What Are You Wearing?

Thu 24 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: jedediah

What happens when you don’t have the right suit? You don’t get the job. Or find that special someone. Or score a good seat at the execution.

In the world of Meeks, a debut novel by Julia Holmes, young men must find wives (and the right suits) or be doomed to a life of factory work or worse. It’s a dark satire, and it’s a truly funny, truly frightening novel. We are pleased as kids with extra Independence Day cake to be publishing it.

Here’s what you need to know for now:

  • There are bachelor suits and there are mourning suits. What you want is one of those nice bachelor suits.
  • You can read an excerpt from Meeks over at Conjunctions. And another at The Collagist. And one on the website of Ben Marcus, who once said: “Julia Holmes is that rare artist who, with invention and mythology, reveals nothing less than the most secret inner workings of the real world we overlook every day.” Truth.
  • If someone asks whether you’ve heard the story of Captain Meeks, you say: “I have heard it, but it feels good to remember.”
  • On July 20th, to celebrate the publication of Meeks, there will be a party at WORD Bookstore in Brooklyn. There will be drinks and there will be Independence Day cake. There may even be auctions. Details here.
  • Julia will also read in New York, NY; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Boston, MA, and elsewhere. Check our handy calendar so you’re sure not to miss her.
  • Cover art by Robyn O’Neil, perhaps our foremost portraitist of Doomed Young Men.
  • Can’t afford the cookies? Have a mint.

More soon!

Redemption in Video!

Wed 23 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Did you know we are publishing Karen Joy Fowler’s next book?

Tue 22 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

It is true! How happy are we? Massively! If happiness were weighed in stars we’d be a black hole!

Looking at those announcement posts we did a while back, it looks like we never made it all the way to September of this year (mmm, autumn!) which is the when when the what all over will be What I Didn’t See and Other Stories. And that what is a stunning collection: heartbreaking and deeply realistic even with their occasional fantastic touches. Did you ever read her story “King Rat” in Trampoline? Egads, it was a killer. Now it has been gathered with eleven others (including one, no, wait, two! Nebula Award winners) and, tra la la, a story that makes its first appearance here.

And how shall this book appear? As a zap-it’s-yours ebook from the usual places and also as a lovely hardcover paper book made from lovely recycled paper. The cover is a collage which is being handmade especially for the book by Brooklyn artist Erica Harris—whom some of you may remember as the artist whose fabulous art graced one of our early books, Carol Emshwiller’s collection, Report to the Men’s Club and Other Stories.

We’ll have a preorder page set up soon and or you can order it from Powell’s. Or, wait a bit and see if Karen is reading near you! Karen is one of our favorite readers—or panelist: go see her whenever you canand we expect to be setting up quite a few West Coast readings and maybe maybe more elsewhere.

Ta da!

Up! Date!

Mon 21 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Everything has slowed down at Small Beer hq due to the summer heat and maybe maybe perhaps that little thing that World Cup. Yay for the future arriving and being able to watch most of the matches on ESPN3—or free at many many bars, mmm. Sadly the White Horse Tavern in Allston was out of Dogfish IPA two days in a row but Troeg’s Hopback Amber was a good substitute.

Congratulations to Gerbrand Bakker (and translator David Colmer and Archipelago Books!) whose novel The Twin just won the 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Between that and Tinkers receiving the Pulitzer price it makes for a great year for independent presses!

We have a fun update on Kathe Koja’s book coming later this week. Let’s just say you should order then, not now. Oooh!

What else we’re up to:

Watching the World Cup. No, really, there are 3 games a day at the moment. How is anyone supposed to do anything else but sit in bars, drink, and watch the games? Deadlines? Whoosh!

Also, Kelly‘s about done with her blogging, although she does promise a couple more posts here and at Gwenda’s at a time TBA. Nice to see Gwenda (and some others) poking her head up above the bunkers again. We too watch the True Blood but are a season behind. Ah, DVDs.

Just saw a great review of A Life on Paper on The Agony Column. There’s one way to make sure the rest of G.-O. C’s work gets translated into English:

Châteaureynaud has a backlist for American readers that this book makes enticingly tangible, almost real. His own work is such that it might be subject of one of his stories. This might be all there is, the rest pure fabrication. The unreal, awaiting translation.

Alasdair Gray is interviewed by Jeff VanderMeer on Gray Week at Omnivoracious:

Gray’s new novel, Old Men in Love, is a mash-up of several different voices, creating a narrative through collage. The main text is presented as the posthumous papers of a retired Glaswegian schoolmaster named John Tunnock, seemingly edited by Gray. Tunnock’s a rogue whose exploits often backfire on him, and the novel contains everything from historical fictions set in Renaissance Italy to accounts of how his young mistresses take advantage of him.

Also, Will Self’s Appreciation of Alasdair Gray’s Old Men in Love

And Thursday Extra: Alasdair Gray, Author of Old Men in Love, Recommends Agnes Owens

How awesome was that week? Well, apart from the commenter—who says he’s a big fan of the author—who gave the book 1 star because he can’t read it in the format he wants. Oh well.

Old Men in Love was also reviewed by a long-time reader of Gray’s books, Gerry Donaghy, on Powell’s Review-a-Day:

Clear in this book, as in past volumes, is Gray’s devotion to the idea of the book as an object. Throughout his career he has designed his own books (usually to either save his publisher some cash or collect a second paycheck), and Old Men in Love is no exception. Poorly suited to a Kindle reading experience, it’s filled with various typefaces, ornamental drawings, and Blake-inspired illustrations. Even the boards of the book itself are tooled in silver-looking flake. If eBooks are the future, it looks like Gray is going to go out swinging.

A bit of LCRW news:

Does seem like there was more going on. But somehow the day has passed passed and gone and now it’s either time to see Luis Alberto Urrea at the Harvard Bookstore, or not! And, tomorrow: Colson Whitehead. And, in a few weeks, David Mitchell. Ooh, those lit’ry mens.

Are you a Geoff Ryman superfan?

Mon 21 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 9 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

We’d love to hear from you!

Alasdair Gray: out now!

Thu 10 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

At last! We have copies, the author (post office willing) will soon have his copies, lovely people who pre-ordered theirs have their copies, NPR got their copies (and one of our local stations, WBUR, has reprinted that review), NYTimes, and so on, all have their copies, everyone can get copies of Alasdair Gray’s latest novel Old Men in Love: John Tunnock’s Posthumous Papers. Reviewers? Want a copy? Drop us a line!

Fun coming up: Alasdair will be interviewed online. More on that if and when it happens. And, for the nonce, here’s an interview from October on the center of all things internet, The Rumpus.

Also, you can read an excerpt on Scribd. (No, there will not be an ebook although we’ll talk more to Alasdair about that later.)

This book was awesome to publish: not just because I’ve been reading Alasdair’s books for years but it was great to deal with Alasdair—and his lovely secretary, Helen—when things went pear-shaped with the Bloomsbury files. Weeks disappeared. Weeks! But it has (almost!) all come out ok in the end.

One of the parts that was easiest about publishing this book was the flap copy because the UK edition already had copy written by Will Self so we’ll post it here just for all yous:


Alasdair Gray’s new novel, Old Men in Love, exhibits all of those faintly preposterous foibles that make him a writer more loved than prized. The bulk of the text constitutes the posthumous papers of a recondite – yet venal – retired Glaswegian schoolmaster, named John Tunnock (as in the celebrated tea cake), that have, seemingly, been edited and collated by Gray himself.

This literary subterfuge serves to fool no one who needs fooling, yet will satisfy all who believe that the truth can be found more exactly in chance occurrences, serendipity, and the eggy scrapings from the breakfast plates of the neglected, than any crude, linear naturalism.

Tunnock is a beguiling figure, at once feisty and fusty. His historical fictions chivvy us into Periclean Athens, Renaissance Italy and then bury our noses in the ordure of sanctity given off by charismatic Victorian religious sectaries. Excursions into geological time are placed in counterpoint to diaristic jottings describing Tunnock’s own erotic misadventures and the millennial trivia of the Anthony Linton Blair Government’s final five years.

Only Gray can be fecklessly sexy as well as insidiously sagacious. Only Gray can beguile quite so limpidly. If I were a Hollywood screenwriter (which, to the best of my knowledge, I am not), I would pitch the film adaptation of Old Men in Love thus: ‘Imagine Lanark meets Something Leather, with a kind of Poor Things feel to it…’ By this I mean to convey to this novel’s readers that Alasdair Gray remains, first and foremost, entirely sui generis. He’s the very best Alasdair Gray that we have, and we should cherish his works accordingly.


Get your copy here!

Signed Cloud & Ashes

Wed 9 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

After WisCon we have a few signed copies of Cloud & Ashes up for grabs. Someone asked if this book will be paperbacked and the answer is a definite: not sure! Maybe maybe. Maybe just Unleaving by itself. Still thinking it over.

Topics for Kelly?

Wed 9 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Kelly’s blog tour is under way and if you have any topic requests for later in the week please post in the comments!

Here’s the tour so far. (Today’s is a book giveaway, so go sign up for that, or you can get your copy from Powell’s who have it in stock now.)

Updated with links to posts:

The Cozy Reader — on writing and not writing
Forever Young
— a continuation of the above
Parajunkee’s View
— paranormal monsters
Reviews by Brooke
— lists!
Anna’s Book Blog
— reading as a writer
Books By Their Cover
— short review + interview
Fantasy &  SciFi Lovin’ News & Reviews
— story idea generation
Monster Librarian
— interview
Fantasy Book Critic
— Kelly interviews N.K. Jemisin
Word for Teens
— on Diana Wynne Jones
The Compulsive Reader — go make a zine!
TBA: Bookchickcity.com

Old Men in Love: John Tunnock’s Posthumous Papers

Tue 8 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Books | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

June 8, 2010:
9781931520690 · Trade cloth · 6 x 9 · 312 pp

Beautifully designed by the author and printed in two colors: you have to handle this book to believe how beautiful it is. You can see the title page and first couple of chapters here.

Small Beer Press are delighted to publish the first US edition (updated with the author’s corrections from the UK edition) of Alasdair Gray’s latest novel, Old Men in Love: John Tunnock’s Posthumous Papers, a unique melding of humor and metafiction that at once hearkens back to Laurence Sterne yet sits beside today’s literary mash-ups with equal comfort. Old Men in Love is smart, down-to-earth, funny, bawdy, politically inspired, dark, multi-layered, and filled with the kind of intertextual play that Gray delights in.

As with Gray’s previous novel Poor Things, several partial narratives are presented together. Here the conceit is that they were all discovered in the papers of the late John Tunnock, a retired Glasgow teacher who started a number of novels in settings as varied as Periclean Athens, Renaissance Florence, Victorian Somerset, and Britain under New Labour. Fifty percent is fact and the rest is possible, but it must be read to be believed.

Old Men in Love on Omnivoracious: First, Jeff VanderMeer interviews Alasdair Gray, then Will Self’s Appreciation from the dustjacket, and finally an excerpt from the Introduction by Lady Sara Sim-Jaeger.

Also: a wonderful recent interview with Alasdair Gray by Ari Messer on The Rumpus.


“God bless visionary eccentrics. . . . In today’s case, I am lavishing thanks not only for the existence of Alasdair Gray, our present-day reigning literary eccentric, but also for his marvelous invention, John Tunnock:  crabby and crabbed, quintessentially Scottish misanthrope, unsung and deceased novelist, surname-sharer with a teacake, “hero,” if I may be so bold, of Old Men in Love.”
—Paul Di Filippo, Barnes and Noble Review

“Like the best of Gray’s work, Old Men in Love is funny and profane, but with a shuddering anger to the politics. Despite its swinging widely through time and space to portray men in power, their vulnerabilities and the perils of unchecked desire, perhaps the novel’s best section is its most mundane and personal: Gray’s portrayal of John Tunnock as a young boy trying to find his (lonely) place in working-class Glasgow. With a dead mother and a father he never knew, he’s left to two plucky maiden aunts. His coming of age includes sherry, comic book superheroines in very tight costumes, his discovery of pornography and being discovered with pornography by his schoolmaster. He was even watching Only Uncensored Anime Porn Allowed.

About the AuthorGerry Donaghy, Powells.com“What makes reading Alasdair Gray worthwhile is that, though he may not always be a successful literary stylist, he repeatedly manages to articulate our innate need to be creative and the despair that comes with the inability to successfully express ourselves. He also reminds us that often our ideals exceed our actions and abilities. More than once, he’s introduced his novels with the exhortation, “Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation,” and it’s this optimism, in the face of sometimes overwhelming odds, that keeps me coming back to this author.””
—Jessa Crispin, NPR (Read a short excerpt on NPR)

Alasdair Gray, born 1934, is a painter certificated by Glasgow Art School. Unable to live by one art he became jack of several and Old Men in Love is his 19th book. In The Dublin Independent Lawrence Sterne says it will swim down the gutter of time with the legation of Moses and A Tale of A Tub. Says Urquhart of Cromarty in The Scots Magazine, Relish the cheese-like brain that feeds you with these trifling jollities. Dr Samuel Johnson in The Rambler writes, Never has penury of knowledge and vulgarity of sentiment been so happily disguised. Sidney Workman in the Epilogue says This book should not be read. In this blurb Alasdair Gray writes, Old Men in Love is bound to sell well because everyone now feels old after 25 so all youngsters are interested in what comes next.

Reactions to the British edition:

“Beautiful, inventive, ambitious and nuts.”—The Times (London)

“The culmination of a lifetime spent honing his unique ideas and approach.”
New Statesman

“That very rare bird among contemporary British writers—a genuine experimentalist. The influence of James Joyce, and Lauren Sterne, is very evident, but Gray does not seem merely derivative from these masters. He is very much his own man.”
—David Lodge

“This is one of Alasdair Gray’s best novels. (…) A preoccupation with the true meaning of democratic accountability is one of several themes uniting these linked stories. Freedom, including artistic freedom, is at the core of Old Men in Love. Gray is sly and witty, but also, and more impressively, he writes with stylish honesty. Presented as a schoolteacher’s book, Old Men in Love has a didactic tone at times, but gets away with it. (…) Postmodern it may be, but this is clearly a work by a lover of Dickens, Scott, James Hogg and John Galt. Its rewardingly readable narratives owe as much to the narrative quirkiness of the great age of 19th-century fiction as to today’s tricksiness. Old Men in Love shows Gray’s old strengths confidently renascent.”
—Robert Crawford, The Independent

“Waywardness is central to this novel’s artistic vision; waywardness, rather than rebellion in the Romantic style. (…) Once again, in this ingenious, engaging novel, Alasdair Gray has struck a blow for an altogether more meaningful sort of freedom.”
—Michael Kerrigan, Times Literary Supplement

Read more

Old LCRWs getting lighter and cheaper

Tue 8 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

We’ve just added LCRW 16, LCRW 17 and LCRW 18 to Weightless and dropped the price of LCRW ebooks to $2.99! Woot! Cough! Exclamation!

Also of LCRW interest: a review of LCRW 24 from Ray Garraty in Russia (and in Russian).

More ebookery: we just added Part 2 of Astrid Amara’s The Archer’s Heart on Weightless. What are we talking about? Here, go get Part 1: serialized fiction, it’s Weightlessed!

Travel Light is now available as an ebook for the very first time. It is an awesome book that you should have read when you’re 10. In fact, if you are 10, read it now. If you are not 10, read it anyway. And, isn’t that the best title ever of a book to read as an ebook? Oh sure, our paperback has the gorgeous Kevin Huizenga cover but you know, travel light. Of course if you’re hauling around some huge ebook reader maybe that isn’t travelling so light.

At some point we will probably offload all our ebooks to Weightless—which is growing along nicely. (And we’re very happy that those 2 million iPad readers will be able to read PDFs on it now. We make pretty pages and want you to enjoy them as well as the stories on them.) Anyway, so tell us if you think the offloading of ebooks to the other site is s a good or bad idea.

Introducing Georges-Olivier

Mon 7 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Today we’re celebrating the publication of Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s first book in English, A Life on Paper: Stories, translated by Edward Gauvin. Obviously we will be watching the New York Times bestseller list closely this week because this book is a surefire hit: not only is it a translation, it’s a short story collection. Last week’s bestseller list contained four collections (one translated from Basque, one Welsh) and two anthologies—one of the usual sex+drugs+rocknroll stories and the other an anthology of Czech novellas. So the national appetite is whetted for a collection such as A Life on Paper, which introduces one of France’s premiere masters of the form. Run to the store! Or, download it now.

Edward Gauvin first brought Châteaureynaud to our attention a couple of years ago with a small chapbook of three stories, Trois Contes (One Horse Town), and he continued to keep us up to date with his doings. There had been a story published here, a story there, had we seen that Châteaureynaud won another award, let me tell you about this great and weird novel he just published. He sent us some pictures of the author (see below—and we realized that this was the French Vonnegut) and a few of his French book covers. Eventually we clued in to the fact that we are publishers and here was a fantastic French author whose work hadn’t been published in ye olde English language. At that point we broke out the checkbook and acquired the book. We also realized that Châteaureynaud’s face was about the best cover possible for this book. There’s a face that says I’ve got stories to tell.

Publishing a translation of 22 stories taken from half a dozen different collections whose rights are owned by three different publishers and the author has been . . . interesting! The easiest part was working with Brian Evenson who wrote the excellent Foreword to the collection. The more difficult part was that thing about the three publishers and so on. However, that’s where the French Publishers’ Agency comes in. The lovely people there worked with us on all those contracts (and the revisions, the endless revisions!) with Actes Sud, Grasset, and Juilliard, and without them it’s unlikely that this book would have made it to publication here in the USA. They also worked with us and Edward on applying for a couple of different grants—which very much helped with the costs; and one of the grants may be used for Châteaureynaud’s next book instead of this one. Because it turns out that some of Châteaureynaud’s work is connected and if you read some of these stories they help set up the world of some of his novels. Which is something we’re looking forward to getting to once Edward sends us the translation. Of course, Edward is off in Belgium on a Fulbright, but we’re hoping he won’t be so enamored of the Belgian beer and books that he will forget his US readers patiently waiting for the next Châteaureynaud.

So in the meantime, we’re proud to present our second translation—Kalpa Imperial by Argentinean writer Angélica Gorodischer and translated by Ursula K. Le Guin being the first—and newest collection of short stories: A Life on Paper. As usual for us, this book crosses many genre borders so no doubt in some bookshops you will find it shelved in fiction and in others you’ll find it in science fiction. The one given is that you should go out and find it!

Kelly’s going on a blog tour

Tue 1 Jun 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Pretty MonstersNext week the paperback of Kelly’s collection Pretty Monsters comes out from Penguin and since she won’t be going out on tour (maybe she will for the theoretical next book—which, to forestall questions, isn’t written, scheduled, etc.), instead she is going out into the Great Tubes of the Internets for a tour of the far horizons of Bloglandia. The paperback (just to complicate the lives of blibliographers) has one extra story, “The Cinderella Game”—originally published in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s Troll’s Eye View anthology—and is sitting here looking very pretty and proud.

Also, I think about four of these sites are giving away copies of Pretty Monsters so please do add these to reading calendar for next week:

June 7: Thecozyreader.com
June 8: Foreveryalit.com
June 8: Parajunkee.com
June 9: Reviewsbybrooke.blogspot.com
June 10: Annavivian.blogspot.com
June 11: Booksbytheircover.blogspot.com
June 14: Fantasy &  SciFi Lovin’ News & Reviews
June 15: Monsterlibrarian.com
June 15: Bookchickcity.com
June 16: Fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com
June 17: Wordforteens.blogspot.com
June 18: Thecompulsivereader.com