I’m a big fan of the Hardcase Crime imprint, which has been publishing a succession of luridly jacketed vintage pulp fiction alternated with contemporary noir ever since their premiere title – Grifter’s Game by Lawrence Block – in the sultry summer of 2004. I also love Stark House, a small press publishing a steady stream of vintage crime fiction by such forgotten pulpsters as Day Keene, Harry Whittington, Stephen Marlowe, Wade Miller, and the prolific Peter Rabe. Continue reading “SPL Discoveries: Elisabeth Sanxay Holding”
These books are just too pretty!
It’s the pretty ones that give me pause. As a clerk for The Seattle Public Library, I handle hundreds of books every day without being able to stop and look through any of them. But every once in a while one catches my eye, a real stunner, and I make note.
Recently I’ve noticed that many of the beautiful novels coming across my desk all have something in common: McSweeney’s Press. From Dave Eggers, the twisted genius that brought us the magazines McSweeney quarterly and The Believer, comes a plethora of books with gorgeous covers and end sheets.
Perhaps it is a side effect of being around books all day, but about as often as I find myself falling for a particular author’s style or voice, I become fascinated with a particular publisher or imprint. I’m especially fond of re-print houses that specialize in bringing back into print those lost treasures and hidden gems that we librarians strive to preserve and protect for readers.
Hesperus Press is a great example of what I mean. Publishing attractive paperback editions of lesser known classic shorter works—stories, essays, poetry and novellas by a wide range of authors, with enticing introductions by contemporary writers. For example, Wilkie Collins’ A Rogue’s Life is a delightful little picaresque relating the jaunty misadventures of charming ne’er-do-well Frank Softly, an artist who careens from job to job in pursuit of his fortunes, and of the beautiful Alicia Dulcifer. Collins wrote this during a fun vacation in Paris with his friend and associate Charles Dickens, who also employed Collins’ in several special Christmas issues of his magazine Household Words, where the duo, together with other writers such as Elizabeth Gaskell, would write collections of themed stories united by some clever conceit, such as the tenant’s stories collected under the titles Mrs. Lirriper and A House to Let, or the travelers’ tales collected Continue reading “Publisher Crush: Hesperus Press”