Thursday, November 30, 2006

Year-end Boldtype is up.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Air in the Paragraph

Hi all-

It's been quite awhile since my last post. I hope I haven't disappointed the SSN blog readers (hi mom). I've been under a brick that was placed over a very large and incredibly deep hole and I've spent the last couple of weeks wondering if I wanted to crawl out of it.

No fear, I am back now to be nothing but self-promotional. I actually am a writer too, and after a very trying year behind the keyboard I'm happy to say that I'm in the new issue of Air in the Paragraph. My story, "three days ago, wednesday" is roughly based on events that happened to my older half-brother, who works at a maximum facility upstate (New York) for the mentally retarded.

Mike Daily is also in this issue. I know him well, have published him in my magazine, and have been completely blown away by his live performances. He's got a book coming out real soon so look for me to blog more on that later.

William Diehl

My daily dose of reality from Shelf Awareness. Spare not the details:

"William Diehl, who wrote such thrillers as Sharky's Machine, Primal Fear, Thai Horse and Eureka, died on Friday in Atlanta, Ga., of an aortal aneurysm. He was 81."

The NYTimes reports: "Mr. Diehl was unemployed when he got the news that [his first] book was going to be published...When his agent first called to tell him, the phone line went dead: Mr. Diehl hadn’t paid the bill"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

PEN American Event

The Writer's Conscience: Remembering Anna Politkovskaya & Russia's Forgotten War

When: Wednesay, December 6 @ 7pm
Where: Proshansky Auditorium, CUNY Graduate Center: 365 Fifth Ave., NYC

"An evening of reading from Anna Politkovskaya's work and a conversation about the costs of an ongoing but forgotten war."

Musa Klebnikob, Kati Marton, Dana Priest, David Remnick, among others will feature in the night's event. I am itching for the opportunity to hear Remnick speak on the subject. He was the Washington Post correspondent in Moscow in the final years of the Soviet Union. The New York Review of Books features a review of his Reporting: Writings from The New Yorker. It is an outstanding overview of the book's contents as well as Remnick's approach to reporting and attitude toward his subjects. "A Far-Flung Correspondent."

2006 Pushcart Nominations

Our nominations are in!

Perennials by Aimee Pokwatka (Fiction)
So That They Do Not Hear Us by Paul Yoon (Fiction)
Yard Work by Joshua Mandelbaum (Fiction)
Natural Cause by Priscilla Becker (Poetry)
Watermark by Stacie Cassarino (Poetry)
Birds in April by Becka Mara McKay (Poetry)

Congrats to our amazing writers!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Pit Bull Rescue Central fundraiser: Signed copies of SSN Contributor Ken Foster's The Dogs Who Found Me

Just in from Ken Foster:

Just a note to let you know that I've teamed with Pit Bull Rescue Central for a holiday fundraiser. They will be selling signed copies of THE DOGS WHO FOUND ME via their website, with 50% of the proceeds going to their work with pit bull rescue groups across the country. Please share this link with anyone who might be interested, or post it on your website (if appropriate). Orders must be placed by 12/10 to assure holiday delivery. Thanks, and happy holidays.

Click here for more details.

Also, the main webpage for PBRC:

SSN Contributor Richard Grayson reads Nov. 27 in NYC!

Don't miss: Nov. 27 at Mo Pitkins House of Satisfaction in Manhattan on Avenue A between 2nd and 3rd Streets. Two
writers, Richard Grayson and Dominic Preziosi, will be reading the terrific stories we're publishing in Avery. Afterwards, you can pre-order the anthology, which will be out around 12.15.06!

A bit more on the authors:

Richard Grayson is the author of the story collections With Hitler in New York, Lincoln's Doctor's Dog, I Brake for Delmore Schwartz, I Survived Caracas Traffic, The Silicon Valley Diet, Highly Irregular Stories and And to Think That He Kissed Him
on Lorimer Street. A retired lawyer and teacher, he lives in Brooklyn and Phoenix. His website is

Dominic Preziosi lives in Brooklyn, NY. His fiction has appeared in print and online in numerous publications, including The Beloit Fiction Journal, The Brooklyn Review, ItalianAmericana, and The Furnace Review; his articles have appeared in The Writer Magazine and elsewhere.

For more info on Avery, you can go to

Friday, November 24, 2006

NY Times 100 Notable Books of the Year

They may be of note, but many might not be "of interest." The fiction list, in particular, includes mainly front-page-review books and the usual banner names. Aren't all of these books already packed into the front of every B&N and Borders across America? If the idea is to drive holiday sales, hasn't that ground already been covered. But I'm being a grouch, aren't I? Go get your loved ones something nice. "100 Notable Books of the Year"

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I came across a great thread of comments over at MetaxuCafe. The original post: "Joyce is giving me a headache."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Juice

For the past week and a half I've listened to pundits tee off on Fox media's decision to publish a "tell all" book by O.J. Simpson-- a "hypothetical" exploration of if he had committed the murders -- and corresponding interviews/propaganda on the media giants many tentacled outlets.

Finally Fox has come to its senses, cancelled the whole project and apologized to the families on Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson... claiming ignorance.

Of course, the book project in itself is a disgusting, ill conceived idea, sure. However, I believe there's something bigger that needs to be examined. This incident is a prime example of why multi-national media-condensing conglomerations are a truly bad thing. The FCC, which was supposed to be protecting us, handed the keys over to such irresponsible companies back in 2004 and by default deemed them worthy to control ninety percent of all information we encounter on a daily basis. Now, companies like Fox are driving our information outlets. See how far they will push our moral boundaries and in turn our desire for such antiquated things as "truth", "honesty", "open-mindedness" and "decency".

Indecency isn't a woman's breast or someone saying, "fuck". It's media stunts like this.

It wasn't just the book that was sick, it's the whole damn company.

Monday, November 20, 2006

How do you really feel, Michiko?

Here is the first paragraph from Michiko Kakutani's review of Against the Day:

Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, “Against the Day,” reads like the sort of
imitation of a Thomas Pynchon novel that a dogged but ungainly fan of this
author’s might have written on quaaludes. It is a humongous, bloated jigsaw
puzzle of a story, pretentious without being provocative, elliptical without
being illuminating, complicated without being rewardingly complex.

And no, she does not lighten up. "A Pynchonesque Turn by Pynchon."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Pynchon Midnight Parties

St. Marks Bookshop will be one of three booksellers to stay open past midnight November 20th to celebrate the release of Thomas Pynchon's 1,085-page novel, Against the Day.

"Trio Plan Midnight Events for Pynchon" from PW Daily

Undeniable class...

I shouldn't be commenting (for professional reasons), but I will, at least, point out:

"Why I did it: Judith Regan Explains Publishing O.J.'s New Book"

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You should brace yourself...

O.J. Simpson Writes a Book

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dalkey Archive Press

The Dalkey Archive Press--an outstanding nonprofit publisher-- now allows readers to purchase books directly from their website.

The Press was slated to transfer from Normal, IL to the University of Rochester this January. However, "the University of Rochester and Dalkey Archive Press have mutually agreed to dissolve the contract under which Dalkey Press would have moved to the University in January 2007." A more detailed report here.

Links via The Literary Saloon

Faith for Beginners - in paperback

SSN Contributor, Aaron Hamburger's terrific novel, Faith for Beginners has gone into paperback.

To learn more about the book, go to Aaron's website.

To buy the book right now, just click here. Or even better, run to your local independent bookstore and ask for it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Next Big Thing

Only interesting things can happen when George F. Will reviews Michael Lewis' new book on football...

Michael Lewis
The Blind Side
W.W. Norton

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Get ready for the legion...

The second annual Legion of Lit Mags Weekend at Galapagos Art Space (Williamsburg): Literary magazine editors collaborate and unite in an all-star magazine fair Saturday, December 2, 2006 at Galapagos Art Space. Event coordinated and hosted by literary magazines, Small Spiral Notebook and Ballyhoo Stories. Nine prominent literary magazines team up to showcase the latest issues of their magazines, raffle off incredible prizes, and offer an opportunity to meet and talk with influential literary journal editors in a celebratory evening filled with readings and entertainment.

The Legion of Lit Mags includes: Ballyhoo Stories, BOMB, Opium, Pindeldyboz, Post Road, Quick Fiction, Small Spiral Notebook, Swink, and Tin House. On December 2, the Legion of Lit Mags hosts author readings and a meet-and-greet with editors at Galapagos Art Space from 5 to 10 pm. Snag free and discounted magazine subscriptions; enter to win fabulous raffle prizes, which include theater tickets, spa giveaways, and dining in a variety of New York City's exclusive eateries. Readers at the event include: Noria Jablonski, Irina Reyn, Brian McMullen, Aaron Hamburger, Elizabeth Searle, Salar Abdoh, Brian McMullen, and others. Musical Performances courtesy of Pindeldyboz.

Hosts, Small Spiral Notebook and Ballyhoo Stories seek to bring attention to the exceptional publishers of indie lit magazines and provide readers with access to new literary voices. These diverse and vibrant publications are an enduring record of cultural activity, providing an essential alternative to the voices heard through commercial magazines.

Our website:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Small Press Book Fair

It looks like the weekend of December 2nd will be a busy one. In addition to the Legion of Lit Mags, the Small Press Book Fair will host "over 100 top-notch presses & leading authors from Nation Books, PEN American & New York’s literary & political scene." In celebration of the fair (and life in general, I'm assuming), Emerging Leaders NYC is throwing a mid-week hoodang (11/29 @ 7:30pm) at Under the Volcano.

When it rains, it pours.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read"

Or so I'm told. I have yet to experiment. Until then, I have the Publishers Weekly's Best Books of the Year to sort through (one of many "best of the year..." lists that we can expect to see in the coming weeks). It's officially the season.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wiki book

If you've ever had to co-author a paper, article or even book with one or more people you understand the creative and stylistic "headaches" that can go along with it. Now imagine writing a book with 900 other people. Wharton School Publisher plans on publishing "We are Smarter than Me" a book written in Wiki style collaboration on business and technology topics.

A better title would be "We are smarter than You" as one browses the list of co-contributors and notes that only alums of the very exclusive MIT and Wharton were invited to participate.

Lit Convenience

Do you find yourself reading e-mail more often than actual books? Have you become accustomed to reading words illuminated by a strange technological device called a monitor? If so, Daily Lit aims to meld the worlds of literature and glowing text by bringing "books right into your inbox in convenient small messages that take less than 5 minutes to read." Ulysses by James Joyce will arrive in 332 neat little e-mails. While Ibsen's A Doll's House requires only 37. It's not a bad way to knock off any of those classics you already claim to have read.

If you need any suggestions for what to read, try What Should I Read Next? Enter a title and the site will "analyse [their] database of real readers' favourite books (over 20,000 and growing) to suggest what you could read next."

And though these two sites seem reasonably proficient at wedging slim pages of literature into the diminishing gaps in one's schedule, they elucidate the environment that necessitates such things. I don't really want to flesh my feelings out on this (I doubt you want me to either), but I wonder, has it really come to this? Is there no turning back? Will the speed of everything perpetually increase? Our technology evolves, but do we? Yeesh, I gotta get out of NY. Sorry.

Monday, November 06, 2006

2006 World Fantasy Awards

The World Fantasy Convention has announced its 2006 award winners and nominees (or something like that, all I'm sure of is that someone has won something). Two someones of note are Haruki Murakami, winner in the novel category for Kafka on the Shore, and George Saunders winner in the short fiction category for "CommComm" from his short story collection In Persuasion Nation. And though I thorougly enjoyed all of Saunders's stories in his recent collection, reading "CommComm" was a singular experience. I impatiently suggest that you read "CommComm."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Girl Holding Fish

The new Boldtype is up. Plenty of reviews as usual.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

New Digital Book Standard

With no real industry publishing standard, electronic book publishers have suffered in universalizing their confusing and sometimes inaccessible formats and thus have relegated e-publishing to little more than a curiosity rather than an industry. All that stands to change with the introduction of the Open eBook Container Structure Format (OCF), a technical standard of preferred XML and Meta-Data structures used in publishing the eBooks. A universally accepted set of standards such as OCF can only help in the proliferation of electronic book-sized media, compare it with what the iPod standard did for portable music or what the PDF format did for documents.

Companies like Adobe and eBook Technologies are already onboard and are ready to take advantage of the new standard. In conjunction with the new Sony Reader technology, I foresee a future very bright for the book publisher who can adapt to these changing formats. Small publishers, much like the podcasters on iTunes competing with major record labels on a relatively even platform, will soon be able to compete with the large multi-national houses in distribution and current-relevant content.