On the Edge
About five years ago, I worked as a book reviewer for a friend of mine’s website. The deal was that I would review a few books a month, and she would pay me in free books. It was a sweet deal. When “payday” rolled around, I found myself browsing the shelves of the tiny bookstore she managed, trying to decide what I should take as payment. The book that grabbed my attention was faced out, and thank God for that. The cover of the book was the perfect advertisement. It was a picture of a refrigerator, rendered in black and white, its door tantalizingly open. The food seemed arranged just so — the beer, the eggs — and it made me wonder what this fridge had to do with the story of the book. I flipped it over and discovered that it was a book about a Catholic priest living in Minnesota. For whatever reason (if I say it was the fridge, you’ll think I’m a fool), I chose that book as payment.
That book was Wheat That Springeth Green, and it’s one of my favorite books to this day.
The New York Review of Books Press has been saving books, literally, from obscurity, one title at a time. Their list is diverse – sci-fi, thrillers, literary fiction, histories — and marvelous. They’ve published books by legends like Guy de Maupassant and Edmund Wilson, as well as “forgotten” titans like J.F. Powers and George Simenon. Every serious reader I know has found at least one of their favorite writers through the New York Review of Books Press. For introducing me to J.F. Powers, I thank them. Pick up one of their books today. You won’t regret it.