February 7, 2008

Oulipo Compendium

This post now resides on my other site 50 Watts:


  1. I love the Compendium, and have fond memories of hosting Harry Matthews for a reading and talk when he was promoting it back in 1998 (or was it 1999?). It was one of the highlights of my brief bookselling career. Matthews was gentlemanly and full of good stories, and we drew a good crowd that loved the talk.

    I wonder what's different in the second edition?

  2. I just added the editorial note about the changes. They sound minor, though I also recall reading about a lot of errors in the first one--God knows where I read that. (And I had to sell my first edition before I studied it closely.)

    I'm jealous of your bookselling story. I worked for the Penn Book Center in Philly for a few years in the late 90s. It was -- and is -- a great bookstore, though they didn't have readings (they might now because it changed ownership).

    When I worked there, it was owned by two aging Greek-American brothers, Peter and Achilles Nickles--real characters. An ex-Marine who managed the store turned me on to most of my favorite authors. While not telling me stories about meeting Jim Goad, he assailed me with Thomas Bernhard and Cioran, even though he knew I wasn't old enough to buy alcohol. The store had editions sitting on the shelves from the 60s and 70s -- not used books, just ones which hadn't been returned for whatever reason (though usually because they were non-returnable) -- so I was always discovering dusty (literally dusty) curiosities. Indie stores like this are my favorites.