Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lit Chick Invasion Pics

Pics found here from Harper Perennial's Sunday night event.

just when you thought it was safe to leave the house...

Legion of Lit Mags event the legion of lit mags returns!

The 2006 Legion of Lit Mag Reading and Magazine Fair will be here soon. The readers for this year's event are Scott Snyder, Noria Jablonski, Elizabeth Searle, Anthony Tognazzini, Irina Reyn, and Salar Abdoh. Music provided by Pindeldyboz. December 2, 2006 Galapagos Art Space, Williamsburg Brooklyn (5 to 10 pm) OPEN TO ALL. For directions, visit www.galapagosartspace.com

What? A Provoking NYTBR piece?

An interesting essay by Steven Johnson in the NYTBR this Sunday about the power of internet keyword driven culture to shape and define the very meanings of our language. Although I find his premise that the average blogger or webbie could possibly compete with big money companies for "ownership" of such words as "liberal", "sex", "blackjack" or "cheap Canadian meds" (his choices) very unlikely. Small market words or phrases such as his "Raymond Williams" are certainly within the determined blogger's capabilities to own and define. His notion that search engines like Google quantify the number of links to a particular site and therefore rank them accordingly is correct, however, the number of links required to unseat the top searches for the above keywords is mind-boggling and I'd guess, an impossibility. Search engines like Google use many, many constantly morphing parameters, not the number of links, to determine the best, most popular pages. The only parameters that don't change are money and corporate status, which the average blogger does not have.

Monday, October 30, 2006

An Introduction: ULA / KGB

Hi. I'm Michael Signorelli. You may remember me from such blogs as the Cruelest Month or the Olive Reader--two of the four blogs run under the auspices of HarperCollins Publishers. Felicia has invited me to step out from under the corporate umbrella and take some independent breaths in the blogosphere. I'm grateful for the opportunity. I almost feel lighter.

In this spirit, I'd like to direct you to the Underground Literary Alliance Review Blog. The ULA has existed for some time both online and out in the world as the self-described "most controversial writers group in America." Their April 17 Howl protest at Columbia University drew a lot of attention and established them as a truly disruptive literary force. The ULARB (whose acronym I like) reviews zines and other underground literature.

While you're at it, check Felicia's Lit 150 story "Stop Times" at KGBLit.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More Bernhard

In my last post I recommended two Bernhard books for those who hadn't yet read him. It got me thinking about the virtuosity and utter originality behind his writing. Last night, I picked "Yes" off the bookshelf and read from this passage-


From the house there was a view in only one direction and even that was virtually no view at all. It was three-quarters enclosed by the wood. The walls were blackened with damp and the footings had not even been entirely filled in yet. It looked as if the builders had abruptly stopped their work, a lot of tools were lying around in the mud. After a prolonged period of waiting the Persian woman eventually opened to me. I had of course come entirely unexpected and she had no idea that it was me knocking at the door. She had thought that the ethnic Germans who had driven away in the converted ambulance had left something behind. I squeezed through the gap in the doorway and, after she had relocked the door, followed her to her room. Room, however, is certainly not the right word for the space to which she retired. This was evidently the smallest room in the whole house, on the ground floor and utterly unsuitable as a room to live in; there were a few mattresses lying on the floor, covered with a sheet. In spite of the gloom, or almost darkness in the room, I was struck by the dirtiness of that sheet. When we had stepped into the room, in which there was a frightfully stale smell and dankness, the Persian woman, now wrapped in a long flannel dressing gown on which dirt and floral pattern were no longer distinguishable, lay down on the mattress and invited me to sit down on a chair which stood by the only window in the room. As I sat down I noticed how shabby and neglected and actually how deliberately grubby everything was in that room. Because of the darkness in the room, I could not see the Persian woman's face, but on the way in I had had the impression that she had lost weight and gone grey. By her bed, at the head end, the Persian woman had two small tables piled high with nothing but medicines, as I believe exclusively sleeping pills. She had been in that room for two weeks, she told me while my eyes were focused on those packets of medications and on her still not unpacked suitcases, and for those two weeks had she not left her house. Nor did she intend ever to leave it again.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

NYC Event courtesy of Coach House Books

On November 3, Nathalie Stephens, author of the new book Touch To Affliction, joins Sina Queyras, author of Lemon Hound and co-founder
of the belladonna reading series, for the latest installment of Pete's Big Poetry Series at Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Pete's Big Poetry Series
featuring Nathalie Stephens and Sina Queyras
Friday, November 3, 7:00 p.m.
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer Street
Brooklyn, NY

Click here to learn more about the authors and Coach House Books

This holiday season support your friendly neighborhood genius virtuoso...

Small Spiral Notebook Contributor and Friend, David Barringer, has got some spooky treats for the holidays!

*The Dead Bug Funeral Kit* on sale for *$16*, which includes shipping.
Regularly $20. Heartfelt poems from kids to their deceased beetles,
butterflies and stickbugs. Photos, excerpts, and more here...

Book Bundle of Twisted Fun with either Johnny Red or The Leap on sale for *$22*, includes shipping. more here...

New Bernhard Book

A newly translated book, "Frost", by the great Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard has been published by Knopf. If you haven't read Bernhard yet, might I suggest my favorites, "Yes" and "The Loser".

Read the S.F. Chronicle review.

Frost
Thomas Bernhard
Knopf

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Keep Track of Your Blogs

A recent survey indicated that 5% of Americans spend as much as 3.5 work hours reading blogs. If you are one of these people, cut down your web time by hooking up with the the new Google Reader. You subscribe to your favorite blogs via RSS or ATOM feeds and the Google Reader corrals them all onto one page, in small digestible bites, for easy scanning and reading.

If you're not down with the budding multi-national corporate dominance that is Google, Yahoo, Mozilla and many others have similar RSS ATOM aggregators.

New Yorker Fest Videos

Didn't have the cash flow to throw down for a seat at some of the more exclusive New Yorker Festival events? Video is now available on their website. Check out Malcolm Gladwell, but beware, it's very long.

First brought to my attention by the folks at the Elegant Variation.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It may not be high literature, but it's close

For aspiring web designers, or those still building sites with HTML tables, Dave McFarland's new book on Cascading Style Sheets, part of the Missing Manual Series, provides the best hints, tips, tricks and solutions for this must-know technology.

This review on Slashdot is very thorough.

CSS, The Missing Manual
David Sawyer McFarland
Pogue Press/ O'Reilly

Lean Left, but Don't Fall Over

In the recent issue of Open City, Vince Passaro declares his resistance to the tyranny effecting America- our need for things. In his essay, Mr. Passaro paints the American cultural/consumer landscape with a broad and stereotypical brush. And while it may be truthful and perhaps even gutsy to point out the stupidity of American consumerism- it is probably not the best approach to label all Americans as foolish and ridiculous for the few who want a latte with extra foam, a remodeled bathroom or a gas guzzling SUV- a lesson that should have been learned in the 2004 election.


Mr. Passaro writes-

Then, in April, I was watching the NCAA championships with my middle son, a basketball fan. “Prelude to a Championship” is what the network was calling the pregame show. People with a historical sensibility look back—or used to, anyway—with fascination and horror at the bombast of Fascist rituals. It’s not that big a stretch to think that someday people will look at most nights of American network television in the same way—the overblown warlike language, the fiery orange graphics, the drumbeats of ancient tribes preparing to attack. And the ads: “Nothing is more powerful than the truth,” says a famous coach I don’t recognize. He looks gravely into the camera from a darkened basketball court. “And the truth is, more people buy Chevrolet than any other car.”

However truthful Mr. Passaro's logic may be, it does little good to berate a public Mr. Passaro himself admits to being brainwashed for doing what they've been told to do. A more commendable approach would be to expound on the patriotic value of self-restraint. But, it seems that neither political side can restrain themselves from blaming ethos of the other.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Booker Prize

Congratulations to Kiran Desai, youngest female to ever win the annual British literary prize for her novel, "Inheritance of Loss".

Inheritance of Loss
Kiran Desai
Atlantic Monthly Press

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Good Times, Bad Times

It seems that the New York Times Book Review can't do right in the eyes of anyone any more. It's no secret that since Sam Tanenhaus took over writers and readers have chaffed over the editorial direction the NYTBR has gone. First, it was Tanenhaus' placed emphasis on more mainstream non-fiction. Then came the supercilious essays via Donadio et. al. Now, writers and readers are in an open revolt against the very quality of the reviews.

Old Versus New

An interesting debate from The Reading Experience on the virtues of new literature versus the time tested.

Futurism Now

F.T. Marinetti Critical Writings, is the newly compiled book of essays, manifestos and critiques by the claimed father of the Futurist Movement. This book includes many never before translated pieces reflecting Marinetti's concepts of literature, film, feminism and technological progress.

F.T. Marinetti Critical Writings
Edited by Gunter Berghaus
Translated by Doug Thompson
Farrar Strauss Giroux

Friday, October 06, 2006

Robert Olen Butler Reads

If you haven't yet picked up a copy of Robert Olen Butler's highly original new book, "Severance", do so immediately. In "Severance" Mr. Butler takes the concept that at our most excited state, a human being can speak at one hundred and sixty words per minute and adds to it the believe that after decapitation, the brain remains conscious for ninety seconds. "Severance", then is comprised of 62 two hundred and forty word mediations on the last thoughts of the quickly departing. Historical beheadings for both real (Mary Stuart) and make-believe (a Dragon) are just a sample of what keeps this imaginative book entertaining.

Mr.Bulter reads tonight at 7:30 pm, Black Oak Books, 1491 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley.

Severance
Robert Olen Butler
Chronicle Books

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Did you feel that?

It's Quake season in San Francisco. That's right, LitQuake, the annual literary, poetry, spoken word festival in the City by The Bay kicks off this year on October 6th. Musicians such as Ray Manzarek, Jay Farrar and Lars Ulrich open the festival reading literature that inspired them to create their music.

Of course, the twelve day festival will be littered with readings by the usual Bay Area literary rock stars, Dave Eggers, Beth Lisick, Michelle Tea, Barry Lopez and many more.

If you have the chance, do not miss this. It's biggest literary event in the City with one of the greatest literary traditions.

Tickets for opening night.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

But does he learn to share the spotlight?

BenBella Books has announced plans to publish a series of five children's books authored by the confounding, yet immensely talented Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, Terrell Owens. The first entitled, "Little T Learns To Share", is dripping with more than enough irony due to Owens recent on and off field exploits. Owens started his career in San Francisco where he blossomed into a star and an egomaniac, moved on to Philadelphia where his volatile personality practically destroyed the entire team. And everyone knows what's been happening this season in Dallas.

Who says athletes can't be role models?


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Small Spiral Notebook featured in Until Monday: Brooklyn...

Feature By Cheryl Burke

Brooklyn-based Small Spiral Notebook’s new online home is bursting with literary goodness. With an easy-to-navigate design, this five-year-old journal features book reviews, fiction, poetry and nonfiction by both established and emerging writers.

The journal also boasts In-depth interviews by great writers with great writers. Emily Barton (author of Brookland), Joe Meno (author of A Boy Detective Fails) and Wendy Spero (author of Microthrills) are among the current interviewees.

Small Spiral Notebook is the creation of memoirist, green living enthusiast and good friend Felicia Sullivan. Like many great ideas, the journal’s name came to her in a flash of inspiration, “I was having brunch with an old friend, talking up my idea to start a literary journal and my friend talked about a web design that would mimic a small spiral notebook. Something clicked and a journal and its name were born.” Small Spiral Notebook is published quarterly online and bi-annually in print. The next print issue will be available in late November but you can get a peak of the contents online.


Check out the terrific site!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Know Before You Go

Kevin Sampsell, book events coordinator for Powell's City of Books in Portland, writes this hilarious and informative article for the A.P. about what not to do at a reading.