I am in the cat bird seat here, and feel very lucky to have this rare chance to look at these stories months before they goes on-sale. To watch Mr. Ross thread the needle with a short story, instead of the giant masterpiece that was his debut, is great fun.
Friend of the blog, Gina Frangello, tells me that LA crime writer Tod Goldberg (Fake Liar Cheat, Simplify, Other Resort Cities) is the funniest person she’s ever met, and watching this video which Goldberg made right before AWP, that’s not hard to believe. I peed my pants watching this thing. Something about the off-beat deadpan deliveries makes it even sadder and funnier.
Reimringer outdoes himself poking into the rough underside of working-class St. Paul and the Irish-German family he joined the priesthood to escape. His mother is a headcase, his father a violent bruiser, his war-hero grandfather wasting away in a nursing home, lost in his own mind. James finds himself injected back into their daily lives. As family sagas go, it’s as if Jonathan Franzen became suddenly interested in the working class.
I’ve mentioned Ozu, one of my favorite directors, before. When he films his domestic dramas he flatlines the camera close to the floor, at or below the level at which the characters are living. Recently I saw his first color film, Equinox Flower. There are scenes in an office building and even those are shot close to the floor. I love the humility. It does justice. Amos Oz writes close to the floor.
When I’m talking with a customer about a book, I’m thinking to myself about three stories: the writer’s, the book’s, and the customer’s. The best outcome isn’t just that I make the sale, it’s that the customer likes the book enough to tell someone else about it. One bookseller can’t possibly sell every single copy of an author’s book. We can start the onversation about a book. At our best, booksellers are evangelists.
The Radleys is a vampire novel, and it is amazing. Totally riveting, funny whimsical and un-put-downable (that’s a phrase I saw in the New York Times Book Review…) I am savoring this, really, I know you are laughing right now, because I can sometimes be a literary snob.