There were some initial concerns among the bookstore’s concept team that a fee would discourage potential customers.
But the price seemed reasonable considering the fact that a coffee in Tokyo usually costs between ¥400 and ¥500 and that customers would be able to sip from a bottomless cup while reading for two or three hours
They have interesting shelving/display ideas, too:
Lined up next to a history book on Lenin is a series of comic books set during the Russian Revolution. Books are piled haphazardly on tables: a comic book on top of a philosophy book on top of a novel, but they are all linked somehow — the color black, movies, food. Here, calculated disorder creates happenstance.
“We recognize that if you have a particular book in mind, it is difficult to find it quickly here. But finding a new book is a once in a lifetime encounter. We want that surprise to bring customers back again and again,” says Yoshino.
Each book and magazine is the only copy in the store. Miss the chance to buy it and you might never get another
It all looks and sounds quite impressive, and between the careful curation and elaborate/attractive design of the store certainly is an interesting variation on the usual retail space and experience.
(But just one copy of any given book ?!??)
I'm curious whether it will catch on in any other markets.
As the store's public relations officer notes: "While it works in Roppongi, another approach might be needed in a rural area" -- or, say, the US/UK.
But between something like this and Amazon's brick-and-mortar shops the choice would be pretty clear.
They've announced the longlist for the 2019 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature -- three titles each in the three categories, fiction, non, and poetry.
Four of the six fiction and poetry titles are published by Peepal Tree Press, and all the non-fiction titles are published by university presses.
The fiction trio sounds great -- I'd love to see all of these, but especially Cut Guavas by Robert Antoni, 'a novel in the form of a screenplay' (!); see the Peepal Tree Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Meanwhile, at the press launch for this year's NGC Bocas Lit Fest (running 1 to 5 May): "founder Marina Salandy-Brown said while there are state agencies supporting music, film and fashion, there was no official literature agency" in Trinidad and Tobago, as reported by Melissa Doughty in Newsday, in What about literature ? -- with the festival itself having had to take on that role: "Over the past nine years, we have had to grow into a national and regional literature development agency, to make sure the potential of our writers does not go to waste".
I'm finally getting to some proper bookstore-browsing after much too long an absence, but my first really satisfying find isn't a book but copies of two issues of neue deutsche literatur, long the official publication of the Schriftstellerverband der DDR -- the East German writers' association -- which then managed to hang on for over a decade after German reunification before ceasing publication.
(For some (German) background this literaturkritik.de piece gives a good quick overview.)
Both the issues I picked up are from 1991, but it's the August issue that is just amazing.
Not just the first publication of parts of Peter Weiss' Rekonvaleszenz (granted, soon later published by Suhrkamp; see their publicity page) but a story by Wilhelm Genazino with the great title 'Kleine sterbende Romane' ('Small Dying Novels'), prose by Uwe Kolbe and Kerstin Hensel, and verse by Oskar Pastior, among much else.
Then there's a great book review section, which leads with a review of Karl Mickel's Lachmunds Freunde -- a book I will be getting to (as longtime readers may have noticed, I think Mickel is a much-underappreciated and -recognized author with an impressive and fascinating body of work (poetry, drama, and prose (both fiction and non)) -- see, for example, the Wallstein Verlag publicity page.
Finally, there's a whole extra section with the contributions to the 1991 Symposion der Deutschen Literaturkonferenz (the very first one), with a focus on the position of the formerly East German authors in the newly reunified Germany, beginning with a long piece by Robert Musil-biographer (yes, that 2032-page biography) Karl Corino on the reception of GDR-literature in the Federal Republic ('and the problem of a unified German literature')
I have a big soft spot for/fascination with East German literature, so obviously this is of particular interest to me (a goldmine, actually), but this is fascinating and impressive stuff regardless.
A very nice find indeed.
At the LRB blog Anna Aslanyan noted (yesterday) that "La Disparition, a lipogrammatic classic, turns 50 today", in A Common Policy, writing about Georges Perec's e-less classic (and Gilbert Adair's translation, the only commercially available English one; see the Vintage publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).
Among the interesting observations: some of the other translations changed which vowel is done without: a for the Spanish (El secuestro; see also the Anagrama publicity page) and o in the Russian (Исчезание); I'm particularly curious how they did the Japanese translation (煙滅; cover).
Though a great deal of Perec's work is under review at the complete review, this one isn't (yet) -- one of those got-to-it-before-I-started-the-site titles I haven't returned to.
I do have both the French original and Adair's re-working, so I do hope to get (back) to it eventually.
(Good to also see Aslanyan note that: "Adair's passing away in 2011 was a loss to his fans"; aside from this translation, his own work is also well-worthwhile and good fun -- and lots of that is under review at the complete review, e.g. The Death of the Author and,, most recently, And Then There Was No One .)
They've announced who gets this year's this year's Republic of Consciousness Prize -- which: "rewards the best fiction published by publishers with fewer than 5 full-time employees" -- and there are two winners: Murmur, by Will Eaves, and Lucia, by Alex Pheby.
No word yet at the official site, last I checked, but Alison Flood reports that Book prize names two winners as it criticises 'false hierarchy' of awards in The Guardian.
They've announced that this year's prix «Le Point» du Polar européen, a French prize for the best European thriller/crime novel, goes to Memo From Turner by Tim Willocks; see also the Jonathan Cape publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.co.uk (yes, while this is out in French translation, it appears it is not yet published in the US ...).
In the TLSNB-columnist J.C. regularly notes the proliferation of literary prizes -- see e.g. Michael Caines' overview -- and a strong contender for his 'All Must Have Prizes Prize' would surely be the prix Françoise Sagan, which is specifically for worthy books that were overlooked and unrewarded in the previous season's batch of literary prizes: basically, if it didn't get a prize last year then it's eligible for this -- a sort of last-chance award.
Given how many French literary prizes there are it might seem that it is actually pretty hard for a book not to have picked up one or another over the course of the year (which is presumably why the no-previous-prize qualification is in fact a qualified one ("dans la mesure du possible")), but they've now announced this year's finalists, and it looks like they've still managed to find some interesting and worthy titles to consider.
(Kudos also to them actually having a dedicated web presence and pages for the prize -- a rarity for French literary prizes.)
Sad to hear that Nigerian author Gabriel Okara has passed away; see, for example, the report at okayafrica.
The University of Nebraska Press actually just recently brought out a volume of his Collected Poems -- see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- but I'd also commend the (sadly out of print, but originally published in the great African Writers Series) novel, The Voice; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The Royal Society of Literature has announced the twenty-title strong longlist for this year's RSL Ondaatje Prize, a £10,000 prize awarded: "for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, best evoking the spirit of a place" -- yet another prize that is open to both fiction and non (and more).
I haven't seen any of these, though I'm looking forward to Jonathan Coe's Middle England, which is finally coming to the US later this year.
The shortlist will be announced 16 April, the winner on 13 May.
The Spring issue of (now only quarterly ?) World Literature Today is now online, with a focus on Hong Kong.
Lots of interesting content beyond that too, of course -- and, as always, an extensive book review section.
Posting here at the Literary Saloon will be more sporadic through mid-April, with occasional post-less days (like tomorrow) -- but ultimately I do still expect to get to as much news, and as many reviews, as usual.
Sorry for any inconvenience.
Via I'm pointed to Our Personal Libraries: A Symposium, where the: "National Review asked some writers and collectors to describe their personal libraries" -- including Richard Brookhiser, Joseph Epstein, Otto Penzler, and Terry Teachout.
Always fun to see what kind of libraries people have .....
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Hervé Le Tellier's All Happy Families: A Memoir, just (about) out in English from Other Press.
Le Tellier is an Oulipo author, but this isn't a constraint-dominated book -- but five more of his titles are also under review at the site, some of them very Oulipian.
They're holding an "international and interdisciplinary colloquium dedicated to the theorization and practice of reading" at the University of Iowa 28 to 30 March, Reading and Re-Translation, and at that official site they have the schedule and links to (pdfs of ...) some of the papers that will be presented; worth a look.
See also the preview/opinion piece by Sabine Golz and Adrienne Rose, in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Translation and re-translation in the age of Big Data.
They've announced the finalists for the various Prix Méditerranée categories -- quite a few different ones for this region-focused prize.
They do have that official site -- unusual for a French literary prize ! -- but this information doesn't seem to be available there yet, so see the convenient lists in the Livres Hebdo report.
The winners will be announced 17 April.
The German Book Prize, awarded at the Frankfurt Book Fair every fall, is for the best novel, while the spring Leipzig Book Fair's prize(s) are awarded in three categories: fiction, non, and translation -- and they've now announced this year's winners.
The translation prize went to Eva Ruth Wemme, for her translation of Gabriela Adameșteanu's Dimineață pierdută; impressively, an English translation of this already came out several years ago, Patrick Camiller's, as Wasted Morning, from Northwestern University Press; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The fiction prize went to Schäfchen im Trockenen by Anke Stelling; see also the Verbrecher Verlag publicity page.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Sakuraba Kazuki's Red Girls: The Legend of the Akakuchibas, which Haikasoru brought out a couple of years ago.
This is a very satisfying read; it certainly deserved more attention than it received when it came out.
They've announced the finalists for my new favorite book prize, the prix Jean d'Ormesson, which basically lets the jurors pick any books they want, published whenever -- which is why it includes the likes of Juan Rulfo's Pedro Paramo and Ivo Andrić's The Bridge on the Drina, as well as Frédéric Dard(-writing-as-San-Antonio)'s 1984 novel, Faut-il tuer les petits garçons qui ont les mains sur les hanches ?
They even added a new book that wasn't on their longlist, a Nancy Mitford-biography.
But like (too) many French literary prizes, they don't have their own web-presence, so you have to rely on, for example, the report at LivresHebdo.
The winner will be announced 5 June.