Dedicated to classics and hits.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


by Erico Verissimo
p. 1957
Orion Press
Translated from the Portuguese by Linton Barrett

     I bought this book from the very excellent Sage Brush Press in Yucca Valley, CA. In fact, this book review is largely an opportunity for me to wax rhapsodic about this book store.  Not to be an effete snob, but a top notch used book store is the LAST thing you'd expect to find in Yucca Valley, except for the fact that Yucca Valley has some of the best antique shop/mall AND vintage/thrift stores in the Greater Southern California Area. AND Desert Hot Springs, CA is "on the way" to Yucca Valley, and that city has it's own vintage/thrift stores.

     As far as I can tell, Sage Brush Press is run by this couple.  Any GOOD book stores will have a "HOARDERS" vibe- it comes with the territory.  Recently, I've become interested in the idea that you could find some great old book from the 50s or 60s- something out of print- non-fiction- and reprint it with a new introduction in an "ebook" format, and then just pay royalties to the copy right holder like you do when you cover a song.

    I was very much in that mind as I read Erico Verissimo's "MEXICO"- which was printed in this nice hard back edition with a purple and orange 60s graphic cover.  I would think if you were doing an "Ebook" you'd want a similar kind of catchy cover- in the same way you need to have a good 1" by 1" version of an LP cover that you publish. Erico Verissimo is said by wiki to be, "an important Brazilian writer" who wrote both fiction and non-fiction.  Mexico is a combination travelogue/artistic criticism/philosophical musings along the lines of an Octavio Paz, a Borges, a Llosa, but a little more down to earth, and couched in the manner of a travelogue.   Seriously, this book, written in 1959, could appear in the New Yorker tomorrow and people would be like, "Yeah- interesting stuff, it's not dated at all."

  One of the things you could do in an ebook for a book like this book is link the text to public domain photographs of places discussed in the text.  Verissimo actually travels BY BUS through Mexico in the early 1950s and it's a pretty quiet time.  It sounds a lot like the world of Hemingway in the 1930s or Europe in general in the pre World War II era.  I.E. a pretty chill vibe.  Verissimo actually gets into lengthy conversations with some of the premier authors of the time/place (mexico/1950s) and they share their opinions about Mexico freely with the author.

  I can't help wonder how many of these books were actually printed to begin with.  500? 1000? 100?  I have no idea.  This literary Brazilian perspective on the Mexico of middle 20th century is interesting, that's for sure. A welcome shift in perspective, let's say.

No comments:

Blog Archive