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Book News Roundup: The naughty list just keeps growing

One recent evening at the library, curator Edwin Lindo prepared fried plátanos where people used to order their coffee. A group arrives for “It Will Be Loud,” an open mic held on Wednesdays at Estelita’s. The close quarters and smell of cooking bananas nurture a sense of intimacy.
  • You would think someone at the New York Times would have recognized David Icke's name. Or you would think someone at the New York Times would have done a second's worth of research and discovered that Icke is an anti-Semitic monster who preys upon conspiracy theorists to spread his hatred.

  • Are "after" poems plagiarism? Of course not; they represent a long tradition of call-and-response in poetry. But they do provide cover for plagiarists.

  • Some old assholes are throwing around words like cyberbullying" and "mob rule" because a terrible person isn't getting an award. I'm sure they're claiming that people are being "silenced," too. Yawn.

  • And while I'm being a Grumpy Person on the Internet: Shame on Canongate Books.

Book News Roundup: Is this the end for Amazon Books?

  • Congratulations to Seattle Civic Poet Anastacia-Renee, who Humanities Washington just announced as this year's James W. Ray Distinguished Artist, and to poet Cassandra Lopez, who is a recipient of the James W. Ray Venture Project Award. Also, the press release kind of buries the fact that this is the last year of the James W Ray awards, which annually gave $80,000 to local artists.

  • The Washington Ecopoetry Map provides an online map of poems that specifically mention various Washington state natural landmarks. Click around on this one for a while and you're likely to find a new poem to love.

  • If you're a freelance writer, please sign up for Obamacare now. The deadline is December 15th.

  • Is Amazon giving up on the Amazon Books model already? This post at the Digital Reader indicates that Amazon has backtracked on three potential Amazon Books locations, but the company told Geekwire that they're still "excited" about physical bookstores. We'll see, but I think there's plenty of reasons to doubt the sincerity of Amazon's commitment to brick-and-mortar bookselling.

  • I'm okay with the fact that I did not make the list of 2018's most scathing book reviews. A scathing book review is fun to write, but it should be the most sparingly used weapon in a book reviewer's arsenal. Negative book reviews are great, of course, but a little bit of performative outrage goes a long way.

Book News Roundup: Sign up for Clarion West's summer workshop now!

“The richest man in America, who’s a direct competitor, has just been handed $3 billion in subsidies. I’m not asking for money or a tax rebate,” Ms. Wyden said. “Just leave me alone.”

Book News Roundup: This is how you respond to an internet uproar

As proud, long-time Capitol Hill residents, the Hultons were passionate about keeping the exterior of the store looking the same as it has for years, choosing to build around and include existing elements of the house in the storefront. Before Ada’s, the space was Horizon Books, another bookstore and a longstanding staple of the 15th Ave community. To Danielle, Ada’s is a space for the newer tech community to gather, for café-goers to stumble upon, and for everyone to explore. “Someone might come in and be looking for a cup of coffee but then start playing with the puzzles on the shelf… and if that piques their interest, then that’s a win.” Danielle says.
  • Last week, people on the internet protested a newly announced children's book titled A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library written by Jack Gantos and drawn by Dave McKean for its offensive plot. The book is about "a young boy enter[ing] a library wearing an explosive vest hidden underneath his lovely new red jacket." An online petition protesting the book was almost immediately created, and on Saturday Abrams, the book's publisher, announced that the book would not be published. This quote from McKean is just about a textbook perfect response to the protest:
“A few factors changed from the initiation of the project until now, and I’m sure we all have our own thoughts to take away from all this. I already had my doubts that a story like this should come from outside the community involved, and the arguments on Twitter convinced me that it shouldn’t,” he said. “I’ve listened and learned a hard but valuable lesson.”
[Editor] Shena [Wolf] called me and was like, “Do you want to try out for ‘Nancy’?” And I was like, “Hahahaha, no way.” Not that I wouldn’t want it — it just seemed fake. And then I’m drawing the comics to submit for the test to be like, “Here’s a couple weeks.” And as I’m doing it, I’m like, “Hahahaha, no way, no way.” In a very Nancy move, it wasn’t like I was like, “No way they would pick me.” I was just like, “Obviously they would pick me, if they have any taste at all, because these jokes are so great.” But it didn’t really even feel real as I was signing the contract. I was like, “Hahaha, what a funny joke this is.”

Book News Roundup: Meet Skull-Face Bookseller Honda

  • Zee Brewer, a transgender and nonbinary individual, has filed a complaint against Portland independent bookseller Powell's for discriminatory behavior. Aaron Mesh at Willamette Week writes:

Brewer's frustration started not long after they began working at Powell's and Brewer learned that neither of Powell's corporate office restrooms was gender neutral. (The corporate office is located across the street from the famed City of Books that takes up a square block in the Pearl District.)

That meant whenever Brewer had to use the restroom, they had to walk across the street to the bookstore, up three flights of stairs, to the public gender-neutral restroom there. The break time allotted for this journey: 10 minutes.

For the week of November 5 to 11, 2018, booksellers around the world will remove their inventory from Abebooks, an Amazon company, in a show of support for their brethren in South Korea, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia who were told they can no longer sell on their platform.
  • Polygon introduced me to Skull-Face Bookseller Honda, a new anime that speaks directly to my interests. Please be advised that there is a very brief flash of NSFW material in this video. But please watch it anyway. Whoever made this video clearly has a ton of bookseller experience.

Book News Roundup: Seattle author lands on Reese Witherspoon's reading list

  • Seattle author (and former Stranger editor-in-chief) Tricia Romano is writing a biography of the Village Voice. She has encountered a significant amount of tragedy this year and she's looking for some help through a GoFundMe page as she continues to interview people and do research for her book. Consider giving if you can, and if you want to read her book about the storied alternative weekly.

  • Reese Witherspoon has a book club, and her October book club pick is Seattle author Laurie Frankel's novel This Is How It Always Is, which is a book that I loved. I guess Reese and I are book twinsies?

  • Is someone about to buy Barnes & Noble? Seems like it.

  • Speaking of Barnes & Noble, here's an infographic they put out that demonstrates political book sales since 2016. I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean anything in particular, but if you're as obsessed with the midterms as I am, you'll probably stare at the map for a few minutes trying to divine understanding from it.

Book News Roundup: Three posts

  • Lindy West's next book, The Witches Are Coming, will be published in May of next year. The cover is fantastic:

View this post on Instagram

🔥 HELLO 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 ANNOUNCEMENT 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 MAY 2019 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 “The firebrand New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Shrill provides a brilliant and incisive look at how patriarchy, intolerance, and misogyny have conquered not just politics but American culture itself. What do Adam Sandler, Donald Trump, and South Park have in common? Why are myths like “reverse sexism” and “political correctness” so seductive? And why do movie classics of yore, from Sixteen Candles to Revenge of the Nerds, make rape look like so much silly fun? With Lindy West’s signature wit and in her uniquely incendiary voice, THE WITCHES ARE COMING lays out a grand theory of America that explains why Trump’s election was, in many ways, a foregone conclusion. As West reveals through fascinating journeys across the landscapes of pop culture, the lies that fostered the catastrophic resentment that boiled over in the 2016 presidential race did not spring from a vacuum. They have in fact been woven into America’s DNA, cultivated by generations of mediocre white men and fed to the masses with such fury that we have become unable to recognize them as lies at all. Whether it be the notion overheard since the earliest moments of the #MeToo movement that feminism has gone too far or the insistence that holding someone accountable for his actions amounts to a “witch hunt,” THE WITCHES ARE COMING exposes the lies that many have chosen to believe and the often unexpected figures who have furthered them. Along the way, it unravels the tightening link between culture and politics, identifying in the memes, music, and movies we’ve loved the seeds of the neoreactionary movement now surging through the nation. Sprawling, funny, scorching, and illuminating, THE WITCHES ARE COMING shows West at the top of her intellectual and comic powers. As much a celebration of America's potential as a condemnation of our failures, some will call it a witch hunt. To which West would reply, so be it: “I'm a witch and I'm hunting you.””

A post shared by Lindy West (@thelindywest) on

  • Ian Buruma, the editor of the New York Review of Books, (no relation) either stepped down or was pushed out of his position after he published a very irresponsible and very self-pitying essay by Jian Ghomeshi and then defended the essay in the laziest way possible in an interview with Slate. But now over a hundred authors, including Ian McEwan, Joyce Carol Oates, and Lorrie Moore have come forth in Buruma's defense. The authors cite the essay, and not Buruma's damning interview, as the reason for his dismissal. Michael Kupperman is exactly right in his tweet: this is the worst kind of elitist wagon-circling. Just because you personally like someone doesn't mean you have to stand up for his horrible decisions.

  • Here's a good thread of writing advice, started by Tayari Jones:

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: