Sunday, May 15, 2016

Daisuke Yokata, Color Photographs (Harper's Books, 2015, signed and dated)

Last year at the New York Art Book Fair I picked up this absolutely gorgeous book by Japanese photographer Daisuke Yokota. Color Photographs was published in an edition of 750 copies with five different font-color variants (each limited to 150). I'm on the Harper's Books email list and when they mentioned the book (and that Yokota would be at the fair signing copies) I rushed out the door as if to siren-song.

I hadn't seen his work before but these photos possess an incredible cosmic heft; they're otherworldly in their beauty and the kind of thing I could endlessly look at (NB: Harper's did do a series of prints, too). They remind me of Sigmar Polke, and were created with a similar kind of darkroom-chemical manipulation that became one of Polke's many signature styles. These experimental photos were printed, distorted, layered, and scanned, and they look like the surface of an acid-drenched planet we've not yet discovered. Absolutely spellbinding.

Here's a detail, too. I'm not going to post any more photos because you should all buy the book while it's still available. 

Currently reading:
Miroslav Penkov, Stork Mountain

Currently listening to:
Joanna Brouk, "Hearing Music"

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Don DeLillo, Zero K (signed first edition)

Last week I had the privilege of seeing Don DeLillo read from his new novel Zero K at the 92nd Street Y. His reading was an incredible amalgamation of sections from the entire book - it was a joy to hear him read something I'd so recently read myself and hear it re-sequenced, as if anew. The New York Times did a great write-up of the event, which can be found here.

After the event, DeLillo was gracious enough to sign books: he said he's sign Zero K and one additional book from his backlist. Of course, there wouldn't be a book event in New York without a slew of book-flipping vultures, who crammed the front of the line with *stacks* of inexplicably perfect copies of Americana... it was a shame to watch these guys take advantage of DeLillo, and by the time I got to meet him I could tell he was already spent. Lucky for me, he kindly signed my Zero K and my first edition of The Names, both of which are proudly shelved in the still-growing section of DeLillo books in my library. The line was remarkably long (to the door and then some) and I'm afraid some folks were turned away. Glad I made the cut!

I recently reviewed Zero K for Run Spot Run, which can be read here. Please take a look - this is one of the big books of 2016.

And, for fun: here's a photo of the great spine of the book. My review copy was tape-bound so I hadn't seen this until I bought the hardcover. Very nice!

Currently reading:
Sunjeev Sahota, The Year of the Runaways

Currently listening to:
Joanna Brouk, "Hearing Music"

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (signed first edition, dated on Pulitzer day)

Here's a serious catch: a signed, first edition / first printng of Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer, dated April 18, 2016, the day he won the Pulitzer for fiction.

I can't imagine anyone saw this coming -- I for one hadn't even heard of The Sympathizer until the award was announced. Whenever this sort of thing happens, whether it's the Pulitzer or the Booker longlist or shortlist or winner, there's this strange moment online where traces of suddenly-collectible books appear to be available only to suddenly be out-of-stock upon adding a book one's abebooks cart. It's a weird kind of race, and then this sort of thing happens:

While seeing that Symapthizers were disappearing off the internet by the minute, I went to Viet Thanh Nguyen's website and saw that he was doing a signing that night at the Harvard Bookstore. They recently sold me a signed Marilynne Robinson book from a previous event, and while there's not a good way to check editions on a phone order I took a gamble and bought the last hardcover they had in stock. They were gracious enough to get it signed for me and ship it to New York, and lucky for me, a first printing with a complete number line:

Currently reading:
The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

Currently listening to:
Cold Cave, "Love Comes Close"