Monday, July 9, 2007

'Tis Mine At Last!

Out of boredom tonight, I decided to go to Barnes and Noble...big surprise there, right? I meandered my way over to the sci-fi/fantasy section (another big surprise there) and what do my eyes fall upon but the new hardcover Stardust! I am in love and I have a new favorite book! I'm going to have to disagree with Carl and Jeff here, but I have my reasons. I do agree that the pages are a bit thin and the quality could've been a bit better. I think the main reason I disagree though is because I've never owned an illustrated version of Stardust! With my B&N discount card, I got $8 off too, so I only paid $32...not much more than the soft cover version. However, I can understand how if you already own the $30 soft cover version you would be disappointed with this one. With that being said, here's why I wasn't disappointed being an illustrated Stardust virgin:

This book is gorgeous. I can't stop looking at it. The cover is beautiful as you can see and the picture doesn't even begin to do it justice. It's presented very well. The end pages are amazing. The detail that Charles Vess puts into his work never ceases to amaze me. I could stare at his work for hours. I can see now that this novel was indeed meant to be read as an illustrated novel and I will always recommend it to be read as one in the future. So beautiful.

I loved the extras in the back of the book. I agree that there could've been a bit more, but I loved what was there. The first is the original proposal that Gaiman and Vess wrote up and it's really neat! Gaiman wrote an updated note at the end commenting on how different the novel ended up being from what he originally perceived it to be and apparently Croup and Vandemar of Neverwhere fame were originally slated to be in Stardust! Interesting fact.

Next up are Vess' original sketches in progress for the four covers of the original comic book form releases of the novel. These were neat, but nothing overly exciting. I recently acquired a print of the cover for the third book from the San Diego Comic Con through eBay and I love it! Plan on getting that one framed.

And the next couple of sections, I absolutely love. There are six newly revealed scenes from Stardust and some more preliminary sketches that Vess did. My favorite new painting that Vess included is one of Yvaine singing with her sisters surrounded by faerie folk. Absolutely beautiful. There are also a couple of sketches for an unwritten Stardust sequel! As Vess says, there is no mention of when and if this will happen, but the idea is out there, and a couple of sketches have been done. And then there are 4 busts and the sculpture of Yvaine that's been shown on his website that should be released around the time of the movie.

I'm so happy with this purchase and I'm sure that I'll be staring at this book for days. Megan will surely be sick of me pointing out every little detail to her while I'm in Texas as I tend to do with things like this ;) Though she's a Gaiman fan too, so she should appreciate it!

I also picked up three other books while I was there! On Carl's recommendation and wonderful review, I had to get Annette Curtis Klause's Freaks: Alive, on the Inside. As he said, the cover is amazing. Looking forward to this one. Sounds like my kind of book. Because of Winn-Dixie should feed my Kate DiCamillo addiction for now as they still didn't have any copies of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. And finally, I picked up Bram Stoker's Dracula for the R.I.P. Challenge. B&N had all of there Classics on sale for 30% off, plus members get the extra 10% off. B&N does a great job with their hardcover editions of classics and I've always thought that they were a steal at $7.95...with the discount, it came out to only $5! Can't beat that.

Anyone else get any good books lately?


Rhinoa said...

Any chance you could show some inside photos? I keep seeing this in bookshops but it is always wrapped up. I don't want to buy it if I don't like the artwork (I didn't like the Neverwhere one so left it).

I went a bit mad book buying lately so will *hopefully* not be buying any more next month as very poor now! Here are some of the more recent ones:
Elphame's Choice by P. C.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Claimed by Shadow by Karen Chance
Speaking with the Angel by Nick Hornby
Bite by Laurell K. Hamilton
Dates from Hell by Kelley Armstrong
A Midsummer Night's Dream (The Illustrated Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare
Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
Storybook Love (Fables) by Bill Willingham

DesLily said...

Bored? The Beetle was Bored?! You never cease making me grin lol..

I agree with rhinoa.. let's see some of the Stardust artwork you guys are fussing over!

I noticed on your sidebar that you have Bridge to Terabithia listed to read.. I thought you read that?!

Nymeth said...

No books for me lately.. I've been behaving myself :P Of course, that is likely to change soon.

I know exactly how you feel. I only got the illustrated softcover Stardust this year, after having read the "normal" edition several times, and I was completely awed. I honestly couldn't take my eyes off of it for days.

$5 for a hardcover edition is a great deal indeed! I kinda wish Barnes & Nobles would open stores over here. I don't mind globalization if it means getting those awesome deals :P

Carl V. said...

If you are talking about the Neverwhere graphic novel, Rhinoa, that was horrible. The Stardust edition is nothing like that, the art is amazingly beautiful and it is the entire novel with illustrations, not a comic like Neverwhere. Why Neil ever agreed to let them do that is beyond me, it is such a travesty to the novel and the BBC program it was based on.

Its okay to disagree, Chris. I by no means think it is horrible, I was just disappointed as I expected better from DC as far as book quality. The cover and end pages are great, I just wish they wouldn't have skimped on the paper and ink quality. I'm still glad to have it, especially since it is hardcover. I'm just glad I didn't pay anywhere close to $40 for it.

Look forward to your thoughts on Dracula during the R.I.P. Challenge.

Quixotic said...

I wish that the UK would get the Stardust HC in stock...I need it to sit next to my old illustrated HC edition...!!

Yesterday I went out and bought some books in the WHSmith Summer sale - The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards, Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean Koontz, a book on pond maintenance and Vanishing Acts and The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult. A bit of comfort reading there. The sci-fi/fantasy section was a bit sad, just one section of shelving and a very poor selection that consisted of mostly Laurell K. Hamilton, Koontz and Stephen King...

Chris said...

Great books Rhinoa! I've been wanting to read The Secret Life of Bees after reviews I've been reading and the Willingham books look great! Sure, I'll show some pics in a blog post later on...It's not like your typical graphic novel. Very different.

Deslily, You'd be amazed how easily I bore ;)

I'll definitely post some artwork. I read Bridge to Terabithia when I was a little kid..haven't read it since, so I thought I'd revisit it for the Newbery Challenge.

Nymeth, Yeah, it's near impossible for me to be that disciplined :p

I'm completely awed by Stardust. I'll never go back to reading the "regular" version!

I really like Barnes & Noble. They have their little quirks and they don't always put things on the shelves when they should be there, but the people tend to be friendly and it's a comfortable place.

Carl, I've never really looked at the Neverwhere graphic novel....I've seen it at B&N a few times, but have never flipped through it...Sad that it was such a travesty!

I know you didn't think it was horrible and I do agree with you that the paper quality was poor. I was (and still am :) just so excited to finally have the illustrated version! Like I said, I think I would have been a little annoyed too if I would've already bought the illustrated novel and then bought this one. I can see that you're not getting much more for your money. If you're a first time buyer though, it's not bad for the $32 I spent.

I'm looking forward to Dracula too. Very tempted to start that one early, but I'm not going to as I know I won't be motivated enough to do a re-read so soon in Sept/Oct ;)

Quix, It's great! When's yours supposed to come in?

I've been wanting to read The Memory Keeper's Daughter..looking forward to what you have to say about it. Maybe because it sounds like The Time Traveler's Wife :p The Sci-fi/fantasy section gets the cold shoulder everywhere...that's just sad!

Carl V. said...

It isn't all bad living overseas, the Stardust Visual Companion (which looks great) is only coming out in hardcover over in the UK according to the info I've seen. The softcover is already out but the HC has a latter release date I believe.

In the end if a person doesn't have a copy of Stardust at all I would certainly recommend this being the copy to get.

We all have our own personal tastes, but I just didn't like the art in the Neverwhere graphic novel. If they were going to do it I wish they had gotten someone a little more unique in his/her talent. Personally I wish they hadn't done it at all as it detracts from the wonderful novel.

Speaking of travesties, have you seen the awful novelization for Stardust that they have put out in the teen section? It has a very boring and plain front cover with a few random stars and the movie logo on the front and a tiny picture of Claire Danes on the back. It is terrible. I cannot believe anyone in the art department ever approved such dreck.

Chris said...

Oh God! The "teen" version of Stardust looks awful! I saw it yesterday Carl and thought the same thing. How plain...Such a creative, imaginative, beautiful book and you put a cover on it like that. I thought the same thing...who let this one hit the shelves looking like that?

With Neverwhere, I like the pictures I have in my head, so I think that I'll leave them like that rather than peeking at the Graphic Novel ;) I still haven't finished the BBC DVDs, but what I saw I loved. I was so pleased with what I've seen so far as it managed to capture nearly exactly what I pictured while reading the novel.

Jeff S. said...

I'm so glad you got the Stardust hardcover at a great price. My quibbles are minor just because I wanted more because I had already seen a lot that was in back section before.

rhinoa - The inside art is even more beautiful than the cover. Chris is right in his observation that reading the illustrated version is the only way to go.

Your other purchases look great too. Last year I listened to an unabridged audio version of Dracula and I was blown away. It was a " classic " that actually more than lived up to the hype in my opinion. I don't want that to sound bad but it's usually a 50/50 split for me wether I enjoy and books that are award winning or a classic. I can't wait to hear your review on this one this fall. I really think it's a book that you should wait until the summer is over to read. I just think it's better to read horror when the leaves are starting to fall and a chill starts creeping into the air.

Chris said...

Jeff, definitely makes sense if you've already seen alot of the stuff in the back and own an illustrated copy already. I'm happy as can be!

I agree whole heartedly Jeff that a book like Dracula should be read in the Fall when leaves are falling from the trees and there's a nice chill starting to come in the air. I feel the same with most classics...I'm about 50/50 most of the time on whether I like them or not. Not too crazy about the last one (Siddhartha) that I read. Looking forward to Dracula though!

Quixotic said...

Re. Jeff's comment on reading horror - for books like Dracula I'd agree. For southern gothics like Cherie Priest's Four and Twenty Blackbirds, the stifling heat of summer can work pretty well too, especially if the skies are a little moody and electric.

The teen version of Stardust does indeed look pretty lacklustre. Shame. Hopefully the majority that do pick up the book will simply go for the illustrated or "normal" editions.

jean pierre said...

i love reading about your excursions into the b&s!

and i get to vicariously live through you and experience the excitement of new books.

its like book-porn! ha! :)

Chris said...

JP, ah yes, the wonders of book porn ;) Book buying is just slightly an addiction of mine. But I'm glad that I can make others smile while doing it! This one just made me so happy...I'm still drooling over it, but of course not on it! That would just be a sin.

jean pierre said...

yeah, this seems to be a particularly special set of purchases.