Screw Dickens–the 19th century Christmas tale of choice this year is Gogol‘s The Night Before Christmas, a tale of devilry and romantic masquerade, recently published by New Directions as part of their Pearls series (others of which include the awesome Patriotism by Yukio Mishima and On Booze, a collection of F. Scott’s Fitzgerald drink writings). And while you’re at it, pick up the brilliant Lightning Rods by illustrious Bullett fiction contributor Helen DeWitt.
2. DESIGN FOR LIVING– CRITERION COLLECTION
Lubitsch‘s bizarrely witty tale of the polygamous endeavors of Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins and Gary Cooper is presented remastered and retouched, as only Criterion can, along with Suzuki gangster flick (and color-orgy) Branded to Kill. From the campy to the urbane, and back again.
Our love for Melville House is probably painfully obvious to you by now. But we really don’t care. If you’re in the market for good fiction past and present, you’re going to want to make a holiday pit stop this season, if not just to pre-order Leigh Stein‘s debut novel (more news of Leigh coming soon!), then for the new release of Raymond Radiguet‘s The Devil in the Flesh, a sultry tale of underage love, the queerly-titled The Madonna of the Sleeping Cars by Maurice Dekobra, and How to Sharpen Pencils by the ever-excellent David Rees.
“What was it like to grow up in a household with two of the biggest queens of the century?” If you’re like me, you spend hours thinking up questions like these for Alice James on the off-chance that she’ll come back to life and you’ll get to interview her. Thankfully, we can now get as close to the answer as possible with the new release of her biography from NYRB classics. And of course we’re always glad to get our clutches on another Stefan Zweig selection–this spring brings the release of his 1927 novella, Confusion.
But enough of this ‘new release’ bullshit. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a snuggly, smutty retro sex classic. And who fits the bill better than my main bitch Henry Miller? I plan to spend the better part of December re-reading The Rosy Crucifixion, as well as Brassai‘s Henry Miller, The Paris Years, for that elusive feeling of erotic release that frankly, you just don’t get from Dennis Cooper (sorry, Coop).