On July 1, this blog had its two-year anniversary. To celebrate I thought that today, rather than post a review (though a review of a really really good book will be up in a couple of days), I would celebrate the anniversary with a giveaway of not one but two books.
First, Robert Walser’s Microscripts. I have an unread copy still in its shrinkwrap.
Last year I read and completely enjoyed Walser’s The Tanners. It is a classic book that finally made its way to the English language with the help of New Directions Publishing and through the wonderful talents of Susan Bernofsky. I recommend it completely. A month or so ago, New Directions released another Walser collection, Microscripts. Walser developed a minute script he used so he could write stories on any found paper lying around. An entire story might find itself on a postcard, or a ticket stub, whatever was there. For years the script was thought indecipherable, but through years of diligent scholarship and scrutiny, these texts were produced in intelligible German. Again through the talents of Susan Bernofsky, these short stories are available to us.
But this book is more than just text. New Directions, with its usual high standards of publishing has created a beautiful book (it also just released the gloriously produced Nox by Anne Carson, which I hope to review soon). This is hardbound and contains complete color scans of the original microscripts in their original size. So we get to see that business card Walser wrote on and his tiny script. On the facing page is the translation. At the back of the book, along with an essay by Walter Benjamin, are the German translations of the text.
I’m afraid that I can’t offer an opinion on the stories themselves because I haven’t read most of them, but what I’ve sampled is quirky and astoundingly intricate.
Second, Roberto Bolaño’s Amulet. I have an extra unread paperback edition for someone.
New Directions is also the publisher behind this giveaway. Over the past few years they’ve steadily released Bolaño’s work for us, and I’m always anxious to see what’s next. This is one of the ones I haven’t read yet. I’ve been saving this book for a bit of a dry spell. Several trusted sources claim it is one of his best, and since I don’t have many more of his works to read, I’ve been saving it — but not for too much longer. Perhaps whoever wins my extra copy of Amulet will accompany me in a read-along when the time comes.
Now, imagine I have two hats, one for Walser and one for Bolaño. To win, leave a comment below indicating which hat you’d like to throw your name in. You can, by the way, through your name in each hat if you’re interested in both titles, though you will only be allowed to win one of them. So your chances of winning will go up since you’ll put your name in each of the two hats. However, your name won’t be entered to the same hat twice, so multiple comments be counted (though you can certainly leave multiple comments about the books or the process or whatever).
I will draw the two winners on this Friday, July 9. Since I’m not sure when I’ll do the drawing, whether early that day or late, please feel free to enter until I’ve announced the winners.