Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Big Dalkey Get

As I mentioned below, I was able to take partial advantage of the Dalkey Archive's "100 books for $500" sale. I split it in half with a friend. Since we did it by a certain time (August 2003, as I recall), we were able to get an additional five books for free, with free shipping. My friend let me have the extra five books. This is what I ended up with (those I've read as of today are bolded):

1. Chapel Road, Louis Paul Boon
2. Rigadoon, Céline
3. Some Instructions to my Wife, Stanley Crawford
4. Storytown, Susan Daitch
5. Island People, Coleman Dowell
6. Too Much Flesh and Jabez, Coleman Dowell
7. Phosphor in Dreamland, Rikki Ducornet
8. Criers and Kibitzers, Kibitzers and Criers, Stanley Elkin
9. George Mills, Stanley Elkin*
10. The Rabbi of Lud, Stanley Elkin
11. Van Gogh's Room at Arles, Stanley Elkin
12. Mrs. Ted Bliss, Stanley Elkin*
13. Foreign Parts, Janice Galloway
14. Willie Masters' Lonesome Wife, William H. Gass
15. Quarantine, Juan Goytisolo
16. Blindness, Henry Green
17. Concluding, Henry Green
18. Nothing, Henry Green
19. Doting, Henry Green
20. Fire the Bastards!, Jack Green**
21. The Questionnaire, Jirí Grusa
22. Flotsam & Jetsasm, Aidan Higgins
23. Crome Yellow, Aldous Huxley
24. Time Must Have a Stop, Aldous Huxley
25. A Minor Apocalypse, Tadeusz Konwicki
26. The Age of Wire and String, Ben Marcus
27. Reader's Block, David Markson
28. AVA, Carole Maso
29. The American Woman in the Chinese Hat, Carole Maso
30. Cigarettes, Harry Mathews
31. Singular Pleasures, Harry Mathews
32. 20 Lines a Day, Harry Mathews
33. The Human Country, Harry Mathews
34. The Case of the Perservering Maltese, Harry Mathews***
35. Women and Men, Joseph McElroy****
36. Impossible Object, Nicholas Mosley
37. The Hesperides Tree, Nicholas Mosley
38. Odile, Raymond Queneau
39. Collected Novellas, vol. 1, Arno Schmidt
40. Nobodaddy's Children, Arno Schmidt
41. Two Novels, Arno Schmidt
42. Is this what other women feel, too?, Jill Akers Seese
43. The Sky Changes, Gilbert Sorrentino
44. Imaginary Qualities of Actual Things, Gilbert Sorrentino
45. Mulligan Stew, Gilbert Sorrentino
46. Pack of Lies, Gilbert Sorrentino
47. Blue Pastoral, Gilbert Sorrentino
48. Under the Shadow, Gilbert Sorrentino
49. Something Said, Gilbert Sorrentino
50. The Making of Americans, Gertrude Stein*****
51. Annihilation, Piotr Szewc
52. Monstrous Possibility, Curtis White
53. Miss MacIntosh, My Darling, vol. one, Marguerite Young
54. Miss MacIntosh, My Darling, vol. two, Marguerite Young
55. Marguerite Young, Our Darling, Miriam Fuchs, ed.

* Actually read these in ugly-ass Avon paperbacks; used spots upgrading to the vastly more attractive Dalkey edition.

** Read part of during brief involvement with Gaddis Drinking Club.

***Read about half, but that half--mostly about translation--was fascinating.

****Coveted this book when I first saw it in Borders many years ago, shrink-wrapped. It's a massive book. Read The Smuggler's Bible, which was interesting but not exciting. Then read this about McElroy at The Reading Experience, in which Dan Green judges McElroy's fiction to be, in the end, "really pretty boring". Now even more leary of 1100-page book than I might already have been.

*****Frankly sort of afraid of this one.

Some statistics
Number of books by female authors represented: 10
Number of female authors: 7
Number of books by American authors: 35
Number of American authors: 18
Number of books by African American authors: 0
Number of books by non-American, English-language authors: 10
Number of non-American, English-language authors: 5
Number of translated books: 10
Number of translated books by female authors: 0
Number of non-fiction books: 5
Number of non-fiction books that are not essentially literary criticism: 1

Some observations
- My desire to fill out, especially, my Sorrentino, Elkin, and Mathews collections left less room for taking chances on lesser known (by me) authors.

- The number of female authors represented is too low, but unfortunately more or less reflects the general trend in my reading life. Even with periodic and ongoing attempts to redress this shortcoming, only four of the 25 books I've completed this year were written by women. I will note that of the female authors listed above, I had already acquired and read previously books by Daitch, Galloway, Ducornet, and Maso. I find them all, Maso particularly, to be excellent writers.

- Dalkey publishes very few books by African American authors (is Ishmael Reed the only author represented? I don't want to make any assumptions. Anyway, I've read two of his, and have two others). Alas, this too represents the general situation.

- On the relatively low figure for translated works, I think I can be partially forgiven since Dalkey has amped up its production of books in translation considerably since 2003. Already owned non-Dalkey editions of Terra Nostra by Carlos Fuentes and Pushkin House by Andrei Bitov. Look forward to reading many more of the translated books in the future.

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