Posted by: Sally Ingraham | May 3, 2010

Open Letter Book Buying Binge

I swear that I am going to write something ecstatic about Life a User’s Manuel in the very near future. I want a lovely chunk of time to do it though, and these are few and far between at the moment – especially chunks of time that coincide with internet access. I’m picking up little to no wireless signals at home (having left the in-town apartment for the quaint and fabulous little country cabin…!) and that piece of writing is not something I can whip up while at work. I’m dying to write about it though, and am thoroughly enjoying the posts of everyone else. Really, really brilliant stuff.

Vilnius PokerWhat I can do while at work though, is spend rather too much time trying to decide if I will subscribe to Open Letter Books. The answer, after much deliberation, and a little bit of mathematical calculations, is no, not at this moment. I will, however, order a few of the books that I have been lusting for!

Death in SpringTo my immense delight, I ordered Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda, which I heard about months ago through a great review at The Mookse and the Gripes. Another obvious pick was Vilnius Poker by Ričardas Gavelis which is one of the picks for my non-structured reading group toward the end of the year. EL Fay’s awesome review of The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel) by Macedonio Fernández got me really excited about this book, and finally I picked The Pets by Bragi Ólafsson based simply on how good it sounded.

I absolutely cannot wait to get these in my grubby paws – I love the cover art on pretty much all of Open Letter’s books, and I’m eager to read more international fiction. Pluses all round. 🙂


  1. All of these sound absolutely wonderful! I’ve been trying to read more international fiction as well, but I have a hard time finding things that aren’t big award winners. Thanks for bringing Open Letter Books to my attention!

  2. Ok, so sorry for the double post, but when I checked out the Open Letter Books site, I realized I actually do have a book by them! Last weekend at the library I picked up The Might Angel by Jerzy Pilch on a whim! I’m hoping I’ll be able to read it before I have to return it…

    • I finally caved in and bought these books because they’re not available through ILL in my state either through public or college libraries. Open Letter Books has a blog – Three Percent, there’s a link to it in my sidebar – that is a great resource for reviews and news about newly translated international works. The whole thing is definitely a cool project. Hope you enjoy the Pilch. It’s still on my list. 🙂

  3. Sarah, those are lust-worthy titles! I haven’t gotten Vilnius Poker yet.. still hoping I could get a paperback instead of the hardcover ha ha. So I’ll wait. But please let me know what size the hardcover is when you do get your copy. I like smaller hardcovers so much better than the regular large ones.

    Have you bought the last two Proust volumes yet? Which covers did you get? I’m so nosey. 😀

    • Right-oh, I’ll report back to you on the hard cover sizes! And I put the British Penguin editions of the Christopher Prendergast edited Proust project on my wishlist at The Book Depository today. At least I’ll finish off the work in the same “translation” that I started with…

      • claire, for what it’s worth, the hardcover Pilch that I took out was not at all cumbersome or unweildy. It might be as long as many hardcovers are, but it was quite slim and honestly didn’t seem like a hardcover at all, if that makes any sense…

  4. Ooooh! I love Open Letter Press! I interned there in college!

    I have also read and reviewed Death in Spring and The Pets. I didn’t like The Pets too much, unfortunately, because I thought the humor fell flat and the ending was too abrupt. (When Chad gave it to me for copyediting, I actually thought he’d only given me part of it!) Death in the Spring was pretty cool, but I thought the symbolism was overdone.

    • Gosh, I’ll have to dig into your archives and find those reviews! I’m drawing a blank. That’s so cool that you interned at Open Letter. That must have been a cool experience. I’m not nearly as excited about The Pets or even Death in the Spring as I am for Macedonio Fernández’s book. Can’t WAIT to read it, and have been dying to since your review. 🙂

  5. Here and here. ;D

  6. […] I haven’t bought books with such utter glee as I did recently though, since my Open Letter book buying binge in […]

  7. […] Witch Grass in Oregon?? Boo… And whatever happened to the Open Letter Press books that I was so excited about gathering back in the spring of 2010? Oh, the agony of scattering a library to the four […]

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