Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Announcement and Miscellany


The August issue of the Internet Review of Books is up now, with a dozen non-fiction reviews, a half-dozen fiction reviews, two poetry reviews (including one of a collection of Dorthy Parker's poetry that is particularly interesting), and the always-entertaining Brief Review section.


I got several things in the mail this that caught my bookish fancy.


The first is a catalog from Open Letter, an publishing house I had never heard of before. Based at the University of Rochester in New York, the press specializes in "literary translations" and has a small but impressive selection of books in print.

The book that caught my eye is The Ambassador by Bragi Olafsson, translated from Icelandic. It is a novel about a poet invited to an international poetry festival in Lithuania as official representative of Iceland, only to be accused of plagiarism on the eve of his trip.  It looks great.

The catalog is a treasure trove of novels, stories, poetry and non-fiction  from Argentina, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Catalonia, and elsewhere. This is a terrific resource and would be particularly useful when finding books for an international reading challenge.  I see from browsing the on-line catalog that you save 20% by ordering direct.


The second thing I got in the mail iss the latest calendar for workshops and events at the San Francisco Center for the Book.  It made me wish that I still lived in San Francisco! I attended several events there, including a poetry reading/letterpress exhibit with Kirsten Rian and a Mail Art workshop where we made collage postcards and submitted them for this "digital exhibit."

For anyone living in the Bay Area or visiting, I highly recommend taking part in the goings on at SFCB.


Finally, a friend of mine sent me a book swap chain letter.  The idea, as with all chain letters, is to send whatever it is to the name at the top of the list and to pass the letter on to six friends, with the idea that when your name goes to the top, you will receive multiple whatevers. 

In this case, the whatever is a paperback book and the list only has one name on it.  That is, there is one person's name on the back of the letter -- I am supposed to send her a book.  The friend who sent it to me included six of her own return address sticky labels. I stick one on the back of each of the six letters I send out. So the pyramid for this pyramid scheme is pretty squat!

I have always been a sucker for chain letters. Ever since I was a kid, I have sent pennies, recipes, stamps, socks -- anything. Well, maybe not socks.  But I am enchanted with the idea, even though I don't know that I ever got anything.  The chain always broke before my name got to the top of the list.

So, Annette in Wisconsin -- keep a loot out for your book. It's on the way!

I am curious to know what other people think of chain letters. What about book chain letters? Tempting at all? Has anyone ever successfully participated in a chain letter?

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