Category Archives: galley of the day

Galley of the Day: The Kid by Sapphire

Craig Morgan Teicher -- March 21st, 2011

Sapphire is milking the Precious (the movie based on the novel Push by Sapphire, as the full title reads) phenomenon for all it’s worth, though perhaps that’s not fair to say, and who doesn’t love Gabourey?  Anyhow, this July, The Penguin Press will publish Sapphire’s sequel to Push, called The Kid, about, as the book’s jacket says, “the electrifying story of Abdul Jones, the son of Push’s unforgettable heroine, Precious.”

Here’s the opening passage:

“Wake up, little man.” Rita’s voice is coming under the covers at me.  It’s warm under the covers, smell good like Rita and clean like sheets.  I curl up tighter, squeeze my eyes shut, and go back to sleep.  In the dream it’s mommy’s birthday party and she’s holding me in he arms kissing me and dancing with me.”

An intriguing beginning…you gonna read it on the beach this summer?  Betcha lots of other people are…

Galley of the Day: Of Lamb by Matthea Harvey and Amy Jean Porter

Craig Morgan Teicher -- January 20th, 2011

Today’s G.O.T.D is anything but a kids’ book, though it is a (deeply twisted) version of the “Mary Had A Little Lamb” story, though the lamb does far more than follow Mary to school (Mary and her little lamb at one point contemplate romantic entanglement). The book, Of Lamb, is a collaboration between poet Matthea Harvey and visual artist Amy Jean Porter.  It’s being published by McSweeney’s in March, and I’ll let the illustration above, and the others you can find on Porter’s Web site, speak for themselves.  This book ain’t for the faint, but it’s really crazy and really good.

Harvey is a beloved poet and author of three collections of poems, including the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Modern Life.  Porter is a prolific painter who has made a project of trying to draw as many species of animals as she can.

Galley of the Day: Money Shot by Rae Armantrout

Craig Morgan Teicher -- November 23rd, 2010

Rae Armantrout went from being a fairly unknown veteran poet to winning two of the the three big book awards last year–the Pulitzer and the National Book Critics Circle.  Her follow up to Versed, the prize-winning volume, is due out from Wesleyan University Press in February, and it’s a stunner.  Armantrout has always been interested in the intersection of pop-culture, high-culture, found language, and whatever else enters her field of vision.  In this new book, she adds a focus on the language of commerce, which, in these days shadowed by the Great Recession, may have more to do with pop-culture and poetry than ever before.  Look for our review of the book next month.

Galley of the Day: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Rose Fox -- November 10th, 2010

Having just put Nnedi Okorafor’s adult novel Who Fears Death on my 2010 best SF/fantasy/horror list, I was delighted when she sent me an advance copy of her forthcoming YA title, Akata Witch (Viking, April 2011). Set in approximately present-day Nigeria, the story follows four teenagers as they learn to control their magical powers and face down an evil sorcerer who’s trying to summon up a long-banished spirit of destruction.

Sunny Nwazue spent the first several years of her life in the United States before her Igbo parents moved back to Nigeria. Now she speaks fluent Igbo, but she’s still sneered at as an akata, a dirty foreigner. To make matters worse, she’s an albino, so kids tease her about being white. (To Okorafor’s credit, there are no namby-pamby “even if she were white that would be okay” lessons to be found here.) Sunny’s viewpoint lets Okorafor describe sights that will be unfamiliar to American readers without ever exoticizing them:

[The Abuja Market] was the first African market she had visited, a few months after her family had returned to Nigeria when they’d stayed with her aunt. Talk about culture shock! The American supermarkets were always neat, the prices rigid, everything so sterile. The Abuja Market in particular was ripe, unpredictable, and loud. She’d been overwhelmed by what the market sold, and how the vendors sold it. Now it was just a market.

Keep an eye out for our review.

Galley of the Day: The Captian Asks for A Show of Hands by Nick Flynn

Craig Morgan Teicher -- November 9th, 2010

Before Nick Flynn got famous for writing two successful memoirs–Another Bullshit Night in Suck City and The Ticking Is the Bomb–he was already well known and beloved as a poet with two acclaimed collections under his belt: Some Ether and Blind Huber.  But prose has been keeping him busy, so it’s been a while since we’ve had a book of poems.  Well, in February 2011, that’ll change when Graywolf releases his third collection of poems: The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands.  We just got the galley in the office, and this editor, for one, is excited.

To be sure, the book is, as all Flynn’s books are, intense.  It has a world-weariness that Flynn learned early, but that feeling is countered by a kind of embrace of what comes, something most of us are ever-struggling to learn.  These new poems are sobered by fatherhood and a grim decade, but also freer than ever in how they range across the page and the imagination.  Look out for our review in the next couple months.

Here’s an excerpt from “Fire,” one of the book’s central poems, which you can read more of over at Tin House magazine.

more the idea of the flame than the flame,
as in: the flame

of the rose petal, the flame of the thorn
the sun is a flame, the dog’s teeth

flames

::

to be clear: with the body,

captain, we can do as we wish, we can do
as we wish with the body

but we cannot leave marks—capt’n I’m
trying to get this right

::

the world’s so small, the sky’s so high
we pray for rain it rains, we pray for sun it suns

we pray on our knees, we move our lips
we pray in our minds, we clasp our hands

our hands look tied before us

Galley of the Day: The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time, by David L. Ulin

Sarah F. Gold -- September 21st, 2010

Literature is dead. Reading is “over.” These are the contentions of Noah Ulin, the 15-year-old son of David Ulin, to whom these statements were like a knife thrust in the heart. The former book review editor of the Los Angeles Times: “almost asked for a towel to clean up the blood.”

The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time (Sasquatch, Nov.) is not another screed against the information age. Rather, it is Ulin’s honest attempt to come to terms with Noah and with his own sense of “How do things stick to us in a culture where information and ideas flare up so quickly that we have no time to assess one before another takes its place? How does reading maintain its hold on our imagination, or is the question even worth asking anymore?”

And before anyone says it’s not (Hey, we’re all readers here. Otherwise we wouldn’t be reading your book, would we?), let’s admit we’ve all been seduced by the omnipresent siren call of e-mail, eBay, Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and iPhone apps—to name just a few electronic distractions.

Ulin knows the feeling all too well: “Sometime in the last few years—I don’t remember when, exactly—I noticed I was having trouble sitting down to read.” Frankly, it’s comforting to know that even a David Ulin finds himself unable to concentrate while surrounded by the pervasive, frantic buzz of the Internet

Ulin bravely undertakes to help Noah appreciate Gatsby. Along with this father-son journey, Ulin confronts the question of whether and how the Internet might enhance our reading—a question that must inevitably occur to anyone who straddles the worlds of books and the Internet:

Ulin’s conclusion is that “[r]eading …is an act of resistance in a landscape of distraction, a matter of engagement in a society that seems to want nothing more than for us to disengage.” (This sounds almost as if it were intended to be a reader’s complement to Edwidge Danticat’s forthcoming Create Dangerously: readers, as well as writers, are engaging in an act of resistance). Ulin feels he must accede to reading’s demand for “a place for silence,”

Readers of Ulin’s book will all come to their own conclusions. But hopefully they will find this book both a challenge and a solace in a time when we all struggle to balance immediacy with the slow, immersive process of reading a book.

Galley of the Day: The Meanest Christmas Gift You Can Give Your Writer Friends

Craig Morgan Teicher -- September 17th, 2010

PWxyz is here to help you become this year’s Grinch. Wanna give your writer-friends a stocking stuffer even worse than a lump of coal?    Then give them today’s galley of the day: 20 Under 40: Stories from The New Yorker, the highly anticipated book collecting all the stories being published in the New Yorker as part of its ’20 Under 40′ stunt that started this summer.

Unless the writer friend in question is one of the 20 novelists included in this anthology, you can be sure they’ll be bitter about receiving this book, in which already-successful fictioneers like Jonathan Safron Foer, Gary Shteyngart, and ZZ Packer are featured in lovely New Yorker font.  Make the writer in your life writhe with hatred for these other wonderful writers…Merry Christmas!

Seriously, though, FSG is publishing this anthology just in time for the holidays, and it will fit nicely in a stocking, and most writers probably aren’t that bitter about it–there are indeed lots of great stories in here, by Rivka Galchen, Wells Tower, Chris Adrien, and the folks mentioned above.  The galley just came in to the office.

Galley of the Day: A Widow’s Story: A Memoir by Joyce Carol Oates

Craig Morgan Teicher -- September 13th, 2010

By any standard, Joyce Carol Oates is an astonishingly prolific writer.  To give you an idea of just how much she publishes, here’ s a clip from a recent WSJ article about her upcoming memoir, the subject of this post:

Joyce Carol Oates has published more than 50 novels, more than 30 short-story collections and an endless stream of essays and reviews—and that’s not counting her novellas, plays and children’s books. Now, at 71 and newly remarried, she is tackling a subject she has seldom explored in her work: herself.

Maybe I’ve just got a thing for books about death, but I’m excited about this one.  The galley just came in and I can’t wait to crack it open.  This book is an account of the death of her husband of several decades in 2008, and the mourning that follows it.  Frankly, I don’t read her fiction much, but I love her nonfiction prose–mostly reviews and literary essays–and am hoping for writing of that quality in this book, albeit about a much darker subject than other writers’ books.

The book comes out in February–it’s so new there isn’t even a cover image online.

Galley of the Day: Barry Hannah’s New and Selected Stories

Craig Morgan Teicher -- August 23rd, 2010

Barry Hannah has long been a major influence on contemporary fiction, and the favorite writer of favorite writers.  He passed away earlier this year and has been much-lamented.  New work from Hannah would have been big news anyway, but given that there won’t be more new Hannah stories in the future makes Long, Last, Happy: New and Selected Stories an even bigger deal.

The book features selection from Hannah’s four published books of stories, including the classic Airships, plus four new stories and one very early unpublished piece.  This will be the kind of book, like the recently published Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg, that short fiction fans will need to own, read, and reread.  It’s coming December 1 from Grove, just in time to heavily stuff your favorite readers’ stockings with this $29.95 doorstopper.

This blogger is excited about it, in case you can’t tell.  Wonder why they didn’t do a collected.

Galley of the Day: Djibouti, by Elmore Leonard

Jonathan Segura -- August 20th, 2010

Surely I’ll die before I’m 85, but, if not, I hope to be half as together as Elmore Leonard. His 90-millionth novel, Djibouti, pubs in a couple of months–our review hits Monday–and is a big departure for a guy who’s built his estimable career on westerns and straight-up capers. It’s a ripped-from-the-headlines pirate novel set on the horn of Africa, and it’s the best thing he’s done since The Hot Kid. Yeah, it’s got that trademark Leonard dialogue, diamond-sharp prose stripped of pretension and adverbs, and a ripping plot–but it also has khat-chewing pirates and an east Texas gajillionaire who travels the world packing an elephant gun.

And when people ask you what you’re reading, you get to say, “Djibouti,” which is way cooler than saying, like everyone else on the F train, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” Try it. It’s nice. Djibouti.