Tag: Random House

How do you pick an imprint for classics?

Posted May 3, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 8 Comments

Every publisher seems to have their own classics section. Penguin Random House now control most of the market (Penguin Classics, Modern Classics, Signet Classics, Vintage Classics, etc). So how do you choose which collection to buy from? Do you even pay attention to the publisher? When I first started hording collecting books, I didn’t pay too much attention and went for the prettier cover but I’m beginning to wonder if this is a decent solution.

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Sure, I would love to own every book released in the Pulp! the Classics; they are fun and I do own a few of them already but buying a classic because of their covers isn’t really effective. Not all editions are the same, in particular translated classics. When picking up a Russian classic do you know which translator to pick? Do you spend time researching the best translator or do you have a publisher you can trust?

I’ve often contemplated this question and since studying at university I’ve noticed that they often recommend two publishers more than any other; Norton Classics and Oxford World Classics. While they don’t have the best covers, I’ve had the greatest success with Oxford World Classics, to the point that I don’t want to buy any other editions. If asking the internet which translation of a novel I should read, for War and Peace it is Louise and Aylmer Maude and for Crime and Punishment, Jessie Coulson is often the answer. They are the translators used in the Oxford World Classics.

I’m not sure what it is, I just trust Oxford World Classics more than any other and they often offer some great questions to ask yourself in the back of the novel. My new found love for Oxford World Classics and the reason for this post is not to give a sales pitch or anything like that; I’m just curious if others think about this topic in as much detail as I do. If so, which publisher do you trust over all others?

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Posted October 8, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Science Fiction, Young Adult / 0 Comments

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson WalkerTitle: The Age of Miracles (Goodreads)
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Published: Simon & Schuster, 2012
Pages: 373
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

I know everyone seems to be reading this novel and I try not to follow the crowd, but this book sounded too good to pass up. The Age of Miracles tells the story of eleven year old Julia and her experience in a drastic change to the world that could be the start of the apocalypse. The world is slowing down and the days are getting longer, first by a few minutes and then by hours. Julia is trying to recount the events of this difficult time; both the end of the world and being a teenager.

This is a wonderful blend of a coming of age story with a back drop of a speculative novel. Amongst the chaos and people not knowing what to do, you have a Julia talking about her journey into adulthood. But does it work? Personally I would have liked to know more about the world slowing and the speculative fiction elements, but I think the blend between young adult and genre fiction was masterfully done.

My biggest problem with this book and it’s one of my literary bête noires in post apocalypse and dystopian fiction is that Karen Thompson Walker writes this book in first person past tense. This gives me a sense of knowing what will happen in the end and there is no way to build tension. But this is only a minor issue in a book like this because this more a beautiful novel of self discovery and growing up.

Karen Thompson Walker writes with such elegance and beauty that I was surprised to find this was a debut novel. Her skill of mixing YA with speculative fiction and then making it into something that I would consider literature was just done brilliantly. She has such skill of not overshadowing the coming of age elements with the chaos of the world around her. I was surprised at how fast I read this book, I was fully immersed in this book and the beauty of what I was reading I was a little sad to see it end.

I can’t recommend this book enough; Julia was a wonderful protagonist and her journey was delightful. The Age of Miracle doesn’t give you any answers but cleverly revels what is going on without forcing anything on the reader. It’s a fascination novel with really needs to be experienced firsthand. Sure the science of the slowing would be interesting to read about but it would never work in a book like this. I must admit I look forward to see what Karen Thompson Walker does next and would be interested to find a book similar to this gem.