Summer is traditionally the season of reading if you're to believe the marketing hype. I'm with them on this as I too savor the feeling of cheap mass market paperback pages sticking to my fingers and reading while having the ravages of the scorching sun soothing by voracious insects biting me. Anyway, the summer often brings with it something vaguely interesting in publishing sphere and, in this case, it comes via The Smart Set's notes about the domestic reissue of Dan Fante's books in tandem with the publication of an anniversary edition of John Fante's Ask The Dust.
If you're not familiar with Dan Fante's stuff it's probably because most of it hasn't been published in the United States and here we only read shit that could feasibly transcribed from shows produced by the Lifetime network at least until the author has been dead for 25 years or more. The interesting question that prefaces (slick, no?) all of this is actually posed by Nick Mamatas in his piece: is the American readership really ready for either of the Fantes' jerks? I just ordered two of the reissues since I've only read Chump Change on loan from a friend with the sufficient loose income to buy trade paper imports. I'm looking forward to being able to potentially read these books more than once but I'm curious about how they'll be received since Dan Fante's subject matter immediately makes him a sure shelf mate with Charles Bukowski and Hubert Selby Jr. That probably isn't the best thing for an author hoping to be read as the usual suspects that shop that section are typically more interested in being seen with a book than the actual substance of the book. The problem here is whether you want book publishers getting all freaked out by previously inaccessible authors failing to suddenly bring in a gazillion dollars in book sales and whether or not (as Mamatas mentions in his article) the book chain stores are going to sell these books or not.
All that aside, it's good to finally have these books accessible in the United States and given a shot for inclusion in mainstream bookstores. Here's hoping that things work out for the best and hoping Dan remains productive no matter what the outcome.