ray and his ever present companion Roast Beef head to the Fight to show how a new generation of Smuckles fight. Not only is the book beautifully bound, but it has a lot of extras including a glossary of terms used in the Fight.
In the case of the Scalzi books and the Achewood book allow me to give something back to two incredibly creative and hilarious people whose work I've enjoyed free of charge for years now. I'm glad I can do it, and getting a bunch of good books out of it certainly doesn't hurt.