Friday, March 30, 2012

Incoming Books: March 23rd

Yes, that date is not a misprint; these books have been sitting on my desk for an entire week. I was away for part of last weekend, but I don't otherwise think I was that busy -- and, yet, here it is Friday again, and they're still sitting there.

(I know I don't have to blog books coming in, but I enjoy it, and it's an easy post -- and I'll take every easy post I can get.)

Anyway, there was a library book sale in the next town over -- the bucolically-named Riverdale, which narrowly missed being the home of Archie & Jughead by being so small that they send their teenagers to my town's high school -- and I found a short stack of paperbacks for fifty cents each. They're nearly all old or odd editions, which also interests me for the usual publishing-geek reasons:

One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson. This is one of her Jackson Brodie mystery novels, which began with Case Histories, a book I've now purchased twice without yet reading. I grabbed this hoping it was the second one, which it might be -- I'm really not sure. What I have is the UK Black Swan paperback, and I can only speculate how that found it's way to suburban New Jersey.

Arthur & George was a major novel by Julian Barnes -- I think it won an award or two -- back in 2005, and I got a hardcover of it then but didn't manage to read it. Yadda yadda yadda, flood waters rose, and now I've got a new copy. Amusingly, this is a QPB edition, which means I could have gotten it free back then from my then-employer -- actually, I think I did get the copy I had back then for free in a bookclub hardcover, so I'm now literally paying to get things I used to get free. (This is surely a fallen world.)

People have been praising Richard Ford's novel The Sportswriter since 1986, when it was originally published as one of those oh-so-80s Vintage Contemporaries, with the field of dots and the silly sphere-on-a-placemat logo. (And I just now am thinking that I want to collect those old Contemporaries, since I love that look -- I wonder if there's a list of them anywhere online?) And what I have here is that 1986 edition of The Sportswriter, slightly foxed and with a remainder mark on the bottom edge but otherwise in good shape for its age.

The Good Fairies of New York is a novel by Martin Millar, and there was a copy of the 2006 Soft Skull edition on the shelf at the Montclair Book Center -- where I'm most likely to browse books -- for ages and ages, which I picked up and looked at a couple of times but never bought. (It may still be there.) I think Good Fairies has had a new edition since then, but here's a nice copy of that Soft Skull edition, and now it's mine.

I probably wouldn't have bought David J. Rosen's I Just Want My Pants Back if I'd known that a series based on it had been picked up by MTV (a fact I discovered while googling for a cover image). That may make me shallow, but still vastly less shallow than MTV's target audience, so I still come out ahead. It's a comic novel set in modern twentysomething Manhattan, and the author nearly shares a name with an old colleague of mine, which might be why I first picked it up. Even bad comic novels are harmless, and the best are sublime, so I try to encourage them when I can.

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