*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"We play at believing ourselves immortal. We delude ourselves in the appraisal
of our own works and in our perpetual misappraisal of the works of others.
See you at the Nobel, writers say, as one might say: see you in hell . . ."
THOUGHTS ON THE 2014 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE
Yes, it's that time of year again. The leaves on the trees are changing color and the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced tomorrow. Contingent on the renown of the winner, this award can be a boon or a bust for booksellers. Last year, Canadian superstar Alice Munro won the award and we feasted. O, how we feasted! The flipside of the coin was Herta Muller, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature, and we waited and waited in vain for American readers to try to feign any kind of a passing interest. I looked up LadbrokesTM Betting Odds for the Top 5 candidates, 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, and it was not encouraging:
Nguigi Wa Thiong'o 7/2
Haruki Murakami 9/2
Svetlana Alexievich 6/1
Ismail Kadare 10/1
Crap! When I have to look up four out of five authors to see who they are, it's never a good sign. We have an African novelist who writes in his native Gikuyu, a Ukrainian investigative journalist, a Syrian poet, an Albanian novelist, and Haruki Murakami, whose recent release Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (9780385352109) 25.95 is on all the bestseller lists. C'mon booksellers, join in with me: MURAKAMI! MURAKAMI! MURAKAMI!
If Roberto Bolano were still alive (and you may not know that an author has to be living to be awarded the Nobel), he would probably be one of the favourites. Mr. Bolano has been graced with his first biography, Bolano: A Biography in Conversations (9781612193472) 26.95. It is long overdue.
Twenty years from now, Brian Morton, award-winning author of Florence Gordon (9780544309869) 25.00 may be near the top of this list. 'It's pronounced Gore-don.' I could see the title character, a cantankerous old woman novelist, saying exactly that.
There is no danger of funnyman Bob Odenkirk ever, ever being nominated for the Nobel Prize, but he has put together a 'collection of new short humor fiction' in his latest title, A Load of Hooey (9781938073885) 20.00. If you need more copies, you 'Better Call Saul!'
Well, it looks like we've run out of time. I and a very small percentage of Americans will look forward to the announcement tomorrow. I have to admit I think it would be kinda cool if Bob Dylan won. Hey, 25 to 1 aren't horrible odds . . .
Odds & Sods
I never thought I would say this, but I will, "It's kinda hip to be a Spartan fan right now." True, their football team lost a heartbreaker to Oregon early in the season, but if they run the table, they could very well be in the college playoffs this season. So it might be a good time to carry a few copies of Jack Ebling's Heart of a Spartan (9780985831202) 49.95.
Speaking of Spartans, we've received Tom Shanahan's Raye of Light (9781938532191) 22.95, which harkens back to the Duffy Daugherty football era, when Jimmy Raye became one of the first African-American players to quarterback for a major college. Go Green! Go White!