The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Talk about Joe's uncollected stories, non-fiction, and random pieces

The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby Medusa_Hair_Club on Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:39 pm

All right, so down in San Diego, it was a gas listening to Joe read a passage (which you say shall probably be cut? say it ain't so!) from the new novel, which was once called The Surrealist's Glass, but may be called Horns now. I had one or two thoughts on the tone, and I'm curious to hear what others have to say who've seen/heard him read from the new novel.

The passage that was read was a tender scene from the bedside of the ailing (I assume) surrealist featuring a recollection of a long ago meeting with Stan Lee. The piece was sweet and beautifully written, and struck me as being similar to the style I found in 20th Century Ghosts-- a more personal tone that bordered on the nostalgic, a la Pop Art and the collection's title story. It was surprising and welcome, but at the same time very interesting seeing as Heart-Shaped Box had a more formal tone, and seemed less like Joe was speaking directly to the reader. I don't mean that in a disparaging way, as it served Heart-Shaped Box well, which reminded me of Neil Gaiman's stylistic jump from Stardust to American Gods. But that's neither here nor there. Anyhow, I was wondering if anyone had any impressions of the new material in regard to its narrative tone and, well, anything else. (p.s. if something like this was posted elsewhere, sorrys. I looked, but didn't see anything).
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby Betsy_Boo on Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:43 pm

Well...MHC...I haven't heard any of the readings from Joe's new novel but I want to say thank you for posting this. You've made me even more eager to read it than I was before. When you say "sweet and beautifully written" and "a more personal tone...etc" I just know I'm gonna love it. Honestly, Joe can write soooooooooo well, but when he writes like that I love him even more. Just think "Pop Art" or "Voluntary Committal"...
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby demorganakamark on Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:12 pm

personal tone----thats how i would describe it
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby demorganakamark on Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:13 pm

I was under the impression that Horns is a not to take it serious title....i may be wrong...just what i thougt.
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby Shane on Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:32 pm

demorganakamark wrote:I was under the impression that Horns is a not to take it serious title....i may be wrong...just what i thougt.


What do you mean? Like, calling a project something like "The New One" meaning its title will be changed later? I think "Horns" is going to be it, but who can tell until it's printing...
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby demorganakamark on Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:51 pm

True, so true shane......Then " Horns" it is.
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby Betsy_Boo on Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:32 am

Well...I have to tell you that in the back of my signed hardcover L&K (for which I am still extremely grateful for Joe!!) under biographies, Joe drew a line through THE SURREALIST'S GLASS, drew an arrow and wrote in HORNS (how cool is that?). I would assume that makes it a pretty sure bet although I suppose he could still change his mind.
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby Medusa_Hair_Club on Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:59 pm

How do you guys feel about the new title? I love the titles for Joe's other books, but I'm not sure about this one. It's not a bad title, by any means, but I'd guess perhaps one or two books (if that) at my local bookstores' shelves could be called The Surrealist's Glass, and still make sense, while (and I have no doubt 'Horns' will make plenty of sense in context) I feel that a whole table-full of tomes (or more) could sport the title 'Horns' comfortably. I don't know if the new title, being the catchier of the two, is meant to catch more eyes, or if it was strictly an artistic decision, but again, it seems less. . .individually tailored to the work/author than Joe's other titles. Now, obviously, I haven't read the book, and moreover these are just the ramblings of one reader, and are not meant to be gospel (unlike so many forumites on other sites who tend to believe that their opinion is the RIGHT OPINION, which is certainly not the case with me), but merely meant to express a single opinion and, if I'm lucky, spur discussion. So, thoughts?
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby Nerak on Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:21 pm

I like it. Lots of mystery behind it.
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby This_Girl on Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:44 pm

Betsy_Boo wrote:Well...I have to tell you that in the back of my signed hardcover L&K (for which I am still extremely grateful for Joe!!) under biographies, Joe drew a line through THE SURREALIST'S GLASS, drew an arrow and wrote in HORNS (how cool is that?). I would assume that makes it a pretty sure bet although I suppose he could still change his mind.

That's cool, BB. :wink:
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby Shane on Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:08 am

Medusa_Hair_Club wrote:How do you guys feel about the new title?

...Now, obviously, I haven't read the book, and moreover these are just the ramblings of one reader, and are not meant to be gospel (unlike so many forumites on other sites who tend to believe that their opinion is the RIGHT OPINION, which is certainly not the case with me), but merely meant to express a single opinion and, if I'm lucky, spur discussion. So, thoughts?


This is a good disclaimer of sorts, and though there are certain folders of conversation in here that bear some of the above, they're very specific and not likely to show up in these threads.

That writ -- this is not a defense of "Horns" as a title, or anything specific to Joe's work, as I could be a bit biased... but, rather a comment about some of the titles of things that changed for me upon reading the contents. Which, is really what you were suggesting could happen to you in your post, too.

There are several books whose titles never jumped out at me initially, but I came to them based on the devotion to the author, or a review I trusted, etc. For example: I didn't think that the name "Mr. Paradise" was necessarily a great hook of a title, but I was on such an Elmore Leonard kick after "The Hot Kid" that I knew it wouldn't matter. Books with names for titles like "Carrie," "Coraline," or "Hannibal" aren't particularly engaging, but they fit. Speaking of Thomas Harris -- if I didn't know the subject matter, or his work, and someone told me to read "The Silence of the Lambs" my first question wouldn't have been, "It's good, huh?" but rather, "Why?"

"Maus" translates from German into 'mouse' and as such, doesn't seem really captivating. However, after reading it, I'd be hard pressed to agree it should be named anything else.

My longwinded point is really just an agreement of what you clarified: that without having read a work, it's hard to know if its title is an effective or catching one.

So, I'll further your idea by asking this: how much effect does the title of a book have on you in determining whether you'll pick it up, or buy it?

I know that years ago (many years ago), I bought a book not based on the title, but the cover. Quite foolish, really. But it was a great looking cover and was right in my wheelhouse for favorite subject matter at the time (and now). It was a book by John Gardner called "The King's Indian". So, aside from the lesson (re)learned there, I admit that there are several things that cause me to pick books up, not only the title. But, sometimes that's enough...

[if this gets a lot of replies, I'll split this away from the topic and put it somewhere else, since I steered it off-topic a bit. Just so you know.]
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby demorganakamark on Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:11 am

Well, the title "HEART-SHAPED BOX" is what got me to look at Joe's book in the first place. But i would say that it could be either or for me.
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby Betsy_Boo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:00 am

Interesting topic...I don't think I've ever bought a book based on its cover or title. I will say that I have been drawn to look at certain books by that criteria, (most recently INFECTION...I really liked the cover of that book) but what sells the book for me is what's written on the flyleaf. The story has to intrigue me before I shell out the big bucks for a book of an author I don't know. But it is pretty rare for me to do that. What sells an unknown author for me most of the time is someone I trust telling me they liked it.

Regarding HORNS I really haven't given much thought to it as a title, except for the fact that it was changed from THE SURREALIST'S GLASS. I'm gonna read anything Joe puts out there no matter what he calls it, but I find the change itself intriguing. They sound like 2 entirely different books and I am more impatient than ever to read it!
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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby LauraK on Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:12 pm

Oh, a book's title will always get my attention if it strikes me as weird or unusual or quirky. I loved the sound- or maybe it was the rythym- of "The Surrealist's Glass," and I definitely would have been compelled to pick that up and read the summary. (I'd still have to be sold on the premise though.) Horns? Hmmm, not sure. I know who the author is so it wouldn't matter if he'd changed the title to Mr. PoopyPants.....I'd still buy it. :D

But just scanning spines and seeing "Horns?" It wouldn't grab me, to be honest, where "The Surrealist's Glass" would.

Shane, I think your fingers have diarrhea, lol. ;)

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Re: The Surrealist's Glass (or Horns)

Postby demorganakamark on Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:29 pm

I agree with both statements above of me. Changing the name has caused me to be even more curious( i didnt think that was possible) in the subject matter of the book.
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