If you don’t already subscribe to our (sporadic, but in good times, bi-weekly) newsletter, you can do so by clicking here.
And if you missed the one that went out earlier this week, you can see the prettified version here, or just read it all below.
In almost every issue of Publishers Weekly—the trade magazine for booksellers, publishers, agents, and authors—the editors select one title to promote as the “Pick of the Week.” It’s usually something predictably large and respectable (like the new David Mitchell book, for example), but in the July 14th issue it was Open Letter’s The Last Days of My Mother by Icelandic author Sölvi Björn Sirgdsson!
The “starred” review, subtitled “Goodbye to All That,” had this to say:
The setup: Hermann’s girlfriend of seven years leaves him for a French dentist, then his native Iceland’s banking system goes belly-up, and finally his 63-year-old mother, Eva, is diagnosed with a rare and terminal cancer. The punch line: a bitterly laugh-out-loud novel of Nordic misery. [. . .] Sigurdsson’s novel successfully straddles the line between impious gallows humor and a heartfelt depiction of a son’s love for his mother.
Because we switched distributors this summer to Consortium (sorry, bit of inside baseball, but this is a really good thing for Open Letter), we ended up releasing this a couple months early, so your local indie bookseller should have copies, as does your favorite online retailer. Or, you can always order it directly from our website either as a single book, or as part of a subscription . . .
With the official publication date of The Last Days of My Mother coming up in August—and to celebrate the high praise it’s already receiving—if you take out a (or renew your existing) 12-month subscription before the end of August, we’ll throw in two extra books for free. So: Over about the next 14 months, you’ll receive a big 12 Open Letter titles for the same low price of $100—and that even includes free shipping within the U.S..
This is the cheapest and best way to keep up with what’s going on in international literature. By signing up now, you’ll not only get The Last Days of My Mother, but also great titles like A Thousand Forests in One Acorn: An Anthology of Spanish-Language Fiction (probably the prettiest and most impressive book we’ve ever published), a thrilling new book from Mathias Énard (the author of Zone, our first book to sell-out in just over a month), and The Man Between, a unique, intelligent, moving collection of pieces honoring the life and activism of one of the greatest translators of all time, Michael Henry Heim.
Again: Subscribe before August 31st and you’ll get 12 books, instead of the usual 10, for $100 even.
The In case you missed it, this past month Three Percent hosted the first ever World Cup of Literature, which pitted a recent book from each of the 32 countries that qualified for this year’s Real World Cup in a head-to-head knockout tournament.
Each match was written up by a reader or reviewer or translator or bookseller explaining why one of the two titles beat the other—and by what score. The pieces are incredibly fun to read and can help guide you to interesting books from all of the various World Cup counties.
In the end it came down to four literary powerhouses: Chile (represented by Roberto Bolaño’s By Night in Chile), Germany (W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz), Mexico (Valeria Luiselli’s Faces in the Crowd), and the United States (David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King).
If you want to find out who won, you’ll have to click here.
(We have to keep up the suspense somehow!)
The new Open Letter Newsletter was mailed out yesterday, and is now online (in a pretty, slick format).
Included is information about 18% Gray, next Monday’s Tirza launch party at 192 Books & The Half King, and a bit about the 2013 Preview Podcast.
If you’d like to sign up for the newsletter (and really, why wouldn’t you?), just click here and enter in all your info.
Later this week we’re going to send out the first edition of the new Open Letter newsletter. (The old version has been dormant for quite some time, for reasons both format and Google Groups related.)
We’ll be including giveaways, insider editorial info, and goofy photos in the newsletter, so don’t miss out!
We tried sending this out to all our enewsletter subscribers last week, but it seems that at least some of them didn’t receive it. (Ironically, self included.) Anyway, you can access the whole thing here for a summary of our $4.99 ebook special, info on Read This Next, on the Three Percent Podcast, and on the Guadalajara giveaway that’s wrapping up at GoodReads in 16 hours or so.
And BTW, if you want to receive our monthly newsletter (which will be pretty monthly from now on, I swear), you can sign up on the home page of our recently (as in 10 hours ago) website.
Those of you who subscribe to our newsletter or are members of our Facebook group already received this, but for those who haven’t, here’s this week’s newsletter, which also serves as the kickoff for our first ever fundraising campaign.
There was such a great response to last week’s giveaway of Jerzy Pilch’s The Mighty Angel that we’re definitely going to do this on a regular basis . . . Copies of the book (and congratulatory e-mails) went out to the winners yesterday—for everyone else, copies are available at better bookstores everywhere, or via our website. (And yes, the book is even prettier in real life . . .)
This week, we’d like to do two things:
First off, I’d also like to officially kick off our first $10 fundraising campaign. As a nonprofit press (that does a lot of non-revenue generating activity like the Best Translated Book Award, Three Percent, and, well, publishing translations), we have to rely on grants and individual donations to keep doing what we’re doing—making great works of world literature available to readers like you (and me).
Obviously, the more money raised via this campaign, the more we’ll be able to offer, but seeing as this is our first ever online fundraising effort, the real goal is to demonstrate a broad base of support for Open Letter and Three Percent. So, although we’re more than happy to accept gifts of any level, we’re only asking for $10. It’s an affordable amount that adds up to a very significant total, and any show of support for what we do can’t be overestimated.
To contribute—and I really hope you will—simply take two minutes to fill out the online form here.
Second, our new fall/winter 2009 catalog is now available online) with lots of interesting books that I’ll be featuring on Three Percent in the near future and giving away through this newsletter.
Thanks in advance, and next week we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled newsletter. (Unless no one contributes. Kidding, kidding.)
The latest Open Letter Newsletter is now available online.
As an update: the Vilnius Poker giveaway is now closed. We received a lot of submissions and will be sending out e-mails to the three winners (and all other entries) this afternoon.
Another book featured in the newsletter is Fonseca’s The Taker and Other Stories, which was recently reviewed on Literary License, where Gwen Dawson had this to say:
The Taker and Other Stories, by Brazilian author Rubem Fonseca, is a collection of short stories examining death in all its forms: murder, suicide, road kill (animal and human), medical emergencies, sickness, and old age. One protagonist laments, “Man is a solitary animal, an unhappy animal, and only death can fix us.” This thought echoes throughout this collection.
It was also reviewed by Nancy Yanes Hoffman:
Although Fonseca steadfastly refuses to discuss the meaning of his stories, he once said of himself, “Perhaps I am ‘The Taker.’ ” He also says, “A writer should have the courage to show what most people are afraid to say.” Fonseca’s bitterly grim stories, mostly in the first person, show the skull beneath the skin in Rio’s violent world. Tough to read, they analyze Rio’s gratuitous criminality as a symptom of universal hatred among people of every class.
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .