A Short Riff on Those Horrid, Wonderful Vintage Contemporaries Paperbacks of the 1980s

I’ve been a fan of Vintage Contemporaries for years. I’m pretty sure the first one I ever picked up was Raymond Carver’s Cathedral. I recall being vaguely dismayed about the cover and trying to find another used edition, but thrift won out. This was in the early or mid nineties, and book design was trending toward a… Continue reading A Short Riff on Those Horrid, Wonderful Vintage Contemporaries Paperbacks of the 1980s

Three Books

Taking Care by Joy Williams. 1985 trade paperback from Vintage Contemporaries. Cover design by Lorraine Louie. Cover illustration by Rick Lovell. I read this book earlier this year. It’s really great. I reviewed it on this site, writing— These are stories of domestic doom and incipient madness, alcoholism and lost pets. There’s humor here, but… Continue reading Three Books

Roberto Bolaño/Joy Williams (Books acquired, 8 Feb. 2019)

My expectations for The Spirit of Science Fiction, Roberto Bolaño’s latest the posthumous novel are somewhat measured, but I’m excited to read it nonetheless. It’s new in English translation by Natasha Wimmer, who of course translated Bolaño’s other big novels, including 2666 and The Savage Detectives. My intuition is that The Spirit of Science Fiction will read like a dress… Continue reading Roberto Bolaño/Joy Williams (Books acquired, 8 Feb. 2019)

Three Books (Possibly Cult Novels)

  Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz. English translation by Carolyn French and Nina Karsov. Trade paperback by Yale University Press, 1994. Cover design by Lorenzo Ottaviani. I reviewed Trans-Atlantyk here. Steps by Jerzy Kosinski. Another Vintage Contemporaries edition, 1988. Cover design by Lorraine Louie; illustration by Chris Moore. I reviewed Steps here. The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Álvaro Mutis.… Continue reading Three Books (Possibly Cult Novels)

Three Books

The Dick Gibson Show by Stanley Elkin. 1983 trade paperback by E.P. Dutton/Obelisk. Cover design by Janet Halverson. I finished Elkin’s The Franchiser this week and started this one this week. The Names by Don DeLillo. 1989 trade paperback by Vintage Contemporaries (God I love Vintage Contemporaries wonderful awful covers)God I love Vintage Contemporaries wonderful awful… Continue reading Three Books

Three Books (On Ferrante, Knausgaard, irony, and covers good and bad)

My Struggle, Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgaard. English translation by Don Bartlett. First edition trade paperback by FS&G, 2013. Cover design by Charlotte Strick and Bill Zindel, with cover art by Bill Zindel. I couldn’t really get past page 80 of My Struggle, but I like Zindel’s zany design for the first volume enough to hold… Continue reading Three Books (On Ferrante, Knausgaard, irony, and covers good and bad)

Three Books

Angels by Denis Johnson. 1989 Vintage Contemporaries trade paperback. Cover design by Lorraine Louie. Cover illustration by Chris Moore. Fiskadoro by Denis Johnson. 1986 Vintage Contemporaries trade paperback. Cover design by Lorraine Louie. Cover illustration by Rick Lovell. The Stars at Noon by Denis Johnson. 1988 Vintage Contemporaries trade paperback. Cover design by Lorraine Louie. Cover illustration by Rick Lovell.

Three Books (or, My three favorite reading experiences in 2015)

These were my three favorite (?!) reading experiences in 2015: Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. 1973 first edition trade paperback by Viking. Cover design and illustration by Marc Getter. Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson. First Vintage Contemporaries edition, trade paperback, 1998. Cover design by Carol Devine Carson. Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed. 1978 mass market… Continue reading Three Books (or, My three favorite reading experiences in 2015)

Lydia Davis/Denis Johnson/Curzio Malaparte (Books Acquired, 4.06.2013)

Purged the books pictured in the lower right-hand corner and picked up a few: Curzio Malaparte’s Kaputt, which has intrigued me for awhile now, Denis Johnson’s Fiskadoro—in the Vintage Contemporaries edition no less!—and Lydia Davis’s novel The End of the Story, which I somehow haven’t read yet. Hypothesis: Lydia Davis and Denis Johnson may be America’s greatest living… Continue reading Lydia Davis/Denis Johnson/Curzio Malaparte (Books Acquired, 4.06.2013)

Gaddis, Wallace, McCarthy, Cooper (Books Acquired, 3.02.3012)

Picked up these four yesterday afternoon during my weekly visit to the bookshop (can’t help said visit; I live too close). Spent the afternoon reading Neal Stephenson’s introduction to David Foster Wallace’s Everything and More and a few of the pieces in All Ears, a collection of essays and interviews by Dennis Cooper. I read the interviews… Continue reading Gaddis, Wallace, McCarthy, Cooper (Books Acquired, 3.02.3012)

Camus, Eliot, and Kuper’s Kafka (Books acquired, 31 Aug. 2018)

I went to my favorite used bookshop on Friday afternoon to browse, order another Gerald Murnane novel, and pick up a copy of George Eliot’s Silas Marner. I spied a late fifties mass market copy of Albert Camus’ novel Exile and the Kingdom from Vintage Books. I fell in love with the cover (by George Giusti) and ended… Continue reading Camus, Eliot, and Kuper’s Kafka (Books acquired, 31 Aug. 2018)