A Novel Night in May

Last Thursday we hosted the fifth edition of our Novel Night reading series, a monthly celebration of all things prose. Check out the footage below and take a look at the photos we posted on our Facebook page.

Our first reader was Gary Hobbs, who introduced us to his debut novel, Access to Capital, a page-turner that gives you a glimpse into the faltering and frantic financial world of the 1980s.

Richard Kendrick read from Déjà Vu, described by Rick Russo as “a rare book that combines modernist formal experimentation with excellent post-modernist content and prose.” The novel tells the story of Alden Homer and Blake Whitman, two very different adventurers whose paths cross as they explore Asia.

And last but not least, Malvernite Schandra hosted the Book Talk segment, in which a member of staff introduces the audience to one of their favorite titles on our shelves. Schandra discussed Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” the classic tale of rat-race-rejection—which we happen to stock in a very stylish Melville House edition that comes complete with online access to a recipe for ginger nuts!

Reading Cats and Dogs

What’s it going to be, animal fans? Do you prefer the daft and drooling devotion of a Dachshund, or would you rather your lap be warmed by a dapper and discerning Tuxedo cat? It’s probably obvious that I’m Team Feline (do you blame me?), but we have a couple of dedicated dog enthusiasts on staff as well—luckily, our brand-spanking-new Melville House order arrived with something for everyone…

Cats and Dogs

Melville House is an independent Brooklyn publisher founded in 2001 by the husband and wife team of writer Dennis Loy Johnson and sculptor Valerie Merians. We proudly stock quite a few of their handsome titles, including the two recent releases below…

Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss

From the best-selling author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, we have the story of Alec Charlesworth, a grief-stricken librarian who encounters a talking cat called Roger. This novel is a page-turning mix of comedy and Gothic suspense; there are laugh-out-loud moments mixed in with some genuinely creepy bits (e.g. “Purring was the way they sent people into a trance, you see—and then, when their prey was sort of paralysed and helpless, the cats would set to work with their claws”). Best read with the lights on and the family cat occupied elsewhere.

The Dialogue of the Dogs by Miguel de Cervantes; translated by David Kipen

From chatty cats to conversational canines—Cervantes’ The Dialogue is apparently the first talking-dog story in Western literature. Much like Cat Out of Hell, this novella is a humorous mix of parody and fantasy. It features a syphilitic philanderer who, while recovering in hospital, eavesdrops on two talking guard dogs. The Dialogue first appeared in 1613 in a collection of twelve stories… and, four-hundred years later, I’d wager this is still the only tail tale in which a pair of garrulous Mastiffs discuss the evils of humanity in the form of a Greek dialogue.