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Book News Roundup: Booing Crumb

An all-star team including Macklemore and Garfield High educator and activist Jesse Hagopian has come together to make sure copies of Teaching for Black Lives — “a handbook for creating the sweeping reform of our education system and equitable teaching strategies for Black students”– are in every middle and high school in the Seattle Public School system.

Book News Roundup: Spokane alt-weekly to publish serialized novel

  • Spokane alt-weekly The Inlander (where, full disclosure, I worked as a freelancer for a few years) has announced an exciting new development. Starting tomorrow, they'll be publishing serialized installments of Miller Cane, a new novel by Sam Ligon. Congratulations to The Inlander for rethinking the idea of what an alt-weekly can and should do.

  • In sadder alt-weekly news, the owners of the Missoula Independent closed the paper down suddenly yesterday.

[Independent owner] Lee [Enterprises] Regional Human Relations Director Jim Gaasterland told Independent staff in a message Tuesday the company closed the newspaper that day and to schedule an appointment to retrieve any personal belongings.
  • Third Place Books has announced a whole new events staff, including a brand-new position called "children's books outreach manager," which will "coordinate programming and events for young readers, both in schools and in-store."

  • Hey, here's some Amazon news that isn't terrible for literature in general for a change: the online retailer has stopped selling nine self-published books by the atrocious "Men's Rights Activist" known as Roosh. The books are often characterized as "how-to manuals for sexual predators." Roosh does still have several books online. Before you whine about freedom of speech, please recall that Roosh is perfectly capable of selling his books by himself. Amazon didn't owe him a platform, and it's awful that they allowed him to sell his books for as long as they did.

Book News Roundup: Type Set is hiring, Richard Chiem's novel has a pretty cover

  • On her Facebook page, Mayor Durkan last night eulogized B. Bailey Books and Bailey/Coy Books cofounder Barbara Bailey. Durkan praised Bailey for creating "nationally beloved independent book stores" which served as "safe and welcoming spaces for the LGBTQ+ community." She continues:
In Barbara’s bookstores, there was no shame and nothing secret or hidden – “our” books were placed prominently next to all the New York Times best sellers. Barb warmly welcomed everyone to the store, often loudly with a laugh, a hearty greeting or an exclamation about the latest political outrage.
  • Type Set, the writer-centric coworking space in Columbia City, is looking for a community and social media manager to manage member relations, work at the front desk, engage with social media, and plan events. It's a part-time gig, starting at 15 hours a week or so.

  • The cover of Seattle writer Richard Chiem's debut novel, King of Joy, is goddamned beautiful:

  • These useful lessons for authors who are reading their own audiobooks could also apply just as easily for authors who are learning how to read their own work aloud in public.

Book News Roundup: We've got some world-class translators here in Washington State

People experiencing homelessness are as reliant on phones as any housed person, perhaps more so. People have to call in to remain on waiting lists for housing and check in with shelters at night. The directory to connect people to services — 2-1-1 — is available by phone.

The phones are limited. Users are restricted to 10-minute calls to local numbers — numbers with the area code 206 and some 425 and 253 numbers — and while patrons can make calls, they cannot receive them.

  • Seattle writer G. Willow Wilson's comic series Ms. Marvel has officially sold a half-million copies in trade paperback. That's a lot of comics.

  • Because the Nobel Prize in Literature was stained by a truly gross sexual harassment scandal this year, someone has launched a "new Nobel Literature Prize." Unlike the, uh, old Nobel, this committee announced a shortlist of Haruki Murakami, Neil Gaiman, Kim Thúy, and Maryse Condé. The winner will be announced in the middle of October.

  • If your long weekend started early, you might have missed the news that the Village Voice has officially folded. Except for a few stragglers in big cities, alt-weeklies are pretty much dead in America.

Book News Roundup: The most uninviting library in Seattle?

  • Meghan Walker at MyBallard reports that the Ballard branch of the Seattle Public Library has "installed metal bars" around the library to discourage homeless people from loitering. Walker quotes Kip Roberson, the library's manager, as saying the changes were made in "an effort to make the space around the library inviting to everyone.” Uh...guess homeless people don't count as "everyone" in the library's eyes?

  • Susan Fried at the South Seattle Emerald has a great report back from this year's edition of the Seattle Urban Book Expo.

  • Seattle comics publisher Fantagraphics is running a big Back to School sale, meaning you can stock up on Peanuts books at a big discount.

  • As part of their annual micro-chapbook series, Ghost City Press is offering All Spells Are Strong Here by Catherine Garbinsky, a collection of poems created out of erasures from the work of Ursula K. Le Guin.

I’d always wanted to do a space opera type story with alien life forms that have certain things in common with us and other things not. I wanted a space to explore very big questions in an epic comic book format, questions about the difference between faith and religion, about the way in which the things that we buy come to define who we are. This is very much a story that I think – even though it’s set in a galaxy far, far away – people will be able to relate to on a lot of levels, because it does tie into a lot of the things that we’re talking about right now in the wider culture.
  • The Verge is making a special "1.5 edition" of writer Sarah Jeong's 2015 book about online harassment, The Internet of Garbage, available for free. Jeong, who formerly wrote for The Verge, was recently hired as an editorial writer for the New York Times. After that announcement was made, she immediately was the target of a disingenuous backlash campaign from right-wing trolls.

Book News Roundup: Residencies and jobs and himpathy

  • Jack Straw Cultural Center is now accepting applications for its artist residency series. Curator Kathleen Flenniken will choose a group of local writers who are eager to learn how to present their work orally — as public speakers and as audio recording performers. If you've ever thought about improving your reading skills, you should apply to this program.

  • And for the first time in a while, Jack Straw is hosting two workshops to discuss the artist residency program and to help artists with their applications. The 2018 curator, Daemond Arrindell, will host a workshop on Sunday, September 16th at 11 am. And Flenniken will host a workshop on Saturday, October 6th at 2 pm. Visit Jack Straw's site for more details.

  • Hooray for great Seattle poet and Seattle Review of Books contributor EJ Koh!

Book News Roundup: Eroyn Franklin retires from Short Run, Lindy West's TV show gets picked up by Hulu

Two big bits of news!

  • Yesterday, Short Run announced that a cofounder, cartoonist Eroyn Franklin, was retiring from the organization in order to focus on her comics work. This is not the end of Short Run by a long shot: in fact, as Franklin writes in her farewell note, it's a new beginning for the organization:
A year ago, [Short Run cofounder] Kelly [Froh] and I started planning a strategy that ensured the continuation of Short Run under Kelly’s leadership. We have carefully selected a new and active board of directors who share our vision for Short Run and who will help Kelly carry the organization into its next phase. If you love what we built and want to make sure it thrives, please continue to support Kelly and Short Run as you always have. Without me, Short Run will survive, but without all of you, it won’t. Offer what you can—time, money, energy, and participation in Short Run events will help keep the organization and the community we’ve built together fueled and going strong.
  • In weeks to come, I'll be talking to Franklin about what's next for her and what leaving Short Run was like, and I'll also be talking with the new Short Run board members about what they have planned for the organization as it moves ahead. Stay tuned.

  • Yesterday, news broke that Hulu bought a six-episode season of Shrill, a sitcom based on Lindy West's memoir of the same name. Saturday Night Live star Aidy Bryant will be starring in the show, which is filming this summer. Bryant will star as a journalist named Annie, which means the show is presumably based in part on the sections of Shrill that were set at Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger (where, full disclosure, I worked with Lindy for a few years.) Hedwig and the Angry Inch writer/director/star John Cameron Mitchell is costarring on the show. This is going to be good.

Book News Roundup: Digging in the backlist

  • This is not strictly book-related, but if you belong to the local-news subReddit called r/SeattleWA, you should know that the moderators are horrendous racists and apparently not good people. Some former SeattleWA members have started a new subReddit called r/SeaWA.

  • The entire archive of The Believer is now online and available to read for free. For about four years there, from 2004 - 2008, The Believer was the best literary magazine in the world. The organization has changed hands in recent years, from McSweeney's to the Black Mountain Institute. Perhaps under new and reinvigorated leadership it will regain its crown. (And if you're looking for a local angle, you should know that former Hugo House operations director Kristen Radtke is the art director and deputy publisher of The Believer.)

  • Need a good book recommendation or twelve? You should dive into this Twitter thread of books from the last ten years that were grossly underrated:

  • Related: I've always been bummed that books, which are a relatively sturdy communication method, have such a short "shelf" life. That is to say that books, like movies, are launched into the world to some media buzz and then they succeed or fail, only to be forgotten when the next crop of new books arrives. It doesn't have to be this way. We should all try harder to dig into backlist, to uncover those books that didn't get the appreciation they deserved on publication.

  • A "spectacular" ancient library "that may have housed up to 20,000 scrolls" has been unearthed in Cologne.

Book News Roundup: Hugo House brings on new Fellows, Town Hall is hiring an election correspondent

Town Hall does not require false-equivalency or “both-sides-ism” journalism. We appreciate and understand that applicants will have values and points of view. These are entirely appropriate as long as they are disclosed. This is not, however, an advocacy-journalism opportunity and applicants must not be affiliated with a specific campaign on the 2018 ballot, and must be willing to fairly and accurately engage with different points of view.
  • The 2018-19 Made at Hugo House Fellows are Courtney Bird, Emily Dhatt, Emily Dhatt, Kim Kent, Katrina Otuonye, and (SRoB contributor) Dujie Tahat. The Made at Hugo program brings together promising writers and offers them full access to the House's full range of resources — from classes to events — and encourages them to work together as a peer group to develop their work. Read more about all the fellows here.

  • Over the weekend, a dumb online magazine that allows any dipshit to publish an article with them ran a horrible clickbait piece about libraries. I'm not going to link to the article — or a cache of the article, since it was eventually removed because it was so dumb — but I am going to link to two great local defenses of libraries. First, Curbed Seattle published a great account of every service that the Seattle Public Library provides. Second, Seattle Magazine wrote about SPL's transition to a digital age. Please read those pieces, and please don't read clickbait that assholes post to the internet. To some dishonorable publishers out there, hate-clicks count as real clicks, so they keep diving deeper towards the bottom of what's considered acceptable in public discourse in order to keep their advertisers happy. Please stop clicking, stop referring to them by publication name, and stop talking about them.

  • There was not a lot of actual news out of the San Diego Comicon last weekend. But here's a local-angle story you might have missed: Fantagraphics is bringing back the print edition of its comics criticism magazine, the Comics Journal. This is the magazine that introduced me to the idea of literary criticism back when I was a kid. So now you know who to blame! Hopefully, CJ will do a better job of representation this time around; the magazine was always pretty bro-y, back in the day.

Book News Roundup: New distribution models

  • Seattle comics writer G. Willow Wilson is publishing a new comics series titled Invisible Kingdom with Berger Books, a division of Dark Horse Comics. Berger Books, of course, is the imprint run by longtime DC Comics editor Karen Berger. (I read and loved one of their first titles, Incognegro.) Invisible Kingdom is a collaboration with artist Christian Ward. The Hollywood Reporter describes it as...
The story of two women in a distant galaxy — one a fighter pilot, the other a religious acolyte — who uncover a conspiracy connecting the galaxy’s dominant religion and corporation, Invisible Kingdom sees Wilson return to creator-owned original comic book work for the first time since her 2008 series Air — which was edited by Berger.

Book News Roundup: A new writer in residence at Hugo House, City Arts gets a new home.

  • The Hugo House announced yesterday that their newest prose writer-in-residence is Kristen Millares Young:
Co-organizer of the inaugural Seattle’s Writers Resist at Town Hall and co-founder and board chair of InvestigateWest, an award-winning nonprofit news studio known for creative storytelling, Young brings multidisciplinary skills and knowledge to Hugo House along with her experience as a creative writing instructor.
  • Speaking of Young, she will publish her very first novel in 2020 through Red Hen Press. City Arts published an excerpt of the upcoming book back in 2013.

  • Speaking of City Arts, J Seattle at Capitol Hill Seattle reports that the magazine will be breaking out of its former Greenwood offices and moving to the Cloud Room coworking space on Capitol Hill. J Seattle points out that they're joining a two-block radius packed full of media outlets

Book News Roundup: Third Place Books customers raise nearly $7500 for RAICES

  • Oh for the love of God let's start with some good news. Last week, Third Place Books announced that they'd donate 20 percent of all sales to reuinite families at the border. That went really, really well:
  • Last weekend, Seattle's newest comic book convention, the Ace Comic Con, happened in SoDo. The Beat's Joe Grunenwald reports on how it went. Sounds like the show was more pop-culture focused than Emerald City Comicon, but it was still fun, though there were some scheduling SNAFUs with big panels featuring actors from the Marvel movies.

  • Why is Tao Lin's new book Trip on bestseller lists? Does the literary world have a collective amnesia problem? Jakob Maier at BuzzFeed points out that Lin has a problematic past.

Readers new to Tao Lin’s work (he has previously published three novels, two collections of poetry, one book of short stories, one novella, and a volume of selected tweets) might not be aware that the success of Trip could be considered an example of the kind of comeback story we might get accustomed to if we don’t hold to account the men accused of abuse or harassment during the #MeToo movement... I’m thinking especially about Tao Lin’s seemingly easy and uncontested return, after he was accused in 2014 of statutory rape, emotional abuse, and plagiarism.
  • This is nice:
  • The Association for Library Service to Children changed the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. The ALSC argued that Ingalls Wilder's work contains "expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness." Of course people in comments have lots of opinions about this. WE ARE ERASING HISTORY, they bellow. (Not true. History is still there. I checked.) They cry, WHO WILL WE SILENCE NEXT? (Tao Lin, hopefully.) They shout SO MUCH FOR THE TOLERANT LEFT! (Tolerance hasn't done us much good so far.) You can whine about freedom of speech all you want, but the fact is that the ALSC is a private organization, and if they don't want to give an award in the name of an author who does not meet their modern standards, that's perfectly fine. If your organization wants to give out the Adolf Hitler Award for Excellent Customer Service, that's your right. It would be my right to organize protests against your idiotically named customer service award. See? That's how America works!

Book News Roundup: Third Place Books to donate 20 percent of all sales tomorrow to RAICES

  • This Saturday, all three Third Place Books locations will be donating 20 percent of all sales "to help reunite families separated at the US-Mexico border." Their charity of choice is the RAICES Family Reunification and Bond Fund, and of course you could donate to the organization directly. But if there are any books you've been meaning to pick up lately, this is a great opportunity to help a good cause while you do so.

  • Amazon employees have circulated a letter to Jeff Bezos demanding that Amazon stop providing facial-recognition software to law enforcement agencies.

Our company should not be in the surveillance business; we should not be in the policing business; we should not be in the business of supporting those who monitor and oppress marginalized populations.
  • Congratulations to SRoB columnist Nisi Shawl! We can't wait to read the sequel to Everfair.
  • Former Seattle poet Eric McHenry is searching newspaper archives for mentions of poets and posting the results on Instagram:

Book News Roundup: LeVar Burton reads Nisi Shawl

  • Do you want to hear LeVar Burton read a short story by Seattle author (and SRoB contributor) Nisi Shawl in front of a live Seattle audience? Of course you do! You can find it on Burton's podcast feed, or you can listen through this embed:
...on [Wattpad,] a site usually dedicated to painting innocent fantasies about being Harry Styles’s girlfriend, teens and preteens are living through a culture so dominated by guns that fears of their schools going on lockdown and fantasies of martyring themselves to save their friends have seeped into the stories they tell.

Book News Roundup: Don't stand by your man

  • Seattle-area lit mag Word Lit Zine editor-in-chief Jekeva Phillips had this to say about her relationship with Junot Diaz, who has been accused of sexual assault: "As fans we fall in love with the work—a book, tv show, character, an album— and because we feel so close to that work we transfer those feelings to its creator. When that creator fucks up, he/she takes away that joy for the fans."

  • Yesterday, the Boston Review, which employs Diaz as a fiction editor, decided to stand by their man:

  • Well, that's certainly a choice. But I prefer the choice of Boston Review's poetry editors, who all quit when Boston Review announced they were keeping Diaz on staff:
  • We support the New Yorker staff union. If you agree, and if you subscribe to the New Yorker, you should definitely send a little card or email to let the magazine know about your support of the union. Magazines simply can't afford to take their subscribers' wishes lightly these days.

  • Amazon-owned Comixology, which was previously a storefront for e-comics, recently announced they were going to publish their own original comics, thereby competing with traditional comics companies. The Beat looks into what this means for the comics industry.. And Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds published a Twitter thread this week talking about his concerns.

  • If I had any advice for comics shops and comics publishers, it'd be this: don't ever trust Amazon. Don't let your guard down for a second. They will get as close to you as possible and they will stab you right in between the ribs. Expect them to try to fuck you over in brilliant and inventive ways. That's literally their business model. If you believe I'm being hyperbolic, I urge you to look at their entire history to date.

  • That said, the Amazon-produced 11-episode adaptation of Colson Whitehead's Underground Railroad is going to be entirely directed by Moonlight's Barry Jenkins and it's probably going to be amazing.

  • Congratulations to the winners of this year's Lambda Literary Awards, including Roxane Gay and Emil Ferris!

  • This hedge fund is trying to break into literature by "tak[ing] what we know about hedge fund management and apply[ing] it to literature and the creation of a new generation of best-selling novelists." Gross!

Book News Roundup: The Bill Gates Book Club is now in session

  • Here's a friendly reminder that the Seattle City of Literature party is happening tonight at the downtown library. If you're not sure why this is a big deal, Brangien Davis, the arts and culture writer at Crosscut, interviewed me about why I believe Seattle's UNESCO Creative Cities status is so important.

  • Vladimir Verano, who created the Third Place Press shingle at Third Place Books, has struck out on his own. His new design and consulting firm, VertVolta Design & Press, will work with authors to create self-published books of professional quality. Send him an email for more information.

  • As per annual tradition, Bill Gates has released his top 5 books for summer reading. In this hugely overproduced video, Gates says he admires Abraham Lincoln "and the tough things he faced." I kid, but the books he selects are all pretty good:

  • Meanwhile, great Seattle teacher and activist Jesse Hagopian has a suggestion or two for Bill's Book Club:
  • It looks like Amazon's e-comics sales and distribution platform, Comixology, is getting into the comics publishing business. They've got a big announcement coming on June 1st, and Heidi MacDonald at The Beat seems to think they've signed up some big-name creators to produce work for them. Amazon hasn't really made much of a dent in traditional publishing with their in-house presses, but the comics industry has been held hostage by a monopolistic distribution model for decades now. Could Amazon take over the comics industry by bypassing comics shops? I'd give them pretty good odds.

Book News Roundup: Ebooks run amuck

  • Are you familiar with The Humble Bundle, which sells online items — often games or pieces of software — for charity? The current Humble Bundle features up to $445 worth of sci-fi ebooks to celebrate the 2018 Nebula Awards. You can buy various tiers of books starting at a buck, but I'd urge you to splurge on the $20 or more bundle, which includes some great books including James Morrow's Only Begotten Daughter, which is one of my most-loved reading experiences of all time. And when we're talking about books that I love, this bundle also features Carol Emshwiller's The Mount, which is a favorite reading experience of mine.

  • How are ebooks really selling? According to Quartz's Thu-Thuong Ha, the answer is complicated, and it involves Amazon's shitty business practices.

  • Speaking of Amazon, it looks like they're shutting down Kindle Worlds, which was supposed to be an officially sanctioned fan-fiction outlet for intellectual property including Veronica Mars, GI Joe, and, weirdly, the works of Kurt Vonnegut.

  • Anyone know where I can find a copy of this book?

Book News Roundup: New seasons from Seattle Arts & Lectures and Book-It

  • Last night, Seattle Arts and Lectures announced a large part of their 2018-2019 season, which opens this fall. It's a pretty fantastic collection of big names (Doris Kearns Goodwin, Barbara Kingsolver) and hot contemporary authors (Tayari Jones, author of the Oprah-approved An American Marriage) and up-and-coming authors (Valeria Luiselli). They'll also host a special series to investigate and celebrate journalism, with guests including Van Jones and newspapermen Dean Baquet and Marty Baron. Upcoming poets include Alice Walker (!!) and Solmaz Sharif and Ilya Kaminsky. Read more and order tickets through SAL's website.

  • Book-It Repertory Theatre's 2018-2019 season has also been announced, and upcoming plays include Jane Eyre, My Ántonia, and American Junkie. Read more on Book-It's site.

  • As you likely have seen by now, Amazon is holding the city's economy hostage in order to protest the City Council's proposed head tax on big business. The tax, which would only be levied on the largest companies in Seattle, would likely cost Amazon 20 to 25 million dollars a year. Jeff Bezos reportedly makes 25 million dollars every two hours. Over at the South Seattle Emerald, an editor's note suggests that the city should call Amazon's bluff. I agree. Amazon has inspired a large share of this city's growing pains; it's time they pay for the solutions to the problems they've caused.

  • Here's a good interview with Seattle author Charles Johnson, whose new book of short stories, Night Hawks, is out this month.

  • Seattle Pacific University is hosting an all-day publishing bootcamp this Saturday. More information here.

  • There are scholarships available for a June class about writing inclusive fiction taught by K. Tempest Bradford and Seattle Review of Books columnist Nisi Shawl. Get on that.

  • Yeah, now everyone is on the "save Barnes & Noble" train. I agree that it would be calamitous for this country if Barnes & Noble went out of business, but I'm not sure anything can be done to save the chain now. They seem to be swallowing their own tail; I've seen too many bookstores start this death spiral to be too hopeful for the future of Barnes & Noble.

Book News Roundup: Today in books on TV...

  • This morning, the King County Library System announced that they would be producing a new monthly show titled King County Reads airing on King County TV. As the Kent Reporter writes:
“King County Reads” episodes will be taped at many of the 48 community libraries throughout the area. The program showcases topics related to reading, including author interviews, library programs, digital reading resources and book recommendations.
Jonathan Majors (Hostiles) is set as the lead opposite Jurnee Smollett-Bell in HBO’s high-profile straight-to-series drama Lovecraft Country, from Oscar winner Jordan Peele and his Monkeypaw Productions, J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, Misha Green and Warner Bros Television.
  • The Seattle Public Library's Shelf Talk blog lists some of May's most celebrated literary holidays. Did you know that May has a whole day to honor the limerick? And that this month has a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-themed holiday?

  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced in an interview that he's so rich — as the world's first triple-digit billionaire — that he can only think of one thing to do with his money: "“The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel,” Bezos said in the interview. Ann Eleven at Electric Literature offers up some alternate ideas for Bezos to spend his cash on, including housing the homeless, funding libraries, and providing clean water to Flint, Michigan. Also, I offered up an alternate idea on Twitter:

Book News Roundup: Get Moss, Talk to Books, and guess how much e-book sales dropped by last year

In Talk to Books, when you type in a question or a statement, the model looks at every sentence in over 100,000 books to find the responses that would most likely come next in a conversation. The response sentence is shown in bold, along with some of the text that appeared next to the sentence for context.
  • I asked Talk to Books some book-centric questions. Here are some answers:

  • And for fun: