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.
“I preferred the war to the plague,” writes Curzio Malaparte in his 1949 novel, The Skin. He speaks of World War II and the destruction it has wrought on Italy, the city of Naples in particular. But the plague he. . .
With the steady rise of feminist scholarship and criticism in recent decades, it is little wonder that the work of Louise Labé should be attracting, as Richard Sieburth tells us in the Afterword to his translation, a “wide and thriving”. . .
In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a. . .
You are not ashamed of what you do, but of what they see you do. Without realizing it, life can be an accumulation of secrets that permeates every last minute of our routine . . .
The narrative history of. . .
Literature in translation often comes with a certain pedigree. In this little corner of the world, with so few books making it into this comforting nook, it is often those of the highest quality that cross through, and attention is. . .
Alessandro Baricco’s Mr. Gwyn is a set of two loosely interlinked novellas that play with narrative and the construction of character. Ably translated by Ann Goldstein, Mr. Gwyn plays some subtle metafictional games as Baricco delves into what it means. . .
I must admit upfront that I went into reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s Bombay Stories almost entirely blind. I have not read Salman Rushdie. I have read, perhaps, two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I might shamefully add that I really. . .
Throughout his work The Gray Notebook, Josep Pla mentions many different authors, some of whom have inspired him to pick up a pen. One of them is Marcel Proust. Even though Pla normally prefers nonfiction, he lauds the French novelist. . .
On that September 11th I had a conversation with a professor friend who was teaching a creative writing class that evening. He questioned, “What can I possibly teach when all of this has happened?” While the dismay and grief were. . .
In a story of two emotionally distant people, Japanese author Takashi Hiraide expertly evokes powerful feelings of love, loss, and friendship in his novel The Guest Cat. The life of the unnamed narrator and his wife, both writers, is calm. . .