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This is a book that I've mentioned at least once before, probably when the galley arrived. It will get another mention next month when I review it. For now though, it's arrival today in the mail (hardcover!) is more than good cause for me to remind you all--go to your favorite bookseller this weekend and pre-order this book.
Stern is a magician with words and sentences. One highly praised over the years by both Gordon Lish and Cynthia Ozick. The NYTBR has called him a "... prodigiously talented writer." Recently the wonderful Tom Williams raved about Stern's writing. And look at where his last quartet of books has been published (Viking, Melville House, Algonquin and this one's from Graywolf Press--some pretty great publishers).
If you've not had the pleasure of reading Mr. Stern's work, well first of all shame on you, then this is a perfect jumping into it point--The Books of Mischief is compiled of New & Selected Stories. 17 stories total, 10 of which were previously published in a trio of Stern's collections, 6 of which have been published in various journals or anthologies, and one brand spanking new story, "The Tale of a Kite," that leads this new book off.
The stories are not thrown together in the Table of Contents by their original locations, instead they're sorted by the locations where the stories take place: North Main Street, Memphis; The Lower East Side, New York; Europe; and The Catskills.
Whether you read some of these stories in their original books or journals or not, the compiling of them in one simple to find 380 page hardcover is reason for excitement, and purchase, and do so now so that you can mark September 4, 2012 on your calendar down as "Reading Stern--all night."
It would have been quite easy to trip over the six packages on the porch this morning had I not been careful. Small mailbox and a locked front door lead to a pile on the porch at times.
Top left is Conjunctions: 41, ordered online last week. This issue has work from EWN favorites such as Steve Erickson, Madison Smartt Bell, Bradford Morrow, Renee Gladman, Carole Maso, Brian Evenson, and a portfolio on William Gaddis including writings from Paul Auster, Susan Cheever, Mary Caponegro, Robert Coover, Don Delillo, Cynthia Ozick, Jonathan Lethem, Joseph McElroy and William H. Gass, among others.
Top middle is Conjunctions: 30, ordered online last week. This issue has work from Anne Carson, Joy Williams, William T. Vollmann, William H. Gass, Robert Coover, Paul Maliszewski, Joanna Scott, and more.
Top right came from Graywolf, a final copy of Kevin Barry's City of Bohane, which I'd not heard of, which yes, means I did indeed miss the front page review via the NYTBR a couple of weeks back.
Bottom left is The House Enters the Street by Gretchen E. Henderson. This galley was sent by Starcherone, the book hits the world September 1 and looks to be pretty great.
Bottom middle is Killing Kanoko: Selected Poems of Hiromi Ito, translated by Jeffrey Angles. Matt Bell recently referred to this as the best collection of poetry he's read in a long time--no other reason needed to immediately order it from Action Books.
Bottom right is Lookout Cartridge by Joseph McElroy from his agent. Dzanc has recently acquired the eBook and paperback rights to this one to go with the other great McElroy titles we'll be bringing to you soon.
No cool logos for this, though maybe I should ask somebody to make one. In the past couple of days the postman has been very nice, swinging by a few times to drop off a bunch of cool packages and envelopes.
Elsewhere, California (Counterpoint, 2012) by Dana Johnson in paperback form. This has blurbs of praise from TC Boyle, Mat Johnson, Danzy Senna, Aimee Bender and Michelle Hueven. This follows Dana's Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction winning Break Any Woman Down, which I really enjoyed, and in fact, a character from that collection is the protagonist of this novel. The description:
We first met Avery in Dana Johnson's Break Any Woman Down. As a young girl, she escaped the violent streets of Los Angeles, relocating to suburban West Covina. When her cousin Keith moves in, he triggers a series of events that will follow Avery: to her studies at USC, to her career as an artist, and into her relationship with a wealty Italian in the Hollywood Hills. Elsewhere, California illustrates the complicated history of African Americans across the neighborhoods of Los Angeles.
Wunderkind (Counterpoint, 2012), a paperback novel from Nikolai Grozni. I'm not familiar with Mr. Grozni but the description of Fifteen-year old Konstantin, a fantastic pianist, confined to the militaristic Music School for the Gifted in Bulgaria in the 80's sounds very interesting.
Dawn Raffel's memoir-in-objects, The Secret Life of Objects (Jaded Ibis Press, 2012) with art by Sean Evers. I've had the pleasure of reading a few of these short pieces prior to receiving the book and they're wonderful. I love the blurb from Priscilla Warner:
Dawn Raffel puts memories, people and secrets together like perfectly set gems in these shimmering stories, which are a delight to read. Every detail is exquisite, every character is beautifully observed, and every object becomes sacred in her kind, capable hands. I savored every word.
Weather Eye Open (University of California Press, 2005), a collection of poems by Sarah G
My guess is that there are plenty of readers out there that might find me to be snobbish about fiction--I rarely dip into most genres, and really only when it's by somebody known as a literary writer, or if it's mystery set in Detroit or SE Michigan. However, this just arrived in today's mail and I'm really pretty excited to read it. I was one of the millions simply blown away by Appetite for Destruction when Guns N'Roses hit in the late 80's and knew that McKagan had done some different things beyond music like going back to college for one, and I'm more than curious to read stories from both during and after the G N'R days.
One of those days my mailman earns the nice tip at the end of the year - 7 items in 6 packages causing him to make a second trip just to my driveway.
The new issue of Glimmer Train arrived, issue 80 (pretty impressive number if you think about it for a second or two). I look forward to Victoria Barrett's interview with Debra Monroe, and the story by Daniel Torday for beginners.
The Spring 1990 issue of The Review of Contemporary Fiction--Joseph McElroy arrived as well, having been purchased from Dalkey Archive. There are 22 essays on, or by, McElroy in this issue and I'll remember to re-read Garth Risk Hallberg's appreciation of Women and Men as well. McElroy's a writer I came to last year when his most recent story collection was published and I've enjoyed everything I've been able to dig up since--now I'll let these wise writers explain to me what it was that led to my enjoyment.
Jonathan Baumbach fills out the rest of the packages as I finish up reading his backlist. First up is The Return of Service (University of Illinois Press, 1979). This was one of the four collections they published that year in their Illinois Short Fiction Series (if you run across any of these in used stores, snap them up, they had great tastes--two of the others from 1979 were Jean Thompson's debut collection and one from Gladys Swan).
Next from Baumbach, the novel, my father more or less (Fiction Collective, 1982). An interesting looking cover and a book with NO jacket copy about the current title, just great words about his prevous works.
Separate Hours (Fiction Collective Two, 1990) described as "A disturbingly honest, elegantly imagined unveiling of the way truth becomes elusive in a long-term relationship, Separate Hours is a love story about the betrayal of love."
Today the postman left one package and it contained the novel, Lamb, by Bonnie Nadzam to be published by Other Press in just under a month.
The name jumped out at me so I did a search in my email and realized why, it was a novel that I had seen some of in earlier form and liked quite a bit.
It comes with blurbs from folks like Aimee Bender, T.C. Boyle, Percival Everett, David Mason, and Anna North and the pre-publication review from Publishers Weekly compares Nadzam's dialogue to that of Sam Shepard.
I look forward to getting a chance to sit down this debut novel, hopefully in the very near future.
This might even be postmen as it's been way too long since I've posted around here--there are about 20 started posts regarding short story month for one thing--I decided to combine all of the various Postman! material into one post.
Sarah Goldstein's Fables (Tarpaulin Sky Press), which I ordered after reading about it over at HTMLGiant as Brian Foley made it sound fantastic and excerpted it nicely.
Heather Fowler's Suspended Heart (Aqueous Books), which I ordered from the publisher as a) it seems like a cool publisher and b) I've enjoyed some of Heather's work in the past.
Aaron Polson's The Saints are Dead (Aqueous Books), which I also ordered from the publisher, mainly because when I went to order Heather's book, Aaron's was the new title on the front page and I thought the cover looked pretty cool. Yes, sometimes I do buy because of the cover.
Kelle Groom's memoir, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl (free press), which was sent to me courtesy of the publisher for possible review purposes (yes, I do disclose this when I receive materials complimentarily per the requirements from the FTC).
Sweet Talk by Stephanie Vaughn (Random House, 1990), which I bought used online after reading about it over at Fiction Writers Review. Forrest Anderson made it sound like a collection not to be missed.
There is Something Inside, it Wants to Get Out by Madeline McDonnell (Res
The last two days have been snow-filled around these parts. Which makes me feel even worse for the postman as he's been lugging packages in greater than normal amounts both days.
Recent acquisitions include:
Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption by Jared Walker from Bantam (Random House). I suppose the subtitle pretty much says all we need to, doesn't it?
The new issue of The Kenyon Review (Winter 2010 - Volume XXXII, Number 1) arrived as well. It has a very colorful cover and is a special issue "Devoted to Work by North American Indigenous Authors" and guest edited by Simon Ortiz.
I know I ordered a couple of things from Greying Ghost Press, but think that Carl may have filled the envelope out a bit as I don't remember ordering everything that arrived:
Help! by Adam Field, Helen Mirren Picks Out My Clothes by Andrew Terhune, Naturalistless by Christopher Rizzo, Hank Williams by Peter Berghoef, and The Deviants by Jack Boettcher
New Michigan Press sent me their latest chapbook contest winner, Ben Mirov's I Is To Vorticism, as well as one of the finalists, Brent Armendinger's Undetectable.
The copy of Sleepingfish 8 that I ordered arrived! Work from many favorites including Matt Bell, Amelia Gray, Blake Butler, Ryan Call, David McLendon, David Ohle, Terese Svoboda and hell, I'm basically typing out those listed in the contributor's notes - co-edited by Derek White and Gary Lutz, it looks fantastic - much more on this issue soon.
Micah Ling's Three Islands arrived too, from Sunnyoutside - I'm not sure who puts out the nicer looking smaller books, Sunnyoutside, Greying Ghost or New Michigan Press - all three create works that are art as objects, as well as the art within. Just beautif
A couple of months back, I stumbled upon the book Chip Kidd: Book One, a
compilation of covers and details of the many books that Chip Kidd has designed covers for over the years. It was not only marked down in price, but was also in a section of the store that was all marked to 50% of the marked price. So, I was staring at this coffee table type book for $8 and really couldn't pass it up.
I could easily see going through and ordering books simply based on the fact that Kidd designed the covers--some of them are that cool. There is a mini-section within where Kidd talks about working with Gordon Lish when he was an editor at Knopf. He loved it--Lish was one that agreed with his ideas that the design of the inside of the book should match the cover, the jacket and the text as much as possible. Two specific books shown in this mini-section drew my attention and both have been ordered recently. The first has arrived: Thomas Glynn's novel, Watching the Body Burn. Kidd designed every aspect of this book.
The jacket uses both cartoonish qualities and varying fonts on the title to create a visually appealing introduction for the potential reader.
The physical cover of the book also has a half-face drawing at the top, a touch of the orange flame that one can see on the jacket, as well as on the bottom of the title page (photo used, w/o permission, from the AIGA Design Archives website), appears at the bottom, and Glynn's name is cut out in something that reminds one of woodcut technique.
Inside is just as interesting, specifically the pages where new sections begin. Starting approximately halfway down the page, the opening of each section runs the full width of the page, followed by the rest of the bottom half of the page having text in what would be considered a right-hand column, while where the left-hand column would be, instead of text, has illustrations (I'm not 100% sure these were drawn or created by Kidd, but it doesn't say anything otherwise within the notes about the design).
Much of this was shown in the Kidd book and had me thinking the book would be nice to see up close. The fact that Lish edited it boosted my interest. More on the writing in the future!
The headline comes from the blurb Robert Lopez wrote for Ryan Call's The Weather Stations, which I had pre-ordered from Caketrain and which arrived in my mailbox today. I'm greatly looking forward to cracking this one open and enjoying.
cover photo by Maia Flore
The past few days have brought some nice things here to the EWN:
Jeff VanderMeer's non-fiction (limited edition, copy #3 of 100) collection, Monstrous Creatures. I took a quick peek at some of the shorter reviews Jeff wrote on books such as J. Robert Lennon's Castle, and Steve Erickson's Zeroville, and his list of The Books of the Decade and it only has me looking forward to reading the rest.
Patricia Lear's short story collection, Stardust, 7-Eleven, Route 57, A&W, and So Forth (yep, that's all one title) published by Knopf back in 1992. I quickly read one of the shorter stories in the collection and really enjoyed it. It also has one of the most straightforward blurbs I've ever read: "If you missed Lear's story in the 1991 O.Henry collection and wonder whether she's a good writer: She is. Very, very good."--Ann Beattie
From Main Street Rag Publishing Company,
Tom Williams' novella, The Mimic's Own Voice, which is praised by George Singleton, Steve Yarbrough, and Charles Johnson--not a bad trio to have telling me to read it.
And not having anything to do with the postman, at least not recently, my current reading enjoyment? Sam Michel's short story collection, Under the Light (another older Knopf title, 1991). These stories with Harry Drake as protagonist are a bit dark, and unsentimental (two traits I love) but also full of wonderful language and the occasional biting humor (two more traits I love). About halfway through and really enjoying.
The postman was kind today (thought also pretty neglectful as the following items arrived in the rain, and he simply left them piled up on the porch--good news is I noticed quickly and nothing inside the envelopes got wet):
From Mudluscious Press a package with Michael Stewart's The Hieroglyphics, chapbooks from Ani Smith, Andrew Borgstrom, and Neila Mezynski, plus two stamp stories from Darby Larson and A.D. Jameson. Having recently enjoyed chapbooks from both Stewart and Borgstrom via The Cupboard recently, and trusting MLP and their taste, I am looking forward to sitting down with these soon.
In another envelope was the new Jean Thompson novel, The Year We Left Home. Thompson is a writer I've read both novels and stories by and enjoyed pretty much across the board. Here is a fairly recent post from here at the EWN about one of her stories.
There was also a nice package of four books from an author for a project that is being worked on that is still a little hush hush that I'm really excited about. More on that, and the specific books involved, soon.
And lastly, a copy of The Quarterly 16. I know have issues 1 through 16 and one of the later issues as I slowly pick up 2 or 3 per week in the quest to get a copy of each issue. This one has stories from EWN favorites like Sam Michel, Dawn Raffel, Patricia Lear, Diane Williams, Christine Schutt, Rick Bass, Cooper Esteban, and the fantastic Peter Christopher.
A couple of slim packages were in the mailbox this afternoon. One from Magic Helicopter Press contained Jen Gann's back tuck, a collection of sixteen stories that I believe are all three pages or less in length. I actually don't remember if I knew it or not but per the back page it's a limited edition first printing, with this being number 25 out of 75 copies. I'm always a little curious if those are mailed out in order--does that mean that after maybe an author copy and publisher copies that I was the 25th person to order a copy? It's really a nicely put together chapbook with a harder stock of paper for the cover, nice end pages inside and then the stories laid out very well with some images occasionally popping in as well. For $6 it seems like a bit more than a nice job.
I also received issue 13 of The Quarterly. Once this latest rash of purchases I've made all arrive I'll have the first 25 issues of this pretty incredible journal. This one had a surprise or two in it. It opens with a story by Tim O'Brien and he's just not somebody that pops into my head when I think of this journal. There's also a story by A.M. Homes that I'm trying to remember if I've read before. The issue also includes some newer favorites from other issues of The Quarterly like Patricia Lear and Michael Hickins. There are also a couple of poems by John Rybicki!
Lastly, perhaps the most exciting item. This was also in the Magic Helicopter Press envelope as they are a publisher that participates in the Mudluscious Press Stamp Story program. The story they sent me is by Elizabeth Ellen and it begins:
I have trouble sleeping in open spaces, I say.
There you go, even more reason to pick up one of Magic Helicopter's great chapbooks.
The postman was kind today, bringing me three packages of things that I'd recently ordered, and one package from Richard Nash and Red Lemonade.
First opened up the box that came--it contained Stephen Graham Jones novel, All the Beautiful Sinners. It starts off:
"The birds. He told her he wanted to see the birds."
This was the one hole on my SGJ shelf and Richard Thomas has told me over and over it can NOT be the hole on that shelf. I look forward to the read soon.
The package from Mr. Nash (and that Mr. is out of full respect. Richard is a good friend and I doubt he's my elder by too many years, but if I know anybody deserving of that Mr. it is him). It contained Lynne Tillman's Sometday This Will Be Funny, a collection of stories from Red Lemonade, slogan? "Making the future a joy for writing and reading." Simply put, if Richard is publishing it, I will read it. And I've read some of Lynne's writing in the past and like it myself.
The other two envelopes contained, drumroll please, yeah, if you've been reading along lately, I'm sure you'll be stunned to find out they both contained issues of The Quarterly.
20 has work from Ben Marcus, Brian Evenson, Dawn Raffel, Sheila Kohler, Matthew Sharpe, Lily Tuck, Victoria Redel, Jason Schwartz, Richard St. Germain, Diane Williams, Michael kimball, John Rybicki, Cooper Esteban, and Gary Lutz.
21 has work from Greg Mulcahy, Dawn Raffel, Victoria Redel, Steve Stern (the novella "Zelik Rifkin and the Tree of Dreams" which I read last year from his trio of novellas that is incredible), Jason Schwartz, Michael Kimball, John Rybicki, and Cooper Esteban.
Today the postman dropped off three packages, plus an envelope with a check for Dzanc Books from one of our Dzanc Day workshoppers!
First up was a hardcover copy of Bette Pesetsky's story collection, Stories Up To A Point (Knopf, 1981). It's a collection of 15 stories and 114 pages long (to give an indication of typical story length). I had not too long ago read a short piece about this collection by Justin Taylor in The Believer, and then it was also brought up by Michael Hemmingson at his blog, Gordon Lish Edited This.
The second package contained another hardcover, Dawn Raffel's In the Year of Long Division (Knopf, 1994), her debut collection of short stories that has 16
stories in 117 pages (again, think typical story length). This one I've read and loved before but needed a new copy for a special ongoing project Dzanc has recently announced.
Lastly, issue 17 of The Quarterly. This one contains work from Sam Michel, Tom Rayfiel, Darrell Spencer, Diane Williams, Rick Bass, John Rybicki and Cooper Esteban. A much shorter list of authors that I'm already aware of than usual--which I take it to mean leaves a lot of great new writers I get to discover!
Not a huge day here at Casa EWN in regard to the postman visiting. The new issue of The New Yorker arrived and I did enjoy Keith Gessen's article about the new capital of Kazakhstan. Two other packages. One contained The Quarterly, issue 18, which is almost an women's only issue (it still has a couple of Don Nace pages and the introduction is by a male as well). Work from Patricia Lear, Christine Schutt, Dawn Raffel, Lily Tuck, Diane Williams, Victoria Redel (2), and many authors we'll get to enjoy for maybe the first time.
I also received a review copy of Short Bus, a debut short story collection from Brian Allen Carr (Texas Review Press). I had the extreme pleasure of having three or four conversations with Brian at AWP in DC this past February and am really looking forward to reading this one. Man, I feel older every time I see how "old" writers are these days--with Brian we have just one more writer not even born at the time of the Bi-Centennial, let alone old enough to enjoy it. I might as well get used to seeing that fact. Here's a promotional video of Brian reading from one of the stories in the collection!
A few packages today and the first one contained a copy of Ken Sparling's novel, dad says he saw you at the mall (Knopf, 1996). This has one of the more playful designs that I've seen with an image similar to the one on the cover as a header for every chapter, the title information runs up and down the sides of every page, not along the top or bottom, and the back cover looking almost like a comic book ad (it's a Chip Kidd design).
The next package contained the first issue of the literary journal, Midwestern Gothic, which contains stories and poems from (among others) Anna Clark, Roxane Gay, Lindsay Hunter, Jac Jemc, Anne Valente, Mary Biddinger, and Molly Gaudry!
The other package contained two issues of The Quarterly.
22 has work from, well, John Rybicki and Cynthia Ozick are the only two I've read before, but I feel part of that is due to the first 203 pages being a novel from Laura Marello--that's right, not only was Lish publising long stories and novellas in his literary journal, he published a novel.
24 has work from Gary Lutz (two fictions), Brian Evenson (three fictions), Jason Schwartz, Ben Marcus (three fictions), Greg Mulcahy, Victoria Redel, Yannick Murphy, Rick Bass, Diane Williams, Jack Gilbert, Michael Kimball, Cooper Esteban and John Rybicki.
To start with, a nice little package containing a limited edition (84 copies--this is hand numbered number 6) chapbook of stories by Peter Markus titled The Moon is a Fish (Cinematheque Press, March 2011). This contains stories that will also be found in We Make Mud (Dzanc, July 2011) but at $8 is a bargain considering it's a hand-stitched, really nicely assembled, collection and all proceeds go to help InsideOut Literary Arts Project, where Peter works.
Another smaller package contained The Quarterly issue 23. Works from Barry Hannah, Jason Schwartz, Daniel Wallace, Greg Mulcahy, Brian Evenson, Bruce Holland Rogers, C.M. Mayo (!), Ben Marcus, Richard St. Germain, Diane Williams, Michael Kimball, John Rybicki, Cooper Esteban plus many new names to look forward to.
A book I ordered a while back direct from the publisher, SMU Press, Edward Falco's latest short story collection, Burning Man, also arrived. I think I've read all but one or two of Edward's really early novels and really enjoyed them all--he's one that can move from short story to novel and back and be really great at both.
A galley also arrived later in the day (technically a source of lit - ups man!) from Random House, Northwest Corner, a novel from John Burnham Schwartz who it seems I should have read by now based on the PR papers included, but have not.
I also received a nice package containing the latest Oxford American (Barry Hannah issue) and a copy of Southern Humanities Review's Winter 2011 issue which has work from Matt Baker, Gary Fincke, and Alexander Lumans in it to look forward to!
The postman was stealth today--the dog didn't bark to alert his arrival, and he was also cool as hell, putting the book packages in between my doors and not leaving them on th wet porch (as he did one day last week).
The Quarterly issue 30 arrived today--this is the first one of the issues produced in Canada that I've received. For those keeping track, I now have issues 1-25 and 30. This one has writing from: Terese Svoboda, Christine Schutt, Sam Lipsyte, Greg Mulcahy, John Fulton, Brian Evenson, Gary Lutz, Sheila Kohler, Michael Kimball, David McLendon, Cooper Esteban and Ken Sparling among others.
A package from Open Letter Press contained two forthcoming novels: The Guinea Pigs by Ludvik Vaculik, translated from the Czech by Kaca Polackova with illustrations by Jan Vaculik (sorry for the missing accents as I have NO idea how to add them here) which is due in May. From the press paperwork:
A clerk at the State Bank begins to notice that something strange is going on--bank employees are stuffing their pockets with money every day, only to have it taken every evening by the security guards who search the employees and confiscate the cash. But, there's a discrepancy between what is being confiscated and what it being returned to the bank, and our hero is beginning to fear that a secret circulation is developing, one that could undermine the whole economy.
Due in June, The Book of Happenstance from Ingrid Winterbach, translated from the Afrikaans by Dirk and Ingrid Winterbach. From the press paperwork:
An alternately sublime and satirical meditation on love, loss, and obsession, Ingrid Winterbach's The Book of Happenstance is an emotionally affecting masterpiece from one of South Africa's most exciting authors.
Two non-books arrived yesterday as well, but I think they can sneak into this post as they are: Justified, season one on DVD, and Treme, season one on DVD. How many reviews or essays refered to The Wire as being just like a novel? Many did. And Justified is based on an Elmore Leonard work (I am positive this is the first time ever that two consecutive posts reference Elmore Leonard, and it's probably about time), and Treme is by the man behind The Wire, David Simon. Both shows are great in their storytelling and storytelling techniques.
A late delivery to the home today, probably courtesy of UPS, while I was out running an errand. Doubleday is publihsing Donald Ray Pollock's debut novel this July. The Devil All the Time follows up his short story collection, Knockemstiff, which received numerous rave reviews, leading to Pollock receiving the PEN/Bingham Fellowship in 2009.
The novel is described by Doubleday as "... a novel that marries the twisted intensity of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers with the religious and gothic overtones of Flannery O'Connor at her most haunting."
Even though I just recently posted about the storytelling aspects of a couple of television series, I'd like to think that we could find a couple of books to compare our new titles to when describing them, but that aside, I'm looking forward to spending some time with this book and doing so really soon.
A trio of packages today, one from a bookseller, and two from publishers.
First opened was from Burke's Bookstore in Memphis, TN. I'd purchased a copy of Corey Mesler's latest poetry colletion, Before the Great Troubling (unbound CONTENT, 2011), and Corey was kind enough to inscribe it (nice when the author owns the store you buy the book from!).
2nd up was a package from Arcade Publishing which contained a hardcover review copy of Marjorie Sandor's new book, the late interiors: a life under construction. I've read two of Sandor's previous works--one a collection of essays and one a story collection--and enjoyed both and look forward to this non-fiction.
The last envelope was from Joe Taylor down at Livingston Press in Alabama. It contained Philip Cioffari's latest novel, Jesusville. I'm a fan of what Joe is doing with Livingston Press and I know this isn't the first Cioffari that he's published, which leads me to believe I'm going to enjoy it when I get a chance.
With Halloween right around the corner, if I could muster up a creepy little girl voice I might post a YouTube video of myself in a dark room in front of a glowing, staticy television. I'd turn to face the camera and announce (in said creepy little girl voice), "They're here."
But truly, it's much more like Christmas today than nearly Halloween. The postman brought a bunch of stuff today, but for the moment, I'll only point towards a single package that arrived. A USPS Priority box from Press 53 that contained two copies of an anthology titled Visiting Hours and Other Stories. Long time sufferers of this blog will recognize that title as one that also states on the cover: "edited by Daniel E Wickett"
It's been a while since one of these posts and that's certainly not because the postman hasn't been kind in recent months (ie, bad blogger!).
Some recent titles that have hit the mailbox or porch that I'm really excited about:
Correspondences by Ben Greenman (Hotel St. George Press) - the fourth effort from Hotel St. George Press, this one, as you'll see from the image HSG so kindly provides at their site, is not your conventional book. Inside the package one can find treatises with titles such as "You Know Jack" and "The Govindan Anathanarayanan Academy for Moral and Ethical Practice and the Treatment of Sadness Resulting From the Misapplication of the Above."
Beaufort, a novel by Ron Leshem forthcoming from Delta Books. From
the description on the back cover:
Beaufort. To the handful of Israeli soldiers occupying the ancient crusader fortress, it is a little slice of hell -- a forbidding, fear-soaked enclave perched atop two acres of land in southern Lebanon, surrounded by an enemy they cannot see. And to the thirteen young men in his command, twenty-one-year-old Lieutenant Liraz "Erez" Liberti is a taskmaster, confessor, and the only hope in the face of attacks that come out of nowhere and of missions seemingly designed to get them all killed.
Notes from No Man's Land - American Essays by Eula Biss (Graywolf Press). This, the winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, will be read if only for that reason - the two other winners of this award in past years that I've read, by Ander Monson and Terese Svoboda, are two of my favorite nonficton books of recent years.
Gods and Soldiers, edited by Rob Spillman (Penguin Original forthcoming in May).
Per the copy, theis book "captures the energy, vitality, and immediacy of the continent today. From northern Arabic-speaking to southern Zulu-speaking writers, the pieces in this collection can be viewed as thirty different ways of seeing what it means to be African." With both previously published and unpublished works by authors such as Achebe, Adichie, Lalami, Abani, Mabanckou, Wainaina, and Thiong'o, it's one I can't wait to dig into, piece by piece.
The Longshot, a novel by Katie Kitamura (Free Press, coming in June). This one came out of the blue and just looks interesting. It helps when I flip to the acknowledgements and see a thank you to an agent with whom I know I have similar taste in fiction.
Ivory's Ghosts: The White Gold of History and the Fate of Elephants by John Frederick
Walker (Atlantic Monthly Press). The author of A Certain Curve of Horn, which I loved, this is John Frederick Walker's next effort and if he does half the job he did last time around, I'll be caught up for a week or so in the story of elephants and ivory.
You, or the Invention of Memory by Jonathan Baumbach (Rager Media, from 2007). 2007 you ask? And you just got it in the mail recently? Yes, because the wonderful publicist, Lauren Cerand, is working with the author, and truth be told, if Lauren is pushing a book, I want a copy. While I don't think you can ever say that somebody is working a job and not in it for the money - we all hope to live somewhere specific and eat semi-regularly at least - but Lauren does not take on books so she can pay the rent. She finds enough books that she's gone bonkers over to subsist and she goes all out for those titles. And like the aforementioned agent, I just have a really good feeling that if Lauren likes it, I'll like it. So that, and some other recent exposure to Baumbach's writing, has me about 1/3 of the way through this one and being pretty amazed by it.
A truly solid visit from the Postman! today as he dropped off a galley copy of Ander Monson's essay collection, Vanishing Point (Graywolf Press, April 2010) which is one I've really been looking forward to. Monson may do more with structure in the essay than any other author - okay, I'll say he definitely does more than any author I'm aware of. By the way, Monson's website, a treasure trove of writing itself, has a major league link that applies to this collection.
Also arriving today, Allison Amend's debut novel, Stations West (LSU Press, March 2010)!!! Yes, close readers, that would be a familiar title, as not so long ago, One Story V.1.N.13 came out and it had that same author name/title combo on the cover. An excerpt it turns out. This novel is part of LSU's Yellow Shoe Fiction Series.
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The Postman! was very nice yesterday, dropping off a package from Dalkey Archive that contained a galley for Joshua Cohen's forthcoming novel, Witz, sneaking it at just over 800 pages in length. The following comes from the recent Dalkey Archive catalog description for this title:
On Christmas Eve 1999, all the Jews in the world die in a strange, millennial plague, with the exception of the firstborn males, who are soon adopted by a cabal of powerful people in the American government. By the following Passover, however, only one is still alive: Benjamin Israelien; a kindly, innocent, ignorant man-child. As he finds himself transformed into an international superstar, Jewishness becomes all the rage: matzo-ball soup is in every bowl, sidelocks are hip; and the only truly Jewish Jew left is increasingly stigmatized for not being religious. Since his very existence exposes the illegitimacy of the newly converted, Israelien becomes the object of a worldwise hunt . . .
Meanwhile, in the not-too-distant future of our own, "real" world, another last Jew--the last living Holocaust survivor--sits alone in a snowbound Manhattan, providing a final melancholy witness to his experiences in the form of the punch lines to half-remembered jokes.
The other package that arrived yesterday was just a bit smaller in size, from MLP, it contained Molly Gaudry's novel(la), We Take Me Apart - a 118 page perfect-bound 4x5" book. From the back cover, a blurb from Kate Bernheimer, author of The Complete Tales of Merry Gold:
There is no more perfect place to be than in Molly Gaudry's tender, dirt-floored novel(la), We Take Me Apart. Oh cabbage leaves, oh roses, oh orange-slice childhood grins: this book, broke my heart. Its sad memory-tropes come from fairy tales & childhood books. With language, Gaudry is as loving & careful as one is with a matchbook . . . when wishing to set the whole world on fire.