The party may be ending this year with a send-off event, but it leaves having made its mark on the local literary scene. “APRIL took readings out of bookstores and into bars, onto the street,” says Paul Constant of The Seattle Review of Books, who started noticing younger crowds at readings after 2012.
Blogging service Medium announced yesterday that they're going to start selling memberships for $5 per month. A whole lot of blogs that we like, including The Awl and Electric Literature, moved over to Medium last year. Then, Medium laid off a bunch of employees. Hopefully, they'll figure this out, because there aren't very many blogging options available to people anymore. I remain skeptical that a subscription, which offers "exclusive stories" and an "offline reading list," is going to be lucrative enough to support the company, but I wish them luck.
The latest issue of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice features an article titled "A Comparison of Traditional Book Reviews and Amazon.com Book Reviews of Fiction Using a Content Analysis Approach.” The idea is to determine whether traditional book reviews or Amazon reviews are more helpful for librarians. Here's the conclusion from the abstract:
Although Amazon.com provides multiple reviews of a book on one convenient site, traditional sources of professionally written reviews would most likely save librarians more time in making purchasing decisions, given the higher quality of the review assessment.
Help support Short Run’s Micropress by joining our Mini-comics Club! Want mini-comics delivered to your door every month? Donors at the $120 level will receive a Short Run tote bag and 1 mini-comic every month to fill it up. We have curated a selection of Pacific Northwest artists who represent the look and feel of Short Run.
Tickets for the May 23rd Seattle appearance of Arrested Development and Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor went on sale yesterday. Seattle Arts and Lectures is bringing him to town to celebrate the publication of his memoir Are You Somebody?
Cory Doctorow is launching an online ebook retailer codenamed Shut Up and Take My Money, which he bills as the world's first "fair trade" online store.
As an author, being my own e-book retailer gets me a lot. It gets me money: once I take the normal 30 percent retail share off the top, and the customary 25 percent royalty from my publisher on the back-end, my royalty is effectively doubled. It gives me a simple, fair way to cut all the other parts of the value-chain in on my success: because this is a regular retail sale, my publishers get their regular share, likewise my agents. And, it gets me up-to-the-second data about who's buying my books and where.
Amazon is not just threatening bookstores anymore. Turns out, according to Naked Capitalism, Amazon might be putting 12 million non-book retail jobs at risk, too. Amazon's growth is increasing, mall retail stores are collapsing, and Amazon only needs half as many employees as brick-and-mortars.
This tweet is making the rounds:
Kafka's diaries show the real fun side of writing. pic.twitter.com/h7UWC7UFVR— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) March 19, 2017
The longtime owner of Seattle’s only black-owned bookstore, Lem’s Life Enrichment Bookstore, in the Columbia City neighborhood, was laid to rest in a funeral attended by more than 600 people, including local officials and community luminaries, and a large swath of the black community.
If you’re an independent comics creator in the Seattle region, Anne Bean wants to stock you. Bean—a comics writer, indie publisher and freelance writer—is launching Emerald Comics Distribution, a solo operation that will represent and distribute indie comics regionally.
Shelf Awareness celebrates Secret Garden Bookstore's upcoming 40th birthday a few weeks early.
Rare Seattle media job opening alert! Local news site Crosscut is hiring a staff writer.
Seattle Public Library's own David Wright wrote about the best/worst storytime ever over at Literary Hub:
When we opened our new downtown library with its large auditorium, back in 2004, I stood looking up at the empty seats and immediately felt that I needed to do a story time for adults there. Ours is one of the most childless cities in the country. Every library has children’s story time. Don’t adults deserve the same? Our need for story doesn’t go away at a certain age. Not surprisingly, turnout has been good for over a decade, and spinoff programs such as ghost storytelling in bars are standing room only. Last year, I added another narrative element by pairing story readings with screenings of film adaptations in a program I called Page to Screen.
The company is considering a few options, including reopening in another location or focusing solely on its Web business. Also under consideration are the possibilities of adding a coffee shop or wine/beer bar, or services like travel consulting "if we can find a different location that is already set up for these types of activities.... A partnership to share space with an existing café or coffee shop would also be of interest to us."
The UW Press has an outstanding opportunity for a Senior Acquisitions Editor to acquire and transmit 20-25 high-quality trade manuscripts annually for publication for regional and national audiences. Areas for acquisitions will complement the press's existing editorial program in regional and U.S. history and culture, Asian and Asian American studies, environmental history, women's, gender, and sexuality studies, visual culture, and Native and Indigenous studies, with the opportunity to build distinguished lists in other areas.
The University of Washington Press has an outstanding temporary opportunity for a MELLON DIVERSITY FELLOW.... Through this temporary, full-time entry-level position, the Mellon diversity fellow will be immersed in the acquisitions department of a leading scholarly press, working closely with senior acquisitions editors, authors, and projects through the entire acquisitions process. In this experience, the fellow's main role will be to coordinate and support the work of evaluating, developing, and acquiring book-length manuscripts for publication by UW Press.
"A branch of the Seattle Public Library is named after two African-American icons who never set foot in the Pacific Northwest," begins this report by historian Feliks Banel at MyNorthwest.com. The branch in question, of course, is the The Douglass-Truth Library.
It has been life-affirming to see so many writers bless us with some of their first professionally published pieces — women writers of color, trans writers, queer writers, disabled writers — talking about some of the most important issues of the day with actual lived experience. I have loved knowing that every piece is edited with integrity, and that every writer is paid for their labor. To be a member of the founding team of a rare platform that is fair and equitable and treats all writers with respect has given my work more purpose and satisfaction than I could have ever imagined.
Seattle writer Anca Szilagyi announced yesterday that her debut novel, Dirty, will be published by Lanternfish Press "in late 2017 or early 2018." She describes the book as "a magical realist work about a teenage runaway whose father is disappeared during Argentina’s Dirty War."
Tomorrow, to celebrate International Women's Day, Tor.com will publish new flash fiction by a host of great sci-fi authors — including Charlie Jane Anders, Maria Dahvana Headley, Nisi Shawl, Carrie Vaughn, and many more — on the theme "Nevertheless, She Persisted."
Jillian Kay Melchior at Heatstreet writes: "To draw attention to female authors, a Cleveland bookstore celebrated Women’s History Month by turning every male-written book in the fiction room backward on its shelf." Go look at the picture of what the bookstore looked like, now imagine what your shelves would look like if you did the same. Better yet, actually try it on your own bookshelves. It only took Loganberry Books 2 hours to do this with their 10,000 titles.
Headline of the day: "The New Yorker’s new bot will tweet 92 years worth of poetry at you."
Print magazine sales declined 12.4 percent last year. It's not as steep a drop as the year before, but it's still bad news for print media.
Always warms our hearts to see book reviewers start out young:
The Seattle Public Library has announced that they've made public a dataset which "includes a count of checkouts by month of both physical and digital items, and spans from 2005 to the present." You can find that list here.
The Nebula Awards ballot has been announced. We couldn't be more pleased to announce that Seattle Review of Books contributor Nisi Shawl's novel Everfair is on the ballot for best novel. We're bummed to see that Seattle author Cat Rambo's short work "Red in Tooth and Cog" was bumped from the novelette category because it's a little too short to meet the word count.
A novel by Walt Whitman has been discovered. (To quibble: At 36,000 words, it's more of a novella than a novel.) It sounds positively Dickensian:
...Life and Adventures of Jack Engle, is a first-person narrative following an orphan on his journey through New York, which included a full cast of colorful, diabolical money-and-power-hungry characters, as well as “virtuous Quakers” and a “sultry Spanish dancer.” Researchers believe that the work was never reprinted after it was published anonymously in the New York–area newspaper The Sunday Dispatch.
You should apply to be the Mall of America's writer-in-residence.
Sometimes you just need a title to know that you should read something: "Xenu’s Paradox: The Fiction of L. Ron Hubbard and the Making of Scientology
“This offering represents a unique opportunity to invest in a 100% leased property with a stable retail income stream and future development potential located in one of Seattle’s hottest and growing neighborhoods,” the pitch from the Jones Lang LaSalle real estate firm concludes.
"An average of five people are kicked out of Seattle Public Libraries (SPL) each day," Nathalie Graham writes at the South Seattle Emerald. Her full report on SPL's anti-homeless policies is a must-read.
Shockingly, Milo Yiannopolous's agent, who recieves a portion of Yiannopolous's income as a writer, has written an editorial for Publishers Weekly titled "In Defense of Milo Yiannopoulos's Book." Thomas Flannery Jr writes:
When protesters try to silence Milo, when they show up to his events and physically threaten him, or scream and smear fake blood all over themselves, or riot and destroy property, they are using tactics I, as a self-described progressive, have always chided others for using. I won’t stand for it when religious groups try to silence transgender supporters, and I won’t stand for it when so-called progressives try to silence conservative voices.
Regarding the above quote: Flannery is confusing freedom of speech with a right to a platform. Just as Yiannopoulos has a right to speak, protesters have a right to protest him. And if Yiannopoulos threatens students, as he did in Miluaukee colleges have a right to not give him a platform. Remember, while Flannery whines about people raising their voices, it was a Yiannopoulos fan who shot a protester when Yiannopoulos spoke at the University of Washington. So who's doing the intimidating, here? And why should Publishers Weekly have given a platform to someone who is financially vested in Yiannopoulos's success? Maybe it's because Flannery is the only person in the publishing industry willing to stand up for his client?
Video footage of Marcel Proust has been discovered. If In Search of Lost Time was inspired by a cookie, imagine what Proust would have written in response to a clip of archival footage.
I was reading this blog that mocks old library books, and the most recent entry is a sexual health guide for youth written by Dr. Ruth Westheimer. The writer, Holly Hibner, writes, "The cover image attached features an endearing but very old lady who looks way too much like my grandma." The fact that young writers don't know who Dr. Ruth is makes me feel very, very old. One day, Hibner will probably be reading a post written by a young writer mocking one of Dan Savage's books. On that day, she might understand how I feel right now. That is all.
Most comics blogs only cover actual comics news less than a third of the time, Heidi MacDonald at The Beat discovered. The rest of the posts are about "toys, wrestling, video games and what I’d call 'related business news' like conventions, collectibles and human interest."
I loved reading this super-nerdy post tracking the changes of a minor-but-useful spell through the many editions of Dungeons & Dragons.
Seattle comic book store, Comics Dungeon, Inc., has made the change to leave behind its for-profit status to become a fully non-profit corporation.
Comics Dungeon, Inc will be changing its name to Comics for Community, Compassion and Culture, C4C3. “After being part of the community for over 25 years, we wanted our focus to be giving back to the very community that built our success,” said Scott Tomlin, C4C3’s president. The Comics Dungeon retail store name will remain the same.
What kind of asshole lights a Little Free Library on fire?
Here's an opportunity to win free tickets to the Hugo House's Literary Series event this Friday, which features authors Megan Kruse, Angela Flournoy, and Phillip B. Williams, with musical guests Crater.
Third Place Press, the publishing arm of Third Place Books, has compiled the final speeches of President and First Lady Obama into book form. Titled Be Vigilant But Not Afraid: The Farewell Speeches of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, the book costs $7 and proceeds will benefit three very good causes. Find more information on their site.
Virtual reality simulations, talking robots and a magic school bus — this is what happens when a theme park company designs a library.
Landmark Entertainment Group — the company responsible for the Spider-Man and Jurassic Park rides at Universal Orlando and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas — has partnered with the city of Homestead to create the world’s first “Cybrary,” or cyber library.
“We are redefining what the library is,” said George Gretsas, Homestead’s city manager. “When you think about bettering this thing called a library, which has been around since before 300 B.C, do you turn to the library scientists — the librarians — to create a fresh and new thing, or do you turn to people who have expertise in the areas of entertainment and attraction?”
Fantastic Washington DC bookstore Kramerbooks is currently in a state of disarray, with senior management resigning, supposedly in response to the store's new owner.
A London bookshop is tweeting the first Harry Potter book at Piers Morgan.
When will they officially change the name to Department of Edumacation?
Sherman Alexie is sharing a bill with Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Naomi Wachira on Sunday, March 5th at the Showbox on 1st Avenue. This is a fundraiser benefitting Standing Rock and The Water Protector Legal Collective. Sherman Alexie is the only writer in the Northwest who can consistently share a stage with rock stars. This is worth your time, and it benefits a great cause. Buy your tickets now.
Here's a book job that doesn't require you to move to New York City: Seattle-based press Sasquatch Books is hiring a Production Editor! Here (PDF) is the job listing. Applications are due by February 20th. But you probably shouldn't turn in your application on the last day, since editors are deadline-driven. So work on your resume this weekend and get it in on Monday.
Mark Campos at the Seattle Weekly this week contributed a comic strip that pokes fun at that guy who asks those kinds of questions at readings. You know the guy. Yeah, him.
We told you yesterday that the New York Times seems to be removing a number of categories from its popular bestseller list feature. Starting early in February, they won't be publishing bestseller lists for graphic novels, mass market paperbacks, and certain lists for middle readers and young adults.
This story has developed since then.
Alexander Lu at Comics Beat asked the New York Times why this change was happening, and the Times responded that "the discontinued lists did not reach or resonate with many readers." Lu indicates that there may be some anti-comics sentiment inside the Times:
A source indicated to The Beat that Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review, was ultimately responsible for the policy shift. A recent tweet [by Paul] about John Lewis’, Andrew Aydin’s, and Nate Powell’s March began with “hey, kids” and called the comic a “children’s book.”
Week after week, The New York Times best seller lists revealed that the American comics industry is anything but dominated by young adult men and the superhero comics they shove into plastic bags. Last week’s lists — which could now be the last ones The New York Times ever publishes — were topped with Ghosts, a female-led young adult coming-of-age story from perennial Times best seller Raina Tegelmeier, on the paperback side, and a graphic novel adaptation of science fiction grande dame Octavia Butler’s Kindred on the hardcover side.
And Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly has an overview of how the publishing industry was blindsided by this decision, including lots of reaction interviews with publishers. If you only read one piece on all this, read this one.
Look, the newspaper industry is in trouble. Everyone knows it. But I cannot for the life of me figure out why newspaper leadership responds to budget cuts by slashing their arts coverage. The New York Times's Bestseller List is a trusted brand, one that conveys a special status to authors and publishers. It is an asset. For them to cut back on this at the same time that newspapers are trying to emphasize their value is a pretty stupid move.
It's obvious that Pamela Paul has no respect for comics as a medium. (In fact, I'm willing to bet that she considers it a genre and not a medium.) If this was her decision, I have no faith in her leadership at the New York Times. I can't for the life of me understand why you'd make your book review section even more elitist and condescending than it already was; it's like she's actively trying to turn readers away from the Times's book reviews. When they inevitably slice away even more books coverage at the Times, I bet they'll blame it on declining readership. And I also bet none of the blame for that declining readership will fall where it belongs: with Pamela Paul.
Ten writers, including Seattle Review of Books columnist Nisi Shawl, are contributing sepculative dystopian short stories about the Trump administration to Slate. The project was organized by Ben H. Winters, whose Last Policeman trilogy is really one of the most underappreciated sci-fi stories of the last five years. In his introduction to the series, Winters notes that since November 8th "we’ve all read 100 thinkpieces about what the next four years might hold, but fiction has a special power to clarify, galvanize, prophesy, and warn."
Speaking of dystopian fiction and Donald Trump, Penguin just had to publish 75,000 copies of 1984 due to overwhelming demand. Welcome back to the bestseller list, George Orwell.
A biography of Thomas Jefferson by Glenn Beck's favorite historian, the conservative evangelical zealot David Barton, has been disavowed and discontinued by the book's publisher. The book supposedly tried to make the case that Jefferson was an evangelical.
Since its initial publication, historians have debunked and raised concerns about numerous claims in Barton's book. In it, Barton calls Jefferson a "conventional Christian," claims the founding father started church services at the Capitol, and even though he owned more than 200 slaves, says Jefferson was a civil rights visionary..."When the concerns came in, from multiple people, and that had weight too, we were trying to sort things out," said Thomas Nelson Senior Vice President and Publisher Brian Hampton. "Were these matters of opinion? Were they differences of interpretation? But as we got into it, our conclusion was that the criticisms were correct. There were historical details — matters of fact, not matters of opinion, that were not supported at all."
Chuck Palahniuk admits that he came up with the term "special snowflake" in Fight Club, and he's not ashamed of it: "Every generation gets offended by different things but my friends who teach in high school tell me that their students are very easily offended," he says. I didn't think my opinion of Chuck Palahniuk could get any lower, but here we are.
Writers, don't forget to apply for a residency at Mineral School! You say you don't know how to apply for a residency, or even, really, what a residency is? This Sunday, a number of local organizations that host residencies are putting on a panel to discuss residency-related issues. It's at the library downtown, it's free, and it's at 2 pm. Go get your questions answered. Really, who the hell wouldn't want to get out of town for a while?
Melville House appreciates the Merriam-Webster Dictionary for their anti-Trump stance.
Capitol Hill Seattle this morning published a post on the Queer Resurgence on Capitol Hill Poetry Slam Festival, which happens this weekend. Check out the lineup of readers here.
If you missed Tuesday night's event at the central branch of the Seattle Public Library, in which Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore interviewed Sarah Schulman, author of Conflict Is Not Abuse, a video of the event is now available on YouTube:
Indies Forward, which will focus primarily on development, networking, and mentorship, will provide educational programming specifically tailored to new and emerging booksellers, on such topics as personal finance, management, and the economics of bookstores and publishing. The group plans to set up standalone networking events as well as in conjunction with regular industry gatherings so that younger booksellers will have a greater chance of being able to attend.
PEN America just announced their literary awards finalists for the year. It's an impressive array of authors, including Teju Cole, Colson Whitehead, Yaa Gyasi, and Helen Oyeyemi.
And the National Book Critics Circle finalists have been announced. The fiction prize is a face-off between heavyweights: Zadie Smith, Michael Chabon, Ann Patchett, Louise Erdrich, and Adam Haslett. Also, Margaret Atwood is getting a lifetime achievement award.
Entertainment Weekly has collected every book President Obama ever recommended.
Over at the South Seattle Emerald, Alex Garland examines the impact of the Beacon Hill library's closure on the community. The library will be closed for several months for renovations.
Here's Yoshiko Yamamoto's poster for this year's Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair, which happens at Seattle Center on October 15th and 16th:
Spokane's alternative weekly newspaper the Inlander has published a special poetry issue. If you love Northwest poetry, you need to check it out.
Rob Liefeld's ghastly Extreme Comics characters, many of which were published during the creatively bankrupt 1990s superhero comics glut that nearly destroyed the comics industry, have been optioned for a shared universe of superhero movies. I can't think of a better symbol for the oncoming superhero movie malaise than this dispiriting piece of news.
Now that garbage human Milo Yiannopoulos has signed a book deal fora quarter of a million dollars, maybe Yiannopoulos will finally pay out that $100,000 in scholarships for white men that he raised last year? Jack Smith IV at Mic reports that the scholarship hasn't benefitted a single student:
The money, however, has disappeared down a rabbit hole of private bank accounts and apparent shell companies registered to the same address in London. Almost a year since the fund's launch, Yiannopoulos is, for his part, reacting in a manner consistent with previous concerns around the fund's handling: by claiming paperwork for the fund is being processed and that the money will be disbursed at a later date.
Medium, the blogging service that has rapidly become both a popular longread supplement to Twitter and blog hosting platform for sites including The Awl and ThinkProgress, announced massive layoffs and office closures today. Seems they still don't know how to monetize words on the internet. And founder Ev Williams says the service is considering new ways to pay writers for their work, but his comments are so vague that they should provide absolutely no consolation for writers anywhere. Williams writes, "It is too soon to say exactly what this will look like. This strategy is more focused but also less proven." I take this as Silicon Valley-ese for "we have no idea what we're doing."
Bellingham's terrific independent bookstore Village Books is now officially under new management.
It is an honor to be the new owners of Village Books and Paper Dreams. We are thrilled to be in a community that values books as much as we do. We look forward to meeting you! Paul, Kelly and Sarah 📚 #villagebooksandpaperdreams #lynden #bellingham #shoplocal #indiebooks #americanbooksellersassociation #booklovers #bookworm #pnw #giftshop #fairhaven
Mary Ann Gwinn at the Seattle Times says that seven local booksellers from University Book Store, Third Place Books, Elliott Bay Book Company, Liberty Bay Books, Village Books, and Eagle Harbor Book Company have won "bookseller bonuses" from ridiculously wealthy author James Patterson.
Well, here's a disgusting bit of year-end fuckery: Penguin Random House, the large publisher that formed when Penguin merged with Random House, "has derecognised the National Union of Journalists and Unite for collective bargaining with its management," according to The Bookseller, which reports the move has left staff "nervous." Over 140 authors have signed a letter asking Penguin Random House to rethink this anti-labor position. All readers, authors, librarians, and booksellers should stand with Penguin Random House's union; we need more unions in this world, and if the somewhat civilized leaders of the publishing industry can't recognize the dignity of their employees, what hope does that offer anyone else?
E-book news site Tele-Read has recently stopped paying freelancers and so it is now running less news. Publisher David Rothman blames Google and Facebook for "siphon[ing] ads from us and burden[ing] us with bureaucratic requirements" for photos and content.
You should read Kevin Nguyen's year-end roundup and complaint about literary whiteness at the Millions. A taste:
...if you think Book Twitter is white, try going to a book event. These are almost exclusively white spaces, and being a person of color in them has become increasingly anxiety inducing. You drink with familiar people and strangers and just wait for someone to say something kinda fucked up to ruin your night. Just because my last name is Nguyen doesn’t mean I want to talk about Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer. I am not interested in hearing you talk about how attractive an Asian-American debut novelist is. And for the last time, as much as I love Ed Park, we really, really do not look alike.
It's the beginning of book list season, which is a holiday that I must admit kind of befuddles me. I'm not a list-maker. I find lists to be very unsatisfying. But many of you like them, and that is, of course, okay. I'd like to direct your attention to two of the biggest lists of the season: The New York Public Library has published its list of the top books for kids and teens and the New York Times published their 100 Notable Books of 2016. If you like your lists to be shorter and more local, the Seattle Public Library has published a terrific list of three "Bus Reads for November." I'm not going to link to every list on this site, but I'll make note of the especially worthy ones in days to come.
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has announced that he's producing a TV and movie series based on the popular Kingkiller Chronicle fantasy trilogy.
An Amazon employee leapt from a building on the online booksellers' South Lake Union campus yesterday after emailing a number of Amazon employees including founder Jeff Bezos. The person is in medical care with "non-threatening injuries."
“He’s got a really good mix of humanity and science, unlike some writers,” said Ellen Datlow, the editor who acquired “Tower of Babylon,” the first story of Mr. Chiang’s to be published, for Omni magazine in 1990.
While we're talking about Seattle-area writers, Electric Lit published a long interview with Elissa Washuta that you should read.
So this is kind of creepy: according to GeekWire, at Amazon's brick-and-mortar bookstore, you're apparently only able to buy books on discount if you're an Amazon Prime customer. If you're not on Prime, you pay full list price.
Greta Van Susteren has a bad opinion about the cost of colleges. Rather than cutting the ridiculously expensive stadiums or coaches' salaries, she seems to think libraries are making colleges too damn expensive:
Colleges should stop building vanity projects like huge libraries and billing students-full libraries are on our smartphones! https://t.co/QBeVKZvIKZ— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) October 31, 2016
Moss, the excellent free Northwest-centric literary magazine, is offering $20 annual subscriptions through Patreon, which gets you an annual print edition and early access to each quarterly issue of the magazine. This is absolutely a steal. Give if you can.
You have until Halloween to apply for the Jack Straw Artist Residency programs, which teach artists how to better use sound as a medium. Most writers are, sad to say, terrible readers of their own work. A program like Jack Straw immediately gives writers an edge over the competition by teaching them how to present their work in a reading, radio, or podcast setting. The writers program curator this year is poet and essayist Jourdan Imani Keith, who it is safe to say knows a thing or two about reading work aloud. Get your applications in by 5 pm on the 31st.
Penguin wrongly lost confidence in the power of the printed word and invested “unwisely” amid the rise of eBooks, one of the company’s bosses has admitted.
Mark Haddon joins the list of big-name authors who are making a case against buying books on Amazon.
It's kind of hilarious that the Nobel Committee can't get a hold of Bob Dylan.
This poem by Joe Turrent is not extremely successful, but it is interesting: it's an erasure by way of Microsoft Word's "track changes" feature.
Now the Pulitzer Prize is open to magazines in all categories. Formerly, only newspapers were eligible for many of the categories. Get ready for the New Yorker and the New York Times to go head-to-head forever.
This comic-strip reimagining of Watchmen is perhaps the best thing I've seen on Twitter this month. (Thanks to SRoB tipper @E_Steven for the tip.)
holy shit pic.twitter.com/0GylRxl9RV— FINDOM EARLE (@thrusticus) October 18, 2016
Novelist Brit Bennett, whose new novel The Mothers is one of the most buzzed-about books of the fall, wrote a guest post for Seattle Public Library about the importance of libraries in her life.
Speaking of the Seattle Public Library, librarian Misha Stone was on KING 5 the other day talking about book clubs. — what makes book clubs work, what books book clubs are reading these days, and so on It's definitely worth your time:
The past few decades have been challenging for independent bookstores, with each decade seeming to bring on a new threat: First, there were the huge chains that dominated the retail landscape. Then, there was the shift to online shopping, followed by the invention of electronic–reading devices. And now, the entry of Amazon into brick-and-mortar territory with its first store in Seattle. Yet despite some trepidation expressed by area booksellers leading up to Amazon’s store opening last year, the indie scene here is undergoing a quiet renaissance, as evidenced by the spring opening of Third Place Books in Seward Park, bookstore buyouts and one of the most successful Independent Bookstore Days the city has experienced.
Speaking of Amazon and brick-and-mortar stores: is Amazon really getting into the convenience store business? Apparently, the online retailer is planning on shops that would function like the"bodegas and convenience stores found in larger cities, offering customer the ability to quickly purchase both perishable and non-perishable products, like milk, meats, peanut butter, and other items." It's unclear if they'd carry books, too.
Here's a time-lapse video of the New York Public Library's Reading Room as staff prepare it for its grand re-opening after renovations:
Flavorwire reports on a Publishers Weekly report on the publishing industry. The bottom line: "Publishing Makes 'Little Progress' in Diversity, Remains Extremely White." This is not good enough.
And there's more bad news in the PW report, including the fact that women in publishing are still paid less than men. Boo.
This came in too late for me to add to the readings calendar this week, but you should be advised that the Words West reading series will take place tomorrow night at C&P Coffee Company in West Seattle. The very special guests at this reading will be Tod Marshall, Washington State's Poet Laureate, and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who will share her favorite poem.This reading will also debut "a new library featuring a book by every author who has read at WordsWest." This is a super-cool idea.
Do you know any teenagers who love making comics? You should direct them to the All City Comics Club, which is hosted by local comics superstar David Lasky and which takes place at the Bureau of Fearless Ideas. Here, have a flier:
Wordstock, Portland's annual literary festival, has announced their 2016 lineup, which will take place on November 5th. Highlights include Seattle authors like Maria Semple, Lindy West, and Sherman Alexie, along with national authors like Colson Whitehead, Yaa Gyasi, and Nicholson Baker.
I interviewed director Jeff Feuerzeig onstage at SIFF this summer about his new documentary Author: The JT LeRoy Story. One of the questions I asked had to do with the many phone calls in the documentary: Laura Albert, who pretended to be an author named JT LeRoy for years, recorded all her phone calls, seemingly without the other callers' permission. Many of those recordings are in the film. I didn't record the onstage interview so I don't have Feuerzeig's response handy, but he stood by his film and his treatment of the recordings. This New York Times story indicates that others are unhappy with the very existence of the tapes:
For some people who reviewed transcripts from “Author” provided by The New York Times, the revelation years after the fact that Ms. Albert had been covertly recording phone calls was yet another deception in a trail of mendacity that extended to the late 1990s and early 2000s, when JT LeRoy published “Sarah,” a novel about a 12-year-old truck-stop prostitute, and “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things,” linked short stories about an abused boy.
For what it's worth, I was not especially impressed with Author. I thought it was one-sided to the point of almost being a hagiography of Albert. Feuerzeig defended his movie in the interview, referring to it as New Journalism in the style of Tom Wolfe.
Spokane author Kate Lebo published a wonderful essay about gentrification in Seattle on The Rumpus over the weekend. It's titled "Twenty-Three Pieces of the Sunset Bowl" and you should read it. We ran an interview with Lebo on Seattle's many changes last year.