We don’t. That said, we do occasionally offer jobs—part-time ones, too, if you’re a student. We’re not hiring right now, but who knows when something might open up. You can either come through and drop off a resume or email it to info [at] mcnallyjackson.com with a little note explaining why you’d want to work at this independent bookstore. Perks include touching the books, alphabetizing, and explaining that the Paris Review is not, in fact, reviews of Paris.
My aunt loves... you know... "those" books. The Help. The Pirate's Daughter. White Oleander. Water for Elephants. Am I making sense? Maybe not. Maybe I shouldn't even be asking someone with such good taste. Anyway, she's 63, she used to be a discoqueenfaghag and was the first person to ever say the word "fuck" to me. Help?
First things first, there’s still time! Sort of. We’re open from 10-6 today (closed tomorrow). Anyway, onward!
The fuck-saying discoqueen throws me for a bit of a loop, but, ignoring that, she might go for Cutting for Stone or The Invisible Bridge—both have that “those” just-want-a-good-story vibe book that I’m getting from her choices. Also they’ve both been read—and loved—by McNJ staffers.
“So it was decided that Emma would be prevented from reading novels. The project did not seem an easy one. The good lady took it upon herself: on her way through Rouen, she would go in person to the proprietor of the lending library and inform him that Emma was terminating her subscription. Wouldn’t one have the right to alert the police if, despite this, the bookseller persisted in his business as purveyor of poison?”—From the Lydia Davis translation of Madame Bovary. McNally Jackson: Poisonmongers.
Hoping you can help. Looking for a book for a father-in-law type figure. He's from Spain, very liberal, very brainy. I scored big last year giving him Nicholson Baker's Human Smoke, which he loved, and he followed up reading House of Holes, which delighted him. I showed him a Javier Marias short story once, and he was not as smitten as I was. Sometimes he talks about wanting to know more about classic American literature. Seeking your wisdom!
I’m not sure how well you know me—probably not at all—but if he’d like to know about American literature, you could—surprise!—get him this edition of Moby-Dick, i.e. the best and most classic of American lit. It’s a paperback, but it’s big and beautiful enough that it’s as substantial and gifty-seeming as a hardcover. Also, as a companion volume, D.H. Lawrence’s hilarious Studies in Classic American Literature, which is apparently literally what he wants to know about. (It’s one of those nice Penguin classics with the green spine.)
I'm having a pre-Christmas panic attack over what to get my dad. Usually I get him non-fiction, generic coffee-table books on "war" or "history." This year, I want to give him something he'll really love and actually READ. He likes non-fiction + history, is a veteran, and has little patience for pop culture or pretentious writing. Also, he's Southern and used to be a cop. Heeeelp.
Late gift giving Q. My husband is a weekend fisherman, doesn't read a ton, but likes a good non-fiction book with a story line (loved "Cod", for example, enjoyed "Perfect Storm", likes Everest adventure type books). Any suggestions?
It’s been out for a little while, but Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea is another one of those great adventure histories—this one involves cannibalism and whales.
And because you mentioned Everest, I thought of Wade Davis—you may remember his zombie-hunting in Haiti, The Serpent and the Rainbow—and his new one, Into the Silence. Everest! War! Death! Mallory! Davis is “National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence” which is a funny oxymoronic dream job to have.
So, I have a gift-giving issue, if you're still taking those. I have a friend who is really into obscure literature from countries whose literature may not be well known here in the States. I could go on, but I do know she likes Scandinavian and Hungarian (she's currently reading the latest Nadas), but I also know that the recent passing of Vaclav Havel has gotten her to want reading some Czech books as well. Oh, and she's from Canada, and she loves books from her native land. Suggestions?
She might like the very strange Michal Ajvaz. Plus you get to feel a little uncomfortable everytime you try to say his last name. Ajvaz. The Other City is a strange and wonderful—by which I mean it’s full of wonders—book. Dustin, I think, prefers The Golden Age.
Hi Sam! Any gift ideas for someone whose 2011 favorites included Stone Arabia, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, The Family Fang, and A Good Hard Look? Bonus points for books set somewhere other than New York City. Also, this someone may or may not be my mother, so I'm going to preemptively veto House of Holes. Many many thanks. xA
Hmmmmm. If your mom is the type of mom who watches Friday Night Lights, then she’d like The Art of Fielding, I’m sure. But you probably knew that.
I haven’t read but I’m intrigued by Salvage the Bones, which takes place in Mississippi. Also I’ve heard nothing but good things about Helen Oyeyemi’s Mr. Fox.
I'm looking for a good read over winter break before I head to Paris for the semester. Any suggestions?
Yes! Enrique Vila-Matas’ Never Any End to Paris is narrated by a Hemingway-loving young man wandering around Paris wondering why his experience isn’t more like Hemingway’s. Very good. (Also A Moveable Feast, of course.)
Edmund White’s The Flaneur should be next on your list.
I do have a question, if it's not too late! What recent novels might be good for someone who loves every word F. Scott Fitzgerald ever spewed?
First question! Have you read every word of F. Scott F.? I recommend The Crack-Up, since it contains “My Lost City”—a near perfect piece of writing, if you ask me. Also Hesperus Press just put out The Cruise of the Rolling Junk—a collection of pieces written for Motor (!) magazine about driving from Connecticut to Alabama.
You might also like Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility. It’s perhaps not quite as high literary as Fitzgerald, but you’ll get your jazzy social-climby New York fix.
Since you guys aren’t taking advantage of the Ask box for your thorny giving problems, we put together a list of books for all the people you might need to buy for. They’ll be posted here today and tomorrow. Gird yourselves!
A gentleman named Farhad Manjoo just posted a proudly contrarian article on Slate explaining why independent bookstores are not only irrelevent but maybe even harmful. I work at an independent bookstore, so that’s an argument I’d be very very curious to see made well. Honestly, I know the failings of small booksellers as well as anyone, and it’d be good to see them articulated. But that’s not what this essay was. Let’s look at it. All of it. In detail.
I’ll be interjecting my thoughts into the text of the essay itself. I know that’s a pretty ungenerous way to go about it, but as you’ll see, Mr. Manjoo is kind of an asshat, so I’m not feeling generous.
I was going to write a point-by-point rebuttal of the deeply annoying Manjoo piece on Slate (which I will not link to, because I am not a Slate affiliate), but then Dustin went ahead and did it for me. You should read this.
My brother is a prematurely balding baby-faced graduate student in his mid-twenties. He calls me #sixbooks; I call him Professor Pants. Our favorite books are basically identical to Sam's, but we prefer smart-stupid stuff.. We have an informal competition at each holiday to see who can find the campiest book or card, e.g. his Father's Day Hallmark selection "You're my hero -- Olive ya, Dad!" in the shape of a sandwich. How to outgift the smartest man in my life? (Maureen Miller)
Okay! I have an idea. It’s not exactly that kind of campy, but: there are many hilarious things in the public domain, and we can turn those hilarious things into handsome little volumes (or epic tomes, I guess, depending) on our book machine. For example, I don’t know your brother’s interests, but I searched for “medicine” for 2 seconds and found this, Alcohol: A Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine: How and Why (published 1900):
So it shouldn’t be hard to find an “interest”—hair loss, for example—he has and get him some horrible, illuminating book.
Just so I can compare you answer to WW Norton's and proclaim a king of my heart, I like edgy-cute contemporary literary fiction and bearded men. Go!
Chris Adrian is occasionally bearded, and The Great Night is cute—A Midsummer Night’s Dream in San Francisco, faeries and everything—and edgy, given, say, the roomful of disembodied floating genitals, the threesome, and all the sorrow.
Speaking of rooms and genitals: the redoubtably bearded Nicholson Baker’s House of Holes is both very dirty and very sweet. (Though I prefer Vox. (Though really I prefer The Anthologist, but that’s not at all edgy.))
As non-denominational, non-sectarian winter stuff-buying season comes into full swing, AN ANNOUNCEMENT:
The Ask a Bookmonger box is open for all your book-buying questions. “I’ve got this aunt. Loves meditations on wilderness and solitude, maybe some history of fire management, but definitely solitude, definitely wilderness. Also dogs named Alice and the American Southwest.” And I’d say, Oh, Fire Season, duh. No relative too obscure! No vague sense of your giftee’s taste too vague! Try to stump us. We are unstumpable! Probably.