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TYPE LOVES COACH HOUSE BOOKS

Alana Wilcox is our Type Reader for October


Alana is the Editorial Director of Coach House Books. She does a little bit of everything – editing, design, finances, inventory, promotion, schlepping boxes – while overseeing everything that happens. She says she comes to Type for the erudite, attractive staff and the handsome store, and we certainly can't argue with her

Three random facts about Alana: 1) Her office is so messy it defies the laws of physics. 2) She likes bourbon. 3) Her cat, Loki, is Facebook-famous for being locked in a bank for eight days.

ALANA DOES THE TYPE QUESTIONNAIRE

What is the first book you remember loving?
One Christmas, my little brother gave me a hardcover Anne of Green Gables. He obviously had not chosen it himself, but sure loved those zany adventures that red-tempered Anne Shirley got herself into. And before that, Are You My Mother? I still shake my head at how that tiny little bird thought a bulldozer was his mom...

What is your favorite virtue in a book?
Adventurousness. As opposed to adventuring. I mean not being boring or conventional.

What do you appreciate most in a book character?
Complexity: when I like, dislike, sympathize and am frustrated with a character all at the same time.

What character (real or fictional) do you dislike the most?
Well, I always like the characters you’re not supposed to like, and I dislike the insipid ones. Which made The Victorian Novel a tough course to get through.

If you where to write a non-fiction book about anything, what would it be about?
Publishing is the thing I know best, and since I tell people to write what they know I’d likely take my own advice, uncharacteristically.

Your favourite prose authors?
I’m pretty lucky because I get to publish so many of them. Less lucky in that I don’t get much time for pleasure reading. But leaving aside all Coach House authors (who are ALL EQUALLY my favourites), I’d say William Faulkner, Maggie Nelson, Cormac McCarthy, Miriam Toews, Enrique Vila-Matas, Clarice Lispector, Jean Rhys maybe most of all. And of course Type’s own Derek McCormack.

Your favourite poets?
See above on the Coach House disclaimer. Ben Lerner, Anne Carson, and so many of my friends that I daren’t name names and offend those who don’t immediately spring into my puny mind.

Has a design or art book ever had an impact on your life, and if so, what was the impact?
The Elements of Typographic Style  is the typesetter’s bible, so of course I’ve read it. 

Do you read on public transportation?
I usually bike everywhere, and I really try to not read on my bike. Because, you know, traffic.

What qualities do you want in a book you’re read while traveling?
Implausibly, while travelling I like to read books that really take me out of where I am, or maybe just out of myself. But mostly I just read submissions, because I don’t usually get much time to do that in regular life.

What book have you never read but have always meant to? Do you think you will ever read it?
There are five three-foot-high stacks of such books piled up beside my bed. All plague me in some way. Sometimes I wish I were an insomniac. But I guess a fiction editor really should have read Infinite Jest, but it seems unlikely I’ll get to it, since it takes up the time of about eight other books...

What book do you pretend to have read, but in fact have not?
The Bible. I had a godless upbringing, which I’m mostly grateful for, but I am missing some basic knowledge.

If you could force a single celebrity to read a specific book in its entirety, who would you chose, and what book would you make them read?
I think I would force Stephen Harper to read Fifteen Dogs, because it makes you be a better person.

What are you reading right now?
About 200 manuscripts, plus The Empathy Exams and The Argonauts. I appear to be in a nonfiction state of mind. I blame the election.