It's not very often that a new media outlet debuts in Seattle, so let's pay attention to Unite Seattle, which went live today. They publish coverage of arts and news in Seattle with an eye toward LGBTQ issues — and they have a dedicated books page!
The president of the United States of America is still whining about how he should be able to ban a book because he doesn't like it.
Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness so we’re going to take a strong look at that... We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts.
PageBoy Magazine is now accepting submissions for our upcoming (tenth!) issue. We are following our Writers on Writers issue with an issue devoted exclusively to 17 word poems, or "17s" ... Please send 5-10 of your best works in prose or poetry - as long as each is exactly and only 17 words short - to email@example.com by March 15, 2018. We are open to any style, any voice, as long as it "works," so do whatever you like with the form. We're curious to see what you come up with!
The submission request goes on to explain that "17s are an old form, invented at Harry's Bar on 15th Ave E in Seattle during the fall of 2016." They "consist simply of 17 words, that is their ONLY constraint." I can't wait to see this issue.
The South Seattle Emerald interviews Alvin “LA” Horn, a self-described "grown and sexy" novelist from South Seattle who's reading at Third Place Books Seward Park on January 15th.
If you have a high tolerance for internet slideshows, the Seattle PI has a slideshow of the Seattle Public Library's most checked-out books of 2017 and it's very interesting.
There are a handful of tickets available to see David Sedaris read at Broadway Performance Hall tonight and tomorrow.
Speaking of Sedaris: earlier this week, he visited Poppy, a very good restaurant on Capitol Hill. They posted his suggestion card, which is packed with good advice. The real question is: why doesn't David Sedaris run a restaurant?
Push/Pull, the art gallery and comics shop in Ballard, is launching the 2018 edition of their book club tomorrow at 11 am. Their first book club selection, Everfair, culminated in an art show with an appearance by Seattle author (and SRoB contributor) Nisi Shawl. This year's selection is Nick Joaquin's The Woman Who Had Two Navels & Tales of the Tropical Gothic, and the book club will again conclude in an art show in May. The book club will meet twice a month through March and there will also be an online component for people who can't make it to every meeting. Find more information and sign up for the book club on Push/Pull's site.
I asked Maxx, the director at Push/Pull, how she selected that particular book for the book club, and she said she encountered Joaquin through this New York Times article last year. "It's a book that has changed the way that I see the world and I'm eager to discuss it with other people," she writes. I'd never heard about this book before, but it sounds fascinating.
The Hugo House has a pair of opportunities that you should know about. They're now accepting applications for their Made at Hugo House Fellowships, which is a fantastic support program for emerging young Seattle writers. And they're also looking for their next prose Writer in Residence. Applications for both these opportunities are due on March 31st. Don't procrastinate, okay?
Spartan, a very good local literary magazine, is now accepting submissions for its spring issue. I shouldn't have to say this, but please read an issue or two before you submit; Spartan is a free magazine so there's really no reason for you not to do your research.
Over at the South Seattle Emerald, librarian Maggie Block published a spectacular roundup of radical books for young readers. You should read all three parts.
Aside from the sad news of Sue Grafton's passing, the biggest book news of last week was the publication of editorial notes for Milo Yiannopoulos's book. An increasingly exhausted editor from Simon & Schuster left a series of increasingly angry notes on a draft of Yiannopoulos's book, and now that whole document has been entered into the public record. (Simon & Schuster dropped the book after several of Yiannopoulos's pro-pedophilia comments came to light; the author is now suing the publisher because he is a massive bore.) The editorial comments are funny and satisfying to read, but you must remember that at the heart of it all, what the editor was trying to do was to make a racist shitbag palatable to as wide an audience as possible. I read the editorial comments as their own separate narrative: that of a man who hired a monster and then slowly realized exactly how monstrous the monster was.
Barack Obama released his list of favorite books from 2017 on Facebook, and it's great. I especially love that President Obama agreed with me about Janesville, which is one of the most underappreciated books of the year. Obama also read Evicted, which wowed the Reading Through It Book Club about five months ago.
Marvel Comics released an official fanfiction creation service, but the restrictions are so dumb that nobody will ever use the thing.
Marvel Create Your Own reserves the right to revoke access to the service for any content including — to name a few — “Content that could frighten or upset young children or the parents of young children,” “contraceptives,” “bare midriffs,” “noises related to bodily functions,” “misleading language,” “double entendres,” amusement parks other than Disney parks, movie studios not affiliated with Marvel, animated movies not made by Disney or Marvel and depictions of tobacco, nudity, gambling, obscenity and “proxies” for obscenity such as the comic book shorthand of bursts of punctuation instead of curse words.
Congratulations to Seattle poet Jane Wong, who won the 2017 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award. The award is $50,000 — one of the biggest available to writers in the area — and Wong will have the opportunity to present her work at the Frye Art Museum. We'll have more news about that exhibit when it gets closer to happening.
Former Gawker writers are now running a Kickstarter campaign to bring Gawker back as a nonprofit. They need half a million bucks to get the site going again. This is a big deal, because Gawker was a very important website, when it wasn't busy being a very bad website. For me, the good far outweighed the bad. You should do your own math, and if it works out in the positive, you should donate what you can.
A paper manufacturer named Northern Pulp convinced a Nova Scotia bookstore to uninvite an author of a book that's critical of Northern Pulp. Pretty fucking sketchy.
A good short story by Kristen Roupenian in the New Yorker has gone viral. The story, titled "Cat Person," caused a stir on Twitter over the weekend. It seems that people — men, to be clear — love to judge the protagonist, a young woman who has sex with an older man. Plenty of men online are accusing the protagonist of being manipulative, without realizing that they're maybe telegraphing some of their deeper-seated neuroses about women for all the world to see. The Twitter account "Men React to 'Cat Person'" is one of the most delightful single-serving social media accounts I've seen in a long time. Megan Garber at The Atlantic sums up the situation quite well:
So many of American culture’s creaky misogynies have a way of leaking into fiction. There’s the wearying, and longstanding, mandate for writers to create female characters who are likable. (Claire Messud: “If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble.”) And the common tendency to dismiss the literary products of women writing about women’s lives as “chick lit.”
Jack Kirby's family Hanukkah card (1976). pic.twitter.com/aUPTan3TfL— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) December 12, 2017
Town Hall Seattle is looking for artists and scholars in residence. But because Town Hall (the building) is being renovated this year and Town Hall (the organization) is branching out into other neighborhoods, they're doing something a little different. Each of the four neighborhoods that Town Hall is using as home bases during their Inside/Out Program — Phinney/Greenwood; University District/Ravenna; Capitol Hill/Central District; Columbia City/Hillman City — will have its own artist in residence. Those residents will then program Town Hall events within their communities, in exchange for a $5000 stipdend. This is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Submit to Town Hall by December 10th, okay?
Penguin childrens' book designer Giusseppe Castellano left the publisher under a cloud after being accused of harassing comedian Charlene Yi, who was pitching projects to the publisher. Castellano then released a statement claiming that Yi's complaints were "false." But Yi brought receipts:
Here you go: correspondence about business, your email asking me to get a drink after I asked for a response on my book, my response to you gaslighting me after you suggested having an affair several times, then you admitting it. May you never abuse your power or harm another. pic.twitter.com/PtW73DszHs— Charlyne Yi (@charlyne_yi) December 4, 2017
Wow you're gaslighting me again?? Here's your email after I told you to think about your family and how disgusting it was that you were gaslighting me. pic.twitter.com/C3kZKUbEPg— Charlyne Yi (@charlyne_yi) December 3, 2017
What were you apologizing for so many times? Quick, hurry, think of a lie. Throw me under the bus to save yourself!!! pic.twitter.com/smh6iUGKUZ— Charlyne Yi (@charlyne_yi) December 3, 2017
Related: if you have experienced harassment in childrens' book publishing, here's a survey that's intended to help "get a handle on the scope of the problem."
Don't fuck with Joan Didion, because she will murder you with two words.
And Eileen Myles is taking none of your bullshit, either:
Oh shut up. https://t.co/bm8hdB7J4t— Eileen Myles (@EileenMyles) December 5, 2017
This Saturday, December 2nd, Redmond Poet Laureate Shin Yu Pai will be presenting new work at the Redmond Lights holiday festival. Pai has written a special poem for the occasion recounting Redmond's logging history and celebrating the city's attempts to regrow its gorgeous tree canopy. Additionally, Seattle designer Michael Barakat has animated the poem, and it will be projected on the side of City Hall as part of the festivities. Pai is an estimable talent who always gives her all to every project, and this looks to be a capstone on her incredibly fruitful tenure as Poet Laureate of Redmond. (And if you're into holiday festivities, the full itinerary of Redmond Lights looks like a lot of winter-themed fun, with popcorn and facepainting and a city walk and a tree lighting and ice carving.)
You should read David Lasky's first blog post about the Georgetown Steam Plant comic that he and Mairead Case have been commissioned by the city to create. The post really highlights how wonderful it is to live in a city that takes art seriously, and I also learned something cool about finches while reading it so, you know, it's a win-win.
You probably saw that our idiot president was a big racist in front of some heroic Native American veterans of World War II earlier this week. If you'd like to honor those veterans by learning more about their heroism and sacrifice, you should consider purchasing this comic book history of the Code Talkers. If I told you Donald Trump didn't want you to read this comic book, would you be more likely to buy it?
Today in "But You Knew I Was a Snake When You Picked Me Up" news: GoodReads, the bookish social network purchased by Amazon a while back, is now charging authors for the right to run book giveaways on their own pages. The "standard" giveaway price is $119, and the "premium" price is $599. If you took the news that Amazon bought GoodReads in stride, this is your wakeup call: Time to find another way to talk about books online! This is just the first step toward a new pay-to-play GoodReads model; Amazon is going to choke authors and publishers for every cent they can, starting right now.
Yesterday, Bleeding Cool broke the news that incoming Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski once freelanced for the company under the name Akira Yoshida. This is problematic on several levels. First of all, Cebulski, who is white, portrayed himself as a Japanese comics writer, even giving an interview in character to a comics news outlet and generating interest in his work based on the supposed cultural identity of "Yoshida." (He created Japanese-inflected comics for Marvel under the pseudonym.) Second of all, Cebulski was employed on the editorial staff of Marvel at the time and was not supposed to work as a freelancer. Many Marvel staffers claim to not have known about the Yoshida ruse, but that does raise some interesting questions: I've done a lot of freelance work in my day, and I always have to supply some proof of identity. How did Cebulski convince Marvel of "Yoshida's" authenticity? Seems like this story has some more layers to it that will be unpeeled in coming days.
Just so you don't think that things are only terrible in America: 10 libraries in the UK will be permanently closed down by December 20th due to a serious budget crunch.
Applications for the next Redmond Poet Laureate are due on December 15th. The selected poet will get $5,000 per year in artist fees and $5,000 per year in project materials.
These maps Kathy Acker drew of her own dreams are simply gorgeous.
The quest to create the ebook version of marginalia has yet to truly break new ground. Liza Daly has some thoughts on that.
Some reflections from Amazon staffers as the Kindle turns ten. The claim that Kindle “really was about the content" makes me shudder. Books are not content. Content is meaningless chaff you shove into the blank spaces of a website. Books are books. Please make a note of it.
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:
Two Fridays ago I met up with a man who works at a children's publishing company to discuss making a book together in which he tried to manipulate me into having sex with him. I reported him to HR. Been waiting to see if they actually handle this and how.— Charlyne Yi (@charlyne_yi) November 14, 2017
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.
In the midst of all the exciting City of Literature news yesterday, this piece of news didn't get the attention it deserves: David Lasky and Mairead Case have been selected to create a fictionalized graphic novel about the beautiful old Georgetown Steam Plant. (We told you about the open call for Seattle cartoonists five months ago.) Case and Lasky will be blogging about the experience of creating the graphic novel on the new site Steam Plant Graphic Novel: The Blog! Bookmark that site, now; it should be an interesting look into the research and process of two of Seattle's finest cartooning talents.
If the blog is interesting enough, I hope someone adapts it into a theatrical experience called "Steam Plant Graphic Novel: The Blog!: The Musical!"
Also in the midst of yesterday's UNESCO hullabaloo — UNESCOBALOO? — Martin McClellan wrote a piece on this site announcing an amazing new literary award for women poets over the age of 65. The prize, sponsored by Poetry Northwest, honors the life and legacy of brilliant Seattle poet Jane Swift.
Congressperson Pramila Jayapal is now choosing monthly book club picks at Third Place Books! Her first selection is Claudia Rankine's excellent Citizen, which I reviewed back in January after we discussed it for the Reading Through It Book Club. This is a great way for an elected official to stay in touch with her district.
SRoB tipper Levi points out the news that the movie rights to un-prolific Seattle cartoonist Nate Simpson's comic Nonplayer has been bought by Legendary Entertainment. The first issue of Nonplayer came out in 2011, and the second issue came out in 2015. Just because the movie rights have sold don't mean an actual movie will be made, but the odds are pretty good that a movie version will come out before the fourth issue of Nonplayer hits the stands.
And SRoB tipper Doug wants you to see this tribute to literary maestro Harry Mathews, who passed away in January of this year:
Tweet #1: Here's the beginning of an important thread about why libraries matter now more than ever:
Hang tight folks, because I am about to drop some necessary knowledge on you. First off, library usage is on the RISE motherfuckers. https://t.co/reWrJj3XCo— TheAngriestLibrarian (@HalpernAlex) October 23, 2017
Tweet #2: Here's a fantastic little artifact from Seattle comics history:
Early Lynda Barry cartoon gracing the walls of the UW Daily offices. (Photo by Daily alum Midori.) pic.twitter.com/q8XurIyScE— William Kennedy (@ratzkywatzky) October 24, 2017
Tweet #3: I don't know if it's real or not, but this book cover is 12th-dimensional-chess levels of bad.
Having a slow Monday, so I guess I should reshare my favorite bad book cover ever, no don't thank me, this is a gift that belongs to us all pic.twitter.com/sq2yxp1rAb— BizarreVictoria (@BizarreVictoria) October 23, 2017
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.
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 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., firstname.lastname@example.org), 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.
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.
If male writers were marketed in the same way as female writers. Via Christopher Hamilton-Emery. pic.twitter.com/1IwN8MfckZ— Jane Harris (@blablafishcakes) October 4, 2017
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:
Peter Kuper did a comic about nationalist Trump coming to power on a build-a-wall platform. This was 27 years ago in Heavy Metal in 1990. pic.twitter.com/1cEZe5Hxnj— Steve Lieber (@steve_lieber) September 20, 2017
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)
Regarding yesterday's news that Amazon is looking to build an "equal" headquarters in some other North American city than Seattle: I was a bookseller for twelve years, first at a chain that Amazon destroyed and then at an independent bookseller. I have learned through painful experience never to trust Amazon. Yes, it's probably true that Amazon will soon be too big for Seattle alone. But if you think Amazon isn't going to use this opportunity to pit one "headquarters" city against another in a race to the bottom, you're mistaken. They will gladly take Seattle's future hostage in exchange for a shiny new tax cut. I have learned from experience that Amazon will do whatever it takes to come out on top.
Speaking of chain bookstores, there's no good news coming out of Barnes & Noble these days — particularly in the ebooks division:
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.
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.
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.
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.