Endurance Book Tour Book Haul: Five Weeks of Acquisitions

(A book on Nabokov’s work I hadn’t yet acquired, and an indie chapbook bought in Portland’s Powell’s Books.)

I thought I’d been most reasonable as to my book-buyin’ ways while on tour, but when confronted with the full weight of my acquisitions, it became clear I’d been a little profligate in my purchases. Still, some of these were snatched for free from the National Book Awards, some given for free by various booksellers at the bookstores in which I hawked my Finch and my Booklife. Others came into my possession as the result of steep discounts. Still others I would’ve bought regardless. For example, I cannot resist a Picador Europa Edition. If you ever want to lure me into an alley to mug me, simply attach a Europa edition to a hook and reel me in.

“But, Jeff, where are the genre books?” Heh. Dude. While I was gone, over 500 copies of SF/fantasy/horror books came in for review, not including graphic novels and other, non-genre stuff. When I buy for myself, it’s rarely genre. My reading tastes are pretty wide anyway.

So here’s what I bought, with some notes.

A graphic novel and two prints bought from a street artist at Pike’s Place Market named, I kid you not, Strongbow.

Hard Man was given to me by Brian Lindemuth, Sandra Ruttan’s latest given to me by her (both while in Baltimore), and Mo Hayder’s latest, bought at Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia.

East Carolina’s awesome arts journal, given to me by Scott Eagle in Greensville, NC; the other two, by Eriksson and Rash, I bought at Fountain Bookstore, the latter on the recommendation of the staff.

The Brom was given to us by our new editor at HarperCollins, Diana Gill, and the GI novel was a gift of sorts from that malevolent yet sweet force in the world, Matt Cheney.

Swag from the National Book Awards…

Abrams catalog picked up while meeting with my editor about the Steampunk Bible in NYC, while the Coilhouse mag was given to me by one of its editors at the SF in SF event in San Fran.

More NBA swag, and then someone bought me the Borges and I cannot for the life of me remember who it was. :(

World Fantasy Con swag in the form of Interfictions 2 and some Turtledove.

Will Self’s Butt I bought at City Lights in San Fran, while Jumped is more NBA swag. (I read Self’s Liver first, btw, and that is one f—ed up read…)

NBA and HarperCollins swag…

NBA swag again, and a Louis Phillips’ chapbook gifted to me by the author over an Italian dinner near my hotel in NYC.

A reading copy of 2666 for the road, so I could encounter it more slowly than the first time, along with Alan DeNiro’s latest, which I think Colleen Lindsay gave me while I was in NYC.

More Nabokov-oriented nonfiction I didn’t have, and a book by Miller. I can’t for the life of me remember where I got either one of them, except I was so impressed by Big Sur that I wound up getting the Miller. The Nabokov might’ve been acquired on the East Coast.

The first of the Europa editions, acquired at Book Soup in Los Angeles, where they had the audacity to put all of the Europas in one place, which is like book crack to me. I had to have as many as I could–and a lit journal put out by CalState at San Bernardino, where the mighty Glen Hirshberg teaches.

Ahhhhhh. More Europa Editions–Barbery, Paterson, Carlotto.

More Europa–one of these was a freebie from the kind folks at Copperfield’s in Petaluma, California.

Bought the Hurley in an airport; I think the mushroom cards came from Rina Weisman!

The insanely cool Scorch Atlas from Powell’s in Portland, the Tales of the Table from a cool bookstore John Glover took me to in Richmond.

The David Mitchell I bought new, un-remaindered for the ridiculous price of $9 from the awesome Chop Suey Books in Richmond; the Patiann Rogers writing book came from Powell’s.

The ARC of Klima’s Log came from a San Fran bookstore Jacob Weisman took me to (bastard found four Angela Carter ARCs before I did) and the other is a lovely and magnificently underpriced edition of Swift’s Tale of a tub and Sterne’s Sentimental Journey picked up at The Book Shop in Chapel Hill (lovely bookstore cats inside).

The Fog Mound was a book bought at Chapel Hill Comics Shop (thanks for the discount, Andrew!) and the Graham Greene acquired in the same San Fran bookstore as Klima’s Log. Unfortunately, it was going out of business:

The Katherine Min I bought at Malaprops in Asheville, NC, and got the author, who was attending my event, to sign it to me and Ann. Min, btw, is an awesome person and I can’t wait to read the book. The Shipping News I picked up in New Hampshire while hanging out with Eric Schaller and Matt Cheney. I didn’t expect to like it, but I do!

The Quin’s Shanghai Circus was acquired at the same Abandoned Planet Bookstore in San Francisco, and the Best American Short Stories was a gift from Clayton Books in Clayton, CA (great bookstore).

Copperfield’s also gifted me with the Stross. The booklet I got at the Internationalist Bookstore in Chapel Hill while wandering around with my dad.

Matt Cheney had recommended Paul Bowles’ short stories, and I finally tracked them down at a used bookstore in Asheville called something like The Captain’s Table. A great store.

Radical Cartography I got from the amazing Chop Suey Books in Richmond, while the other two were indie pubs/books gotten at, respectively, Powell’s in Portland and the Internationalist in Chapel Hill.

Abolish Restaurants I got at the Internationalist in Chapel Hill, while Between Books in Delaware were kind enough to gift me with their thirtieth-anniversary fiction anthology.

The owner of Dark Harvest bookstore in Berkeley was particularly nice–he gave me a slipcase for the Peter Straub Library of America two-volume set when I bought the first volume, so I could put my contributor copy of volume two in with the other one.

Our friend Eric Schaller gave us the Paris Review interviews as a gift.

I bought the Scott Musgrove at a cool indie bookstore in Little Five Points, Atlanta.

I splurged and bought the new William Vollman at the same Atlanta bookstore.

Finally, when I came across it in a great used bookstore in Richmond, I couldn’t resist The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle is a wonderful oversized, two-volume set, numbered, and signed by the artist–for only fifty bucks.


  1. Drax says

    Welcome back, Jeff!

    What a cool stack of loot! I worship David Mitchell! Can’t recall if you mentioned him before. BLACK SWAN GREEN is… “Okay.” Charming in its own modest way. Guess he felt it was time to throttle back from the “weird sh*t…”

    The guest blogging was great, but it’s good to have you back. Guess I should be clicking that shiny new button on the right side….

  2. says

    Henry Miller brought me back to my teenage years when I was a huge devotee of his and when I feel his books are best encountered. I devoured TROPIC OF CAPRICORN & TROPIC OF CANCER followed by THE ROSY CRUCIFIXION TRILOGY which includes the huge tomes NEXUS, PLEXUS, & SEXUS. The latter of which can be hard to get through due to his propensity to go on huge tangents and flights of poetics with no editor to reign him in. But this young, bohemian writer loved him for it and loved his candidness. The way he lived the way he wanted constantly leeching off of other people to live the writerly life. And lest we forget, the first NC-17 movie was Henry & June, a great movie about Henry Miller, his wife June (played by Uma Thurman), and Anais Nin.

  3. says

    What a wonderful haul! I particularly enjoyed the Alan DeNiro, myself. It was my first formal exposure to his work and I was amazed by how well he balances the absurd and prosaic. I was left a convert.

  4. says

    I hope you get a kick out of Bowles’ stories. Much strange atmosphere in them, and occasionally the narrators’ reactions to their environment transfigures the landscape into something that’s almost New Weird in its power to alienate. Love it. The Sheltering Sky is a great novel, and I think experimental in its way, but in the short stories he will go places that are much more on the border of speculative fiction.

  5. says

    Wowsers. Nice haul.

    That cover picture on the stories (in) between collection looks like an illustration for my story “Two Hearts in Zamora” in the Cross Plains Universe antho.

  6. Jeff VanderMeer says

    Matt–you were left a convict?

    JT–I’m looking forward to it!

    It turns out Dan Read gave me the Borges book. Shoulda figured from the fact he loves Dr. Octagon, and that kinda music just goes with Borges like a hand goes in a glove.

  7. Chris Furst says

    Hope you like James Hamilton-Paterson. If you haven’t read them, check out Gerontius and Playing With Water.

  8. Rina Weisman says

    wow, you should tour every year for five weeks, if only to replenish your bookshelves. BTW – it’s Dark Carnival, not Dark Harvest, and yes, Clayton Books is a great store. Enjoy playing Spite & Malice with the Mushroom cards :)

  9. Jeff VanderMeer says

    Eek–I knew I’d get something wrong. Will fix it. And thanks SO much for the gift, Rina, and for shipping the books. Can I reimburse you?

  10. xeno says

    I work a block away from Pike’s Market and I’m down there practically every day for coffee. How is it I missed this Strongbow?

  11. says

    More Europa–one of these was a freebie from the kind folks at Copperfield’s in Petaluma, California.

    I discovered Jane Gardam by chance earlier this year: I thought Old Filth was magnificent, so the recent appearance of The Man in the Wooden Hat has made me very happy. I hope you find it worthwhile.

  12. PhilRM says

    I’m also a complete sucker for Editions Europa: on a recent trip to Palo Alto, I discovered that the excellent Kepler’s bookstore in Menlo Park does the same thing, displaying all of their Europas in the same place, which left me wondering how many I could actually fit into my carry-on bag. (They do the same thing with their NYRB volumes, which led to a similar problem.) I just read “Poisonville”, which was quite good.

    I have the same pb edition of “Dr. Brodie’s Report”, purchased in Tuscon when I was in grad school in the early ’80s. Also a matching edition of “A Universal History of Infamy”.

  13. says

    Wow, you found some Whittemore! I’ve been looking for years, and have never come across any of his books — they’re not even available in my local library or on ABE.

    Welcome back!

  14. Hellbound Heart says

    oh man oh man oh man…..i’s comin’ ovah to looky your bookies, bud……

    peace and love….