Friday, September 5, 2008

Open Letter Books

Open Letter is the University of Rochester’s new non-profit publishing house for works in translation. According to Open Letter’s first catalog (Fall 2008), the purpose of the enterprise is to “publish great works of literature in translation.” Chad Post, the Director of Open Letter, explains:

[W]e’ve searched the world for these titles, with our first authors hailing from Croatia, Brazil, Norway, France, Lithuania, and Iceland. In deciding which titles to publish, our criteria were to identify titles that are both unique and lasting—books that are out of the ordinary (in a pleasing, beautiful way), and that will hopefully become the classics of tomorrow.
In my opinion, this is a vital and important purpose, and I applaud Open Letter for its initiative. Otherwise, these works would not be available in English.

The fall titles look fabulous, and a subscription for all 6 (approximately one per month) is only $65. I’ve signed up for a full-year subscription of 12 titles for only $120. That’s an absolute steal considering that most of these books are beautiful hardcovers. If you agree with me that improving access to worthy international literature is critical to our continuing cultural and intellectual vitality, then I encourage you to consider an Open Letter subscription. Think of it as your contribution to the cultural health of our planet.

I already have a copy of Open Letter’s first title, Nobody’s Home by Dubravka Ugresic. The catalog describes this book as a “series of thought-provoking and incisive essays [exploring] the full spectrum of human existence.” Look for my review in the upcoming weeks.

2 comments:

Sherry said...

Hi and congratulations! I'm busy visiting all of the nominees for the Book Blogger Appreciation Awards and trying to live up to my nomination by inviting everyone to participate in the Saturday Review of Books tomorrow and every Saturday at Semicolon. It's just a place I provide each week where book bloggers can leave a link to their book reviews for the week, and we can all find book reviews from other book bloggers.

rjnagle said...

Thanks for letting me know about this press (which I had never heard of). Their titles look great!

As ebooks take off, I predict that these subscription series will have a better chance at succeeding.