Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cheap(ish) Books

I don't know what you think about McSweeney's. Me, I've sort of rode the fence. Sometimes I've found the work of that set to be a little too coy, too affected. It's kind of like the band with the virtuoso guitar player - sure he's great, but is every song really made better by epic solos and fretboard acrobatics? Sometimes, it just seems like oh so much wanking.

On the other hand, I love that these are people dedicated to the written word. And, in spite of my reservations, I also love their inventiveness. This is especially true of the McSweeney's Quarterly Concern. I love to just check out the layout of each issue when I'm in the bookstore. Every issue offers up a new look, a new style and even a new format (witness the pack of mail issue).

Anyways, I was checking out their website and noticed they are having a sale of back issues of the quarterly concern for 5 bucks apiece. That's about 20 bucks less than cover price. The sale runs until tomorrow (Friday).

Now, for any fellow Canucks out there, let me warn you that the shipping isn't cheap. It seemed no matter what I ordered, the USPS rate was $32.95. The courier option was even worse - totally ridiculous, actually - coming in at well over $100. I guess this is what happens when you've been spoiled for so long with amazon's and chindigo's free shipping option.

At 5 bucks a copy, though, it still works out to a decent price if there are a bunch of issues you're interested in.

In other news, I'm finished with Andrew Pyper's latest, The Killing Circle. My review will be coming in a day or two but let me say that you have to read this book. It's his best since Lost Girls.

I'm going through a serious belle and sebastian phase right now, so everything is sounding coy and poppy and oh so scottish, but that's okay. I needed a break from the rest of the discs I've been listening to this summer (mostly Steve Earle's Austin City Limits disc, Bonnie Prince Billy's 'I See A Darkness' and 'Lie Down in the Light' and the last two weakerthans discs). It's funny how things change. I remember grade 9 and 10 and making monster mixed tapes to take to the beach or for bike rides. Back then, it was a lot of metal mixed with classic rock and some embarrassing pop I won't get into at this point. It seems this year that my choices were made in spite of the season. I guess that's because, with no vacation this year, I've really only experienced summer on the odd weekends when it hasn't rained.

While my Canadian reading selections keep backing up - everything from The Cellist of Sarejevo to Atwood's Life Before Man is sitting patiently beside my bed - I'm thinking of pursuing a mini-theme for my next few books. For some reason - maybe it's the impending fall - I have a hankering to read a few novels set in universities. I'm planning on starting with David Lodge's Changing Places. After that, I'll likely tackle Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim and reread Richard Russo's Straight Man. From there, who knows where I'll wind up.

Well, I've spent enough time in front of the screen. It's time to get ready for work.

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