As the dust starts to settle from the holiday madness, there's finally time to unveil our December Apple-a-Month Club selection, Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner (Coffee House Press). Anyone who subscribed by December 5th got this smart, poignant, and funny novel in the mail mid-month, and by now even those who were forced to let it sit under the tree for a few weeks have had the chance to dig in, so we'll share our pitch for the book (penned by Sparks) with the rest of you:
Ben Lerner's debut novel is a smart and ironic account of cultural, linguistic, and personal dislocation. Chronicling the rather unextraordinary adventures of a young American poet in Madrid (there under the false pretenses of writing a poem about the Spanish Civil War), Leaving the Atocha Station is a comedic portrait of the artist as a bundle of failures. Much more than an attempt to understand what poetry means in the early 21st century, Lerner's novel is an attempt to figure out what it means to be human.
December also brought a jump in new subscriptions, many of them gifts, which is basically the best Christmas present we could have asked for (combining a few of our favorite things, after all: reading new books, picking good books for you to read, and surprises). Those folks can be on the lookout for the next new fiction title of our choosing in the mail in mid January. Don't even think about trying to get us to tell you what it is. Even though we totally already know. Not even for a bribe, unless you have a really really good bribe. Bribery attempts will be graciously accepted.