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.
In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .