It’s that time of year again—BookExpo America is upon us. Next week, I’ll throw some clothes in a bag and head down to New York for three days of author events, panel discussions, upcoming books, old friends, new friends, and inescapable, overwhelming crowds. This year, I decided against the bus (the money saved doesn’t make up for the endless trip) and I decided against flying (such a pain, with the shoes off and the shoes on and random hand swabbing and the screening process that seems to change every single time), and so this year, I’ll be taking the train.
OBVIOUSLY I have to pack themed reading material, right? Here’s what I’ve picked out so far:
The Boundless, by Kenneth Oppel
A 7-mile-long train with over 900 cars, an automaton bartender, and a traveling circus! An avalanche and sasquatches! Treasure and booby traps and magical paintings and adventure, adventure, adventure! A boy who has grown up in the railroad world, but who is ready to embrace a new path; a girl who’s an expert escape artist; a plethora of villains and thieves and maybe even murderers! AND everything I’ve read suggests that Oppel works a whole lot of Canadian history in there, too! I admit it, I might not be able to wait until next week to read this one.
Railsea, by China Miéville
This one—set in a world covered in train tracks and inhabited by flying angels and giant monsters, with a storyline that has suspicious parallels to Moby Dick—sounds like it should be a perfect read-alike to Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines series, if even weirder and wilder. I love Miéville’s worldbuilding and his sneaky humor and his clear love of words, and I’ve been saving this one for the perfect time. THAT TIME IS NOW. (Or, well, next week.)
1222, by Anne Holt
Like The Boundless, I might not be able to wait until next week to start this one. It’s a book in the Scandinavian crime vein, and actually the eighth book in a series, but the first of them to make it to the United States. It’s about a retired Inspector, Hanne Wilhelmsen—paralyzed from the waist down after being shot some years ago—who is one of 269 passengers on a Norwegian train that derails during a snowstorm. AND THEN THERE’S A MURDER. It sounds like it’s got a classic Agatha Christie–type set-up, what with the colorful cast of characters all trapped together in the middle of nowhere, and I’m especially looking forward to getting to know the main character—I’ve heard that she’s fantastically cranky, which I always enjoy in a detective.
On the Blue Comet, by Rosemary Wells
A boy dodges flying bullets during a bank heist gone wrong…and accidentally time travels onto a train? Also, there is some body-hopping? And Joan Crawford and Alfred Hitchcock have cameos? Beyond that, I don’t really have much of an idea as to what this one’s about, but I know I want to read it!
Snowpiercer, by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette
The Spectral Engine, by Ray Fawkes
Comics! Snowpiercer, of course, is the book that the 2013 movie was based on—it was actually first published in 1982, but only recently translated from French into English—and, if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a dystopian society that lives on a train in a post-apocalyptic world. Which is to say, it’s rad. The Spectral Engine, meanwhile, tells “thirteen historically documented ghost stories” from Canada—I think that the title story is the only one that’s train-related, but the book looks so cool that I’ll let it squeak into my bag on that technicality.
Any other suggestions?
If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or running the show at her local library, Leila Roy might be making stuff for her Etsy shop while rewatching Veronica Mars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5, Black Books or Twin Peaks. Well, that or she’s hanging out on Twitter. Or both.