May is Short Story Month, and we at FSG are damn proud of the short stories we publish—so there’s no way we’d miss out on the fun. Our short story collections run the gamut. We’ve got classics like Bernard Malamud’s The Magic Barrel...
by Sarah Scire
Picking favorites is almost always tricky business. For the staff of FSG, crowning just a few of the many books they read "the best of 2012" seemed close to impossible.
There were last-minute additions, half-hearted apologies for self-interested choices, lengthy disclaimers about how all of the books they'd worked on were their favorites, and multi-part questions about eligibility ("This book was written almost two decades ago but first translated in 2012—with the exception of an excerpt two years ago. Does it count?").
Restricting everyone's favorites to books published in 2012 seemed unfair (and likely to start an uproar) so we chose to ask three questions we hoped would shed light on the staff's diverse reading habits:
by Robin Sloan
When Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore was released, the New York Times ran a nice profile of me and the book, and to fit the book's themes, the reporter, Jenny Schuessler, decided we should meet not in a conference room, not in a coffee shop, but in a secret library.
We convened on a rainy morning at the Grolier Club, a society of bibliophiles in New York City, where—in addition to chatting about Penumbra—we got a chance to see something special.
There, spread out on a dark heavy table, waiting in a pool of lamplight, was a collection of "Aldines"—books made by a guy named Aldus Manutius circa 1500, back at the very dawn of printing. Manutius features prominently in Penumbra's plot. He also features prominently in the history of civilization, because his shop produced the first printed editions of the classics: Aristotle, Homer, Virgil, all those guys.
I'd read plenty about Manutius, and I'd seen pictures of his books online. But I'd never seen one in person, and what I saw at the Grolier Club surprised me.