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Book News Roundup: Apply now to be Redmond's Poet Laureate

Book News Roundup: Amazon has too much money to spend

  • Congratulations to Tim Lennon, who was announced as the Executive Director of LANGSTON, a new Seattle nonprofit that will "guide programming intended to strengthen and advance community through Black arts and culture." I worked with Lennon at Elliott Bay Book Company right after he moved to town in 2001 and we've been friends ever since, so I can't claim any objectivity, but his career in the years since — at One Reel, heading up Vera Project, working at the Office of Arts & Culture — demonstrates that he'll be excellent at this. I look forward to seeing what LANGSTON contributes to Seattle's arts and literary communities. Lennon starts in January of next year. And if this post didn't have enough conflict-of-interest in it for you already, the best account in local media of Lennon's new job is from my old associate Brendan Kiley at the Seattle Times.

  • Kirkus interviewed Chin Music Press editor Cali Kopczick about the trends she's spotted in publishing, what manuscripts she'd never like to see again, and what's unique about Seattle's Chin Music.

  • Yesterday, Amazon's television division paid a crazy amount of money to make a Lord of the Rings prequel TV show. There's not much information about this, but the deal is so huge that it seems to be tempting fate:

In its quest to launch a hit fantasy series of the Game of Thrones caliber, Amazon has closed a massive deal — said to be close to $250 million — to acquire global TV rights to The Lord of the Rings, based on the fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. The streaming service has given a multi-season commitment to a LOTR series in the pact, which also includes a potential spinoff series.
  • I dunno about you, but when I see a quarter-of-a-billion deal with multi-season franchise commitments, I think of the recent collapse of Universal's awful "Dark Universe" megafranchise, and then I think of an old cliche about counting baby chicks before they hatch. And then I think of all the people living under bridges in this city and I start to feel queasy.

  • The comics industry is going through its own sexual harassment crisis, and Heidi MacDonald at the Beat has been keeping good track of it all. Hopefully when we get to the other side of all this and the predators have been shaken out, we'll see a more inclusive, less white-male-centric comics industry.

  • And if you think the children's book industry is free from sexual harassment, you should read this thread:

Book News Roundup: Don't forget to vote

My second novel, The Bird King, has been sold to Grove/Atlantic. You’ll be hearing a lot more about it from me in the coming months, so for now I’ll just say this: it’s set in 15th century Spain and those of you who’ve been pining for more genies ought to be pleased.
  • This is pretty cool: Hugo House and the Poetry Foundation are joining forces with poet Natalie Diaz to put on a series called "Poetry Across the Nations, a new community outreach program facilitated by Native women, on December 6–8." The series will eventually move to South Dakota and Arizona, but it starts here first. Events include poetry workshops for the Squamish community and indigenous writers, as well as a reading of indigenous writers at FRED Wildlife Refuge on Thursday, December 7th. We'll have more information about the series in the coming weeks.

  • The Seattle Office of Emergency Management has a book club! Tomorrow night, they're meeting at the Rainier Beach library to discuss Sheri Fink's excellent account of a hospital during Hurricane Katrina, Five Days at Memorial. You can RSVP for the book club right here.

  • For god's sake, people: vote! Get your ballot to a mailbox or a drop box today. If you need guidance on the issues, here's a great meta-cheat-sheet that incorporates all of the local endorsements.

Book News Roundup: The Georgetown Steam Plant has its official cartoonist biographers

Book News Roundup: Three tweets

Tweet #1: Here's the beginning of an important thread about why libraries matter now more than ever:

Tweet #2: Here's a fantastic little artifact from Seattle comics history:

Tweet #3: I don't know if it's real or not, but this book cover is 12th-dimensional-chess levels of bad.

Book News Roundup: Third Place Books will donate 20 percent of sales on Saturday to Puerto Rico relief

  • Got a press release from Third Place Books yesterday that deserves a signal boost. Here are the opening paragraphs:

This Saturday (10/21/17), Third Place Books will donate 20 percent of sales at all three of its store locations (Laker Forest Park, Ravenna, and Seward Park) to relief efforts in Puerto Rico, which has been devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Proceeds will go to Unidos Disaster Relief Fund, sponsored by the Hispanic Federation, an organization that Consumer Reports says “has been reviewed and received high ratings from two of the watchdogs, Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance.”

  • Related to bookstores providing relief in natural disasters: bookstores in California are providing shelter to wildfire refugees.

  • Of all the reasons to pull a book from a school, "It makes people uncomfortable" is maybe the worst. The book? To Kill a Mockingbird. The school? It's in Biloxi, Mississippi.

  • This Wall Street Journal story about the decline of e-book sales and the smartening-up of physical book publishers is a feel-good story for people who love physical books. But it's important to remember that everything is not hunky-dory in booksville. Chain retailers are disappearing. Publishers are merging and re-merging and swallowing each other up to the point where we might have a corporate publishing monopoly in the next decade or so. I hate to rain on the parade, but now is not the time for a victory lap. Now is the time to be vigilant.

Book News Roundup: Media news, festival lineups, a scam, and something beautiful

  • Seattle Media news, part one: Capitol Hill Seattle blog, which went on a hiatus last year, is now up and running again, with a staff and everything! (Joining CHS founder Justin Carder are photographer Alex Garland and great Seattle reporter Kelsey Hamlin.) CHS is looking for 2000 subscribers to put a few dollars a month into their Patreon account to pay for the work they do.

  • Seattle Media news, part two: Ana Sofia Knauf, formerly neighborhood reporter at The Stranger, is now at Seattle-area newsletter The Evergrey.

  • The full Lit Crawl lineup just became available on their website. Highlights include EILEEN MYLES. And a lot more that we'll talk about in the coming days and weeks. But, really: EILEEN MYLES.

  • The full lineup of this year's Short Run Comix & Arts Festival has been released. Aside from the always-amazing convention floor show, highlights include panels featuring cartoonist Julia Wertz, Bitch Planet author Kelly Sue DeConnick, and a conversation between Emil Ferris (My Favorite Thing is Monsters) and Leela Corman (We All Wish For Deadly Force), moderated by me. The big show happens on Saturday, November 4th in Seattle Center.

  • Bad news: if you're a freelancer who was recently approached by an editor at The Atlantic, the odds are good that you're the victim of a scam:

Across the last few months, individuals posing as our editors and senior leaders have sent fraudulent job offers to unwitting freelancers or jobseekers looking to work with The Atlantic. The impostors have created numerous misleading email accounts, including gmail addresses in the names of editors, gmail addresses that include the Atlantic’s name (e.g., recruitment.atlanticmagazine@gmail.com), and addresses employing fake domains (e.g., @atlanticmediagroup.net). The aim of the scam is to obtain personal information such as social security numbers, addresses, and bank account information from the intended victims.
  • But here's something good and pure:

Book News Roundup: Great opportunities for writers old(er) and young

  • Tomorrow is Literary Career Day at the Seattle Public Library downtown. It's described as "a free event providing young people ages 16-24 with direct access to industry professionals through networking, experiential learning, engaging conversations, and performances." If you know any aspiring authors, tell them to register today.

  • If you're a woman over the age of 50 and you write poetry, you should be applying for Two Sylvias Press's Wilder Series Poetry Book Prize, which "is open to women over 50 years of age (established or emerging poets) and includes a $1000 prize, publication by Two Sylvias Press, 20 copies of the winning book, and a vintage, art nouveau pendant." You have until November 30th to apply, but never wait until the last minute.

  • Here are the submission guidelines for you to be a part of the Shout Your Abortion anthology. Get your written and illustrated submissions in before November 15th!

Submissions in which writers address their own abortion experiences will be most highly prioritized, but any work related to the theme of abortion will be considered. Submissions can be published anonymously, though writers chosen for the book will be required to sign a release form. Most selections will be between 500-1700 words, but other lengths will be considered. We are seeking as broad a representation of racial, age, gender, and geographical diversity as possible. Stories not selected for the book will also be considered for publishing on SYA’s website.
  • The University of Aberdeen has put a beautiful reproduction of a very old manuscript called The Aberdeen Bestiary online for anyone to view for free. It opens with the creation of the heavens and the earth, so it's, you know, pretty epic.

  • Cartoonist Tom Gauld's vision of an e-bookmark is depressingly true to life.

  • Weird, isn't it, that the publisher chose a photo of Sylvia Plath in a swimsuit for the cover of her collected letters? Nichole LeFebvre writes for Literary Hub:

I do think calling “male gaze” on the cover of Letters implies a certain level of pity: poor Sylvia, even in death, being paraded around for men. Yet we should not overlook the hyper-aware carnality of her work, her insistent control. Even in a poem like “Lady Lazarus”—in which Plath calls death “the big striptease” and brags about the “very large charge” for a glimpse at her scars—the tone is chirpy and flirtatious, with those trademark round vowels and confident, declarative lines. It’s this allure—delicious poison—that makes her poetry so powerful, so lasting. She is in control. She flirts you close enough to burn you.
  • Here's some more commentary on the cover:
  • This is the best protest chant ever:

Book News Roundup: Cienna Madrid reads in Seattle next Tuesday!

  • If you're visiting our site on a Friday, chances are good that you're a huge Cienna Madrid fan. Of course you are, because Cienna Madrid is fan-FUCKING-tastic. And you should know that Cienna Madrid is making a rare public appearance in Seattle on Tuesday, September 26th. She's reading at Six Pack Series, in the 12th Avenue Arts building. This is a group reading, along the theme of "Doppelgangers, Avatars, and Code Names." The other readers are Eddie Dehais, Peter Donnelly, Kaitlin McCarthy, Jéhan Òsanyìn, and Amanda Rae. You should go and spend time with the best damn literary advice columnist in the whole world.

  • In a great piece, John Stang at Crosscut writes about the way the state legislature is fucking over Hugo House's move home:

Hugo House has raised about $4.8 million for construction, but it still needs slightly more than $1 million to start the work. That happens to be the amount the Legislature was supposed to appropriate before the state capital budget stalled... Consequently, a move-back date in early 2018 has been delayed indefinitely, and plans to expand classes and accommodate more students are in limbo as well.
  • We're big fans of Shout Your Abortion around here, and we love it when they publish stuff. (I reviewed their first zine last summer.) So we're thrilled that SYA founder Amelia Bonow used the second anniversary of her organization to announce that they're going to be publishing a book, which she described as "a big beautiful collection of the art, artifacts, and stories which have shaped this movement over the last two years, as well as brand new work commissioned especially for this project." If you have anything you'd like to say about abortion, submissions for the book open up on October 3rd. Details about the submission guidelines will be in Shout Your Abortion's newsletter. You say you don't subscribe to Shout Your Abortion's newsletter? You can fix that right on this here webpage.

  • Peter Kuper has always been a forward-thinking cartoonist, but this is a jaw-dropping discovery from Steve Lieber:

  • If you were anywhere near a bookstore or library in 2011, you probably know that the big literary sensation of that year was Chad Harbach's novel The Art of Fielding. Sylvia Killingsworth at The Awl wrote a post about a lawsuit circling around Fielding, and it's well worth your time.
If you remember the year 2011 when The Big Book of the Year was The Art of Fielding and you don’t want to die after reading that clause, take a moment to read over the allegations of one Charles Green against the one Chad Harbach in the matter of wrongfully appropriating elements of the former’s manuscript, Bucky’s 9th, and interpolating them into the latter’s long-languishing first novel (which then sold for $665,000 and debuted to All The Acclaim)
  • This is perfectly delightful!

Book News Roundup: It's all bad news, kids

Total company [first quarter] revenues fell 6.6% to $853 million, while Nook revenues fell 28.1%, to $29.5 million. That is literally the lowest Nook revenues ever recorded.
  • So that book written by Hillary Clinton's pastor has just been pulled from shelves due to rampant plagiarism.

  • Big changes at Vanity Fair, as editor Graydon Carter is retiring. Here is where I'd ordinarily say this is a great opportunity for an enterprising young editor to make her mark and reimagine the glossy magazine for a new generation, but come on. We all know that's not going to happen. It's been sad watching Vanity Fair shrink to anemic sizes; that last Hollywood issue was a shadow of years past.

Book News Roundup: The nightmare scenario for libraries

  • Village Books cofounder Chuck Robinson, who served as president of both the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and the American Booksellers Association, now owns a consulting business for businesses and nonprofits. Chuck Robinson Associates will offer the leadership and advice that Robinson put to good use as the head of Village Books for decades. Village Books has repeatedly been recognized nationwide as an example of independent bookselling done right; that's largely due to Robinson's leadership.

  • Fantagraphics cartoonist Matt Furie successfully sued the creator of an alt-right kids' book for using his character Pepe the Frog. According to Matthew Gault at Motherboard, the legal settlement "prevents further sale of the book and [hilariously] forces [the kids' book creator] to donate all profits to a Muslim-American advocacy group." Alt-right jackoffs beware: if you try to make a profit off of Furie's creation, he will sue you into next week, and he will force you to give money to a good cause.

  • Speaking of Fantagraphics, they're publishing a beautiful Italian comic strip sequel to Disney's Snow White film created by cartoonist Romano Scarpa. It's the first time these strips will ever be translated into English.

  • A hard drive containing Terry Pratchett's unpublished novels have been crushed by a steamroller, reports Michael Schaub at the LA Times. This is exactly what Pratchett wanted to happen to his unpublished writing after his death, and I'm a fan of this decision. Sure, people might argue that Kafka wanted his writing destroyed after his death, too, and the world is better for his books being published against his dying wishes. But there's a real difference here: unlike the unpublished Kafka, Pratchett was widely published — more than 41 books in the Discworld series alone — and he presumably didn't publish the books on that hard drive for a reason. His body of work as it stands is more than impressive enough.

  • I missed this news from last week, but it's an absolute fucking nightmare:

Despite the protests of hundreds of angry residents, the Escondido City Council voted 3-2 Wednesday night to begin the process of outsourcing the city’s library service to a private company.

Book News Roundup: Joan Didion goes to the movies

  • Friends, I messed up. I failed to mention in this week's reading calendar that the Seattle Anarchist Book Fair is tomorrow, August 26th, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Vera Project in Seattle Center. It features all kinds of neat organizations including Books to Prisoners, Left Bank Books, and the Social Justice Film Festival, and it's absolutely free. Go check it out, please.

  • You should definitely read this Seattle Times story about how Seattle is now the country's biggest company town:

Amazon now occupies a mind-boggling 19 percent of all prime office space in the city, the most for any employer in a major U.S. city, according to a new analysis conducted for The Seattle Times.

Amazon’s footprint in Seattle is more than twice as large as any other company in any other big U.S. city, and the e-commerce giant’s expansion here is just getting started.

  • Here's the thing about company towns: They always flourish until, suddenly, they stop flourishing.

  • Seattle publisher Fantagraphics announced this week that they'll be publishing a comic called Dull Margaret written by the great actor Jim Broadbent.

  • I don't agree with the assessment that Joan Didion is "the Original Millennial White Girl," but I can tell you that the movie that inspired this observation, Ingrid Goes West, is a decent (if not great) comedy with a bad ending.

  • Speaking of Didion, there's a Netflix documentary about her coming out later this year, along with a documentary about Gay Talese.

  • Neil Gaiman wrote a short-but-touching remembrance of sci-fi author Brian Aldiss at The Guardian.

Book News Roundup: Donald Trump is not children's book material

  • Seattle poet (and the current poet in residence here at the Seattle Review of Books) Daemond Arrindell is the curator for the 2018 Jack Straw Writers program. That means Arrindell will choose the writers who take part in the program, and he'll take a leadership role as the writers learn how to share their work as spoken word and in recordings. Jack Straw is taking applications for the program through November 1st. You can apply right here.

  • Electric Literature reports on what one indie bookstore did when some fascists came in and tried to use their store as a marketing campaign for an alt-right douchebag's book.

  • Headline of the week: "I Bought a Book About the Internet From 1994 and None of the Links Worked." We think of the internet as lasting forever, but the truth is that this is a very fluid medium.

  • A Texas assistant principal was forced out of his job after self-publishing a children's book. It sounds truly awful — and by "it," I mean the book, not the fact that the guy lost his job:

The book features allusions that may go over some children’s heads. The setting is a farm called Wishington. The antagonist is a bearded alligator named “Alkah.” Astute readers will recognize Covfefe cliff. But perhaps the most inflammatory aspect is the smiling cartoon frog, which NBC News has called a “popular white nationalist symbol.” “Pede,” the name of the cartoon centipede that also graces the book’s cover, is also a term members of a Donald Trump-themed Reddit board use to refer to each other.

Spoiler alerts ahead, but Pepe and his centipede sidekick Pede start the book ecstatic that the old farmer has left after eight years of oppression. But Alkah and his minions have entrenched themselves in a pond that very much resembles a swamp — and are threatening to spread throughout all of Wishington Farm. Pepe and Pede have one weapon to vanguish the gator: buds from the honesty tree.

Book News Roundup: Grab a milkshake and listen to some audio books

As you might imagine, I often get asked by young entrepreneurs for advice on how to start a business. What many seem to want is some sort of trick, some magic set of tools that will allow them to launch a thriving startup from scratch. Well, there’s no magic involved, but the keys to success are quite simple: Value your customers, hire well, find a market that isn’t being served, and realize that someday I will utterly crush you.
  • A 68-year-old writer is suing the Iowa Writers' Workshop for age discrimination. The L.A. Times's Jacket Copy blog smartly published the first paragraph of the writer's self-published novel so the audience could decide for itself whether he deserved to be accepted or not. Here's the first half of the paragraph:
The name of Norman Telos’ car was an automatic talk show joke. The Tork rhymed with stork, pork and cork. When the talking heads were done making fun of the Tork they went out and bought one because the Tork was the best two passenger sedan since the model T. Its diesel electric engine was the most efficient one on the market. Acceleration was better than any sports car. With 2 crossing roll beams and a domed roof it was the safest car around. The price was in the midrange of two passenger cars.
  • Sometimes a high sense of self-regard can be its own downfall, is all I'm saying.

  • An editor at Marvel Comics posted an innocuous selfie of a post-work milkshake party. That editor then received a deluge of hateful comments from comics-fan trolls. What did the editor do wrong? Well, uh, she's a woman.

She was immediately swarmed by a squadron of fanbabies furious that such “fake geek girls” had made their way into Marvel’s inner sanctum... According to Antos, the private messages she got in response to her tweet were considerably less polite. “[T]he internet is an awful, horrible, and disgusting place,” she wrote, noting that she woke up Sunday, two days after she posted the selfie, "to a slew of more garbage tweets and DMs. For being a woman. In comics. Who posted a selfie of her friends getting milkshakes."

Book News Roundup: United Airlines vs. Comic Con nerds

  • The host of the computer science book club at Ada's Technical Books has written a great Medium post about why you should start (or join) a computer science book club.

  • In what may be one of the greatest instances of architectural trollery in history, someone built a Parthenon out of banned books on the site where Nazis burned books in 1933.

  • This person thinks e-books are on the way to being a "dead format."

  • This person disagrees.

  • The next book from George R.R. Martin will arrive in 2018. Supposedly.

  • After San Diego Comic Con, United Airlines tried to ban comics in checked bags. It didn't go well.

“While TSA is recommending that customers keep their comic books in their carry-on bags, there are no restrictions on packing them in checked luggage,” reads the statement. “We misunderstood TSA’s instructions and regret any inconvenience this may have caused our customers.”

Book News Roundup: Why did the robot kill itself?

  • Don't forget that the deadline to apply for a table at this year's Short Run Comix & Arts Festival is July 31st. The organizers this year are eager to include the literary arts, so even if you're "just" a writer and not an artist or cartoonist, you should consider applying.

  • This is a pretty big get: the King County Library System Foundation announced yesterday that basketball great and all-around awesome human Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be the headliner at their 2018 Literary Lions fundraising dinner. This year's headliner, for comparison's sake, was Daniel Handler. Handler gave a spectacular speech and he's definitely a high-profile author, but Abdul-Jabbar is a household name. Expect tickets to go very fast for this one. The Literary Lions dinner will take place in Bellevue on Saturday, March 10th of next year. We'll let you know when tickets go on sale.

  • At the Seattle Times, SPL librarian David Wright wrote a great profile of local publisher Pharos Editions, which has brought some essential Northwest literary classics back from the dead.

  • While we're talking about local reviews, Seattle Mystery Bookshop bookseller Fran published a good review of Cory Doctorow's latest novel, Walkaway.

  • Tara Marie at the Polygon has written a good meditation on white cisgender privilege in the comics industry, using Howard Chaykin's atrocious Divided States of Hysteria as the launching pad for the piece. (I read the first issue of the series and decided to ignore it; Chaykin has a long history, with his best work decades behind him, and he's now become nothing more than an aggrieved-white-dude comics troll like Frank Miller. I'm happy to not give Chaykin the attention, but I'm glad that writers like Marie are around to explain what it all means to general audiences.)

  • The new Jane Austen pound notes have a quote from Pride and Prejudice — "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” — that was...how shall we say...not quite delivered earnestly in the novel:

As many Janeites were quick to point out, that quote wasn’t sincere. Caroline Bingley, the haughty gentlewoman who competes with Elizabeth Bennet for Mr. Darcy’s attentions, makes this announcement in hopes of impressing him. “How much sooner one tires of anything than a book!” Miss Bingley adds. Shortly after saying so, already bored by a quick dip into a book, she throws it aside and tries another gambit to grab his attention. In short, Austen wrote the line as a satirical comment on how we perform certain admirable qualities to win approval.
  • I don't really believe in guilty-pleasure reading. Every book has some value, even if it proves that value through negative means. But people like interactive lists on the internet, so maybe you might enjoy this checklist of "Books You'll Never Brag About Having Read." Don't listen to the headline; feel free to brag if you want to. Try to beat my score:

  • After you've watched Wonder Woman for the 16th time this fall, you might want to take a break by watching the biopic about the creator of Wonder Woman, titled Professor Marston & the Wonder Women. The trailer was just released yesterday:

Book News Roundup: The Pepe-demption tour continues

Jamie Natonabah (Diné) will receive $7,500 per semester for four semesters, for a total of $30,000, $24,000 of which will be applied to tuition. The remaining $6,000 will help pay for her travel, lodging, books, and meals during the five residencies in Santa Fe. Jamie is an IAIA Alumnae. Jamie is from Fort Defiance, Arizona. For twenty-eight years she has embraced her love of writing which has evolved into a thirst for personal truth created largely through poetry. She won first place in the New Mexico Slam Poetry Competition (online). Also, for two consecutive years, Jamie participated in performances of her poetry through funding from the Witter Bynner Foundation. Her work has been published in Red Ink: An International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, & Humanities as well as the IAIA Literary Anthologies Bone Light and Fourth World Rising among others. Jamie is now living in Santa Fe with her partner Paul and daughter Anastasia Moriarty.
  • Town Hall's Executive Director, Weir Harmon, published a thank-you to the community for contributing to Town Hall's renovation compaign. He also promises that you'll find Town Hall programming "in venues scattered in neighborhoods across Seattle" until Town Hall reopens in fall of 2018. He shares more about the program, which is cleverly titled Inside/Out:
Many events will be programmed in consultation with Neighborhood Steering Committees; some will be co-created by audience members, in collaboration with Artists and Scholars in Community. If we do this right, Inside/Out will create lasting mechanisms to bring grassroots ideas and community-sourced solutions into broad public consideration—and we’ll welcome a whole new slate of exciting voices back to our renovated home. We’ll share more about Inside/Out over the coming months, and I hope you will join us for this transformative year.
  • RJ Casey at the Comics Journal interviews Kimberley Motley, a lawyer who is trying to help Fantagraphics cartoonist Matt Furie save his creation, Pepe the Frog, from hate symbol status:
You can’t really control how Pepe has been used on the internet in the past, especially since he’s been turned into this meme. Dealing with the internet is difficult because there are so many users all around the world. Pepe has taken on a life of his own. However, what should not happen is people profiting off Pepe and the intellectual property of Matt Furie. That’s a big concern. I couldn’t make a tuna fish sandwich at home and stick a McDonald’s logo on it and sell it to people. The McDonald’s corporation would come after me. This is Matt’s creation and people don’t have a right to take his intellectual property and then themselves profit off of it without his permission.
  • For KUOW, Elizabeth Austen introduces listeners to Seattle-area poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, with a pair of extra poems published as an online extra.

  • It was published in May, but I only just came across Bill Gates's summer reading list. Have you ever found yourself standing in a bookstore and wondering, "what would Bill Gates read?" Wonder no more:

  • Last week, On the Media interviewed a few sci-fi authors about dystopian fiction for a dystopian world, and it's a very thoughtful episode. I especially love that host Brooke Gladstone asks each of the authors if they agree with Jill Lepore's recent observation that "Dystopia used to be a fiction of resistance; it’s become a fiction of submission."

Book News Roundup: Maybe Bill O'Reilly needs to take this self-promotion class

This class, led by conceptual artist, writer, and communications professional Natasha Marin, will help you develop strategies and goals for effectively promoting your work. Through interactive exercises and group discussions, you'll identify the best platforms for your work, learn the key components of your web and social media presence, and practice your networking skills, so you can talk about your work online or in person with confidence.
Suppose your favorite film critic started sprinkling his reviews with references to the “Cowboy Test” and made it clear that he was factoring into his appraisal of a work of art whether it contained cowboys.
Movies (at least Hollywood movies) are about people on the extremes of society — cops, criminals, superheroes. These extreme characters tend to be men, and men tend to be the ones who create them. Women enjoy much more prominence in the milieu of low-budget independent movies, where the stories are more focused on ordinary people with real-world problems, but those movies usually attract small audiences.
To be slightly less reductionist than the Bechdel Test, women tend to write movies about relationships, and men tend to write movies about aliens and shootouts. Have a wander through the sci-fi and fantasy section of your local bookstore: How many of these books’ authors are female? Yet these are where the big movie ideas come from. If a woman wants the next Lord of the Rings–style franchise to pass the Bechdel Test, then a woman should come up with a story with as much earning potential as J. R. R. Tolkien’s.
  • But that last observation really doesn't make any sense. Has Smith ever been to a bookstore? Does he really not know the names Octavia Butler or Margaret Atwood or Ursula LeGuin or Mary Doria Russell or J.K. Rowling or Mary Shelley? How big of an idiot is Kyle Smith, anyway? And what kind of a publication would let Smith embarrass himself like this? Do the editors at the National Review really hate Kyle Smith that much?

Book News Roundup: The fight to save Pepe

  • We've written several times about how much we love the children's books of Seattle author Jessixa Bagley. If you'd like to hear Bagley discuss her life and work, she guest-starred on the All the Wonders podcast earlier this week. Make sure to check it out.

  • You probably know that Fantagraphics cartoonist Matt Furie's cartoon character Pepe the Frog has become a symbol of the Trump-loving alt-right. Furie is by all accounts a wonderful, easygoing guy who was completely blindsided by the fact that his laid-back cartoon frog has become the rough equivalent of a swastika. Now, an online petition by Furie supporters "implore[s] the Anti Defamation League, ADL, to remove the designation of Pepe the frog or any likeness as a hate symbol." Sign the petition if you agree. I've stated in the past that I don't know how much hope there is for the rehabilitation of Pepe; it's much harder to remove a meaning from a symbol than it is to add a meaning. But you certainly can't fault Furie and his friends for trying.

  • Remember when we told you that the TSA was testing a program requiring agents to go through books and magazines at airport security checkpoints? Great news! Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed says that the TSA has "abandoned" the program and "there are no plans to restore the pilot or to expand it."

  • Open Culture examines "The Splendid Book Design of the 1946 Edition of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." I saw these books once when I was a used bookseller and, unlike the tens thousands of books that passed over my desk in those years, I remember perfectly what this edition of Decline and Fall looks like. Book design is so important.

  • The Association for Library Service to Children is looking for people of color who are willing to volunteer to join its awards and media evaluation committees. This paragraph is exactly the kind of thing you want to see from an organization of librarians in 2017:

It is an inconvenient truth for many of us, mostly white, that our industry (which I use here loosely to mean work in children’s books) upholds the systemic racism that is prevalent throughout the wider media industry and most institutions and communities in our country. It can be uncomfortable to confront the foundations of one’s own expertise in and passion for children’s books and examine where some of our judgments of quality we think are “unbiased” are only so when viewed through the lens of white privilege. But this white inconvenience, this white discomfort, is paltry when compared to what we create for communities of color by pretending this problem does not exist, or is not our own job to fix. To do our job, in service of the job of the child, many of us will need to start listening more, speaking less, and using our expertise to make space for and amplify voices that shine, in the multitude of ways a voice can shine.

Book News Roundup: Meet Hugo House's new faces, sign up for Short Run's summer school

Flame has regularly worked as an activist and organizer for a diverse number of theatrical, cabaret, queer, and POC communities — both during her time in the Bay Area and since returning to Seattle. Her connections to a broad network of artists and teachers also extends to the growing immigrant community and incarcerated populations through her work with The IF Project, a program funded by the Seattle Police Foundation.
  • Yesterday, Hugo House also announced their newest Made at Hugo fellows, which is a program that creates a cohort of young Seattle writers and gives them access to all of the Hugo House's mighty educational opportunities. The Made at Hugo program is a great way to take the pulse of Seattle's next generation of literary talent. You'll be seeing more of these names in the near future: "poet Holly DeBevoise, poet and writer Max Delsohn, writer Nia Dickens, poet Kym Littlefield, poet and artist Erin Lynch, and indigenous prose writer D.A. Navoti."

  • Speaking of mighty educational opportunities! Short Run's summer school looks like a lot of fun, with many free classes and all other classes below $50. Topics include letterpress printing, comics classes for kids, papermaking with local papercraft cartoonist Mita Mahato, and a class titled "How to Be Self-Employed in Seattle" that a lot of you should take.

  • Last year, some unpaid employees of Emerald City Comicon — who are unfortunately dubbed "minions" by ECCC leadership — sued the convention for compensation. Yesterday, lawyers announced that ECCC reached a settlement with the minions.Brigid Alverson at Smash Pages writes:

Under the settlement, Eitane Emerald Corp. and the Demonakos family will pay almost $500,000 to the volunteers, with the lawyers scooping up $123,300 for their troubles, [former "minion" Jerry Michael] Brooks [who filed the suit in the first place] getting $5,000, and the 250 or so other “volunteers” will divvy up the rest according to how many hours they worked.
  • This tweetstorm about BBC English is a great illustration of how language evolves, and how what we think of as "normal" English probably didn't exist just a few short decades ago. A few highlights: