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).
A True Novel by Minae Mizumura
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