We've Got Friends in Far Places

A bookseller can dream.

When we first launched our Apple-a-Month Club subscription service in October, it was with a mix of excitement, trepidation, and, to put it bluntly, low expectations. Admittedly, this was a defense mechanism, so that each new subscription would thrill us rather than the small numbers of people who blindly trust our taste feeling like a slight.

Instead, the number of new subscriptions that came rolling in over the holidays made us feel overwhelmingly flattered and just darn proud of how loyal and great Green Apple customers are. The biggest indicator of this is the reach our little subscription service already has -- whether you're subscribing because you've moved away from San Francisco and miss our dusty index cards or trust us to recommend the perfect new fiction book for your best friend/grandma/pen pal who's never even been to Green Apple, that's pretty cool.

Also pretty cool would be a giant wall map with thumbtacks where each subscription is going. I want to make one of these. That way, when they make a feature film about the making of the world-famous Apple-a-Month club in which we'll all get zingy dialogue and a super intense soundtrack by Trent Reznor, there can be a montage to carry us through the month of December where we'll be putting little pins in:

Carrboro, North Carolina
Oberlin, Ohio
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Gresham, Oregon
Fairfield, Texas
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Los Angeles
Mountain View
and just up the street in San Francisco, California

...and then some. Pins in a map. Montage. The stuff (my) dreams are made of.

This is all to say that January's Apple-a-Month Club pick, which by now should have reached all of the corners of the land for which it was destined, was Invitation to a Voyage by Francois Emmanuel.

The characters in this collection of linked stories are, as all characters are, on quests. But the quests herein take place in the smallest of spaces -- a detective's search for the inner truth of a person, the footsteps of an aging cartographer, everyone's desperate dialing in search of the click that means you're home. Emmanuel's writing, an ode to Baudelaire with echoes of Kafka and Borges, is both so precise and so vague as to attain something like universal meaning, spurring the reader into their own such reveries even as they tumble into those on the page. You're invited; you should go.

We hope you like it.

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