Saturday, June 06, 2009

Over at my temporary quarters

A reminder: I'm still filling in, with some solid co-bloggers, for Quarterly Conversation editor Scott Esposito at his Conversational Reading blog. Yesterday I wrote about a new series of short-story collections from Harper Perennial by some old masters, which JRSM of the Caustic Cover Critic blog put me on to. The Stephen Crane volume, which I heartily recommend, has an absolutely splendid title, taken from one of the stories: An Experiment in Misery.

Come to think of it, the tone of that title is entirely of a piece with most of the others in the series: the Dostoyevsky is A Disgraceful Affair, the Melville is The Happy Failure, and even Tolstoy's Family Happiness doesn't come close to fooling anyone, does it?

On a totally unrelated note: last night I dreamed that the New York Review of Books Classics series had published another book by Elaine Dundy to coincide with their re-issuing of The Old Man and Me. This one, however, was a big, thick travel guide . . . to Michigan's sparsely populated Upper Peninsula. Is it possible to imagine a region where Dundy would be more out of place?

1 comment:

  1. I just read the Willa Cather collection from this series. About half I had read before, but the title story, 'A Bohemian Girl', was new to me, and frankly excellent.

    You're spot-on about the bolted-on feeling of the 'bonus' stories. It's like sticking a short film by an unrelated director on a DVD as a bonus. It might be an ace film, but you're not quite sure why it's _there_.