(My) Imprints of the Year

Sunday, December 19, 2010

At the close of this year, I'd like to sidestep the naming of favorite books to honor two imprints instead—imprints whose books most advance my faith in publishing and occupy much of my shelf space. The first, of course, is Graywolf Press, which publishes my dear friend Alyson Hagy (Ghosts of Wyoming), introduced me to my now-friend Jessica Francis Kane (The Report), publishes the brilliant Per Petterson (I Curse the River of Time), puts out books that consistently surprise me (take Vanishing Point, that fascinating riff on memoir by Ander Monson), and celebrates some of the best poets of our day (Jane Kenyon, Linda Gregg, Carl Phillips, Thomas Sayers Ellis). Look for The Last Brother, a Nathacha Appanah novel being released from Graywolf in February.  I started the book this morning.  It is going to be an everlasting favorite.

The second honorable, wonderful, heart dance of an imprint is Black Cat, of Grove Atlantic, which publishes some of the most beautiful original trade paperback novels and nonfiction I've ever seen.  I first started connecting the imprint itself to actual book titles when I read Chloe Aridjis's Book of Clouds, an utterly sensational and surreal portrait of Berlin.  More fabulous Black Cat titles came my way (an angel sent them), and I was hooked.  This year The Disappeared by Kim Echlin engulfed me.  I laughed hard at Steve Hely's How I Became a Famous Novelist, and for Christmas I am buying myself Vida, the  Patricia Engle story collection that was named one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year by the Times

The end of real literature is not near.  It lives among gray wolves and black cats.


Lilian Nattel said...

I first noticed Graywolf Press years ago when I read Brenda Ueland. I'll look up the catalogues for both of these. TY for the recommendation.

Liviania said...

Sometimes I'm more loyal to an imprint than I am to an author. Not often, lately.

Beth F said...

I love Graywolf and have been a fan for a couple of years now. I don't know much about Grove Atlantic, but I will be investigating.

Like Liviania -- and as you know -- I am imprint / editor fan as much as an author fan.

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