Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Streetwise foxes

The (insert euphoric adjective here) Vulpes Libris have done another great review. This time it's of The Streets of Babylon.

Which leads me to a Streets themed anecdote that brought home to me the quite awesome capacity of Google Book Search:

Embarking on the final proof read, and in a fairly whimsical mood (the author should here admit that this is a fairly common state for himself to be in ed.) I wondered whether the steamer Helen McGregor that brings Euthanasia to London might be a reference to something or other. It's that kind of book.

Sure enough: it is.

How much information was sifted through in less than a second to bring up that result? It's quite incredible and more than a little scary in that way that unfathomable things are...


Monday, February 25, 2008

It is Monday morning, and I am opening the post. A cheerful start to the week, sun shining, things going well.

The first item I come across is a small parcel of books we sent out last week to a well known TV and film agency, who works with the author's agent. You see, a book we published has a TV offer from a well known company, and we wanted to ensure the best deal was obtained.

I heard late last week that said agent was over whelmed with work. Fair enough. What I had not bargained for was the books to be returned with three red capital initials on the label.


It took a second to work it out.

Return to sender.

Or rather, do not bother opening, reading the carefully worded note, seeing the work that went into the books, and being generally interested in an independent press that has on its own obtained the interest of a major TV company. No, RTS.

That takes the award for complete, downright, off hand rudeness I have ever experienced in this industry. God, I hope the TV company is successful and this book becomes a multi millionaire brand and show in the early evenings. It deserves to.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Many mentions...

in the press and on the web to begin the week. It really is nice when people notice what you're doing.

Shel Silverstein was profiled in The Times on Saturday. This picture of the winged hippo
having been photoshopically saved by yours truly after it was cruely sliced down the middle of page 88 and 89 of the files we had. You can experience some Silverstein themed mayhem at Jewish Book Week the Sunday after next.

by Witold Gombrowicz was named one of the top ten Polish novels ever by James Hopkin over on Guardian Unlimited. It's appreciated even if he did attribute it to the wrong publisher (grumblegrumblegrumble), many thanks to Sarah Crown at GU for putting that right.

Chinese Takeout
by Arthur Nersesian got a surprise review on the wonderfuller and wonderfuller Vulpes Libris.

And not leastly,

The Streets of Babylon has been spotted by the eurocrime blog . They will get a review copy as soon as we get our hands on 'em. Which should be any day now...


Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Valentines Day post

I've missed a trick this year - I'm sure that with a bit of planning and an extra injection of charm I might have persuaded a bookshop somewhere to do an MB Valentines Day promotion.

The Concubine of Shanghai
pushes all the right buttons for instance - and we got it out in time (regular readers of this blog, if any, will remember much mention of deadlines at the beginning of this year. We met them, hooray!) but there are others:

How about The Devil in the Flesh?, which one of my most favourite booksellers says they sold five copies of yesterday.

Jules et Jim?

The Politics of Love?


K, of course...

For those lacking someone:

In Praise of Masturbation

and for those who just can't be bothered:

The Art of the Siesta

Cathy says that anyone who is embarrassed to read the second-to-last title on the tube is a prude so, on my recent trip I decided to go one better and read it on my long haul flights back to the UK (9 hours to Washington from Buenos Aires, 8 from Washington to London) only to find that neither of my neighbours on either leg spoke a word of English. Which rather diminished any effect the title might have had. It is a very good book though, which, I suppose, is the main thing.

Personally, I used up all my romance on the trip AND found time to buy a mountain of books. In Buenos Aires they not only have cavernous second hand stores filled with treasures and immensely knowledgable staff, but they have book shop bars! Why, oh why, don't we have them here? I would do my bit to keep them afloat.

Because lists are strangely compelling here is one of the books I bought or was otherwise given:

In no particular order. Unless, like Borges, you don't believe in Free Will.

Don Quijote
which I didn't previously own in Spanish.

Viaje Olvidado by Silvina Ocampo and another collection of previously unpublished Ocampo writing which I've forgotten the name of and is at home. Silvina Ocampo is a quite, quite brilliant writer whoeveryoneshouldread.

A literary biography of Clarice Lispector.

The second newest (he seems to have just released another) book (again I can't remember the title) by Marcelo Cohen, who is described by his publisher as 'the best contemporary Argentine novelist'. High praise indeed, but from what I've read by him its deserved.
Respiracion Artificial by Ricardo Piglia

The Buenos Aires Affair by Manuel Puig.

A volume of Keats' letters edited by Julio Cortázar

and, most excitingly, the last remaining copy of 62: Modos para Armar also by Cortázar, in all of Buenos Aires. Or at least in the fifteen bookshops I looked in. Cortázar's work is being re-edited in Spanish which means that for next few months it'll be really difficult to get ahold of. If there is a better feeling in the world than searching for a favourite book that you've previously lost and the finding it in the last shop of the day at five to eight when it shuts at eight, especially when at first they say they don't have it but then find it in the display window then I don't want to know about it.

All of which means I have plenty to be getting on with. Constructing some new shelves for a start...