Friday, February 11, 2011


Maybe it's impolite or bullying to pick on the most diminutive of months--as if February doesn't catch enough flack already, what with its Valentine's day and its imprecision (is it a leap year? Am I the only one who can't keep track of this?)--but I'm ready to kick the month to the curb. Sure, I can't complain about the weather in San Francisco. I don't have to shovel snow or salt the sidewalk and there's little chance I'll lose my dog in a snowdrift (I don't have a dog, I'm daydreaming), but that doesn't mean I'm not sick of whatever passes for winter here. As it is, everyone is achy and coughing and sniffling and dripping and oozing... winter is just about as unflattering as horizontal stripes on a fat man.

One of the things getting me through the rest of this dreadful and snotty season are piles of publishers' catalogs, treasure troves smelling of warm Spring and Summer days. In particular, I'm really, really excited about the fact that 2011 is shaping up to be, at least as far as I'm concerned, the Year of Raymond Roussel.

Roussel (1877-1933) was an eccentric, to say the least, one whose self-published works were met with at best quizzical reviews upon their initial publication, but that have grown steadily more influential--possibly more so due to their cult status--among artists and poets over the years. Admirers include(d) Marcel Duchamp, John Ashbery, and Harry Mathews, among others. Michel Foucault even wrote a study of Roussel. (That is available as both a paperback and a Google eBook.)

While Roussel's work has previously been published in English translation, at the moment all of his work is currently out-of-print in the U.S. Until March, at least, when Princeton UP will publish a new translation of New Impressions of Africa by Roussel biographer Mark Ford.

In the months following, British publisher Oneworld will release for American fans of the avant-garde both Locus Solus and Impressions of Africa, and in August (I can almost feel the sand between my toes), Dalkey Archive is publishing super-translator Mark Polizzotti's new edition of the aforementioned Impressions of Africa. I don't often get excited about publishing "events," and perhaps I'm a party of one in considering this an event, but I cannot wait to get my hands on this book.

Until then, I'll keep plugging away at Thomas Bernhard, adding misery to February misery.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Notable Texts on Art and its Relation to Propaganda and Political Bodies

-The Situationists and the City
, a collection of writings from Situationist International edited by Tom McDonough.
-Art and Text, edited by Aimee Selby with a font on the cover that takes me back to way back when and some other strange places as well.
-Color: A Natural History of the Palate by Victoria Finlay, which I have discussed before.
-Danzig Baldaev's Drawings From the Gulag is a bleak journey into a historic institution designed for punishment and torture, and a strange account of art's existence there.
-And of course, my nonfiction 'book of the year' from last year The Great Debate About Art by Roy Harris.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book stuff on technology blogs?!?

If those blogs are BOINGBOING or Laughingsquid, then of course books. . . I check-in with both of these sites daily, and they never fail to amaze me. Every day. Amazed!

In fact, boingboing and Laughingsquid are huge supporters of books and bookish things, as exemplified by the following two posts, from yesterday and today. One showcases how the book can evolve into a unique object of art, and the other is a gentle plea from graphic-novel guru Alan Moore on the importance of libraries.

Two sides of the same coin, and both stirring examples of how important physical books are to a culture, to a creator, and to our minds.

Thanks boingboing and laughingsquid for making the internet a safe and free haven for book readers!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Foursquare offer at Green Apple!

Do you remember Little Bee by Chris Cleave? It was a Green Apple Book of the Month and the subject of one of our most successful (and dare we say hilarious) videos ever? Well, to celebrate the release of Chris Cleave's Incendiary, Green Apple has teamed up with Foursquare.

New to Foursquare or unsure how to take advantage of the offer? Please allow my 4-year-old twins to help.

So what's the deal, you ask? Here's the deal:

So stop by Green Apple in the next week or two, check in on Foursquare, and pick up a copy of Incendiary and your free Little Bee (which would be a generous gift if you've already read it, right?).