The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Links for the weekend

Posted on: June 15, 2007

It turns out that the boring, mysterious Premier Classics line published my Random House and difficult to find on any site except Chapters is not the celebrated line destined to bite Penguin Classics in the butt. It’s these.


Ron at the GalleyCat posted the news and linked to Première de Couverture which has more pictures of the books that are being launched. A few look good and just right like Alice in Wonderland but most look like they’re trying too hard and the Austen covers are plain boring to me. (I get the contrast of the different motifs but it’s still plumb boring.) Three cheers for the book jacket focus group though that said the Penguin Red covers were patronising.

I’m not sure how these are going to work in my town since the local chain store has been hitting us over the head with Premier. I’m guessing the indie will have better luck at selling them. Update: Or it might not get them at all. Thomas of Premiere de Couverture wrote in comments, “I wouldn’t dismiss those Premier Classics (a Chapters exclusive!) just yet, as there’s been no confirmation that Random House will even bother to release the new Vintage Classics in Canada. As I mentioned in my post, the local Random House rep in Montreal isn’t even aware of their existence…”.

That would suck. I don’t see myself buying books like Gulliver’s Travels or Moby-Dick, two of the few intriguing covers, without introductions or endnotes, but I would dearly prefer to pass by those books on the shelves rather than the insipid stuff they chose for the poorly made Premiers. (I can’t think that Canadians would respond better to these in comparison. Who would?)


The Conversational Reading has a generous offering of interviews, reviews and commentary on translation for your browsing pleasure. I really enjoyed Esposito’s Queneau reviews and interviews with Chad Post, programme manager of Reading the World, and Karen S. Kingsbury, translator of Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City.

Which leads nicely to an informative interview the great people at Litminds had with Edwin Frank, editor of the NYRB classics series. He gives the background on how the series started, the idea behind its mission and what the word “classic” means for the imprint. One of the first authors whose work they printed was Ivy Compton-Burnett! You see? You have to read her now. 🙂 (via A Different Stripe)

At A Different Stripe I also read about a new book in the series The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy which sounds smashing. Oddly enough this particular edition can’t be found on the national chain store’s website nor on; it has the Viragao Modern Classics edition but it’s only available from third party sellers. Isn’t that strange?

I’ll end with the funny. The Smart Bitches and their readers have been having a lot of photoshop fun recently with romance covers. There’s the LOLHunks:


And an inspirational romance cover design contest based on the creepy figures at that wacko Creationist Museum.



15 Responses to "Links for the weekend"

Thanks for mentioning so many NYRB Classics on this post. As far as The Dud Avocado goes, we were not able to get Canadian rights to the book, though we did try. Let’s hope Virago gets some copies up North soon!

Check back at the site for a father’s day tribute from Ivy Compton-Burnett…

Thanks for the update!

I’ve just send in my orders for a copy of “Dud Avocado” – with a title like that, how can I resist? I’m looking forward to be charmed. 🙂

Thanks, Imani!

Thanks for linking to my post about the new Vintage Classics. I wouldn’t dismiss those Premier Classics (a Chapters exclusive!) just yet, as there’s been no confirmation that Random House will even bother to release the new Vintage Classics in Canada. As I mentioned in my post, the local Random House rep in Montreal isn’t even aware of their existence…

Sara you’re welcome for, as you know by now, I’m devout. It’s too bad about the Avocado but my local indie orders books from anywhere and everywhere at no extra cost so there’s hope for me yet.

And for some reason I missed the C-B comment the first time around. Looking forward to that Father’s Day tribute, it should be a hoot!

You’re welcome Kelly.

Dark O any time. The title gets you but it’s any and everything about Paris that gets me. One day I really must sit and think about why this is so….

Thomas you’re welcome and thanks for that clarification. I’d put the rep’s ignorance to botched communications, never imagining that Random House would really leave us with those lame Premiers. 😦 But it makes more sense when one considers how heavily they’ve been pushing them — it would be overkill to make another classics line launch so soon from the same publisher.

Oh phooey.

I adored The Dud Avocado when I read it. It’s sheer delight. But it is also perpetually hard to come by.

Is it just me, or does the Rape of the Lock cover look like those scissors are going after a sperm?

litlove that’s another thing I like about the NYRB classics — a lot of them are fun to read, it’s not all sombre offerings.

Dew hahahahahahahahahaha. Maybe they had a Freudian do the cover?

A few years back, I read the Natalie Clifford Barney biography, “Wild Heart” – it made me a fan of the whole Parisian bohemian scene. She lived a long life, and the Friday salons she ran spanned two World Wars, and she met them all – artists, poseur, writers, rakes.

I think the real reason I’m reading Colette, Proust, Andre Gide and Hemingway (especially “A Moveable Feast”) is because of Natalie Clifford Barney.

And it all started with that book, “Wild Heart.”

But “Dud Avocado” – what a title. 🙂

For any readers of Imani’s blog in the US, “The Dud Avocado” is available and currently in stores. I picked one up at my local Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago.

DarkO I actually never got past the first 3 or 4 pages of A Moveable Feast which was hard for me, being a Hemingway fun. I thought the writing was terrible (for Hemingway). :/ I don’t think I got what he was going for in that book….

Beepy thanks for mentioning that. I do wish I lived near a store that regularly stocked new NYRBs. (Sigh.)

I know you can’t judge a book by its cover, but a well done cover can really sell a book! I’m not sure I like either of those classics designs. The Swift is kind of cool. I have had a copy of the Dud Avocado for a long time (an old Virago edition)–I really need to read it as I have heard such good things about it!

Oh I know I don’t like either of them. There’s only three from the new Vintage that aren’t bad but I’d never buy them, introductions or no, because I don’t like how they brand the authors. Vintage Carroll, Vintage Pope. What, pray tell, did Random House have to do with most of these authors when they were around? Yuck.

The Premier covers are ok but generally boring.

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. Ill certainly be back.

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