Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Browsing Find

As I wandered across the internet seeing if we had any new reviews, I came across this comment by a gentleman named Andy Laties who kindy wrote this about David: "Every time I get a handwritten note from David Godine thanking me for my recent order, I feel this sense of — what — simple reality. Why can't it be a wonderful thing that publishers like David EXIST? ... There ARE great individual publishers out there, and more wading into the business every day."

Thanks Andy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hymn to a Comb-Over

* There is a very funny poem by Godine author Wesley McNair at Choriamb. McNair lauds the admirable efforts of retreating hairlines who try to cover their lost territory.

"...Let us praise the sprays
that hold them, and the combs that coax
such abundance to the front of the head"

* Over at Artnet Charlie Finch has posted an review on the George Orwell essay "Benefit of Clergy," – available in As I Please, 1943–45 – in which Orwell tries to come to terms with his own revulsion at the work of Salvador Dalí. Finch writes, "Orwell analyzes Dalí's perversions as a displacement of the need for politcal power." Surrealism was widely reviled by liberal-minded critics of the time who saw art (especially European art of the mid 40s) as a way to publicly stand in opposition to fascism. Marxist critics especially declaimed Dalí's work as bourgeois. All very interesting, from the great journalist of the twentieth century, George Orwell.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Brad Leithauser – NY Review

This month's New York Review has some very fine articles in it, including an excellent essay by Godine author Brad Leithauser on the British poet Louis MacNeice, entitled "The Shadow Man." Brad Leithauser is a poet, and is the author of two titles at Godine — Lettered Creatures and the forthcoming volume Toad to a Nightingale, both volumes of collected light verse, both of which are illustrated beautifully by his equally-talented brother Mark.

On MacNeice, Brad writes, "...what remains for me most memorable about MacNeice is his 'pure poetry'—his shorter lyrics. They make a peculiar group, both in their versification and in their surrealistic effects. It may be with them, in all their harsh and haunting loveliness, rather than with the more nakedly autobiographical longer poems, that MacNeice emerges most distinctly—and with them that MacNeice, burning his brightest, comes out from under Auden's shadow and anyone else's."

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hairy Putter?

In the midst of all the craziness that is surrounding Harry Potter's final turn in the bookstalls, we at Godine kindly remind those of you who aren't as excited that there are other options, and other literary things to be excited about. Take, for example, the July sale at Godine and Black Sparrow, available only through the Godine website.

Can't escape to any exotic destinations this summer? Pick up Black Sparrow's Mirage – a story of star-crossed lovers, a tragedy fueled by petty jealousy, sexual desire, and religious fervor, set in a modern Arab Kingdom. Or how about Six Israeli Novellas? Six works by some of the most important contemporary writers working in Israel.

Even if you can't knock open a fire hydrant, The Brooklyn Novels for just $11.00 will transport you back to those summer days in 1930s New York. Or try a little Emerald Ice to keep cool— Diane Wakoski's fabulous collection of poems selected from her entire pantheon of sexual, self-empowered, mythical and lyrical free-verse (perfect for those idyllic pastoral scenes). Truly a modern classic.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Position Opening Fall 2007

There is a rare job opening here at Godine. We are looking for a Sales Manager to begin this Fall / Winter 2007. All the details can be found on the Godine web site.

On a related note, Godine has – for many years – employed 2-3 interns per season (roughly) each year. We accept applications for Spring, Summer and Fall internships during the preceeding season. It is a fantastic way to gain hands-on experience in a small publisher. The interns here are a vital part of the way this company runs, and have gone on to work in every possible field related to publishing from editors and managers to book reviewers and writers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

All Catie, All the Time

Catie Copley is swiftly becoming the Godine celebrity author. Yesterday, July 16th, Catie appeared on Fox News Boston with Deborah Kovacs, the author of our book, and her handler Jim, the concierge at the Fairmont Copley. She even made the headlines of the Boston Globe, schmoozing down in the Big Apple with Mary Tyler Moore and other fabulous celebrities:

Dog's life leads to Broadway
She made no special demands for her Broadway debut, but Catie Copley, the Fairmont Copley Plaza's canine in residence, was the toast of the ninth annual Broadway Barks cat and dog soiree held on Saturday. Actresses and well-known animal lovers Bernadette Peters and Mary yler Moore presented Catie with a special services award at the event held in the Shubert Alley to benefit the ASPCA and other New York animal shelters . The Labrador retriever made the trek to the Big Apple with her faithful companion Jim Carey, the hotel's director of concierge services. Catie walked the red carpet with Peters and Moore and pose d for photos with a host of Broadway luminaries including Angela Lansbury, David Hyde Pierce, Charlotte d'Amboise, Jo Anne Worley, Christine Ebersole, and Hollywood couple Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna. However, we're told the Boston pooch showed the most tail wagging when meeting Bruiser and Rufus, the dogs from the musical "Legally Blonde."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Punctuating their Origins

Have you ever wondered about the origin of modern punctuation? I happened upon this interesting article, thanks to Outside the Lines, which describes the origins of the ampersand ( & ) and the question mark ( ? ), among other common modern punctuation marks. I've personally always favored the ampersand, especially in more formal contexts, and no wonder since it is derived from a stylized version of the latin et. The explaination for the question mark seemed dubious to me, so I looked elsewhere and found this hypothesis at Wikipedia: "The point has always indicated the end of a sentence. The curved line represented the intonation pattern of a spoken question and may be associated with a kind of early musical notation, like neumes."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Alfred Chester

Hot off the press is Black Sparrow Books' Jamie is My Heart's Desire, cult-icon Alfred Chester's first novel. Chester was a curious fellow. He'd lost all the hair on his head and face from a case of childhood scarlet fever, and was one of the more charming and extraordinary literary men of his time. Fellow BSB author Edward Field wrote an excellent account of Chester in The Boston Review:

"...a doomed, self-destructive, but larger-than-life mad genius, much in the 'outlaw' genre of a Rimbaud, a Genet, or perhaps more pertinently, J.R. Ackerley, the English author famous for his multiple pickups of soldiers, sailors, and guardsmen. In a review, Alfred Chester was described as 'one of the most bizarre characters in an expatriate community (Tangier) where eccentricity was the norm,' and an article about him in a New York paper, recently, was headlined, 'A Charming Monster's Comeback.' "

One of the great figures in American literature at the start of the 1960's, Chester sunk into a solitary world of paranoia and delusion. One has to think of Ginsberg's "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked," written before Chester was lost to his disease, but a vision none the less. Field writes, "He heard voices in his head and exaggerated sounds from outside, making the children's taunting and banging on his fence [in Jerusalem, just before he died] unbearable." Field quotes a reviewer as once writing, "Circle his name with your red pencil. He out-writes such other and better known writers as Faulkner, Steinbeck, Jean Stafford and Saul Bellow."

You can find all the Black Sparrow Books titles by Chester HERE.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Dutton's Brentwood Books

Score one for the good guys. It doesn't happen very often, and I don't feel there is about to be a surge of businessmen's turned hearts, so this particular case is probably one for the scrapbook. On the other hand, I could be (and hopefully am) wrong. The LA Times reports on this Disney-esq, feel-good story:

Billionaire Charles T. Munger said Thursday that he has scrapped plans to build 60 luxury condos on San Vicente Boulevard in favor of erecting a two-story retail complex that would retain Dutton's Brentwood Books in a new and improved space.

"I was wrong," Munger said of his plans, made public in January, to build high-end residential units as part of a mixed-use development at the property just east of Bundy Drive. The idea sparked an uprising among residents and longtime fans of Dutton's, who feared the store's demise.

Munger, 83, said the neighborhood's staunch opposition to the project and concern for Dutton's prompted his change of heart.

"Bookstores are fragile," he said. "Jostle them slightly and they never reopen. The best thing is to make sure it never closes."

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Andrew Motion / American Boys

* Soon-to-be Godine author and British poet-laureate Andrew Motion is making the news in Britain. Motion is pressing the new Prime Minister to help keep literary manuscripts in British institutions via tax-incentives.

"The writer has expressed concerns that work by figures including Tom Stoppard, Ted Hughes and Evelyn Waugh, is being snapped up by US institutions. Professor Motion told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that there are 'magical and meaningful' reasons to preserve original documents for the nation. The British Library has said it cannot pay as much as US universities."

He worries that there is a cultural “black hole” developing in Britain because of the loss of these literary-historical documents. I'd never heard of this as a problem, but I'm glad Motion is working to make changes. Intellectuals flock to universities and libraries for manuscripts and letters, even contracts, for research on authors, so having these kinds of papers is much more than a matter of national pride. Collections like the ones to which he is referring can be the building blocks of intellectual communities.

* In other news the Dangerous Book for Boys is topping all kinds of sales lists and recently got a long review in The Weekly Standard. Roger Kimball of the New Criterion writes, "The Dangerous Book for Boys is a book that implicitly endorses Aristotle's observation that courage is the most important virtue because, without courage, it is impossible to practice the other virtues." Too true. The success of Dangerous Book for Boys has created some new interest for our American Boy's Handy Book series.

Dangerous Book for Boys
and American Boy's Handy Book are pretty similar. Their aims are to occupy children without the assistance of a TV or video-game system, and maybe even to enbolden them towards courage and virtue, as Kimball writes. The biggest difference is that our retro look comes from the book's being written in the 1880's, and our author – Daniel Carter Beard – was a founder of the Boy Scouts. The Dangerous Book for Boys is more up-to-date in a few ways, with chapters on making a battery and the fifty states (there were only 41 when American Boys was first published), where Godine's Handy Books include things like making blow darts, how to build a number of rafts, war kites, novel modes of fishing, and – my favorite – 12 illustrated pages on snowball warfare. We also have two volumes for boys, the American Boy's Handy Book and its more outdoor companion the Field and Forest Handy Book, and a girl's volume—the American Girls Handy Book.

Ah the joys of childhood.

Monday, July 2, 2007

July Sale!

The Monthly Online Specials page is hot off the html press! In case you don't already know, we hand pick a number of back-list titles each month to sell at a discount only available through www.Godine.com. Think of this month as Godine's summer reads. The discounted titles are:

Adultery & Other Choices, by Andre Dubus, softcover was 13.95 | now 6.00 — Animal Fables from Aesop, by Barbara McClintock, softcover was 10.95 | now 5.00 — The Brooklyn Novels, by Daniel Fuchs, SC was 24.95 | now 11.00 — Emerald Ice, by Diane Wakoski, SC was 19.00 | now 7.00 — The Green Piano, by Janine Pommy Vega, SC was 19.00 | now 7.00 — Here & Elsewhere, The Collected Fiction of Kenneth Burke, SC was 22.95 | Now 11.00 — In the Flesh, by Christa Wolf, SC was 15.95 | now 10.00 — Mirage, by Bandula Chandraratna, SC was 15.95 | now 7.00 — New American Poets, ed. by Jack Myers & Roger Weingarten, hardcover was 21.95 | now 10.00 — The Poems of Charles Reznikoff, SC was 21.95 | now 11.00 — The Riot Inside Me, by Wanda Coleman, SC was 18.95 | now 10.00 — Six Israeli Novellas, SC was 19.95 | now 8.00, HC was 27.95 | now 12.00 — A Year with Emerson, ed. Richard Grossman, SC was 18.95 | now 10.00

From your friendly neighborhood independent publisher.