Top Trends: The Irresistible “-ist” List

When you work at a library, some literary trends aren’t that hard to spot: you tend to trip over them. A while back we started seeing lobsters everywhere, which last year were replaced by tigers. We’ve done whole book displays over covers featuring just feet, or headless women. (One avid reader in Montreal is especially gifted at keeping an eye out for similar (or identical) covers, such as this bevy of skirts.)

The Somnambulist, by Jonathan Barnes.The latest trend that’s becoming hard to resist is the current proliferation of titles sporting the same sibillant suffix. Not sure when it began: it might have been Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist, or maybe it dates back to Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, but suddenly on a stroll through the aisles one is likely to be accosted by resurrectionists, somnambulists, imperfectionists, informationists, and lonely polygamists.

Not only that: they’re having children, though strictly along X-chromosonal lines. Imagine the lively conversations that must ensue at any gathering of The Optimist’s Daughter, The Abortionist’s Daughter, The Alchemist’s DaughterA Bigamist’s Daughter, The Artist’s Daughter, The Communist’s Daughter, and The Narcissist’s Daughter. I wonder if they talk about their dads?

Here’s some of what we’ve spotted; can you think of others?The Anarchist, by John Smolens.

There’s a Lobster Loose!

secret life of lobstersLately, walking around the library, I’ve become aware of lots of beady little eyes peering at me from the shelves, and snapping claws reaching out. For some reason the past year or so has seen a strange red tide of books with lobsters on their covers. Not cookbooks, but novels – oddball comic novels in particular. I mentioned this to Trevor Corson, author of The Secret Life of Lobsters, and he agrees: “This is very funny …  and weird; some sort of mysterious force must be at work.” Take a look:

The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson.  Everything you ever wanted to know about lobsters, but were afraid to ask, (even if you never did want to know anything about lobsters).



lobster cover

Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace. Erudite essays on a wide range of topics, new bedlamfrom 9/11 to porn to- yes – lobster. 

New Bedlam by Bill Flanagan. Smart satire in which hot shot TV exec Bobby Kahn is marooned in a small Rhode Island town with three channels, one of which is devoted to comic books. Carl Hiaasen North. Continue reading “There’s a Lobster Loose!”