Summer Road Trip Book Haul: More Than You Might Think…

Jeff VanderMeer • August 7th, 2012 @ 4:26 pm • Book Reviews, Uncategorized

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(An anthology of Bruno Schulz-inspired fiction ffrom Ex Occidente and the latest from Wendy Walker–check out Wendy Walker’s back catalogue.)

I never intend to buy books on trips, and I especially didn’t intend to on this latest one, where from July 10 through August 5, I went from the Stonecoast MFA program to ReaderCon to the Shared Worlds teen SF/F camp. But, as usual, no matter what I plan, books accrete to me without conscious thought…So here’s the run-down on what I acquired, or was gifted to me.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar—A book Ann bought that looks of interest.

The middle book is a novel in translation from Tor. Haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet.

Journey to the End of the Night—So far this classic by Celine is impressing me about as much as Nietzsche—which is to say not at all. There’s something in the style that annoys the fuck out of me.

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Don’t Read This Book—Will Hindmarch gifted me with this Chuck Wendig-edited antho. Haven’t gotten to it, but I’m very impressed with Wendig and look forward to it.

Bullettime—New novel out from Nick Mamatas. One thing you can expect from Nick: No Stupid and interesting ideas and an unique stylistic approach. Okay, so that’s three things.

Digital Rapture: The Singularity Anthology—Latest antho from Tachyon, a mix of fiction and nonfiction. It’s hard to do an antho like this that isn’t obsolete in about 60 seconds, but it looks like a meaty book.

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Growing Up Dead in Texas—Stephen Graham Jones’s latest novel is out, and it looks like his break-out book.

Fantastic Women: 18 Tales of the Surreal and the Sublime from Tin House—This collection from Tin House includes some of my favorite stories from their fantastical women issues, plus more

Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction—Just brushing up on a few things…

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Karin Lowachee’s Warchild and Burndive–Picked up some Lowachee I don’t think I have at Shared Worlds, and got it signed!

Michael Innes Omnibus–I’ve always liked Innes’ mysteries, and the omnibus includes a few I last read almost eight years ago, so I’ve forgotten the particulars. When Innes was on, he was awesome, and some of the books are very strange indeed.

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The Nabokov I’m sure you’re familiar with–just continuing to flesh out my Complete Collection of the master in all editions with these mass markets I didn’t have.

The Twin (Rainmaker Translations)—I love Archipelago Books and anything that looks remotely interesting I pick up. This looks to be mainstream lit, which is just fine. I don’t need no stinkin’ dragons.

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Small Lives—Another Archipelago title. Happy to take a chance on it

Stories and Essays of Mina Loy (British Literature Series)—”Aligning herself with Futurism, Dada, and Surrealism, Loy influenced pivotal figures such as Marcel Duchamp and Djuna Barnes.” Um, yeah, Dalkey Archive Press does great work, and Id never heard of Loy before, so this was a true find. “This volume brings together her short fiction, as well as hybrid works that include modernized fairy tales, a Socratic dialogue, and a ballet. Loy’s narratives address issues such as abortion and poverty, and what she called the sex war is an abiding theme throughout…also contains dramatic works that parody the bravado and misogyny of Futurism and demonstrate Loy’s early, effective use of absurdist technique. Essays and commentaries on aesthetics, historical events, and religion complete this beguiling collection.”

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Ransom River–The new novel from a writer who continues to impress and grow.

The Second World War—I’m a sucker for Antony Beevor; his Stalingrad was a huge influence on my writing…but even I am wondering how he’s managed to stuff the entire second world war into one volume.

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Limassol–I also love the Europa editions, and this one by Yishai Sarid looked interesting. “A high-ranking official in the Israeli secret service is handed a new brief: go undercover as an aspiring novelist to befriend Dauphna, an Israeli writer, and her friend Hanai, a renowned Palestinian poet.” (Reminds me I’ve got to write a blog post about how inadequate the current conversation about international fiction is within genre circles.)

You Deserve Nothing: A Novel—Another Europa edition book from a French writer named Maksik: “Set in Paris, at an international high school catering to the sons and daughters of wealthy families, You Deserve Nothing is a gripping story of power, idealism, and morality.”

Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea–I heard Morgan read from this novel at Stonecoast; she’s a Stonecoast alumn…I was so impressed I decided to buy it and have the author sign it to me and Ann. “When her mother disappears during a weekend trip, Florine Gilham’s idyllic childhood is turned upside down. Until then she’d been blissfully insulated by the rhythms of family life in small town Maine: watching from the granite cliffs above the sea for her father’s lobster boat to come into port, making bread with her grandmother, and infiltrating the summer tourist camps with her friends. But with her mother gone, the heart falls out of Florine’s life and she and her father are isolated as they struggle to manage their loss.”

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Some essential research/re-visiting for the feminist SF antho we’re editing:

Women of Wonder

Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century

Secret Weavers: Stories of the Fantastic by Women Writers of Argentina and Chile; this antho in particular might give readers some insight into our thinking about what might be included in the feminist antho…this is an absolutely fabulous book!

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We’re revisting Kathy Acker and also reading Clarice Lispector for the first time.

Kathy Acker’s books

Clarice Lispector’s books

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Women of Other Worlds: Excurions Through Science Fiction and Feminism—Another interesting antho.

The Nightmare Thief—Another Meg Gardiner title; I think we have all of her novels.

Dark Desires and the Others (Argentinian Literature Series)—Luisa Valenzuela’s autobiographical fantasia on the ten years she spent living in New York City. Valenzuela has called this book her “apocryphal autobiography,” and in it she says very little about her work as a writer, about the city itself, or even about literature. Instead, Dark Desires is a dialogue between the sometimes harmonious, sometimes contradictory worlds of writing and human interaction: for Valenzuela, writing, like love, is an attempt to reach out to another person, to make some sort of connection possible. valenzuela didn’t quite fit our Weird antho, but we loved what we read, and we’re exploring more of her work.

One Response to “Summer Road Trip Book Haul: More Than You Might Think…”

  1. Léon Mulder says:

    I’ve read The Twin in the original Dutch and it’s a masterpiece! Glad to see it translated; it deserves a broader audience.

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