We were very sad to learn of the passing last week of esteemed poet, translator, educator, and dear friend of Malvern Books, Miguel Gonzalez-Gerth. Born in Mexico City in 1926, Miguel was the son of an army officer of Spanish descent and a musician mother of German descent. In 1940 he left Mexico for Texas, making the United States his permanent home. He was Professor Emeritus of Spanish and Comparative Literature at UT Austin, where he taught for more than thirty years. And he published numerous collections of original poems in Spanish and English, including some of our very favorite books, Looking for the Horse Latitudes and Between Day and Night: New and Selected Poems, 1946-2010, as well as Natural Selection, his superb translation of the collected works of Uruguayan poet Enrique Fierro.
We celebrated his 90th birthday at Malvern Books last September, with music, cake, poetry, friends and readings, and Miguel, as always, delighted us with his warmth and insight. He is a great loss to our literary community, and we’ll miss him very much.
Fernando recommends The Babysitter at Rest by Jen George:
Jen George is as close to being a rock star as anybody who is not a musician can be.
Her debut book is put out by the independent press Dorothy, a publishing project, which is one of the most daring, innovative presses out there. Every story in this collection pulsates with energy that is entirely original and fantastic.
Speaking as a person who never went to college, if I’m reading contemporary American fiction I’m foremost drawn to writers that didn’t attend an MFA program. Though I didn’t know Jen George was one of these rare specimens when I started reading this book, after the first story I felt right away that this author is something special and I rejoiced. I am grateful for the rarity of this collection.
I realize in a review you’re supposed to describe the characters and “plots” of some of the stories in the book being reviewed, but part of the fun of this collection is experiencing it on your own. Kinda like trying to tell somebody why the record Philosophy of the World by The Shaggs is a masterpiece. It can’t be done, you just have to experience it.
In South Texas the expression ‘throw you corner’ is used when somebody backs you up with something (example: You: “I gotta go tell that obnoxious guy to move his car.” Friend: “I’ll go, too, and throw you corner”). I can say that reading this book, you definitely feel Jen George is out there somewhere throwing you corner. And there’s not a lot of young fiction writers you can say that about these days. Unless, of course, they’re put out by the Dorothy project.
If you fancy treating yourself to a splendid new book but you’re not that familiar with indie press offerings—or you’re simply overwhelmed by choice—we’re here to help!
We feature information on a lot of our recent arrivals on our New Books page, so that’s a great place to start. And our In The Store page shows photos of our monthly displays, helpfully organized by theme (like our Short Novels display, pictured above). Our erudite and enthusiastic Malvernites also post their Staff Picks here on the blog.
And be sure to take note of our Shelf Talkers cards when you visit the store. They feature personal recommendations from our staff, often with a comparison to a writer you already know and love.
If you like Ursula K. Le Guin, progressive ideas, and innovative fiction, the Ravicka Trilogy by Renee Gladman is for you. (Start with Event Factory.)
If you like Kurt Vonnegut and the Wu-Tang Clan, you’ll love The Free-Lance Pallbearers by Ishmael Reed.
If you enjoy the films of Tarkovsky, grimness, and the fantastic, you’ll love the work of 20th Century Russian writer Andrey Platonov.
If you like the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky or Andrei Tarkovsky, then try the cinematic novel The Glacier by Jeff Wood.
And if you don’t follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@malvernbooks), you really should, as we post heaps of photos and info on new arrivals and old favorites, plus links to rave reviews that should help you pick the perfect new read(s)!