Monday, January 29, 2007

Upcoming Events

Some mid-week readings/events in early February:

February 6 - Upstairs at the Square: Author Paul Auster and Chanteuse Sophie Auster, hosted by Katherine Lanpher - Union Square Barnes & Nobles, 7PM.

February 7 - Ballyhoo Stories: readings by Amy Brill, Bill Cheng, Felicia Sullivan, and Sue Doherty. And presentation of comics by JP Coovert, Andy Hartzell, and Ray Fenwick - Think Coffee NYC, 248 Mercer Street (b/w 3rd and 4th Streets), 8PM.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

taking the biggest leap!

this might be insane. it might cost me all the funds i need to raise for an issue which is still sitting in a warehouse, waiting for payment. waiting to find a home. but when i was approached by the very kind and very smart folks over at NXTbook Media with an offer to digitize one of my issues, i thought #4 would be my best shot.

i recently attended a google conference where authors spoke of giving up great portions of their printed matter, online, and not only did offering up a free book not canabilize sales, they saw huge spikes in sales of the printed book. it's not up to me to dictate how one wants to read a story, whether it be online or print, so i thought why not offer my readers access to both? maybe you'll love mia alvar's story so much, you'll want to purchase the whole issue.

in all honesty, i'm finding it increasingly difficult to publish the way i want to publish. publishing a book without concerning myself with page counts and expensive art, distribution, mailing costs and the list goes on. i'm hoping, with this new approach, i might attract some new readers. they might want to take the leap with me. they might discover that i'm trying hard to publish the very best work i can find. and perhaps they'll support that by reading the journal and possibly buying an issue.

so...gulp...here it is. the new issue of small spiral notebook, still sitting in the warehouse in michigan, but free for your eyes today.

please, please, please spread the word!

BEA launches website

New York was host to a number of book festivals in 2006, but none were so large as to be referred to as an Expo. Thankfully. we'll avoid such a sorry fate in 2007 when BookExpo America (BEA) unloads onto the waiting quays of the Jacob Javits Center. This massive hemorrhage of books will take place May 31 - June 3. In preparation, BEA has just launched their newly redesigned website. PW Daily reports:
Among the Web site's new features are easier navigation tools; headlines from trade publications within the book industry; and a BEA show director's blog. A new platform for networking, My BEA, allows attendees, exhibitors, speakers and press to set up appointments; create a personalized schedule; and check job and message boards. My BEA will be available to all preregistered BEA attendees beginning the first week of April. The site is also expanding its podcast program
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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bookish Love

Not to deflect from our daily siege of readers (Mom, Dad), but you should pay a visit to the blog Bookish Love. There you will find some quality pics from lit happenings all over New York City. They have a knack for capturing readers mid-word, hanging on a gesture. Latent energy. Kosmic. Also, a useful directoy of events features in the right column.

Monday, January 22, 2007

NBCC Finalists

The National Book Critics Circle announced its 2006 Finalists this past weekend. Frederick Seidel's latest, Ooga-Booga, received a nod in the poetry category. FSG created a great website for the book where you can listen to the poems.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Caravan Project

"Make it new." So they have. Here comes The Caravan Project:

A partnership of six non-profit publishers, the nation’s largest book wholesaler, and a group of independent and chain bookstores is embarked on the Caravan Project. Just as consumers of music, film and television now can choose how to receive those media, the Caravan Project will offer buyers of serious non-fiction books a “menu” of formats, both print and digital, from which to choose how they read a book.

Caravan, funded by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, will use all the emerging digital and time-tested technologies for the manufacture of books with a goal of making their distribution in the marketplace significantly more efficient by placing them when and where they are needed.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Top Ten Bookstores

Jeremy Mercer takes a break from staring intensely to produce a list of the Top Ten Bookstores...in the World! Actually, the list is great, includes links, and has got the ol' butterflies ticklin' my ribcage. Worth your while: Jeremy Mercer's top 10 bookshops.

Foofaraw

The Dictionary.com word of the day for yesterday.


foofaraw \FOO-fuh-raw\, noun:

1. Excessive or flashy ornamentation or decoration.
2. A fuss over a matter of little importance

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Vollmann Reviews

Despite his aversion to unecessary public exposure, Vollmann knows when to make an appearance. With his forthcoming book, Poor People, due out next month, he reviews Anthony Swofford's first novel, Exit A. Swofford is known, firstly, for his non-fiction, Jarhead. It is this latter book that Vollmann recalls to disparage the former. By doing so, I think he did Swofford justice. Others may disagree, but you can, of course, find out for yourself.
It is only my admiration for “Jarhead” that impels me to express my disappointment in “Exit A” so bluntly. I hope and believe that Swofford, who has many books ahead of him if he chooses to write them, can achieve true greatness on a future occasion. "Military Brats in Love" NY TIMES
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Monday, January 15, 2007

Celine passage

I just came across this while taking a break from work to read a bit of Journey to the End of the Night:

There's nothing terrible inside us or on earth or possibly in heaven itself except what hasn't been said yet. We won't be easy in our minds until everything has been said once and for all, then we'll fall silent and we'll no longer be afraid of keeping still. That will be the day.

Friday, January 12, 2007

S&S + Gather.com = Again?

I know you guys were big fans of the now-dead Sobol awards, but S&S refuses to let the dream die.
The house’s Touchstone imprint, which had planned to release the Sobol Award winners before that contest was shuttered this week, has unveiled a partnership with social networking site Gather.com calling for fiction manuscripts for publication. (S&S Launches Writing Contest)

What a strange convergence? At least, within the context of sentiments espoused on this blog.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

You want whipped cream with your genocide?

Starbucks has announced the second book slated to be sold in its cafes, part of its plan to turn wired, overweight housewives into an Oprahian literary force -"mom-niks" (patent pending), as Ishmael Beah's, A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a boy soldier , to be released by FSG within a month. A Long Way Gone has garnered quite a bit of prerelease praise and the topic, stories of when Ishmael was a boy soldier in the Seirra Leone Civil War, is quite attractive to all sorts of finger pointers and looky-lous, but Starbucks, to their credit, claims not be going for an instant bestseller (As they did with their first offering, a Mitch Albom book). However, Starbucks has the shelf power and the dedicated consumers that could quickly launch this book straight through ten printings. Which brings me to the cool part (hopefully for Ishmael) that here is a dude whose life was totally screwed as a kid, yet he lived, worked hard at his art, and now he's about to get paid $$. In this disconcerting corporate scenario at least one deserving person will get just a little bit.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Kemble Scott

You can now preorder my good friend Kemble Scott's new book, SoMa, which takes place in my old 'hood in S.F.

Publisher's blurb:

To outsiders, San Francisco is all one big city. But to those in the know, there is SoMa, South of Market, where sleek eateries are squeezed between bail bonds storefronts and high-priced lofts look out over still rough edges. It’s home to a generation of hipsters disillusioned by the dotcom bust, restless and searching for the next thrill, the next high, the next step too far. Sex, drugs, kink—you can find it anywhere in SoMa, if you know where to look. But first, you’ll need your tour guides. There’s Raphe, a writer torn between two worlds, belonging to neither. Lauren, the poor little rich girl living on the edge and pushing farther out. Mark, beautiful and cruel, who lives for games, the more extreme, the better. Baptiste, hot, smooth, and maybe as real as it gets. And Julie, both an object of desire and a pretty pawn to be played.

In a glittering, surreal subculture of private sex clubs and kept boys, identity theft and betrayal, nihilism, redemption, and sometimes love, they’re spinning out of control and into each other’s orbits, desperately looking for something real—something that will show them who they really are. In this provocative, intense novel, Kemble Scott puts a new neighborhood on the literary map for good, in a tale that is disturbing, gritty, wholly original, and utterly unforgettable.

Monday, January 08, 2007

William Vollmann's new book

You can pre-order the new William T. Vollmann book, Poor People from Amazon now. No description of the book other than this one, that I've seen.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Year Reading Resolutions

Although mine (finally plow through the Object Oriented Programming for Flash that's been sitting on my bedside table, pick up something else other than Jesus' Son when I'm feeling low and uninspired, read more books about painters) are decidedly less ambitious than Scott Esposito's, he's really put together a thoughtful and thorough list of admirable goals for '07.

I especially like this:

Half and Half. Most people's reading tends to be gender-biased one way or another. So try a year of alternating between male and female authors. Once you're done, you'll probably have some interesting ideas about the differences between how each gender writes.

Speaking the Written Word

A totally interesting article in this Sunday's NYTBR about the PC Tablet 2 voice recognition software and the history of spoken word writers.

Writing is the act of accepting the huge shortfall between the story in the mind and what hits the page.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Call for Submissions: H.O.W.

H.O.W. (Helping Orphans Worldwide); a new journal representing the vision of two writers dedicated to publishing quality fiction and nonfiction while giving a voice to those suffering in silence worldwide.

H.O.W. was started with the purpose of raising money for orphanages across the world. For each submission you send us we ask that you include a donation of five dollars. The entire sum will be donated to the orphanage we are working with at the time. This year we are focusing our attention on a small orphanage run by Haregewoin Tefarra, an Ethiopian woman, who opened her home to hundreds of children orphaned by AIDS. She now operates two houses in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

The orphanage’s mission is: to house and support children, both HIV-positive and HIV-negative; to provide food, clothing, education, and medical care; to reunite children with surviving family members whenever possible; to seek new family situations if necessary through licensed inter-country adoption agencies from North America and Europe; and to promote employment among adults living with AIDS.


Submission Guidelines:

1. Please submit one story, or essay, at a time. Submit clearly typed manuscripts, double-spaced on 8 1/2 x 11 inch white paper, one side only, to: H.O.W. 22 West 15th street (apt 3B), NYC, 10011. The submission must contain your name, address, e-mail address, and a telephone number where you can be reached. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope or we cannot guarantee your work will be responded to or returned. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but please let us know immediately, if your submission is accepted elsewhere. It takes up to 4 months to respond to submissions. We do not accept submissions via fax or email.

2. The word-length limit is roughly 8,000 words.

3. After edits are done to our satisfaction, writers will receive a payment. Payment varies according to the length and genre of the submission, but we pay $200.00 minimum for fiction and nonfiction. We buy First Serial Rights; nonexclusive, and one-time anthology rights. Authors proof their galleys and receive 2 copies of the issue in which their work appears.

4. All manuscripts are carefully considered. Due to the large number of submissions, we regret that we cannot comment on every manuscript.

5. Do not forget to include a check for $5.00 made out to Helping Orphans Worldwide, or else the submission will NOT be read.

Publishers:

Natasha Radojcic and Alison Weaver

Natasha Radojcic earned her MFA in fiction from Columbia University. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Tin House, Pindeldyboz, The Boston Review and Small Spiral Notebook. Her two novels, Homecoming and You Don’t Have to Live Here, both published by Random House, have been translated into seven languages.

Alison Weaver earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from The New School University. Her short fiction has appeared in Small Spiral Notebook, Opium Magazine, Red China and The Fifth Street Review. Her memoir, Gone to the Crazies, will be published by Harper Collins this July.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Mobil Phone Novel

When the first video phones came out with had the capacity to make 15 second movies, I spent two months trying to become the worlds greatest 15 second film maker.

But what I should have been thinking was, I'll just write my next novel on this SG.

Make way for cell phone novels, the hottest thing in Japan.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Upstairs at the Square

I haven't yet made it to one of these events, but I've wanted to. The guests have been stellar from the onset. Next Thursday, January 11th, will be no different:

Groundbreaking film director David Lynch and Indie Pop Trio Au Revoir Simone will feature in the next "Upstairs at the Square" on Thursday, 7pm, January 11th, at the Union Square Barnes & Noble (33 East 17th Street). For more information about the series and about past events visit B&N's site.

David Lynch is also the author of Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Recommended Reading: Transparent by Cris Beam

In compassionate, honest and often times humorous prose, Cris Beam (a volunteer teacher at Eagles - a school for gay trans teens in L.A.) tells a compelling story of four fearless male-to-female transgender kids - Foxx, Christina, Ariel and Domineque - and shares with us their loves, heartbreaks, struggle to survive and their desire to find a sense of family and community in a society that consistently shuns them. Los Angeles is Mecca, the land of reinvention, of opportunity, where kids kids tossed out of their homes by unaccepting parents can flee.

Although highly informative (Beam details the disparate urban trans scenes, offers us statistics on trans kids, medical information, and risks associated - high doses of estrogen may lead to breast cancer, for example, but it's too early to see) the stories are the heart of the book and the characters - their need to fit in, to be comfortable in their own skin, to be accepted for who they are and the choices they've made - are utterly accessible.

From PW (starred review):

In this gripping, illuminating and deeply moving portrait of transgender teens in Los Angeles, the smallest incidents reverberate sharply. Beam, volunteering at a support center for trans teens, helps a young woman named Christina make changes on her driver's license: her name from Eduardo and the gender from male to female. The DMV clerk adamantly refuses to make the adjustment and only acquiesces after the humiliated Christina has a meltdown and Beam, pretending to be an ACLU lawyer, demands a supervisor. Christina is one of several, mostly minority, male-to-female transgender women to whom Beam becomes attached. Their group interactions—including fights, friendships and daily struggles to survive—form the center of the book. Though these women's lives are difficult—when Christina is beaten during an attempted rape, she has to lie to the police about being transgender—there are also moments of quick wit. As Beam morphs from parent to therapist, chum, cheerleader and legal adviser, she seamlessly blends memoir, reportage and advocacy. The result is a vivid and fiercely empathetic narrative that juxtaposes dead-on portraits of these young women with clearly articulated fury at a culture that's not only fearful of anyone who deviates from traditional gender roles but treats minorities and the poor with contempt.


I'm half-way through the book and am smitten. and proud. and honored to know Cris Beam. Buy her book, now!

The Coliseum: plundered of its treasures.

"Plunder!" they cried. "Feast of pages!" they howled. Several, dozens maybe, customers whooped as they ran past the ravaged shelves of Coliseum Bookstore. At 40% off, nearly everything went in the last days before the store's closing, leaving only perennial crowd pleasers like "Colloquial Thai" and "Hebrew for Dummies" clinging to their nooks. "Running a bookstore is like running an insane asylum," said George S. Leibson, a founding partner and the principal executive of Coliseum Books.
On one side, Mr. Leibson said, are the employees, who love books, and on the other are the customers, who love books but who cannot always resist shoplifting them, or spilling coffee on them or reading them in the store and putting them back.

All this according to the NY Times (by way of Shelf Awareness).

Monday, January 01, 2007

Bonkers for Blood

Happy New Year, bitches. I've been absent for about two weeks. My bad, dilz. I really hit the holidays hard, but I realize now, given the season, that I should strive to be a better blogger, nay, a better person. We'll see what that striving entails--likely more baths, less garlic (actually, you can't smell me, so the clothes stay on)--and, hopefully, some cracking good times. I also realized this: MEL GIBSON IS A MADMAN.

Has anyone seen Apocalypto? It is the most ludicrously violent film I've had chance to witness. Infants are tossed, held upside down and swung like Peking ducks. Women are raped in front of their husbands. Fathers are executed in front of their sons (complete with squishy, gurgling noises). Hearts, dozens of them, are removed and shown to their owners. Heads, dozens of them, are thrown down stairs. Jaguars snack on peoples' faces (and require not one, but TWO, egregious close ups). Valleys of corpses. Body spiking booby traps. Rattlesnakes. Rocks. Clubs. Child birth. No detail left unfocused, no discretion considered. It truly is a feast.

The best part, however, is not so obvious, and I would put money down that it's true: the grunting and roaring noises that accompanied chase and hunting scenes (clearly to bestow an animalistic intensity....grrrrAAH) sound like they are made by none other than Mel Gibson himself. I'm not sure what that signifies if it is true. Maybe that he's crazy. Anyway, I'd love to hear what you think.