Sunday, February 23, 2014

Signed, first edition of Dusk by James Salter

 One of the most moving novels I read last year was James Salter’s All That Is. While an excellent book, I found myself more moved and perplexed by my lack of previous exposure to Salter. All That Is is a novel so inspiringly precise that it makes me turn inward and try to find all the moments in my past where Salter eluded me. Where was Salter when I was discovering the triumvirate of Bellow, Roth and Updike? All That Is is the work of a great American novelist who has no business being in the shadows of those more outspoken (and often incendiary) authors. Salter is in his late eighties, and I am certain in ten years the reading public will wish they’d lauded him with more praises and awards while they had the chance.

As a collector, I patiently focus my efforts on a handful of authors instead of trying to accumulate everything great I come by. A focused library will lead to incremental levels of completion that I feel will be more rewarding than a wide array of assorted first editions. Upon finishing All That Is, I promptly added Salter to my list and am on the hunt rarities, such as this signed first edition of Dusk. Originally published in 1988 by North Point Press, Dust collects a number of short stories originally published in The Paris Review and Grand Street.

Currently reading:
Ivan Vladislavic, Double Negative

Sunday, February 16, 2014

New Haruki Murakami cover for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

I spotted the new cover art for this fall's Haruki Murakami novel over the weekend while browsing Amazon. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage will be released in the US this August, translated by Philip Gabriel. Could this be another cover from Chip Kidd?

Of course, the artwork is subject to change -- Amazon has a knack for releasing internal artwork a little before it's officially ready...

Currently watching:
House of Cards, season 2

Friday, February 14, 2014

Signed, slipcased edition of Richard Powers' ORFEO

I've been intrigued for many years by Powell's "Indiespensible" book subscription. For $40 a mailing, Powell's will send you a signed, slipcased, exclusive edition of some new novel by a notable author. Signature aside, I'm of the mind that a slipcase makes any book a little nicer. The only thing that held me back in the past has been the book selection. Something like a signed/slipcased copy Jonathan Franzen's Freedom would be a nice piece to have, but I could skip the McSweeney's side of things, as well as debut novels by young writers. Here's a blog post I found on some past editions from 2013; you be the judge.

Powell's announces each upcoming issue a month or so ahead of time in an effort to drum up interest, and they absolutely hooked me with their January mailing. I was stunned to hear that Powell's got the great Richard Powers (subject of a previous post here) to sign books for their program. I took a seminar in undergrad on Powers' work and had a chance to spend a day with him surrounding an event he did at my college for The Echo Maker. He very explicitly explained to an auditorium full of fans (and further extrapolated to our class later on) that he just doesn't sign books. He offered his email to anyone interested in writing, and said that traditional correspondence would be a more substantial way to connect with him as an author. I'm a huge Powers fan (I have his email address tucked into the signature page of my first edition of The Time of Our Singing...) so I jumped at the Powell's offer the second I read about it. I'm shocked that it's still available for purchase.

As a novel, Orfeo soars. Anyone who is interested in contemporary classical, science and technology, and avant-garde music and art will find Orfeo to be a revelation. I had a reading copy sent to me to review (which will be online in the next week or so) so I luckily won't have to muck up my slipcased version.

Collectors: go buy the Powell's edition of Orfeo. It's a fine novel by an award-winning author, and already valued at twice as much its cost on eBay (not that you should sell it).

Currently reading:
A True Novel by Minae Mizumura

Currently listening to:
Underworld, "1992-2002"