#russbooks Day 5: Book Overload

Frankly, we’ve gotten a little overwhelmed with books around here. Russ has a rich and intense collection, and every day I’m finding more books I want to read. Looking at a collection like this every day is like eating in a 5-star French restaurant every night: there’s noplace I’d rather have dinner, but after a few days, I need to just step back and cleanse my palate, and let my senses catch up. Looking back, the fatigue was already setting in by Day 4.

While we looked at each book and transcribed them all, we’re becoming like that old food critic on Iron Chef. And that does not suit our style. So I’m going to relate what we discovered in Box #5…and then declare a bit of a break, in which I will enjoy these books we’re discovering at a rate that will allow me to do them justice–and return to our adventure, refreshed.

barbarfriendish #russbooks Day 5: “Jesus, Russ,” says @rachaelish. “You pack like Grandma!” These books are SAFE.

It’s true. It’s almost as if, when Russ was packing Box #5, he psychically anticipated what would happen to Box #4 but misdirected his energies…

barbarfriendish Book # 34 A Good and Happy Child/Justin Evans. The cover looks like something that ate Where the Wild Things Are. #russbooks

barbarfriendish Book #35 The Female Thing/Laura Kipnis #russbooks

barbarfriendish Book #36 The Session ARC signed by Aaron Petrovich. Fascinating back cover. “And all of this is in that tiny little book?” #russbooks

This one went onto the TBR stack. It’s a tiny little thing (published by Akashik) at 5×8 and only 59 pages, and the cover price ($10.95 for all that) is the poster child for why most small presses only ever lose money. But, oh, the back cover copy:

Funny, frantic, and with a subversive intelligence, Aaron Petrovich’s Keatonesque heroes, Detectives Smith and Smith, stumble upon a bizarre new religion while following the trail of a murdered mathematician’s missing organs. Their investigation to discover the truth–about the mathematician, the men and women who may have eaten him, and, ultimately, the nature of truth, sanity, and identity–leads them into a lunatic asylum they may never leave.

Writing in pitch-perfect language reminiscent of Beckett, Chandler, and Duras, Petrovich elevates rapid ire banter to an hysterical musical litany that carries the detectives, and the reader, right along with it.

Who wouldn’t want to read that?

barbarfriendish Book #37 She’s Gone Kwame Dawes #russbooks

barbarfriendish “Oh, God,” says @rachaelish of Book #38: Surveillance/Jonathan Raban. “This is one of those post-9/11 books.” #russbooks

This is exactly what I was talking about, before. The old cranky guy on Iron Chef. He doesn’t like anything anymore; he’s eaten too much exotic food and needs to spend a few weeks on PB&J. Our recovery time should be faster.

barbarfriendish Book #39 Your Body is Changing/Jack Pendarvis ARC signed #russbooks

barbarfriendish Book #40 ARC of Stray by Sheri Joseph signed. These last two books=the Wordsmiths grand opening event. (moment of silence) #russbooks

Ms. Joseph’s endorsement to Russ in her book actually mentions the event. I have only wonderful memories of Wordsmiths, but right now reminders like this just make me sad. It won’t always be this way, of course, but it does cast a bit of a pall on the adventure.

barbarfriendish Book #41 Seth Godin/Meatball Sundae ARC #russbooks

Love Seth Godin, and haven’t read this one. Onto the TBR pile it goes.

barbarfriendish Book #42 The Open-Face Sandwich/ 5th Planet collection. Um, photographs of roadkill as art? #russbooks

Really? Photos of roadkill=art?

IMO the greatest beauty of small press is that it can fulfill the publisher’s vision of art. And lest I seem to belabor the point, it’s worth noting that this collection from 5th Planet contains quite a number of short stories as well. But the feature I’m referring to up there definitely occupies the position of centerfold, with expensive heavy-paper-foldouts done centerfold style to allow the viewer to appreciate, if that is the correct word for it, the painstakingly-executed photos of roadkill and the maps of the places where they were taken. I have absolute faith that the artist is making a point, and the publisher is too. But I must confess it’s not my cuppa.

That’s okay. This is the beauty of indie press. Who else would go to such lengths to make a point they believed in?

barbarfriendish Book #43 “This is what everyone needs”: ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life/Kolberg & Nadeau Lots of fold-downs #russbooks

I looked at this book, some hours later. It amused me greatly by presenting the first few chapters in definite ADD style. But lots of food for thought for a person who may, like so many Americans, be at least slightly ADD.

(Personally, I just think I’m over-ambitious.)

barbarfriendish Book #44 What Was She Thinking?/Zoe Heller #russbooks

barbarfriendish Book #45 ANOTHER ARC of Greasy Rider/Greg Melville. This one is signed. #russbooks

barbarfriendish Book #46 ARC of When We Were Romans/Matthew Kneale #russbooks

barbarfriendish Book #47 ARC of Doctor Olaf van Schuler’s Brain. Interesting cover. #russbooks

barbarfriendish Book #48 ARC of New Stories from the South, 2007/ed. Jones & Pories #russbooks

barbarfriendish Book #49 The Theory of Light & Matter/Porter #russbooks

Here’s the group shot:

The contents of Box #5

And that’s it for now. I’ll be doing other things for the next few days, most of which I’m looking forward to sharing in the future–and digesting this string of rich literary meals in a saner fashion. More soon…

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