Thursday, November 30, 2017

Vintage Contemporaries

As I had threatened to do, I have gone ahead and translated the list of Vintage Contemporaries into a proper checklist.  (This is close to complete, but probably a few have been missed, so feel free to add comments below on anything I overlooked.)  I have only read 10 or 11 of the 92 below (I feel I read Mona Simpson's Anywhere But Here, but can't vouch for that absolutely so will leave it out of the tally).  I'm not doing too much better on actually owning them -- 11 total and only 3 on the Vintage Contemporary brand itself, though I did just order Far Tortuga (and this should be the VC edition).  As in other lists, X stands for having read the book and O stands for owning it, even if in a different edition.

I think at one point I did own McGuane's The Bushwacked Piano, but left it behind in a move.  I'm not going to go out of my way to collect the books in this edition, but I will see about reading a few of them each year and perhaps I will eventually get through this list.

X The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker
X Room Temperature by Nicholson Baker*
    Love Always by Ann Beattie
    First Love and Other Sorrows by Harold Brodkey
    Stories in an Almost Classical Mode by Harold Brodkey
    The Debut by Anita Brookner
    Latecorners by Anita Brookner
XO Cathedral by Raymond Carver
    Fires by Raymond Carver
XO What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver
XO Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver
    Bop by Maxine Chernoff
    I Look Divine by Christopher Coe
X  Dancing Bear by James Crumley (completely implausible and quite unpleasant)
    The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley
    One to Count Cadence by James Crumley
X  The Wrong Case by James Crumley (I liked this less and less as it went on)
    The Colorist by Susan Daitch
    The Last Election by Pete Davies
O  Great Jones Street by Don DeLillo
XO The Names by Don DeLillo
O  Players by Don DeLillo
O  Ratner's Star by Don DeLillo
    Running Dog by Don DeLillo
    A Narrow Time by Michael Downing
    The Commitments by Roddy Doyle
    Selected Stories by Andre Dubus
    From Rockaway by Jill Eisenstadt
    Platitudes by Trey Ellis**
X  Days Between Stations by Steve Erickson
    Rubicon Beach by Steve Erickson
    A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley
    Last Notes from Home by Frederick Exley
    Pages from a Cold Island by Frederick Exley
    A Piece of My Heart by Richard Ford
    Rock Springs by Richard Ford
    The Sportswriter by Richard Ford
    The Ultimate Good Luck by Richard Ford
    Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill
    Fat City by Leonard Gardner
    Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
X  Within Normal Limits by Todd Grimson
    Airships by Barry Hannah
    The Cockroaches of Stay More by Donald Harington
    Dancing in the Dark by Janet Hobhouse
O  November by Janet Hobhouse
    Saigon, Illinois by Paul Hoover
    Angels by Denis Johnson
    Fiskadoro by Denis Johnson
    The Stars at Noon by Denis Johnson
    Asa, as I Knew Him by Susanna Kaysen
    Lulu Incognito by Raymond Kennedy
X Steps by Jerzy Kosinski
    A Handbook for Visitors From Outer Space by Kathryn Kramer
    The Garden State by Gary Krist
    House of Heroes and Other Stories by Mary LaChapelle
O  The Chosen Place, the Timeless People by Paule Marshall
    A Recent Martyr by Valerie Martin
    The Consolation of Nature and Other Stories by Valerie Martin
    The Beginning of Sorrows by David Martin
O  Far Tortuga by Peter Matthiessen
    Suttree by Cormac McCarthy
    California Bloodstock by Terry McDonell
    The Bushwhacked Piano by Thomas McGuane
    Nobody's Angel by Thomas McGuane
    Something to Be Desired by Thomas McGuane
X To Skin a Cat by Thomas McGuane
XO Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
    Ransom by Jay McInerney
    Story of My Life by Jay McInerney
O  Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
    The All-Girl Football Team by Lewis Nordan
    Welcome to the Arrow-Catcher Fair by Lewis Nordan
    River Dogs by Robert Olmstead
    Soft Water by Robert Olmstead
    Family Resemblances by Lowry Pei
    Norwood by Charles Portis
    Clea & Zeus Divorce by Emily Prager
XO A Visit From the Footbinder by Emily Prager
    Mohawk by Richard Russo
    The Risk Pool by Richard Russo
    Rabbit Boss by Thomas Sanchez
    Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson
    Carnival for the Gods by Gladys Swan
    The Player by Michael Tolkin
    Myra Breckinridge and Myron by Gore Vidal
    The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner
    Breaking and Entering by Joy Williams
    State of Grace by Joy Williams
    Taking Care by Joy Williams
    The Easter Parade by Richard Yates
O  Eleven Kinds of Loneliness by Richard Yates
    Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

* It looks like 1990 is basically the cut-off point when the cover design shifted over to something less standardized.  Baker's 2nd novel (with the paperback edition coming out in 1991) is slightly out-of-sync with the others on this list, but I think I'll leave it on anyway as sort of a transitional cover away from the "De Stijl layout" that Vintage Contemporaries had throughout the 80s.

** This just blew my mind.  Apparently, I not only read this novel, but reviewed it on Amazon in 2009 (giving it only 2 stars).  I was there poking around to see if I could find one or two more books in the VC series from the 80s.  I'm a bit surprised that this completely slipped my mind, as I only have ever reviewed 3 books on Amazon, mostly keeping my reviews to this blog.  I suppose at some point I'll borrow this from the library to see if anything comes back to me, but it seems like I am not missing much (according to my earlier self).

† I ran across this book today, which brings the tally up to 93. This is a particularly odd case as this is the 4th (out of 13!) books Harington wrote about his fictional Ozark community, Stay More. I can't tell if Vintage published any others in the series, but I don't believe so, and certainly none others in the Vintage Contemporaries line. This novel may well be the oddest of the series as part of the book does appear to be written from the cockroaches' point of view.  Gross.

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