Thursday, December 27, 2007

They Got Away? How Far Away?

by Jay Johnson

In pursuit of a post-holiday cure to blog-block*, why not talk about yet another list of books? After all, that's what lists are generally good for: arguing about inclusion, exclusion, and premise of organization.

As not to disappoint, on Xmas Eve, NPR kicked off "The Ones That Got Away" series of lists with books that didn't receive as much coverage as they deserved, according to the reviewers interviewed. Now, the intro to this made it sound far more interesting than this: the books on the stack that didn't get read, as opposed to the books on the stack that got read and, well, simply didn't get reviews written about them in major magazines or newspapers.

This makes sense, though, as it'd be challenging to actually discuss books that you didn't get around to reading, though they could have parlayed the book from reviewer to reviewer (ie Jane didn't read Savage Detectives, but John loved it and didn't read Out Stealing Horses, which Sally loved but didn't get to Ice, which Jane loved, etc ad infinitum). Regardless, this pointed out some that I hadn't heard about - and one that I might have to pick up rather soon.

I'll make way for the list now:

The Farther Shore, by Matthew Eck. Hardcover, 192 pages. List price: $22.

Autonauts of the Cosmoroute: A Timeless Voyage from Paris to Marseille, by Julio Cortazar and Carol Dunlop. Paperback, 354 pages. List price: $20.

I'm also looking forward to the New Directions release of Final Exam, amongst the remainder of their Spring 2008 catalogue.

Zeroville, by Steve Erickson. Paperback, 329 pages. List price: $14.95.

This one is on my stack at the moment, too. I've yet to get around to Steve Erickson, though I hear that this might be less of an interesting place to start.

The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved, by Judith Freeman. Hardcover, 368 pages. List price: $25.95.

The Winds of Marble Arch & Other Stories, by Connie Willis. Hardcover, 600 pages. List price: $40.

This one says slipstream/interstitial all over it. Though, cave generic terms, the reviews paint this more Susanna Clarke than Kelly Link

The Far Traveler, by Nancy Marie Brown. Hardcover, 320 pages. List price: $25.

The list is available here.

*I'm not sure if it's us/me getting acquainted with the more informal format of blogging or if its my personal preoccupation with writing something interesting or nothing at all, word economy, or simple lack of time, but I find some resistance in the casual chronicling of good bookseller conversations into blog posts. I'll work on that; you work on stopping into one of our shops and striking up a conversation or, if you're in Finland or Minneapolis, drop us a comment.


Mike said...

Zeroville was both really enjoyable and definitely overlooked.

Jay Johnson said...

Yeah, its mention in the NPR piece probably encouraged my misundertanding of the list's premise. I was really excited to see Zeroville in my mailbox, as I've been wanting to read Our Ecstatic Days and Arc d'X for awhile on Bayard Godsave's recommendation, but haven't had a chance. Hence, Zeroville readily fell deeper into the pile.

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