Sunday 13 October 2013

He Finally Got What He Wanted

Oh dear. I had heard that Morrissey was insisting that his imminent and much-delayed autobiography be published as a Penguin Classic, despite never having been published before and quite possibly not being a work for the ages, but I hadn't realised the had caved until a recent search of the imprint's forthcoming releases revealed this:

This seems pretty shoddy. Still, at least the previous inclusion of Allen Ginsberg and Ayn Rand in the Classics catalogue had already meant my abandoning my attempts to collect the whole line.

UPDATE: I see I'm not the only one dismayed by this, though unlike the writer of that piece, I would be pretty fucking angry to see the none-more-overrated Bob Dylan added to the Classics list too.

Thursday 10 October 2013

A Bite on the Bum of Consistency

In the past I've been aggrieved about autobiographies with pictures of the authors on them, and even more so about novels with pictures of the authors on them. But it can be done well: witness next year's Muriel Spark reissues from New Directions in the US. These beautifully fucked-up photos of Spark are nicely matched with the plots/themes of the books.

I'd like to see what they would do in this line with her The Girls of Slender Means, a wonderful novel set in a girls' lodging house in Blitz-haunted London, where an unexploded bomb on the property heightens all of the sexual tension to bizarre levels.

It's also a shame they haven't used any photos from Spark's later years, when she wore the world's most massive pair of glasses, but there's more backlist to be redesigned...

I have a number of Spark's books in old omnibus editions that also used her photos:

I also have most of these novels as individual books too--I usually try not to double up like that, but all of her books are so admirably short that they hardly take up any space at all. Or at least that's the argument I might try on my wife as I contemplate adding the new ND editions to my collection.

Monday 7 October 2013

Posh Fan Fiction

Julian Barnes once described literary prizes like the Booker as being "posh bingo". I can only think that the depressing trend of commissioning literary novelists to write new books about established characters is basically posh fan fiction. Everyone involved ought to have better things to do.

Having said that, the cover to John Banville's Chandler cover version is pretty damn nice. It's by Jonathan Pelham.