Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NEW ARRIVALS: Comix: Three from Japan


Susumu Katsumata: Red Snow
Hardcover, $24.95

Red Snow continues D+Q’s groundbreaking exploration of the fascinating world of Gekiga in this collection of short stories drawn with great delicacy and told with subtle nuance by legendary Japanese artist Susumu Katsumata. The setting is the pre-modern Japanese countryside of the author’s youth, a slightly magical world where ancestral traditions hold sway over a people in the full vigor of life, struggling to survive the harsh seasons and the difficult life of manual laborers and farmers. While the world they inhabit has faded into memory and myth, the universal fundamental emotions of the human heart prevail at the center of these tender stories.

Susumu Katsumata began publishing comic strips in the legendary avant-garde magazine Garo (which also published his contemporaries Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Yoshiharu Tsuge) in 1965 while enrolled in the faculty of Science in Tokyo. He abandoned his studies in 1971 to become a professional comics artist, alternating the short humorous strips, upon which he built his reputation, with stories of a more personal nature in which he tenderly depicted the lives of peasants and farmers from his native region. In 2006, Susumu Katsumata won the 35th Japanese Cartoonists Association Award Grand prize for Red Snow.





Yoshihiro Tatsumi: Good-Bye
Hardcover, $24.95

Good-Bye is the third in a series of collected short stories from Drawn & Quarterly by the legendary Japanese cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi, whose previous work has been selected for several annual "top 10" lists, including those compiled by Amazon and Time.com. Drawn in 1971 and 1972, these stories expand the prolific artist's vocabulary for characters contextualized by themes of depravity and disorientation in twentieth-century Japan.

Some of the tales focus on the devastation the country felt directly as a result of World War II: a prostitute loses all hope when American GIs go home to their wives; a man devotes twenty years of his life to preserving the memory of those killed at Hiroshima, only to discover a horrible misconception at the heart of his tribute. Yet, while American influence does play a role in the disturbing and bizarre stories contained within this volume, it is hardly the overriding theme. A philanthropic foot fetishist, a rash-ridden retiree and a lonely public onanist are but a few of the characters etching out darkly nuanced lives in the midst of isolated despair and fleeting pleasure.

Praise for Yoshihiro Tatsumi:

"Prepare to be disturbed and blown away. The stuff is remarkable, amazing..." --Los Angeles Times

"Abandon the Old in Tokyo is a revealing time capsule and a strangely moving portrait of survival in a land where everything is changing." --Time

"Tatsumi's stories have an artistic expressiveness, philosophical coherence and dark, emotional weight that is undeniable." --The Daily Yomiuri (Japan)

"These stories...reveal an artist who was making comics that weren't just adult, but truly mature." --The Village Voice









Imiri Sakabashira: Box Man
Hardcover, $24.95

Enter the strange world of Imiri Sakabashira whose denizens are zoomorphic creatures that emerge from one another as well as their equally bizarre environs. The Box Man follows its protagonists along a scooter trip through a complex landscape that oscillates between a dense city, a countryside simplified to near abstraction, and hybrids of the two; the theme of hybridity permeates throughout. One is unsurprised to encounter a creature that is half elderly man, half crab or a flying frog in this world where our guide apparent is an anthropomorphic, mollusk-like cat. Sakabashira weaves this absurdist tale in a seamless tapestry constructed of elements as seemingly disparate as Japanese folklore, pop culture, and surrealism. Within these panels, it becomes difficult to distinguish between the animate and the inanimate, the real and the imagined, a tension that adds a layer of complexity to this near-wordless psychedelic travelogue.

Imiri Sakabashira (real name Mochizuki Katsuhiro) was born in Shizuoka, Japan in 1964, the same year that Garo, the influential manga anthology in which he would first be published, was founded.








These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day, 11am to 7pm.

We accept Visa, MC, Amex, Paypal and cash.

We ship anywhere.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

FEATURED: David Goodis

Often compared to Jim Thompson, but Thompson was a pro who hacked his way "up" from the world of regional newspapers to the pulp world and eventually Hollywood. His stories were hard, satirical, often collapsing into scenes of hallucinatory violence. Goodis was a different animal altogether. After auspicious beginnings and a period in Hollywood, Goodis returned to Northeast Philadelphia and oblivion, in part to care for his mentally ill brother. Goodis's characters exist in a state of sad, homely nihilism. Art, love, family, wealth all lead to the same fouled gutter. They aren't doomed by their stupidity, greed, rage or lust (Thompson). They're doomed. That's just the way it is. Thompson's protagonists are often sociopaths and criminals. I imagine that in Europe they are perceived as very "American." The Goodis hero is a depressed, sad, drunk failure stripped of all vanity. If Goodis is anything, he's quintessentially Philadelphian. Consigned to oblivion, he stares blankly at nothing, empty glass in hand, stands up, and goes back to work.

(Required shore reading for all Brooklyn/San Francisco transplants hoping for a better grasp of the Philadelphia psyche.)



... the man himself





Night Squad, $14.95







Cassidy's Girl, $14.95







The Wounded and the Slain, $6.99







Of Tender Sin, $12.00








Black Friday & Select Stories, $13.95








The Moon in the Gutter, $11.99








The Blonde on the Street Corner, $13.00





These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day, 11am to 7pm.

We accept Visa, MC, Amex, Paypal and cash.

We ship anywhere.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

FEATURED: James Ensor





The Ars Medica Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1969
Stapled Pamphlet, $9.95

...worth it for the Ensor etching alone, or your can go for the whole hog and purchase the below:






The Graphic Works Of James Ensor, Hardover, $59.95

Auguste Taevernier's catalogue raisonne of Ensor's graphic work was long the Bible for collectors and scholars. This new edition includes 23 additional full color prints not included in the original edition. 404 pp.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NEW ARRIVALS: A Selection


M.F.K. Fisher, Serve It Forth

"In Serve It Forth, her first book, M. F. K. Fisher takes readers on an animated journey through culinary history, beginning with the honey-loving Greeks and the immoderate Romans. Fisher recalls a hunt for snails and truffles with one of the last adepts in that art and recounts how Catherine de Medici, lonely for home cooking, touched off a culinary revolution by bringing Italian chefs to France. Each essay makes clear the absolute firmness of Fisher's taste--contrarian and unique--and her skill at stirring memory and imagination into a potent brew."

"A delightful book. It is erudite and witty and experienced and young." -- The New York Times Book Review

"I do not know of any one in the United States who writes better prose." -- W.H. Auden

"M.F.K. Fisher is our greatest food writer because she puts food in the mount, the mind and the imagination all at the same time. Beyond the gastronomical bravura, she is a passionate woman; food is her metaphor." -- Shana Alexander

"Mrs. Fisher writes with enjoyment, which is clearly the first thing necessary in a book of this kind . . ." -- The Times Literary Supplement

"Poet of the appetites." -- John Updike

"She writes about fleeting tastes and feasts vividly, excitingly, sensuously, exquisitely. There is almost a wicked thrill in following her uninhibited track through the glories of the good life." -- James Beard

"Sometimes funny, sometimes sorrowful, always full of the rich juices of keenly felt life . . ." -- Clifton Fadiman

"The best prose writer in America." --W.H. Auden

"She writes about food as others do about love, but rather better."--Clifton Fadiman

"Poet of the appetites."--John Updike

"A monument."--Julia Child

"One of the world's finest food writers and, in the eyes of many, the grand dame of gastronomy."--James Villas

"M.F.K. Fisher ... brings onstage a peach or a brace of quail and shows us history, cities, fantasies, memories, emotions."--Patricia Storace, The New York Review of Books

"One of my great heroes."--Jacques Pepin

"A delightful book. It is erudite and witty and experienced and young."--The New York Times Book Review
-- Review







David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.


Curzio Malaparte, Kaputt

"Curzio Malaparte was a disaffected supporter of Mussolini with a taste for danger and high living.
Sent by an Italian paper during World War II to cover the fighting on the Eastern Front, Malaparte secretly wrote this terrifying report from the abyss, which became an international bestseller when it was published after the war. Telling of the siege of Leningrad, of glittering dinner parties with Nazi leaders, and of trains disgorging bodies in war-devastated Romania, Malaparte paints a picture of humanity at its most depraved.
Kaputt is an insider’s dispatch from the world of the enemy that is as hypnotically fascinating as it is disturbing."

…a transcendent work about the admixture of high culture, bestial depravity and human sadism. Part autobiography and part fiction, it captures seemingly unfathomable history. No work has ever revealed more about the murderous blend of zeal and indifference that is fanaticism. Simultaneously mythic and wholly human, Kaputt haunts the reader forever.
— Wall Street Journal

Frank, glamorous and gruesome, Kaputt delivers a unique insider’s verdict on the damned elite of a damnable system.
— The Independent

Kaputt is a sad, astonishing, horrifying and lyrical book. It shows us the results of ideological fanaticism, racism, twisted values masquerading as spiritual purity, and the hatred of life, in their most personal and shameful aspects. It is essential for any human understanding of World War II.
— Margaret Atwood

[Kaputt] is like a report from the interior of Chernobyl. Malaparte had gotten very close to the radioactive core of the Axis Powers and somehow emerged to tell the tale, simultaneously humanizing things and rendering them even more chilling as a result….Required reading for every citizen of the Twentieth Century.
— Walter Murch






Jose Saramago, All The Names

Senhor José is a low-grade clerk in the city's Central Registry, where the living and the dead share the same shelf space. A middle-aged bachelor, he has no interest in anything beyond the certificates of birth, marriage, divorce, and death that are his daily preoccupations. In the evenings and on weekends, he works on bringing up to date his clipping file of the famous, the rising stars, the notorious. But when he comes across the birth certificate of an anonymous young woman, he decides that this cannot have been mere chance, that he has to discover more about her. Under the increasingly mystified eye of the Registrar, a godlike figure whose name is spoken only in whispers, the now obsessed Senhor José sets off to follow the thread that leads him to the unknown woman-but as he gets closer to a meeting with her, he discovers more about her, and about himself, than he would have wished.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

NEW ARRIVALS: Music


Charles Mingus, Beneath The Underdog

"Bass player extraordinaire Charles Mingus, who died in 1979, is one of the essential composers in the history of jazz, and Beneath the Underdog, his celebrated, wild, funny, demonic, anguished, shocking, and profoundly moving memoir, is the greatest autobiography ever written by a jazz musician. It tells of his God-haunted childhood in Watts during the 1920s and 1930s; his outcast adolescent years; his apprenticeship, not only with jazzmen but also with pimps, hookers, junkies, and hoodlums; and his golden years in New York City with such legendary figures as Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. Here is Mingus in his own words, from shabby roadhouses to fabulous estates, from the psychiatric wards of Bellevue to worlds of mysticism and solitude, but for all his travels never straying too far, always returning to music."

"This book is the purest of dynamite. Like the autobiographies of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday and like A. B. Spellman's Four Lives in the Bebop Business, it says more about the American pscyhe in general and black survival in particular than the sociologists and psychologists ever can in their stiff, soulless vocabularies.... Somber, comic, disturbing, boastful, confessional, sentimental, contradictory, poetic, irascible, impish...lyrical, nasty, angelic, reflective...expressionistic, picaresque, jive...this is a powerful book." —Rolling Stone








Eye Mind
The Saga of Roky Erickson and The 13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound

The trailblazing 13th Floor Elevators released the first “psychedelic” rock album in America, transforming culture throughout the 1960s and beyond. The Elevators followed their own spiritual cosmic agenda — to change society by finding a new path to enlightenment. Their battles with repressive authorities are legendary.

Lead singer Roky Erickson was put away in a maximum security unit for the criminally insane for years. Tommy Hall, their Svengali lyricist, lived in a cave. Guitarist Stacy Sutherland was imprisoned. The drummer was involuntarily subjected to electric shock treatments.

This fascinating biography breaks decades of silence of band members and features dozens of never-before-printed photos. “One of the most exhilarating rock ‘n’ roll stories ever told.” — Julian Cope






The Wisdom of Sun Ra
Sun Ra's Polemical Broadsheets and Streetcorner Leaflets

From the Arkestra to his experiments with synthesizers, Sun Ra was one of the most inventive jazz musicians in history. Yet until now, there has not been a collection of his earliest writings that reveal the beginnings of his work as philosopher, mystic, and Afro-Futurist. This new volume unveils over forty newly discovered typewritten broadsheets on which Sun Ra expounded his wholly unique philosophical message.

While in Chicago during the mid-1950s, Sun Ra preached on street corners and occasionally created scripts to accompany his lectures—intricate texts that invoke science fiction, Biblical prophecy, etymology, and black nationalism. Until this point, the only broadsheet known to exist was one given to John Coltrane in 1956. These newly unearthed writings attest to the provocative brilliance that inspired Coltrane. Sun Ra annotated many of them by hand, and together the sheets reveal fascinating new aspects of his worldview.

The Wisdom of Sun Ra is an invaluable compendium of writings by one of the most intriguing and influential jazz figures of the century.




Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians as Sung by Jean Ritchie

Jean Ritchie is the best known and most respected singer of traditional ballads in the United States. The youngest daughter of one of the most famous American ballad-singing families, the Ritchie family of Perry County, Kentucky, Jean carries on her family’s legacy as a singer of folk songs and traditional ballads.

The music found here tells the story of the "Singing Ritchie Family." Built upon a foundation of balladry inherited from old-world Scotland, the family’s repertoire was certainly eclectic but not haphazard. The Child ballads, lyric folksongs, play party or frolic songs, Old Regular Baptist lined hymns, Native American ballads, “hant” songs, and carols brought together in this collection were assembled by family members who actively sought out fragments of tunes and completed them by adding or embellishing verses and melodies. This new edition has faithfully retained all seventy-seven line scores of the songs and added four new ones, Loving Hannah, Lovin’ Henry, Her Mantle So Green, and The Reckless and Rambling Boy. The original headnotes and photographs tell the history of the song as well as how it became a part of the family’s life. Chords are indicated for accompainment, and a new audiography and videography have been added to this edition.






Fela: This Bitch of a Life

African superstar, composer, singer, and musician, as well as mystic and political activist, Nigerian Fela Kuti, born in 1938, was controversy personified. He was swept to international celebrity on a wave of scandal and flamboyance, and when he died of AIDS in 1997, more than a million people attended his funeral. But what was he really like, this man who could as easily arouse violent hostility as he could unswerving loyalty? Carlos Moore's unique biography, based on hours of conversation and told in Fela's first- person vernacular, reveals the icon's complex personality and tumultuous existence. Moore includes interviews with fifteen of his queens (wives); photos (b&w); and an updated discography. Foreword by Gilberto Gil.







John Storm Roberts, Black Music Of Two Worlds

“Black Music of Two Worlds” examines the cross-pollination — in both directions — between Africa and the Americas, from the influence of African music on jazz, blues, salsa and samba to the popularity in Nigeria and Zaire of American artists like James Brown and Jimi Hendrix.

In writing the book, Mr. Roberts sought to connect a diffuse web of existing studies by ethnomusicologists. The studies typically appraised local musical traditions while ignoring the reach of Africa as a whole.

“It was like a landscape with a large number of artesian wells, and nothing linking them,” he told The New York Times in 1992. “And I conceived of ‘Black Music of Two Worlds’ being more like canals joining.” -NY Times





These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day, 11am to 7pm.

We accept Visa, MC, Amex, Paypal and cash.

We ship anywhere.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NEW ARRIVALS: Fiction


The Invention Of Morel, Adolfo Bioy Casares, $12.95

Jorge Luis Borges declared The Invention of Morel a masterpiece of plotting, comparable to The Turn of The Screw and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Set on a mysterious island, Bioy’s novella is a story of suspense and exploration, as well as a wonderfully unlikely romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious.

"Inspired by Bioy Casares’s fascination with the movie star Louise Brooks, The Invention of Morel has gone on to live a secret life of its own. Greatly admired by Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, and Octavio Paz, the novella helped to usher in Latin American fiction’s now famous postwar boom. As the model for Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Last Year in Marienbad, it also changed the history of film."

"A masterfully paced and intellectually daring plot. Like the best science fiction, of which this is an exemplar, Bioy’s themes have become ever more relevant to a society beholden to image. It is this keenness of thought and expression that buttresses Borges’s claim of the novella’s perfection."
— The Times





Antwerp, Roberto Bolano, (Hardcover) $15.95

"Antwerp’s signature elements—crimes and campgrounds, drifters and poetry, sex and love, corrupt cops and misfits—mark this, his first novel, as pure Bolaño. As Bolaño’s friend and literary executor, Ignacio Echevarría, once suggested, Antwerp can be viewed as the Big Bang of Roberto Bolaño’s fictional universe. Reading this novel, the reader is present at the birth of Bolaño’s enterprise in prose: all the elements are here, highly compressed, at the moment when his talent explodes. From this springboard—which Bolaño chose to publish in 2002, twenty years after he’d written it (“and even that I can’t be certain of”)—as if testing out a high dive, he would plunge into the unexplored depths of the modern novel."
An elegantly produced, small collectible stamped cover-on-cloth edition.






Exercises In Style, Raymond Queneau, $11.95

"The plot of Exercises in Style is simple: a man gets into an argument with another passenger on a bus. However, this anecdote is told 99 more times, each in a radically different style, as a sonnet, an opera, in slang, and with many more permutations. This virtuoso set of variations is a linguistic rust-remover, and a guide to literary forms."

“A work of genius in a brilliant translation by Barbara Wright….Endlessly fascinating and very funny.” —Philip Pullman







Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges (Hardcover) $15.95

The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the gargantuan powers of imagination, intelligence, and style of one of the greatest writers of this or any other century. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal’s abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. More playful and approachable than the fictions themselves are Borges’s Prologues, brief elucidations that offer the uninitiated a passageway into the whirlwind of Borges’s genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything in between.







Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami, $10.95

"I was thirty-seven then, strapped in my seat as the huge 747 plunged through dense cloud cover on approach to the Hamburg airport. Cold November rains drenched the earth and lent everything the gloomy air of a Flemish landscape: the ground crew in rain gear, a flag atop a squat airport building, a BMW billboard. So-Germany again.

Once the plane was on the ground, soft music began to flow from the ceiling speakers: a sweet orchestral cover version of the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood." The melody never failed to send a shudder through me, but this time it hit me harder than ever.

I bent forward in my seat, face in hands to keep my skull from splitting open. Before long one of the German stewardesses approached and asked in English if I were sick."




CivilWarLand In Bad Decline, George Saunders, $9.95

"This book is a rare event: a brilliant new satirist bursting out of the gate in full stride, wildly funny, pure, generous—all that a great humorist should be."
—Garrison Keillor

"An astoundingly tuned voice—graceful, dark, authentic, and funny—telling just the kinds of stories we need to get us through these times."
—Thomas Pynchon

"Scary, hilarious, and unforgettable . . . George Saunders is a writer of arresting brilliance and originality."
—Tobias Wolff

"A cool satirist and a wicked stylist. The quirkiest and most accomplished short-story debut since Barry Hannah's Airships."
—Jay McInerney, The New York Times Book Review

"Ingenious . . . full of savage humor and originality [and] scorching brilliance . . . the author creates a nightmarish post-apocalyptic world that might have been envisioned by Walt Disney on acid."
—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"The debut of an exciting new voice in fiction. Mr. Saunders writes like the illegitimate offspring of [Nathaniel] West and Kurt Vonnegut, perhaps a distant relative of Mark Leyner and Steven Wright. He's a savage satirist with a sentimental streak who delineates, in these pages, the dark underbelly of the American dream: the losses, delusions, and terrors suffered by the lonely, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden and the plain unlucky. . . . Bizarre events pop up regularly in CivilWarLand like road signs on a highway, directing the reader toward the dark heart of Mr. Saunders's America. What powers the stories along is Mr. Saunders's wonderfully demented language, his ear for absurdity and slang, his own patented blend of psychobabble, techno-talk and existential angst. Mr. Saunders's satiric vision of America is dark and demented; it is also ferocious and very funny."
—The New York Times





The Third Policeman, Flann O'Brien $11.95

The Third Policeman is Flann O'Brien's brilliantly dark comic novel about the nature of time, death, and existence. Told by a narrator who has committed a botched robbery and brutal murder, the novel follows him and his adventures in a two-dimensional police station (???) where, through the theories of the scientist/philosopher de Selby, he is introduced to "Atomic Theory" and its relation to bicycles, the existence of eternity (which turns out to be just down the road), and de Selby's view that the earth is not round but "sausage-shaped." With the help of his newly found soul named "Joe," he grapples with the riddles and contradictions that three eccentric policeman present to him.

The last of O'Brien's novels to be published, The Third Policeman joins O'Brien's other fiction (At Swim-Two-Birds, The Poor Mouth, The Hard Life, The Best of Myles, and The Dalkey Archive) to ensure his place, along with James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, as one of Ireland's great comic geniuses.

Possibly the greatest bicycle novel ever written.






The Recognitions, William Gaddis, $18.00

First published in 1955 and considered one of the most profound works of fiction of this century, The Recognitions tells the story of a painter-counterfeiter who forges out of love, not larceny, in an age when the fakes have become indistinguishable from the real.







Vertigo, W.G. Sebald, $10.95
Vertigo, W.G. Sebald's first novel, never before translated into English, is perhaps his most amazing and certainly his most alarming. Sebald -- the acknowledged master of memory's uncanniness -- takes the painful pleasures of unknowability to new intensities in Vertigo. Here in their first flowering are the signature elements of Sebald's hugely acclaimed novels The Emigrants and The Rings of Saturn. An unnamed narrator, beset by nervous ailments, is again our guide on a hair-raising journey through the past and across Europe, amid restless literary ghosts -- Kafka, Stendhal, Casanova. In four dizzying sections, the narrator plunges the reader into vertigo, into that "swimming of the head," as Webster's defines it: in other words, into that state so unsettling, so fascinating, and so "stunning and strange," as The New York Times Book Review declared about The Emigrants, that it is "like a dream you want to last forever."


"Sebald is a thrilling, original writer. He makes narration a state of investigative bliss."
- W.S. Di Piero, The New York Times Book Review

"For all its dark contents and burden of undeclared grief, Vertigo is dizzyingly light and transparent."
- Benjamin Kunkel, Village Voice Literary Supplement

"[A] third haunting masterpiece from W.G. Sebald."
- Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

"[Sebald's writing] is very beautiful, and its strangeness is what is beautiful. This German who has lived in England for 30 years is one of the most exciting, and most mysteriously sublime, of contemporary European writers."
- James Wood, The New Republic






Book Of Disquiet, Fernando Pessoa, $18.00

Fernando Pessoa was many writers in one. He attributed his prolific writings to a wide range of alternate selves, each of which had a distinct biography, ideology. and horoscope. When he died in 935, Pessoa left behind a trunk filled with unfinished and unpublished writings, among which were the remarkable pages that make up his posthumous masterpiece, The Book of Disquiet, an astonishing work that, in George Steiner's words, "gives to Lisbon the haunting spell of Joyce's Dublin or Kafka's Prague."

Published for the first time some fifty years after his death, this unique collection of short, aphoristic paragraphs comprises the "autobiography" of Bernardo Soares, one of Pessoa's alternate selves. Part intimate diary, part prose poetry, part descriptive narrative, captivatingly translated by Richard Zenith, The Book of Disquiet is one of the greatest works of the twentieth century.






Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie, $10.95

“Extraordinary . . . one of the most important [novels] to come out of the English-speaking world in this generation.”
–The New York Review of Books

“The literary map of India is about to be redrawn. . . . Midnight’s Children sounds like a continent finding its voice.” –The New York Times

“In Salman Rushdie, India has produced a glittering novelist– one with startling imaginative and intellectual resources, a master of perpetual storytelling.”
–The New Yorker

“A marvelous epic . . . Rushdie’s prose snaps into playback and flash-forward . . . stopping on images, vistas, and characters of unforgettable presence. Their range is as rich as India herself.” –Newsweek

“Burgeons with life, with exuberance and fantasy . . . Rushdie is a writer of courage, impressive strength, and sheer stylistic brilliance.”
–The Washington Post Book World

“Pure story–an ebullient, wildly clowning, satirical, descriptively witty charge of energy.”
–Chicago Sun-Times






Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon, $15.95

Winner of the 1973 National Book Award, Gravity's Rainbow is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the twentieth century as Joyce's Ulysses was to the first. Its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force.







Four Novels Of The 1960s, Philip K. Dick, $29.95

Known in his lifetime primarily to readers of science fiction, Philip K. Dick (1928–1982) is now seen as a uniquely visionary figure, a writer who, in editor Jonathan Lethem's words, "wielded a sardonic yet heartbroken acuity about the plight of being alive in the twentieth century, one that makes him a lonely hero to the readers who cherish him."

This Library of America volume brings together four of Dick's most original novels. The Man in the High Castle (1962), which won the Hugo Award, describes an alternate world in which Japan and Germany have won World War II and America is divided into separate occupation zones. The dizzying The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965) posits a future in which competing hallucinogens proffer different brands of virtual reality, and an interplanetary drug tycoon can transform himself into a godlike figure transcending even physical death.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), about a bounty hunter in search of escaped androids in a postapocalyptic society where status is measured by the possession of live animals and religious life is focused on a television personality, was the basis for the movie Blade Runner. Ubik (1969), with its future world of psychic espionage agents and cryonically frozen patients inhabiting an illusory "half-life," pursues Dick's theme of simulated realities and false perceptions to ever more disturbing conclusions, as time collapses on itself and characters stranded in past eras search desperately for the elusive, constantly shape-shifting panacea Ubik. As with most of Dick's novels, no plot summary can suggest the mesmerizing and constantly surprising texture of these astonishing books





Lolly Willowes, Sylvia Townsend Warner, $9.95

"In Lolly Willowes, Sylvia Townsend Warner tells of an aging spinster’s struggle to break way from her controlling family—a classic story that she treats with cool feminist intelligence, while adding a dimension of the supernatural and strange. Warner is one of the outstanding and indispensable mavericks of twentieth-century literature, a writer to set beside Djuna Barnes and Jane Bowles, with a subversive genius that anticipates the fantastic flights of such contemporaries as Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson."

"Sylvia Townsend Warner’s brilliantly varied and self-possessed literary production never quite won her the flaming place in the heavens of repute that she deserved. In Lolly Willowes, her first novel, she moves with somber confidence into the realm of the supernatural, and her prose, in its simple, abrupt evocations, has something preternatural about it. This is the witty, eerie, tender but firm life history of a middle-class Englishwoman who politely declines to make the expected connection with the opposite sex and becomes a witch instead."
— John Updike





Aiding And Abetting, Muriel Spark, $9.95

"In Aiding and Abetting, the doyenne of literary satire has written a wickedly amusing and subversive novel around the true-crime case of one of England’s most notorious uppercrust scoundrels and the “aiders and abetters” who kept him on the loose.
When Lord Lucan walks into psychiatrist Hildegard Wolf’s Paris office, there is one problem: she already has a patient who says he’s Lucan, the fugitive murderer who bludgeoned his children’s nanny in a botched attempt to kill his wife. As Dr. Wolf sets about deciding which of her patients, if either, is the real Lucan, she finds herself in a fierce battle of wills and an exciting chase across Europe. For someone is deceiving someone, and it may be the good doctor, who, despite her unorthodox therapeutic method (she talks mainly about her own life), has a sinister past, too."

"Strangely gripping and gnomically illuminating...Spark has produced one of the best of her sui-generis novels" -John Updike (again)







These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day, 11am to 7pm.

We accept Visa, MC, Amex, Paypal and cash.

We ship anywhere.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

FEATURED: Happy Bloomsday!

A Selection of editions of Ulysses available in the shop...



Hardcover Random House Edition, $25.00 SOLD!




Two Volume Odyssey Press Edition, $95.00 SOLD!




Folio Society Edition, Illustrated by Mimmo Paladino, $75.00 SOLD!




Bodley Head Edition, $34.95




Penguin Paperback Edition, $19.95




The Gabler Edition, $9.95 SOLD!




Modern Library Giant Edition, $7.95 SOLD!



Oxford University Press/ Franklin Library Edition, $100.00












These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day, 11am to 7pm.

We accept Visa, MC, Amex, Paypal and cash.

We ship anywhere.

Monday, June 14, 2010

NEW ARRIVALS: Comix



Boody. The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers


Bizarre, wacky, weird, wild and sexy — these are just a few of the adjectives that describe the cartooning of Boody Rogers. Before there were underground comics, Boody Rogers dug deep into breaking the rules; before their was low-brow art, Boody created art that hit hard below the brow. Rogers’s pen and ink outré raucousness was wrapped into great stories, beautifully drawn art, and hilarious gags. Fans of Boody Rogers’s Golden age comic book stories span generations of cartoonists, from Robert Williams to Art Spiegelman to Johnny Ryan. Spiegelman printed Rogers’s work in RAW magazine and recently it also appeared in the anthology book Art Out of Time: Unknown Comic Visionaries (Abrams). Here at last is a single book devoted to this cult comics hero, collecting Rogers's best Sparky Watts, Babe and Dudley stories, as well as much more. This beautifully designed tome also includes an introduction and comic-strip appreciation by editor Craig Yoe (Arf).







You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! Fletcher Hanks

Fletcher Hanks was the first great comic book auteur. That is, he wrote, penciled, inked, and lettered all of his own stories. He completed an astonishing 48 stories in three years from 1939-1941. As a one-man-cartooning-band, his work packs the wallop of a unique and unified artistic vision. He was a true comics visionary. In the earliest days of the comic book, before censorship, it was “anything goes!” — and in the tales of Fletcher Hanks, anything went!

The superhero Stardust gazes down at evil-doers from space and doles out ice cold slabs of poetic justice with his wizardry. A villain out to kidnap all the heads of state gets turned into a giant head, himself… no body, just a head! The jungle protectress, Fantomah, looks like Jean Harlow in a skin-tight black negligee. But when she sees an evil scientist drugging gorillas to become slaves, her head transforms into a flaming skull and she tosses the villain to the gorillas who proceed to graphically tear the guy limb from ragged limb.

Although the early comic books were meant for the kiddies, today’s mature readers are stunned by their pop surrealism and outright violent mayhem. The first volume of Fletcher Hanks stories, I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets! (in multiple printings) was an Eisner Award-winning smash hit and a staple on “Best of the Year” lists.

Comics fans were thrilled to come upon a cartoonist of this caliber whom they had never heard of before. Non-comics fans who read about the book in The Believer and other journals were stunned to discover an Outsider Artist in comic book form. Edited by cartoonist Paul Karasik (who also provides an insightful introduction), this second volume, You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, collects all of the rest of Hanks's comic book work. That’s right... ALL! The 31 tales in this book (more than TWICE as many as in the first), when combined with the first volume, comprise The Complete Fletcher Hanks!