The Independent Booksellers Choice Awards was launched by Melville House a couple months back as a way of giving independent booksellers a chance to promote the books from independent publishers that they most love. It’s a great idea, and who better to run this than the stridently independent Melville House Press?
Anyway, you can read more about the underlying philosophy of the award here, but the real excitement is that the 36-title longlist was announced today. (More exciting: It contains The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel), which is one of my favorite Open Letter books.)
The complete list is below (kind of in alphabetical order), and any & all indie booksellers can vote for their favorite (Macedonio, natch . . . if you need a review copy e-mail me) by clicking here.
Agaat by Marlene Van Niekerk (Tin House)
Aliss at the Fire by Jon Fosse (Dalkey Archive)
An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris by Geroges Perec (Wakefield Press)
Asunder by Robert Lopez (Dzanc)
Black Minutes by Martin Solares (Grove/Atlantic)
Contingency Plan by David K Wheeler (TS Poetry)
Dolly City by Orly Castel-Bloom (Dalkey)
Firework by Eugene Marten (Tyrant Books)
Flyover State by Emma Straub (Flatmancrooked)
Forecast by Shya Scanlon (Flatmancrooked)
Grand Central Winter: Stories from the Street by Lee Stringer (Seven Stories Press)
Great House by Nicole Krauss (W.W. Norton)
I Just Lately Started Buying Wings by Kim Dana Kupperman (Graywolf Press)
Long, Last, Happy by Barry Hannah (Grove/Atlantic)
Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (McPherson)
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (Grove/Atlantic)
Museum of the Weird by Amelia Gray (FC2)
New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (New Press)
Nox by Anne Carson (New Directions)
Orion You Came and Took All My Marbles by Kira Henehan (Milkweed Editions)
Report by Jessica Francis Kane (Graywolf)
The Autobiography of Jenny X by Lisa Dierbeck (O/R Books)
The Black History of the White House by Clarence Lusane (City Lights)
The Debba by Avner Mandelman (Other Press)
The French Revolution by Matt Stewart (Soft Skull Press)
The Instructions by Adam Levin (McSweeney’s)
The Jokers by Albert Cossery (NYRB)
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall (W.W. Norton)
The Museum of Eterna’s Novel by Macedonio Fernandez (Open Letter)
The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich (Two Dollar Radio)
The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel (Unbridled)
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books)
Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja (Small Beer Press)
Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck (New Directions)
Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns (Dorothy)
Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr (Akashic)
Great idea for a prize, and I’m excited to see how this all plays out. It really does depend on what booksellers are most looking for . . . A beautifully produced object like Nox, or something that’s got a decent-sized audience already like The Instructions or Great House.
Voting for the 12-title shortlist is open until April 30th, with voting for the winner taking place from May 1st until the 13th. We’ll post the results as soon as they’re announced.
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. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .