Issue #68: Summer Reading

Rob Spillman

Dear Indie Booksellers,

Without you, we are nothing.

Forever yours, Tin House


Let this Summer Reading 2016 issue be a love letter to all of the fantastic indie bookstores and booksellers around the world. Those who took a chance on us when we first debuted in the spring of 1999, when “distribution” required hand delivering issues from the back of a beat-up old Audi, and to the bookstores today who continue to help sustain us.

In January I was in Denver for the Winter Institute for independent booksellers, where I had the honor of hanging out with six hundred of the most passionate readers of contemporary literature I have ever encountered. Their enthusiasm was infectious and after a single afternoon with these tireless, ruthless pushers of the written word it was easy to understand why bookstore sales are up, and why the number of indie bookstores, which in the dark Amazonian year of 2009 numbered 1,700, has increased to over 2,300. Booksellers like the ones I met in Denver challenge us to keep seeking out the most exciting and thoughtful work by new and established writers from all over the world, and because of them we’re confident there is an audience for their work. In this issue we’re proud to bring you two fabulous translations: Dorthe Nors’s “By Sydvest Station,” translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra, and Jean-Phillipe Toussaint’s “The Dress of Honey,” translated from the French by Edward Gauvin. Alexis Smith’s debut novel, Glaciers, was an indie sensation, and here we feature an excerpt from her follow-up, Marrow Island. Smith is joined by other indie darlings, Deb Olin Unferth, Josh Weil, and Saša Stanišić, as well as esteemed poets Dorianne Laux and John Ashbery, who return to our pages. We’re also happy to welcome new-to-us poets Anna Journey and Sam Rivierre.

To all of the booksellers who have carried us and who continue to carry us, we thank you. To all of our readers, who have carried us and continue to carry us in your backpacks and handbags, on planes, trains, and buses, we are so grateful.

—Rob Spillman, Editor


Watch this space for more excerpts from the Summer Reading issue, or buy it now from your local indie bookstore! (Or from us!)