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Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


How We Assembled Indiespensable #20

When Out Stealing Horses was released in the U.S. a few years ago, Norwegian writer Per Petterson enchanted an entirely new audience with his moving and spare prose. So, when Graywolf Press presented us with his new novel, I Curse the River of Time, as an Indiespensable title, we were thrilled. Time asserts, "Reading a Petterson novel is like falling into a northern landscape painting — all shafts of light and clear palpable chill." Indeed. Jill, who was particularly struck by the beauty of the language, calls Petterson's latest "an extraordinary exploration of politics, philosophy, the nature of love, and the question of how to live a good life."

We were lucky enough to talk with Per Petterson at some length, via the wonders of the internet, at his home in Norway. Subscribers received the interview, lovingly reproduced in it's entirety, on a set of our collectible author cards. (You can read Gin's interview with Per here.)

Another book Graywolf is publishing also grabbed our attention: Jessica Francis Kane's The Report, a beautifully crafted debut novel. Heidi marveled, "It's tense and precise — and then the heartbreak hits you like a freight train. I was in tears by page 35." We are delighted to include an exclusive sneak peek of the book in the enclosed chapbook, made specifically for Indiespensable subscribers.

It's hard to pinpoint from where the inspiration came to feature a gourmet finishing salt. Perhaps it was Petterson's references to the North Sea, or perhaps it was the beautiful and sumptuous salt itself, which the Indiespensable crew found on a field trip to The Meadow. This local Portland shop (located, as it happens, near ¿Por Que No?, whose tacos inspired us for Volume 18) specializes in gourmet salt from around the globe.

Serendipitously, the owner of The Meadow is no stranger to the book world: Mark Bitterman, one of our new favorite people, is also an author. Salted, his authoritative field guide to gourmet salt, explains the history and science of salt production and includes 55 recipes that showcase this versatile and marvelous ingredient. Salted will be available from Ten Speed Press in October.

We hope you enjoy this beautiful Indiespensable installment, enhanced with just the right amount of seasoning.

Bon appétit!

÷ ÷ ÷

A collective of high muckamucks, the Panjandrums largely spend their time in competitive Bananagram duels and negotiations regarding Pie Friday — not to mention painstakingly designing each installment of Powell's subscription club, Indiespensable, with the help of independent publishers and local merchants. From time to time, they find it entertaining to give you a look at the hows and whys behind the what. But, if you're yearning for more, send questions, suggestions, and random anecdotes to indiespensable@powells.com. (They especially like stories about pets, babies, and pie fillings.)

Books mentioned in this post

  1. The Report Used Trade Paper $3.95
  2. Out Stealing Horses
    Used Trade Paper $7.50
  3. I Curse the River of Time
    Used Hardcover $9.95
  4. Salted: A Manifesto on the World's... Used Hardcover $19.95

One Response to "How We Assembled Indiespensable #20"

    Rachel October 4th, 2010 at 6:31 am

    I loved this book. Thank you for introducing me to Per Petterson! His sparse, cool, beautiful writing is a perfect match for the change in seasons. I now must read his other work. I adore Indiespensable and have not yet been disappointed.

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