The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Random observations

Posted on: March 23, 2008

I am hammering out the last versions of several essays for my assorted overlords while fielding panicked questions from sweet, harried undergrads. Instead of mind destroying posts on Dubus and Simenon…you get this. Enjoy!

  • How the crap can there be only 32 copies of Tropic Moon by Simenon on LibraryThing? It just isn’t right. I keep on assuming that because it’s a bookish site all of us using the same radar but that’s obviously not true. It could also mean I am more susceptible to advertising. I don’t seem to be in the mood to review lit mags much these days but the latest TLS featured a great Commentary article by Paul Theroux on Simenon. He wrote the introduction for NYRB’s newest Simenon release, The Widow.
  • Goose Lane — ever heard of it? It appears to be a spiffy indie Canadian publisher that sells music. (Huh? Yeah I know.) At the bookstore earlier this week I decided to scan every shelf in the Fiction & Literature section for any small press books authored by women on the shelf which is how I discovered it. Goose Lane had a Libby Creelman and…something else but I didn’t take the final step to purchase. The website isn’t very helpful in letting me know which books tempted me. The Creelman book was The Darren Effect. I was intrigued but it opened with a character apparently on his death bed in the hospital and I wasn’t eager to go that route again after The Stone Angel.
  • I ended up leaving with two books that aren’t really indie or small (anymore). Everything I read about Millet’s Oh Pure and Radiant Heart made me blink in indifference. I thought her Globe & Mail review of the latest Coetzee sucked. Why did I get her latest, How the Dead Dream? Maybe it was the dinosaur eye on the cover. Mostly I’m hoping it will give me something weird which I need after Dubus staunch realism (naturalism? huh). I was expecting to see Soft Skull Press on the spine but it was Counterpoint instead. I then concluded she had moved on to a bigger (or different) press with her latest book. Turns out SSP and two other publishers got swallowed and digested into a bigger entity that’s running things now. (Except not editing, right? Richard Nash is still big cheese?) Thankfully, SSP’s site is still around so I’d suggest you google for it instead when looking for its books, since Counterpoint’s site is a dead bore.
  • It’s French! It promises passionate romance! It’s French! Voice Over by Céline Curiol, translated by Sam Richard, sold to the gullible afro lady. Read the novel summary and you’ll see how susceptible I am to the French angle. Set that story almost anywhere else and I’d roll my eyes. This ones published by Mclelland & Stewart. I’ve predictably strayed from my original reading list but I needed the estrogen boost. Look to your right (and a few scrolls) you’ll notice that my classic reading picks fall along the same lines.

7 Responses to "Random observations"

Well, there’s only 35 copies of “Strangers in the House” (I’m reading that one right now) — so maybe it’s just an indication that among LibraryThing users there’s just a certain demographics that’s into Simenon.

Well, for instance, I don’t use LibraryThing — but I use some other applications like Facebook, my blog or Shelfari to keep track of my books.

I read the Theroux introduction to “The Widow” too — made me want to pick up “The Widow” — after I’m done with “Strangers” and all the other Simenon romans durs.

Have you read “Strangers” yet? It’s surprising humorous. I care less about the murder than his account of a man who is overwhelmed by his unexpected participation in life.

Yep, I was pretty bitter when Counterpoint took over SSP. OH well, they still send books to Estella, so I can’t be TOO bitter, I guess. Maybe. 🙂

Surprisingly, I’m actually heard of Goose Lane, because they publish one of my favourite books, English Lessons and Other Stories by Shauna Singh Baldwin.

Dark O demographics could explain although the copy count of Simenon books drops drastically when you check Shelfari. I chalk that partly up to the fact that you can only add books from the Amazon database and a some Simenon fans have the Penguin UK editions.

Haven’t tried Strangers, no, it’s actually the first time I’ve heard of it. A humorous Simenon sounds good.

Andi ha! Yeah, I was really surprised when I ended up on that strange pale site. “Whaaaa? Where’s my bold colours and shopping cart?” Good thing SSP still kept their own site. And, to be fair to them, I just started to read its books last year so it wouldn’t be right for me to whinge about the takeover since I wasn’t a long time supporter or anything like that.

Poodlerat iiiiiiiiiinteresting. That book sounds pretty good although I just waded out of short story land recently and am in the mood for a nice fat novel. Added it to my favourites in my library account though, thanks for mentioning it.

While we’re talking indie publishers, I’ll recommend Hawthorne Books & Literary arts. They’re amazing, and I think you might really like their stuff.

Well, you were mistaken about The Darren Effect. It’s not a book about death, but about the lives of those who live on after loss, and it’s wonderfully life affirming.

Andi you were right Andi, thanks for the rec! The very first book at the top of their listings page caught me. 🙂

Janet McNaughton err…I believe I only described the opening scene of the novel rather than a synopsis of the book’s plot or theme. The Stone Angel, the book I compared it to, could be described as being about “loss” and also “life affirming” if you’re afraid that the death stuff might scare off potential readers. (I don’t.)

Thanks for commenting.

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