American Editions and Additions

The grass is always greener isn’t it? The amount of times I have seen a cover in America/Canada/Australia etc. of one of my favourite books (or actually lots of books that I haven’t read if I am being really honest) and instantly wished that that was the cover they had chosen in to use in the UK is high. Interestingly the same happens, well the opposite happens, when I talk to fellow book lovers across the various oceans that divide us. See, the grass is always greener like I said. In fact this went to quite an extreme when I wanted to read Anna Krien’s Night Games but loathed the UK cover (really bland) and one of my lovely twitter friends Anna very kindly sent me the Australian copy which is stunning, and much more apt, from the other side of the world. Anyway…

This time next week I will either be in the air flying to Washington DC, or I will be in a car with Thomas as we start to make the first leg of our Readers Road Trip around some of the north of America and dip into Canada. Yet as we visit every bookshop that we can as we drive, the US edition of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life will not be on my list of books to buy – not because I don’t love it as we all know it is one of my favourite books of the year (and I do I think the cover is so much better than the UK one and much more appropriate). Instead I will be looking for lots of exciting and unusual books that are out in the grand old US of A but which haven’t reached our waters yet.

Books like these…

IMG_0960

Now the books (The Water Museum by Luis Alberto Urrea, Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell and The Dog Master by W. Bruce Cameron) above are actually a small cheat as these books were very kindly sent from Michael Kindness as they are all books by authors who will be at Booktopia Petoskey where myself, Thomas, Ann and Michael (of Books on the Nightstand) will be hanging out with them and also doing some panel events and the like. None of them were available in the UK, all of them looked amazing. It is more of these books that I will be looking for.

I already have a few which are very much on my radar. The first is the new collection of short stories by Rebecca Makkai whose novel’s I have loved and have come out in the UK, yet this short story collection currently has no publication plans here. I am going to also see if I can find some of Ryan Gattis’ earlier novels pre All Involved. I also really, really, really want to get my hands on James Hannaham’s Delicious Foods which I have heard amazing things about. However I am taking a very large case and so I would love recommendations of other books which I should get my hands on while I am in the US and indeed in Canada.

So which books would you recommend I get my mitts on if I can find them in the bookshops of the USA? And if you are on non-British soil, are there any British editions of books you would love, or any that have yet to be published where you are yet are available here in the UK? I wonder if there will be any trends, publishers might want to take note, ha!

3 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

3 responses to “American Editions and Additions

  1. David

    Simon, you do realise all the books you mention above are easily available online from Wordery or Book Depository for roughly the same price as a UK edition would cost if there were one? Actually sometimes they’re cheaper – I think I bought the US edition of Kent Haruf’s final novel for less than the UK edition was at that time being offered for, but being a Knopf book it is infinitely nicer than the Picador one.

    I read Rebecca Makkai’s collection last month – I didn’t completely love it but it was very good – and have the US edition of ‘A Little Life’. One of my weirdnesses is that I like to have American editions of American books and Canadian editions of Canadian books wherever possible, partly because they’re much better produced with generally better-designed covers, partly because I like to have the true first editions. I’m not so fussy about Australian books as they are expensive to begin with and shipping on top makes cost a real issue, and production values aren’t always that high (very few books in hardback for instance), though I’ll occasionally splurge if it’s a book I HAVE to have (ha!) with no UK edition in sight.

  2. Ann

    I recommend books by Steve Hamilton because they are about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and have a lot of American Indian folklore in them. Also, William Kent Krueger’s books which take place in Minnesota and again a lot of American Indian folklore.

  3. I am definitely in the grass is greener camp. I make use of Powell’s international warehouse and also of Foyle’s to get the covers that I just can’t resist. Lately too, I’ve been buying books whose titles were changed for the US. I really hate that and want to read the book with the originally chosen title.

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