Chuck and the inexplicable longing

Thu 30 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Chuck Taylor has inspired two feelings in me with their latest anniversary shoes: a weird blind consumerist lust as well as a mild case of self-loathing for feeling same. The shoes are either truly inspired or incredibly goofy. Wait, they’re both that and more (and less).

I’m discounting the leather pair because they are ugly but mostly because at this point in the decadent western world there is no reason to kill animals for clothing. “Fairies Wear Boots” is the nominal inspiration for the yucky strappy leathery shoes. It’s such a weird great happy song, I loved it as a kid—it is awesome (and I am awed) that I can watch it on YouFabbyTube now. Luckily everyone else at the office today enjoyed it (a couple of times), too.

Now the other two designs. First is really number four and features Ozzy from the cover of Sabbath’s fourth album, the brain shaker* and intellectually-titled Volume Four. If I wear these, will I be cool? No. I might wonder if Ozzy is going to climb up my trousers and bite my head off. So these are probably out. Unless they are under the xmas tree on Dec. 25th when I will dance into the snow with them on.

The third pair are even goofier. Demon logos (designed by…?) are cool but still: “Inspired by 1978 World Tour T-shirt featuring the demon logo, Distressed print on cotton to replicate vintage tour t-shirt”—which just says lazy designer to me. And the ’78 tour (which I’d have loved to see but while my parents were ok on sending 8-year-old boys off to the beach they weren’t so much into sending us off to see stuff like this), well, it’s not exactly Sabbath at the top of their game is it? Ozzy’s almost able to stand but none of the rest can stand him and soon he’s out to be replaced by Mighty Mouse. (We still love you RJD!)

So: lust, self-loathing. Got to give props to a company who can create and exploit a need (Black Sabbath . . .  shoes!) from absolute zero. Giving into that blind lust? Hopefully not. But don’t hold me to that if they turn up in the Vegan Store.

Oops. Made a mistake. Googled “1978 black sabbath tour demon logo design” to see if I could find out whether it was designed for them or ripped off. Decided I should stop and go back to work (pitch, pitch!) but not before finding that teenagers of all ages can get as much Sabbath merch as their wallet and fashion sense (and spouse) will allow here.

Black Sabbath Chuck Taylor All Star Hi Top - Black/White/GoldBlack Sabbath Chuck Taylor All Star Hi Top - Parchment/White

*This is misleading. Sabbath sound so happy and occasionally even poppy now (especially AOR hymn-to-pubescence “Changes”) compared to all those Masters of Modern Metal Mayhem.



Sitting down with terrorists

Thu 30 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

From the Huffington Report (and carried everywhere except our local paper) Apparently John McCain spent New Year 1986 on holiday in Chile—and managed to fit in meeting with the country’s dictator, Pinochet.

Classy.



Surprises

Thu 30 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

  • Down in Greensboro, NC, the News-Record reports on a new bookshop we’re looking forward to visiting, Glenwood Community Bookshop—check out the pic of the owner (via Shelf Awareness).
  • Great interview in the Twin Cities Daily Planet (what a great name!) with Allan Kornblum of Coffee House Press—a stand up guy who has helped us out in a jam more than once or twice.
  • If you’re wondering what to get us for Christmas (or Halloween), one of these pieces by Eva_Rønnevig would be much appreciated (via the acknowledgements in Couch!). They are just fabulous and perhaps just out of our range. Oh well.
  • William Smith, one of le fave bloggers, found “an interesting bit of NYC ephemera. This edition of Treasure Island was published by and given gratis to guests of Hotel Taft.” (We are very open to any hotels who want to do special editions of our books.)
  • Just the other day listened to Terri Windling and Howard Gayton reading at the KGB Bar in June on Veronica Schanoes’s guest hosted Hour of the Wolf. (MP3 link)
  • Very sad that the Christian Science Monitor has stopped its print edition (via everywhere). That there is a good paper that deserves a wide readership.
  • Listening to Sam Phillips in concert on NPR, how lovely.

That Sam Phillips link reminded us to go check the All Songs Considered Podcast. Up until now there was one show in the list that had been downloaded: Jenny Lewis a while ago. Today, went to iTunes, chose Refresh after making sure the Preferences were to include all the missed shows. Rather than download them all, they all came up as a choice to download: plethora of riches! Right now being downloaded: Antony and the Johnsons, Byrne & Eno (should we go see them on December 2 here?), Tilly & the Wall, Circulatory Sustems, Thom Yorke’s guest dj spot (listening to a Radiohead concert, although it’s not on the auto-download list), Dengue Fever, Iron and Wine, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Rilo Kiley, Bjork, and a Few More.

Jens Leckman is doing a solo show at Northampton High School on Saturday November 1 as a fundraiser to help with costs not covered for a local teenager who was hit by a drunk driver.



Joan Aiken Bio

Tue 28 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern


Joan AikenJoan Aiken
(1924—2004) was born in Rye, Sussex, England, into a literary family: her father was the poet and writer Conrad Aiken and her siblings, the novelists Jane Aiken Hodge and John Aiken. After her parents’ divorce her mother married the popular English writer Martin Armstrong.

Aiken began writing at the age of five and her first collection of stories, All You’ve Ever Wanted (which included the first Armitage family stories), was published in 1953. After her first husband’s death, Aiken supported her family by copyediting at Argosy and working at an advertising agency before turning full time to writing fiction. She went on to write for Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Vanity Fair, Women’s Own, and many other magazines.

She wrote over a hundred books (including The Way to Write for Children) and was perhaps best known for the dozen novels in The Wolves of Willoughby Chase series. She received the Guardian and Edgar Allan Poe awards for fiction and in 1999 she was awarded an MBE for her contributions to children’s literature.

Author photo by Rod Delroy.

About Lizza Aiken

Born into a family of writers (grandfather Conrad Aiken, mother Joan Aiken) Lizza rebelled by becoming a mime and going to study in Paris with master teachers Etienne Decroux and Jacques LeCoq. She toured with fringe theatre groups appearing at International Theatre Festivals all over Europe in the 1970s and ’80s, performing with Hesitate and Demonstrate at London’s ICA Theatre and for Joseph Papp at the Public Theatre New York. Married to osteopath David Charlaff, and then mother of two she settled in Highgate, London and directed Youth Theatre groups and wrote screenplays for Children’s BBC TV based on Joan Aiken’s popular Arabel & Mortimer stories. Lizza is now curating the Joan Aiken literary estate and designing the official website for this much loved writer at www.joanaiken.com

About Andi Watson

Andi Watson (ljFlickr) grew up in Yorkshire. He wanted to be a mechanic when he grew up but having no aptitude for anything practical, drew and drew and drew instead. He drew at school, at college and for his degree. Then he began drawing comics, which required even more drawing but with the added difficulty of writing.

When he isn’t drawing comics he’s drawing illustrations.

He likes to draw and lives with his wife and daughter in Worcester, England.



Mock the Week

Mon 27 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Recommended by family in the UK this is not at all for anyone who does not enjoy sweary words. For those who don’t mind, a tea break (do not drink tea during this tea break if you are watching this clip):



Unbelievable, yet

Mon 27 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Working at the satellite office (as compared to the 70 storey underground moonbase where everyone else is) in Easthampton today (it’s a somewhat easier commute). The old mill we work in is (see LA Times below) “a refurbished New England mill that looks like something out of Blake, surrounded by trees that burst into violent color in the fall.” True. What isn’t mentioned is that some of the refurbishment, well, it’s more simple and whoever did it took a colorful attitude to what really needed to be done. So for instance high up in the corners between this space and the next there are gaps in the drywall around the pipes which run through the building (which carry, er, who knows? The liquified algae being turned into biofuel on the floor below us?).

trapped birdAnd one of our neighbors has left a window open. How do we know? Because this morning there was the too-familiar fluttering sound of tiny wings. Nope, not a fairy nor an angel. Yes, indeed, ladies and gentlemen, we have a trapped birdie. No cameras here today (besides the ones on the Macs—we’ll keep trying with Photo Booth) so no pics yet….

Weekend review update:

Scott Timberg writes about Kelly in the LA Times and we have a new quote about Small Beer Press (thanks Scott!), we’re a “Hip house”!

Beam Me Up eats up The Ant King and Other Stories, “for me it was like the desert cart, each amazing bite building on what came before and promising so much more in the future.”

A summary of Geoff’s week at Omnivoracious.

Missed a review of The King’s Last Song which ran in the Washington DC City Paper in time for Gaylaxicon.



Powell’s: redesigned

Mon 27 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Powell’s has a clean and spiffy redesign—although all those nice bright colors will be missed. We link to them and to IndieBound bookstores so that we can encourage readers to go try the pure variety and idiosyncrasy of local bookshops around the country—and so that we can get a tiny cut of the sales!

So what do people from our site buy at Powell’s? Recently there’s an odd lack of financial titles—maybe everyone is too broke to read about going broke?—it’s more usually fiction, a mix of our books (The Best of LCRW, Interfictions, Pretty Monsters, Generation Loss) and other titles: Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Before You She Was a Pit Bull, Poppy Brite’s Liquor. Thanks to everyone for clicking through!



Signs of the depression

Sun 26 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Eek! Scotland, say it cannot be so! “Sales of beer slump by 7% as recession takes hold.”



Kelly and Holly Black in Albany on Sunday

Sat 25 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Kelly and Holly Black will be taking a late autumn trip out to Albany, NY, tomorrow to read at Flights of Fantasy Bookshop at 4 PM or so. This Kelly’s last reading for a bit—you can order signed copies of Pretty Monsters from Flights of Fantasy or here.

“The Specialist’s Hat” is up for discussion at A Curious Singularity and recent Pretty Monsters reviews include two gazettes: the Montreal Gazette (Claude Lalumiere likes the weirder stories) and the Oklahoma Gazette (says, as part of a Halloween roundup, “She’s a true original”). The Brooklyn Paper has a piece on Brooklyn girls (see the comments for those who take things a mite seriously) and what they read:

Books: When Brooklyn girls hit the books, they devour the surreal short stories of contemporary writers like Kelly Link — whose latest is “Pretty Monsters.” “Whenever people buy her book, they smile at the cash register like they are buying some delicious type of ice cream or something,” said Emily Vaughn of Community Bookstore in Park Slope.



sparrow + chimney 4ever

Sat 25 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The Saturday nap schedule was thrown out of whack when one after another three birds flew down our woodstove chimney today. We opened all the windows and the back door and then opened the stove top. The first bird took about an hour to get out the house—it flew from the top of one bookshelf to another before smacking itself dazedly into a window and crawling under a piece of furniture. At this point it could be picked up and set outside and after a bit it gathered itself together and flew away looking mostly ok. (Pictures of this one may at some point be uploaded.)

We don’t think that that bird came right back down another couple of times but straight after the first sparrow  flew away, a much more active one came down—luckily it was warm today and we didn’t have a fire on in the stove. (But hopefully they’re smart enough not to fly down into a fire!) Again with the windows and the doors but this time the bird flew immediately away. There was much celebration and wondering what was up with the silly birds and whether this was some rite of passage. After all, the chimney has a cap the birds aren’t meant to clamber through.

Then, the dreaded sound of little wings and claws coming down the chimney again. Damn! The actions from above were repeated and this bird, after one glancing bounce of a window, went out the back door. So then we went up to the roof and duct-taped a fringe-y thingymajig onto the chimney that should make it harder for all but the most skilled of sparrows to get in.

So far, so good.



Liz Hand in the NYTimes

Sat 25 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Generation LossIn the NYTimes, Terrance Rafferty’s horror column focuses on women writers beginning with the mother of the genre, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and going on to say “men — as is their wont — have coolly taken possession of the genre, as if by natural right, some immutable literary principle of primogeniture” and then that the modern populist streak of horror writing known as paranormal romance is “unreadable” for most males. (Not entirely true, there are many Laurel Hamilton fans.)

But rather than continue with these fighting words, he then takes a thoughtful look at a couple of prizewinners and novels from the literary end of the genre: Sara Gran’s Come Closer, Alexandra Sokoloff’s The Price, Sarah Langan’s Bram Stoker Award winner The Missing, and Liz Hand’s Generation Loss (on sale here)—which is listed as an Editor’s Choice—he describes as:

“Startling, unclassifiable. . . . There’s nothing supernatural in “Generation Loss,” but it’s full of mysteries — all originating in its characters’ troubled psyches — and full of terrors that can’t be explained.”



Likes teaching, traveling.

Thu 23 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Geoff Ryman, The King's Last SongGeoff Ryman has been blogging, or so, through the magic of Jeff VanderMeer on Amazon’s Omnivoracious. “Or So” because Geoff isn’t sure about blogging. He wonders if it’s just self promotion — and inspired a great conversation between Gwenda and Ted about the thing itself — and says he’ll stay quiet until he has something to say.

Don’t miss his engrossing pieces on visiting Cambodia (“It gets in your blood, Cambodia, I say. It’s the stories, he says, everybody has a story.”) that partially inspired The King’s Last Song.

This semester Geoff is teaching at UC San Diego (lucky students!) and his latest essay (post?) is on arriving in San Diego (“A tall woman in jeans and fluttery print shirt walks my way, smiling. Her face says both You can’t fool me and Isn’t this fun? It is the face of my generation”) and finding it worryingly enjoyable.

Check out the book on Google Books.



Bad blogger

Thu 23 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Must have been an awful bad blogger at Bookslut as now when I go there it says:

Forbidden

You don’t have permission to access / on this server.



New Joan Aiken site

Thu 23 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Ooh, pretty!



Don’t tell Ben P. + freebies

Wed 22 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

but we got copies of Couch. Yay! (Pics TK of course.) And we mailed Ben copies. It only seemed fair.

So now we have a quick blog giveaway: if you want a galley for review leave your name in the comments and we’ll contact the first 3 North American readers and send them along.



Harvard Book Store/Books of Wonder

Wed 22 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The former of these just called asking if we had lots of copies of Joan Aiken‘s book in stock…. Which has to be good news and is as good a time as any to mention an event we’re sending out invitations to (consider yourself served with an invitation):

The Serial GardenMichael Dirda, Lizza Aiken, and Charles Schlessinger
Celebrate Joan Aiken’s Armitage Stories

Sunday, November 16th 1-3 pm

Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
212-989-3270

We will celebrate the publication of The Serial Garden with a conversation between Michael Dirda and Joan Aiken‘s daughter Lizza Aiken and Joan’s lovely and esteemed long-time US literary agent, Charles Schlessiger of Brandt & Hochman.

This event is free and readers of all ages are welcome.



Scott does the numbers

Wed 22 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Scott Westerfeld’s number-crunching post on YA for Obama makes for thought-provoking reading. Maybe it is even . . . fascinating! Which, by Hodgman’s logic, means Jon Stewart should be talking to Scott!

First I downloaded the last 60 years of economic history from this handy site. By “economic history” I mean the yearly growth rate of the US economy from 1948 to 2007, expressed as a percent. Then I averaged the data for each president, for Republican- and Democratic-controlled congresses, and for the parties as a whole.

Guess what? The Democrats totally own the Republicans.



Sale Goes On

Tue 21 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

As noted in the new, improved, revived, awake and punchy Mobylives (welcome back!) and on the Boston Globe‘s Off the Shelf book blog (and the Baltimore Sun and many other goodly bloggity places), our books, they are still on sale. We’ve raised another smaller chunk of change for Obama, so yay and thank you! We will keep the books on sale until Election Day in the USA. They also note that another press is donating to the Angry Old Man side of things and Circlet Press have a nice idea to get people to get involved in any of the campaigns:

Then there’s the nonpartisan view, taken by Circlet Press. The Cambridge-based publisher of (we’re not making this up) science fiction erotica will give anyone a free book upon proof of contribution to either side in the presidential campaign. “We know there is a lot going on out there with the failing economy, war in Iraq, and so on,” says a Circlet blog post. “So our biggest hope is that Circlet’s readers get active in the political process, whether you are for McCain/Palin, Obama/Biden, or Rosalind/Adama. And we’re encouraging you to put your money where your mouth is (no, no, not there, you kinky thing).”



Get eaten

Tue 21 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

which is Latin for Omnivoracious—or the other way around. Anyway, Geoff Ryman is writing there. More on this later but for now go read!



Kelly interview in PW

Mon 20 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Quick update on the new book. We are still (behind with) shipping copies (with buttons, stickers, &c.):

You can hear Kelly talk about her new book on Penguin’s Pretty Monsters page.

PW’s Rose Fox interviews Kelly in her Nuts and Bolts column:

In young adult books, there’s a sense of immediacy, of urgency. The stakes are high, which is something that’s often true in fantasy and science fiction as well. Are you the heroine or hero of a young adult novel, or a fantasy novel? You may well be the chosen one. Dragons or vampires are drawn to you. There are portals into other worlds that only you can access.

There was a review in Bookslut:

Pretty Monsters collects several previously published stories along with a new tale in a package that is directed at teens. Rounding out the title are illustrations from Shaun Tan whose own iconic and unusual vision of the world is a perfect match for Link’s. This is a perfect match of author and illustrator and a great introduction to an author who will be loved by teen readers.

A review in Time Out Chicago:

If her past books make up a haunted house, Pretty Monsters is more of a fun house. Of course, that means it’s still a lot of fun.



Thu 16 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Whined yesterday about the lack of reviews for The King’s Last Song; a fantastic review popped up today in the Boston Globe:

Ryman’s brilliant new novel, “The King’s Last Song,” is permeated by the theme of salvation through destruction. In parallel narratives, Ryman reveals the (imagined) memoir of 12th-century ruler and Cambodia’s greatest king, Jayavarman VII, and presents the history of 20th-century Cambodia, a story of endless and eviscerating civil war. In so doing, he vividly creates a portrait of individuals whose souls are fused with that of their country, both ravaged and beautiful…. Ryman – best known as a fantasy writer but one who proved his power as an author of nuanced, rich historical fiction in the unsung novel “Was” – has not so much created as revealed a world in which the promise of redemption takes seed even in horror.



Thu 16 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Whined yesterday about the lack of reviews for The King’s Last Song; a fantastic review popped up today in the Boston Globe:

Ryman’s brilliant new novel, “The King’s Last Song,” is permeated by the theme of salvation through destruction. In parallel narratives, Ryman reveals the (imagined) memoir of 12th-century ruler and Cambodia’s greatest king, Jayavarman VII, and presents the history of 20th-century Cambodia, a story of endless and eviscerating civil war. In so doing, he vividly creates a portrait of individuals whose souls are fused with that of their country, both ravaged and beautiful…. Ryman – best known as a fantasy writer but one who proved his power as an author of nuanced, rich historical fiction in the unsung novel “Was” – has not so much created as revealed a world in which the promise of redemption takes seed even in horror.



Sale Update: $539 (x2) So Far

Tue 14 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Thank you to everyone who has bought books from us in the last two weeks.

Here’s an update on our Sale: we just donated $539 to the Obama for President campaign—which was doubled by an anonymous contributor, making it worth $1,078: Yay Indeed! The campaign are hoping for 100,000 new supporters by Friday and we hope you will consider donating.

A few rough stats on the sale: three people have gone for the Huge Box of Every book we have published—including those still to be published in 2008 and more than half a dozen people have gone for All the Books We Published in 2008. We should really send these happy people a new bookshelf. We will probably settle for chocolate.

Most people are buying a couple of books. Some incredibly generous people are using our regular ordering page and asking that the donation be made from that total.

Orders have come in from: the USA, Canada, the UK, Japan, Australia, and Croatia.

With a couple of hundred books being ordered, we are falling behind on shipping!

The Serial Garden is very popular in this sale.

And that’s it so far. Please spread the word: we’d love to sell more books and donate more to the campaign. There’s a fundraiser tomorrow night at the Apollo Grill in Easthampton where we’re going to have to write a check. Don’t make us write it alone!



Booksluttery

Tue 14 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

I am sluttering his way around the web for a week under the guise of Bookslut. Just posted a quick interview with MT Anderson. More TK as the week goes on. If you have the interesting news, do send.



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