Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Salon: Book catalogs

You know how you read books set back in the day and they talk about the big catalogs, primarily the Sears and Roebuck catalog, that people used to pore over, dream about, and eventually, sometimes place an order from? These days given how many small catalogs I still get in the mail, despite not having bought anything mail order in years, you'd probably be surprised to find that I do still get excited about any of them. But I do. Yesterday's mail brought me one of my very favorites: the catalog for Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. I have been a fan of their books since I started saving up my babysitting money to buy my own books many, many, many (too many) years ago. I used to scan the bookstore shelves specifically for their oddly sized paperbacks and many of those quirky sized books are still on my shelves to this day. So you can just imagine how pleased I am each season to find their lovely catalog in the mailbox.

I bring it into the house, sink down on the couch, and curl up to read all about the new and upcoming releases on their list. They consistently publish interesting and different books that appeal to me. The very first time I got the catalog, I spent hours poring over each page. Now I can restrict myself to the Frontlist pages as I own so very much of the backlist that I don't have to review it anymore. Actually, I thought it would be fun to count this time so here are my rough numbers for the backlist: of the approximately 123 or so non-fiction titles (which I only started reading a lot of in the past 4-5 years), I only have 22 (but many more are on my wishlist) and of the approximately 130 fiction titles, I have 51. Numbers are apporximate given my couting issues, incidentally. This does not include the Algonquin books I have that are out of print, nor does it count the books from the frontlist, many of which I also already own. I think it's fairly safe to say that I have always gravitated to the capital A on top of a book on spines.

For those of you who aren't lucky enough to have gotten this glimpse of nirvana in your mailbox recently, here are the titles that I am most likely to add to my ever burgeoning wishlist from this season's frontlist (ignoring, of course, those titles I do already own which are now coming out in paper and which would be on the list if they weren't already on my shelf):

Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt (Jan. 2011)
Missing Lucille by Suzanne Berne (Oct. 2010)
Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West (Jan. 2011)
Nothing Left to Burn by Jay Varner (Sept. 2010)
Paris Was Ours edited by Penelope Rowlands (Feb. 2011)

I just know that if they come from Algonquin, they are pretty much guaranteed to be wonderful reads. I know what I'm going to have fun diving into this fall and winter. How about you?


  1. I'm impressed that you have 51 of the 130 listed books! That's a good number. Enjoy your reading. Here's my Sunday Salon.

  2. I LOVE getting these book catalogs in the mail! And Algonquin is one of the publishers whose books I am always drawn to (I snagged a signed copy of Caroline Leavitt's book at th BEA and can't wait to read it). Thanks for sharing :)

  3. I don't get any book catalogues in the mail. I wish I did but at the same time my TBR list is SO long I can't afford to add anything else to it!

  4. I don't get any book catalogs in the mail and I have never even heard of the Alogonquin Book store in Chapel Hill. How is this possible of an NC native? I need to go stat!


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