The Inaugural Novel Night

We’re excited to introduce you to a brand-new reading series in the Malvern calendar: Novel Night. Held on the second Thursday of each month, Novel Night shines a spotlight on all things prose—because, as our curmudgeon-in-chief Dr. Joe says in his introductory remarks, writing a novel is hard work and all that dedication deserves to be celebrated (he may also have noted that, ahem, “anybody can write a poem…”).

Here’s how it works: two published novelists read from their books and take questions from the audience, followed by “Book Talk,” in which an intrepid Malvern staff member introduces us to one of their favorite prose titles. And we finish up with an open mic for writers who’d like to read for 4-5 minutes from their unpublished short stories or novels (sign up on the night if you’re interested). Also worth noting: there are snacks!

Joe and Alan

We kicked things off in fine style last Thursday with two talented novelists: B. Alan Bourgeois (above right) read from his spiritual thriller Extinguishing the Light and Joe Milazzo (above left) read from his fiercely imaginative debut novel, Crepuscule w/ Nellie. Malvern’s manager Becky Garcia then introduced us to the brilliant and challenging Vacation by Deb Olin Unferth and explained why reading Unferth is a lot like watching an episode of Seinfeld. And last but not least, the entertaining Ron Jaeger became our very first Novel Night open mic-er!

Check out the footage below, and be sure to join us on February 12th for the second installment of Malvern Books’ Novel Night…

Three Cheers For Malvern Books

While it’s generally unbecoming to toot one’s own horn, a little trumpet-blowing is allowed when you’re an indie bookstore. So here’s a quick roundup of some glowing reviews we’ve received recently…

This morning The Austinot, the top-ranked blog about Austin, declared that we’re one of the best independent bookstores in town, and they mention that we offer readers “the chance to access works previously unknown to them or difficult to find.” That’s something we pride ourselves on—our bestselling fiction and poetry lists are anything but ordinary!—and we’re delighted our eclectic, hand-picked inventory got a shout-out.

Malvern Books

In their festive shopping guide, Austin Monthly named us the city’s best new bookstore. They praised our “great selection” and suggested we were a reason for book lovers to rejoice!

And we also made Scott Wiggerman’s 2014 Favorites list as his most beloved “truly independent” bookstore. Scott is a man of impeccable taste—he co-founded Dos Gatos Press with David Meischen—so we’re thrilled to hear he approves of all things Malvern.

Malvern Books’ Best of 2014: Fiction

On Monday we took a look at Malvern’s 2014 poetry bestsellers—now let’s give our prose wonders a turn. Interestingly, the top five fiction sellers come from just two publishers, New Directions (we’ve raved about them before) and A Strange Object, a fantastic local press that was founded just over a year ago… my, how quickly they grow! Check out our customer faves below (they’re in no particular order), then stop by the store and ask to see more of our New Strange Directions Object wares.

Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail by Kelly Luce (A Strange Object; $14.95)

Three ScenariosSet in Japan, the stories that form this extraordinary debut collection are unpredictable, beguiling, and full of the most exquisite, perfectly chosen details.

“Kelly Luce manages the impossible: each story delicate and enormous, intricate, glitteringly beautiful, never less than strange, never less than profound, ten spiderwebs astonishingly spun. Readers: here is your new favorite short story writer.” —Elizabeth McCracken

Our Secret Life in the Movies by Michael McGriff and J. M. Tyree (A Strange Object; $14.95)

Our Strange LifeThrough a series of linked stories featuring a couple of kids coming of age in the ’80s, McGriff and Tyree create an intense—and intensely moving—dream world, and a love letter to cult movies.

“As close to an interactive experience as reading a collection of cutting-edge short fiction can be… An intriguing, frequently affecting experiment that challenges its readers to think anew about sharpening and refracting their memories of both life and art.” —Kirkus Reviews

Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West (New Directions, $14.95)

Miss LonelyheartsTwo classic works of American literature in one stylish volume… what’s not to like? Miss Lonelyhearts was compared by Flannery O’Connor to As I Lay Dying, while The Day of the Locust is regarded by many as the best novel ever written about Hollywood.

“Taken together, these two novels say more about the way we live now––and the things that brought us to our present pass––than any other work of fiction I can think of.” —L.E. Sissman, New Yorker.

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide, translated by Eric Selland (New Directions; $14.95)

The Guest CatThis is ostensibly a straightforward story about a young couple whose stale relationship perks up following the unexpected arrival of a cat—but The Guest Cat is much more profound, subtle, painful, and enchanting than this twee synopsis would suggest.

“This is a beautiful, ornate read, brimming with philosophical observation, humor and intelligence, leaving the reader anticipating more translated works of Hiraide.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald, translated by Michael Hulse (New Directions; $16.95)

The Rings of SaturnThe most astonishing account you’ll ever read of a long walk through the Suffolk countryside. Through Sebald’s eyes, even the most familiar objects become unsettling and surreal…

“Strange, unquenchable, and serious originality … A brilliantly allusive study of England’s imperial past and the nature of decline and fall, of loss and decay … It is hard to imagine a stranger or more compelling work.” —Robert McCrum, London Observer

Malvern Books’ Best of 2014: Poetry

Happy New Year, Malvernites! If you’re hoping to start 2015 with some stupendous verse, I suggest you take a look at the five books below—they’re our bestselling poetry titles for 2014 (in no particular order), and any one (or all!) of these lovelies would make a dazzling addition to the discerning poetry fiend’s bookshelf…

31 Poems by Dean Young (Forklift, Ohio; $12)

31 PoemsThe perfect introduction to the work of Dean Young, 31 Poems is both a brilliant collection and a beautiful object. (When it was first published, it appeared in the Best Collected category and the Best Physical Artifact category of Coldfront’s Year in Review.)

“Dean Young’s poems are as entertaining as a three-ring circus and as imaginative as a canvas by Hieronymus Bosch.” —American Academy of Arts and Letters

The Book of Joshua by Zachary Schomburg (Black Ocean; $19.95)

The Book of JoshuaA favorite of Taylor Jacob Pate, Zachary Schomburg writes associative, witty, logic-twisting poems that inhabit a surreal dreamscape.

The Book of Joshua … ultimately spins its own myths in a book that is built to feel symbolic, but isn’t really a straightforward metaphor for anything because, within the context of this world, these statements are literal. It’s not allegory but finely figured dream.” —Bill Neumire, Heavy Feather Review

Soul in Space by Noelle Kocot (Wave Books; $18)

Soul in SpaceSoul in Space is the sixth collection from the prolific and extraordinarily talented Kocot, who wowed the Malvern audience with her reading of “Poem for the End of Time.”

“Part riddle, part reverie, and part prayer, the brief lyric poems that compose Kocot’s collection inhabit a charged but quotidian space… Kocot arranges the ephemera of the everyday in relation to each other and to the self as though striking a minor chord.” —Publishers Weekly

Storm Toward Morning by Malachi Black (Copper Canyon Press; $17)

Storm Toward MorningWhen asked in an interview to give a one-sentence synopsis of this collection, Malachi summarized it by saying, “There is nothing more truly peculiar, confusing, and surprising than being entirely alive.”

“Formally exacting and creatively expansive, Black is an intensely inquisitive John Donne for the Millennial generation.” —Publishers Weekly

More Wreck More Wreck by Tyler Gobble (Coconut Books; $15)

More Wreck More WreckWe were delighted to launch More Wreck More Wreck (winner of the 2013 Cargill First Book Poetry Prize) at Malvern Books, and we were not the least bit surprised when it proved hugely popular!

“These poems aren’t just one thing, or another, they are instead stuffed with so much energy that they are spilling all over the pages … More Wreck More Wreck is bubbling with the absolutely kick ass beauty of a great imagination let loose.” —Peter Davis