Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Miniature Elephants Are Popular

(Illustration by Paul Hornschemeier.)

Sometimes I just really love a book and have to tell everyone I know about it. And maybe some people I don't know.

The thing getting me through the job search this month is a new book by Joe Meno titled Demons in Spring. I picked it up in an independent bookstore in Williamsburg, Spoonbill & Sugartown, and read two short stories that broke my heart. The editors who lectured at Columbia often said, "You cry, you buy," and that's how I felt setting down $27 of my grocery money at the counter. (Profits from this book are going to a writing/tutoring nonprofit called 826Chicago.)

It's absolutely worth it. My favorites so far are "Miniature Elephants are Popular," about a friendship between an old man and his tiny pet with charming illustrations by Todd Baxter, and "An Apple Could Make You Laugh," a story of an offbeat office romance illustrated by Geoff McFetridge. You can sense that this is a writer from the McSweeney's generation, but he's certainly the best of the bunch. You can read an interview with him by Bookslut from 2005. The stories are silly and a little post-modern, but he has a deep respect and reverence for each of his characters, which sets his writing above the rest and is a testament to his imagination.
Akashic Books did a fantastic job with the production also; the cover is beautiful, the inside cover is beautiful, the illustrations are beautiful - really, I applaud them!

Joe Meno's got a reading coming up in Park Slope on September 12th, and you can bet I'll be there.

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