Friday, July 30, 2010

Best of the Backlist

The other day I was telling my friend, Jomama, who is a sales rep for a book publishing company, how much I thought of Dave Eggers' post-Katrina book Zeitoun. Ms. Mama had just been down in New Orleans on business, and she commented that many of the bookstores down there were still displaying the book prominently even though it was no longer a frontlist title. Since then I've been re-reading Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief, a book that I have loved since it was first published back in 1998, though I hadn't sat down to re-read it until now. Well, it stands up. It's an almost unbelievable story in many ways, and Orlean does a masterful job of telling it. Just because it's not brand new doesn't mean it's not worth reading.

I have also recently noticed that the window for comments on Facebook has shrunk to just a few hours. If people don't comment on a status update or a new photo in the first couple hours, they probably aren't going to. And that's too bad in a way. The update (if it isn't tied to the moment—and most aren't) doesn't really lose humor, poignancy, or validity half a day later. A year or two ago, such comments might have trickled in over the course of a few days, but now the conversation is over much more quickly. It seems to me even more of a loss when people post family or vacation photos. These things seem even less ephemeral, and yet the active comment window remains equally small.

All of which puts me in mind of something Quentin Tarentino said about his video store days. Customers would come in looking for recommendations, and film geek Tarentino would press whatever odd, obscure, great, foreign, or forgotten movie on them only to have them ask if it was new. His response: If you haven't seen it before, it's new to you.

In the spirit of Mr. Tarentino, I bring you the best of the Corvus backlist. The most recent of these is over half a year old, and the others were posted before 2010. They are the ones that have received the most visitors, but which many of you—if you are new to Corvus—may never have seen.


Thursday, July 1, 2010