Friday, May 16, 2008

Milan Bozic: Shroom

From Booklist:
"One evening in 1916, "upright American surgeon" Beaman Douglass and his wife ate some "innocuous wild mushrooms . . . fried in butter and served on toast." En route to an evening of bridge, both experienced "preternatural waves of giddiness." After dizziness, hilarity, depression, and difficulty breathing, Mrs. Douglass required treatment with "atropine, morphine, and an arsenal of emetics." "She played cards badly that night," her husband noted. Writing later for a mycological journal, he found "no merit" in the experience and hoped to "prevent others from making similar foolish mistakes." It never occurred to him that people might deliberately seek what he chanced upon. The bulk of Letcher's text concerns people doing just that. From psychoactive mushroom usage by the Aztecs and Siberian tribesmen on, Letcher lays out the history of the use and suppression of psychedelic mushrooms and how they "went from being an obscure poison to being . . . hawked on street corners" and cultivated in cellars. Pretty much essential for popular recreational-drug-use book collections."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

John Gall: After Dark

Glossy trade paperback cover, with foil dots that shine in rainbow colors! Really yummy.

This novel intercuts three stories that all take place at an all-night Denny's in Tokyo, where Hall & Oates plays in the background.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Big Girls

Paperback (top) designed by Helen Yentus. Hardcover is published by Knopf (Carol Devine Carson?). I love the placement of "a novel" in the paperback - so unexpected and off the grid! I guess in a super-symmetric design, it's always nice to stray from the symmetry a little. Note also that the author wrote In The Cut - which I assume was later made into a movie starring a naked Meg Ryan! The keys at the top, I'm assuming, signify the keys to the prison doors (see below) or the key to the mind. The same reference to the mystery of the mind is made in the paperback.

The story (from the New Yorker):
Set in a women’s prison on the Hudson River, Moore’s sixth novel chronicles the aftermath of a highly publicized murder and its impact on four intertwined lives. The story is told in the alternating voices of Helen, who has long suffered terrifying schizophrenic hallucinations and is serving a life sentence for killing her two small children; Helen’s psychiatrist, a single mother who came to work at the prison out of guilt over a patient’s suicide; a corrections officer who becomes involved with the psychiatrist; and an ambitious Hollywood star whom Helen believes to be her sister. Moore gradually probes Helen’s psychosis to its horrifying origins, while also delivering a nuanced and devastating account of the fights, rapes, and alliances built from necessity that constitute prison life.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rodrigo Corral: The End of the Jews

....and the spine features a photo of pages, as if the spine were actually the open side of the book. There's also a golden silhouette of a face on the cover.

The duality of the cover seems to relate to a plot that tells the story of a Jewish man in the 1930s and a Czech Photographer in the 1980s.