Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Talking Books

Day 330 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and today's blog title, "Talking Books," is not about audio books but about book talk in the bookstore, which just keeps happening. I talked with Bob, who is opposed to big bookstores for the way they treat authors and small presses and small indie bookstores and who will remain in love with print.

He had come in to compare the contents of his Oscar Wilde collection of short prose writings with ours, at Babbitt's, to see if there was too much duplication, and there wasn't, so he bought it. He pointed out to me Wilde's long list of articles on women and then told me about Lewis Carroll's huge library of books about women. Somehow this follows nicely on yesterday's "Thrilling Men."

Then a fine fellow came in and bought a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories by women. This book is the Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women, which will save you the embarrassment of search words that bring up books about women's erotic fantasy...not that there's anything wrong with that.

A fine Amazon reviewer has gone to the trouble of listing the entire table of contents for you (title and author!) and given individual star-based reviews and hilarious labels that summarize the subject matter: "Taxi horror," "Swanflict," "Smart sheep look dumb," "Grow up or be eaten." Makes me want to read books by the reviewer.

But our customer has been reading all kinds of short stories for the past five years! He thinks he'll get back to novels eventually, but he really enjoys the short form, which can fit into his life in the evening, and he reads a whole range, having gone through a lot of science fiction, horror, and general literary fiction in that time. (And if you, too, like short stories, be sure to check out I Heart Short Stories in the blogroll!)

Speaking of fantasy and science fiction, does anybody know the book Metatopia by F. N Ball? If so, please weigh in. A young man found it on our sci fi shelves yesterday, where it does seem to belong, but he wanted to know if it does any kind of spin on Sir Thomas More's Utopia, and that I could not tell him. Our attempts to Google it led us inexorably toward the Fun Ball, alas, or the Fantasy Sports Fanball.

Anyhoo, I asked the young man, eager to read it, to come back and tell me about it, and I think he will. The other guy will also come back and tell me how he liked Modern Fantasy by Women, and maybe turn it back in for trade for another book of short stories. It is fun to talk books!

And this morning, in the river of stones project, I paid attention to the "cheep talk" of juncos in the evergreen bush right outside my home office window.

And, following up on New Year's resolutions, I am happy to be supporting poetry in today's "live" review of Stepping Through Moons, by Toni Wilkes, at Fiddler Crab Review. And yesterday my blog interview with Susan Slaviero about her book Cyborgia was linked in the Mayapple Press newsletter, a fun surprise!!


Kristin Berkey-Abbott said...

My copy of "Cyborgia" arrived yesterday, and I devoured it last night. What a delight! And I wouldn't likely have discovered it if you hadn't mentioned it in your December post.

So, thank you, thank you, thank you! While I envy you your days of talking books in a bookstore (sounds like my dream job), I'm grateful for blogs like yours where I discover books I'd likely not stumble across otherwise.

Short Poems said...

Great post!
Best wishes for 2011!
Marinela x