Travel Light — and free

Sat 4 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 3 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Travel Light cover - click to view full sizeTor.com is running a giveaway sweepstakes for five copies of Naomi Mitchison’s Travel LightLeave a comment to enter — and/or get the ebook on sale this week for only $2.99  on Weightless.

The giveaway was inspired by Amal El-Mohtar’s incredible You Must Read This which was published by NPR this week which includes these lovely lines about the book:

Travel Light is the story of Halla, a girl born to a king but cast out onto the hills to die. She lives among bears; she lives among dragons. But the time of dragons is passing, and Odin All-Father offers Halla a choice: Will she stay dragonish and hoard wealth and possessions, or will she travel light?

Amal wove many personal and literary threads together in an enthralling and thought-provoking way. Her love for the book shines through so fully it has sent hundreds, thousands of readers to find the book for themselves. And Travel Light is such a short, beautiful book that many readers have already read it and recommended it to others. It’s amazing to see. Annalee’s io9 headline about Amal’s essay, The book we all wish we could have read as children, hits the nail on the head for many of us reading it for the first time. I’d have loved to read Travel Light when I was a kid deep in John Christopher’s Beyond the Burning Lands and Tripods series, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Wizard of Earthsea, Richard Cowper’s White Bird of Kinship books, Joan Aiken, Alan Garnar’s The Weird Stone of Brisingamin, Megan Lindholm’s Wizard of the Pigeons, John Wyndham’s Chrysalids, etc., etc.

I’ve loved Travel Light for years. I had the Virago UK edition with the green cover and kept giving copies of it away. At some point I got a hardcover—Kelly used to give me Mitchison books for my birthday, now I have to catch up!—and when we were doing Peapod Classic reprints it was a natural fit. Kevin Huizenga’s  cover illustration is still a treat: there are so many things going on in that cover.

To see a book I love as much as this suddenly rocket up and off in the world is so exciting I’ve occasionally had to step away from it all and take a deep breath. (Which has been made very easy by our 4-year-old daughter—often bearish, sometimes dragonish—who has been wearing a princess dress under her new jaguar costume and has been running around terrorizing everyone and everything in the house.)

I’ve spent years at book fairs chatting to people about the book and some of those people were caught by in the same way. One reader I know, Karen Meisner, was caught because Amal writes that Karen gave it her  for her birthday. If we are lucky, if the work is done and everything is in place, this is the way the world works: a good book is written (be it now or in “Marseilles — Peshawar, 1951″), a reader finds it, loves it, and passes that love on. And on and on and on . . . .

. . . and should you be tempted like me to look for more MitchisonThe Corn King and the Spring Queen is a huge immersive historical novel, Memoirs of a Spacewoman is a sometimes slow, sometimes hilarious taboo-crushing novel about “communication,” but the books I really recommend are her autobiographies (Small Talk: Memories of an Edwardian ChildhoodAll Change Here: Girlhood and Marriage, and You May Well Ask: A Memoir) and her World War II diaries, Among You Taking Notes: The Wartime Diary of Naomi Mitchison, 1939-1945.

Many of her books are available here.



1st and last 2013, 2014

Wed 1 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Happy New Year!

Later this week we’ll get the last Bookscan report for 2013 and we’ll be able to replicate our 2012 bestsellers post.

In the meantime, here’s the first and last orders from our website in 2013 and the first from 2014. Greer’s excellent chapbook—for which there is a followup coming!—was no doubt helped by Henry Wessells choosing as his best book of 2013!

2013

First: Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 28
Last: Greer Gillman, Cry Murder! in a Small Voice

2014

First: Greer Gillman, Cry Murder! in a Small Voice
Last: who knows?

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 28 cover - click to view full size Cry Murder! in a Small Voice cover - click to view full size



Bookslinger: The Specialist’s Hat

Fri 27 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Available today on Consortium’s Bookslinger app is Kelly Link’s World Fantasy Award winning story ”The Specialist’s Hat.”

Previous Small Beer stories on Bookslinger:

Bernardo Fernandez, “Lions” (translated by Chris N. Brown)

John Kessel, ”Pride and Prometheus”

Kij Johnson’s “At the Mouth of the River of Bees”

Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud’s “Delauney the Broker” (translated by Edward Gauvin)

Ray Vukcevich, “Whisper

Maureen F. McHugh, “The Naturalist

Karen Joy Fowler, “The Pelican Bar

Kelly Link, “The Faery Handbag

Benjamin Rosenbaum, “Start the Clock

Maureen F. McHugh, “Ancestor Money

Download the app in the iTunes store.

And watch a video on it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySL1bvyuNUE



Not bells, an endorsement

Mon 23 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Questionable Practices coverWhat’s that ringing sound in your ears? Not the bells, the bells, rather Margo Lanagan’s ringing endorsement of Eileen Gunn’s March 2014 collection, Questionable Practices.

And should you wish a quick blast of excellent and odd Christmas fiction, try Eileen and Michael Swanwick’s “The Trains That Climb the Winter Tree.”

“From the first sentence of an Eileen Gunn story, you know you’re in the hands of a master. She brings you good, knotty characters every time, and sends them on trajectories you can’t help but care about. She roams the world and lets you appreciate its depth, variety and complications. She does humour and seriousness with equal aplomb; she can write to any length and know exactly what’ll fit. Above all she’s a sharp and a deep thinker; it’s a privilege to watch her mind at work. Read these stories and there’s no question you’ll feel like a smarter, more attentive human being.”
—Margo Lanagan

Preorder (or gift!) the paperback here and the ebook here.

We’ve also added the first couple of Eileen’s events:

March 19 – 23, ICFA, Orlando, FL
March 26, 7 pm, University Bookstore, Seattle, WA



2013 in SBP books

Wed 18 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Sometimes I miss Badreads, the community reading site that AFAIK closed down earlier this year. I haven’t yet really migrated to LibraryThing (there’s that part ownership thing) or any of the others. I certainly liked seeing what other people were reading and keeping up with what I was reading.

Now, who knows what I read? I barely do. Although I really enjoyed the most recent issue of Pen AmericaNot just because they reprinted two stories from Three Messages and a Warning either. The whole thing was great, from the forum on teaching writing (Dorothy Allison, Paul La Farge . . . and Elissa Schappel’s heartbreaking piece) to the poetry by Ron Padgett (“Advice to Young Writers”) and two graphic narratives (comics!) by the fab David B. and Jean-Pierre Filiu (translated by none other than Edward Gauvin!) and Brian Evenson and Zak Sally. Anyway, you want a good magazine? Go read it.

I joined Pen a couple of years ago (teenage me: so proud!) and now Kelly’s a member, too. Are you a writer or editor? Do you care about intellectual freedom? If you can swing it, sign up here!

Ok, so, Small Beer: What have we been up to this fine year almost done and gone?

2 issues of LCRW! A record! Well, for recent years. We are planning 2 more for 2014. Phew!

A banner year for Weightless, yay!

And the New York Times just gave a great review to one of our final books of the year, Howard Waldrop’s new collection. I always think our books are so good that they all should be on NPR, in the WaPo, the LA, NY, St. Petersburg, Seattle, and London Times, etc., etc., so sometimes I surprised when they aren’t. I know: different strokes for different folks and all that, although really I think since all our books are so good they should overcome any reader prejudices. (“Short stories! Pah!”) The real reason they’re not reviewed anywhere? All the papers and magazines find it hard to justify reviewing half a dozen or more books from the same publisher. Right? Right!

BTW: if you would like to order Small Beer books (we have many signed copies!) to arrive in time for the holidays, please select Priority Mail. We are shipping until 5 pm on Thursday December 19th this year.

Here’s a picture of all the books we published this year and below, a little bit more about each book.

2013 books

BOOKS!
Authors!

Chuntering on!

Reviews!

CRY MURDER! IN A SMALL VOICE
Greer Gilman

What, another chapbook? That’s two in two years! The last one we did was in 2004 (Theodora Goss) and the next one should be 2014. Woo! This one is a dark, dense and intense serial killer story with Ben Jonson, detective and avenging angel.

“A jewel of a novella.”—Strange Horizons

NORTH AMERICAN LAKE MONSTERS
Nathan Ballingrud » interview

The darkest book I expect we will ever publish! Bleak? Check. Monsters? Check? Fabulous, fabulous writing? Check!

“Matched to his original ideas and refreshing re­furbishments of genre set pieces, Ballingrud’s writ­ing makes North American Lake Monsters one of the best collections of short fiction for the year.
Locus

“The beauty of the work as a whole is that it offers no clear and easy answers; any generalization that might be supported by some stories is contradicted by others. It makes for an intellectually stimulating collection that pulls the reader in unexpected directions. The pieces don’t always come to a satisfactory resolution, but it is clear that this is a conscious choice. The lack of denouement, the uncertainty, is part of the fabric of the individual stories and of the collection as a whole. It is suggestive of a particular kind of world: one that is dark, weird, and just beyond our ability to impose order and understanding. These are not happy endings. They are sad and unsettling, but always beautifully written with skillful and insightful prose. It is a remarkable collection.”
Hellnotes

SPIDER IN A TREE
Susan Stinson » Rick Kleffel interviews Susan Stinson (mp3 link).

Flying out the door in our town (Broadside Books alone has sold 140+ copies!) and now all over the country. Jonathan Edwards, we hardly knew ye. Until Susan brought you and your family and your town back to life.

“Ultimately, ‘Spider in a Tree’ is a lesson in what not to expect. Stinson eludes the clichés usually associated with religious extremism to peel away the humans underneath. We speak of a loving God, who asks us to embark upon a deadly war. We most easily see the sins in others that we are ourselves guilty of. Every ambition to perfect ourselves has a very human cost. As we reach for what we decide is the divine, we reveal our most fragile human frailties. Words cannot capture us; but we in all our human hubris, are quite inclined to capture words.”
The Agony Column

A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA
Sofia Samatar

We still have a few hardcovers of this left, unlike most other places. Some reviewers have really got this book including Jane Franklin in Rain Taxi who just gave it a huge excellent review. Yes, it’s a fantasy novel. Yes, it’s fantastic. Sofia sure can write.

“Sofia Samatar’s debut fantasy A Stranger in Olondria is gloriously vivid and rich.”
—Adam Roberts, The Guardian, Best Science Fiction Books of 2013

“For its lyricism, its focus on language, and its concern with place, it belongs on the shelf with the works of Hope Mirrlees, Lord Dunsany, and M. John Harrison — but for its emotional range, it sits next to books by Ursula K. Le Guin or Joanna Russ.”—Jane Franklin, Rain Taxi

TRAFALGAR
Angélica Gorodischer. Translated by Amalia Gladhart.

Our second Gorodischer—and we have high hopes of a third and maybe even a fourth! This one is a discursive, smart, self aware science fiction. Don’t miss!

“Perhaps the strangest thing about these tales is how easily one forgets the mechanics of their telling. Medrano’s audiences are at first reluctant to be taken in by yet another digressive, implausible monologue about sales and seductions in space. But soon enough, they are urging the teller to get on with it and reveal what happens next. The discerning reader will doubtless agree.”
Review of Contemporary Fiction

HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR: STORIES
Howard Waldrop

We keep getting letters from Waldrop fans who are so pleased he has a new book out: and that after 40 years he’s in the New York Times! Spread the joy!

“What’s most rewarding in Mr. Waldrop’s best work is how he both shocks and entertains the reader. He likes to take the familiar — old films, fairy tales, Gilbert & Sullivan operettas — then give it an out-of-left-field twist. At least half the 10 tales in his new collection are prime eccentric Waldrop . . .  as he mashes genres, kinks and knots timelines, alchemizing history into alternate history. In “The Wolf-man of Alcatraz,” the B prison movie rubs fur with the Wolf-man; “Kindermarchen” takes the tale of Hansel and Gretel and transforms it into a haunting fable of the Holocaust; and “The King of Where-I-Go” is a moving riff on time travel, the polio epidemic and sibling love.
“Among the most successful stories is “The Horse of a Different Color (That You Rode In On),” an improbable confluence of vaudeville (two of the main characters perform in a horse suit) and the Arthurian Grail legend that manages to name-check Señor Wences, Thomas Pynchon, “King Kong” and more as Mr. Waldrop tells of the Ham Nag — “the best goddamned horse-suit act there ever was.” It’s certainly the best horse-suit-act story I’ve ever read.”
New York Times

TYRANNIA AND OTHER RENDITIONS
Alan DeNiro

Alan’s second collection marries absurdity to with politics and heart. Every writer is unique. Alan? Alan is like a superhero made up of the best parts of half a dozen of our favorite writers. Read these two excerpts to see why: “Tyrannia”, Walking Stick Fires [excerpt].

“Most of Tyrannia‘s rambunctious, immensely entertaining stories — seven of them science fiction — blend bizarre speculations with intermittent humor. When there isn’t humor, there’s weirdness — often extreme weirdness, funny in its own right. Fair warning: what I’m about to describe might not always make sense. That’s in the nature of this highly unconventional collection.”
—Will George, Bookslut

DEATH OF A UNICORN & THE POISON ORACLE
Peter Dickinson

We added Reading Group Questions to the former and the latter includes an author interview carried out by none other than Sara Paretsky. These two sort of mysteries are filled with bon mots, memorable characters, and the strangeness of the 1950s, 1970s, and 1980s. There is nothing as haunting as the last line of The Poison Oracle.

“Dickinson’s crime novels are simply like no other; sophisticated, erudite, unexpected, intricate, English and deeply, wonderfully peculiar.”
—Christopher Fowler, author of The Memory of Blood



Last readings of the year

Wed 18 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Susan Stinson (Spider in a Tree) is the sole reader at a fundraiser/party at Food for Thought Books in Amherst tomorrow night at 6 pm. Hope to see you there!

And on the same night over on the other coast, Sofia Samatar (A Stranger in Olondria) is reading in Los Angeles:

December 19, 2013
The Empty Globe
8:00 p.m.
Betalevel
behind Full House Restaurant (963 N. Hill St., Chinatown, Los Angeles)
Free

Sofia Samatar, Lily Robert-Foley, and Xina Xurner (Marvin Astorga & Young Joon Kwak).

Details here.

If you miss those, catch both authors on le twitttttr: Susan, Sofia.



Valley Gives 2013

Wed 11 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

As with last year, here in the happy valley tomorrow, 12/12 (a date that works in the UK and here!) is day of giving where local charities and nonprofits all collaborate in a day of fundraising and giving. Everyone has their list of fave organizations they support to whatever degree they can (more in a good year! a little in a bad year!). Here are a few groups we support and recommend:

Our basic recs (from our links) page: Greenpeace | Amnesty | Habitat | Partners in Health | Heifer | Franciscan Hospital for Children | Ronald McDonald Houses (Springfield, MA) | Children’s Hospital Boston | Worldreader | Kiva (great present for kids to see how they can make a difference) | Fistula Foundation

Recommended by GiveWell:

Nurse Family Partnership | Youth Villages | and the fascinating Give Directly

And a few more good local things—feel free to add more in the comments.

Northampton Survival Center

Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways

WFCR — which is part of NEPR now. You may have heard our ads on WNNZ, the AM station. One of the reasons I love them is their use of Stone Roses, Neko Case, and other great music in between stories.

If you know people with too much stuff (and if they already have all our books), gifts to any of these orgs make great holiday presents!

 

   Ronald McDonald House Fistula Foundation



Clarion 2014

Fri 6 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Clarion

Hey, want to spend 6 weeks in San Diego writing with some of the best sf&f writers around?

Applications are now open for the 2014 Clarion Writers Workshop. This year’s instructors are Gregory Frost, Geoff Ryman, Catherynne Valente, N.K. Jemison, Ann VanderMeer & Jeff VanderMeer.

Applications are taken until March, but the application fee rises from $50 to $65 in mid-February.

Apply here



Holiday shipping 2013

Thu 5 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Time for a quick annual reminder that holiday mail dates are coming up fast. Our office will be closed as usual from December 20 – January 1, 2014. (Of course, Weightless is always open.)

Here are the last order dates for Small Beer Press—which are not the same as everyone else, see note about the office being closed above. Dates for international shipping are here.

We ship all books media mail for free in the USA. If you want to guarantee pre-holiday arrival, please add on Priority Mail.

Domestic Mail Class/Product Cut Off Date
First Class Mail Dec-19
Priority Mail Dec-19
Standard Post Dec-14


Where are they now: Heidi Smith

Thu 5 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

I worked in the el-hi (elementary and secondary school) textbook publishing industry in Massachusetts for five years, managing projects for clients such as Houghton Mifflin, National Geographic, and McGraw-Hill. The book projects ranged from 2-4,000 pages, with teacher editions, student editions, and various grade levels and subjects. We produced print books, online materials, CDs, interactive lessons, magnets, and other ancillary materials.

My next move was to Washington, DC, to work as an editor in nonfiction business trade publishing. I worked closely with authors and designers, producing at least eight titles per year as the lead editor. The editing ranged from copyediting to developmental and structural editing, depending on the needs of the manuscripts and authors. I also edited and wrote marketing collateral to support the books and the organization, and supported other editors by proofreading their books.

After working in the busy world of publishing, I’m looking forward to the next opportunity. Although I enjoyed textbook and nonfiction business publishing, I’d like to expand and learn from other markets.

After some amazing vacations to the British Virgin Islands and Tanzania, Africa, I currently live in Northern California, where I’m taking a deep breath and focusing on my own writing once again. I’m reading some great books, and working on freelance opportunities.

——

Heidi Smith volunteered for us back in the summer of 2006. Read more in the Where Are They Now series.



Malvern, Hardest Part, the ABA, Susan @ KGB, &c

Wed 4 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

I don’t know when we’ll get there but I can’t wait to visit Malvern Books which just opened in Austin, Texas.

In book biz news, I’m very happy to see that Publishers Weekly chose American Booksellers Association chief Oren Teicher and the ABA board as their Person of the Year. I worked at the ABA as a BookSense (now IndieBound) content coordinator for two years and I love the ABA and their mission. It’s been great to see the indies change the narrative in the last couple of years: they’re building sales, opening stores, and illustrating every day that they are vital cornerstones to downtowns (and middle-of-nowheres!) everywhere.

Sofia Samatar has an excellent entry in Bull Spec’s series, “The Hardest Part,” on Chapter 7 of A Stranger in OlondriaShe also has a lovely, weird story, “How I Met the Ghoul,” in the new issue (#15) of Eleven Eleven.

Our local library has a lovely interview in the new issue of their newsletter [pdf] with Susan Stinson on writing her novel Spider in a Tree. Below is a picture of Susan reading at the KGB Bar (where she read the infamous “bundling” scene!) in New York City and another of her among many happy friends.

Susan has one more reading coming before the year ends: December 15, 5 p.m. Bloom Readings, Washington Heights, NYC

Susan Stinson by Jeep Wheat Susan Stinson & friends by Jeep Wheat



Small Beer Press Announces New Air Delivery Program

Mon 2 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | 1 Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Effective December 26th* Small Beer Press will revolutionize publishing by using hovercrafts to deliver packages in as little as 7 days. Declaring himself an “optimist,” Gavin J. Grant, Small Beer Press publisher predicted the technology will immediately bring tectonic changes to the publishing world.

This is more than a theoretical idea. This morning Grant showed the … internet a Hammacher Schlemmer ad from Harper’s Magazine*** for a hovercraft drone called a “2-person hovercraft” which will be emblazoned with “Small Beer Press Air Delivery.” The flying machine has one person to drive it and one to scoop up packages at Small Beer Press fulfillment centers and carry them to customers’ front lawns:

* Once Santa delivers the air delivery device.

** Plagiarized from the Bezos Daily News.

*** Full disclosure: Small Beer Press has paid for books to be advertised in Harper’s.



Bookslinger: Lions

Fri 22 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

New this week on Consortium’s Bookslinger app is  Bernardo Fernandez’s “Lions” (translated by co-editor Chris N. Brown) from Three Messages and a Warning.

Previous Small Beer stories on Bookslinger:

John Kessel, ”Pride and Prometheus

Kij Johnson’s “At the Mouth of the River of Bees

Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud’s “Delauney the Broker“ (translated by Edward Gauvin)

Ray Vukcevich, “Whisper

Maureen F. McHugh, “The Naturalist

Karen Joy Fowler, “The Pelican Bar

Kelly Link, “The Faery Handbag

Benjamin Rosenbaum, “Start the Clock

Maureen F. McHugh, “Ancestor Money

Download the app in the iTunes store.

And watch a video on it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySL1bvyuNUE



Wolf Children

Wed 20 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

From an ad on this video (17-year-old Biggie Smalls freestyling) linked from here (17-year-old LL Cool J plays a Maine gymnasium in 1985: rap! beatbox! sing! snap! ping! pow!) both from Kottke, via Eileen Gunn:



We all live in Tyrannia

Tue 19 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Tyrannia and Other Renditions cover - click to view full sizeI’ve been looking forward to this day for a year! Well, not the one where we all live in Oceania with the all-seeing government watching us from the cameras in our laptops (all the NYT journalists cover the cameras with yellow stickies now . . . ), rather the day where Alan DeNiro‘s new collection Tyrannia and Other Renditions comes out and blows everyone’s minds. Alan’s stories are about the person on the ground (or the monster on the motorbike) affected by the weird goings-on in politics, for ecstatic poets, worried artists, table top adventurers, and should be required reading for all politicians.

Booklist said: ”With just one novel and one story collection under his belt, DeNiro has already garnered a reputation as a genre-bending experimental author with an indescribably quirky but captivating prose style.” Of all the trade reviewers, they really seem to get his writing.

The cover map of the (ok, imaginary) Tyrannian lands and the typography is by Kevin Huizenga, and it was so right that we carried it on through the book. And then there is Alan’s incredible new author portrait by Shelly Mosman. I love Alan, but he is the weensiest bit scary here.

You can get Alan’s book in all good bookstores, the usual online slavedriving warehouses, or from here. And of course you can always get our DRM-free ebooks here on Weightless.



Susan and Kelly, tonight, Cambridge, Mass.

Mon 18 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Are you curious about how a manuscript becomes a book? Get ye to the Porter Square Bookstore tonight! Susan Stinson and Kelly Link read and talk about the writing and editing of Susan’s novel Spider in a Tree. 

Here’s the info from the bookstore website:

Our Next Event

11/18/2013 – 7:00pm

“Stinson reads the natural world as well as Scripture, searching for meaning. But instead of the portents of an angry god, what she finds there is something numinous, complicated, and radiantly human.”

Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home

“Through an ardent faith in the written word Susan Stinson is a novelist who translates a mundane world into the most poetic of possibilities.”

Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones

Susan Stinson is the author of three novels and a collection of poetry and lyric essays and was awarded the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize. Writer in Residence at Forbes Library in Northampton, Massachusetts, she is also an editor and writing coach.

Kelly Link lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she and her husband, Gavin J. Grant, run Small Beer Press and publish the zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Porter Square BooksPorter Square Books
Porter Square Shopping Center
25 White Street
Cambridge, MA 02140

We are located in the Porter Square Shopping Center on Massachusetts Ave., about two miles north of Harvard Square and directly across from the Porter Square station commuter and subway stop. Click here for a map.



Where’s Sofia?

Fri 15 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Sofia Samatar’s debut novel A Stranger in Olondria got an excellent review recently from Nic Clarke on Strange Horizons

But, where is Sofia? She’s in California and on Saturday, November 30, she’ll be handselling some favorite books at the excellent Borderlands Books in San Francisco from 1 to 4 pm. (You can check out a map of all the authors and booksellers on the Indies First page.)

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 12.01.20 PM

 



Howard Waldrop, 2013

Thu 14 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Yesterday Martha Grenon was kind enough to take some new author photos of Howard Waldrop. Howard refused any attempt to style him but something of his cheeriness comes through anyway. For those of us in the cold, cold north, it’s nice to see someone standing there warm enough with just have a shirt (with rolled-up sleeves!) instead of layers, baby, layers.

This is probably a good time to link to ”Three Ways of Looking at Howard Waldrop (and Then Some)” by Jed Hartman, et alia.

Howard_Waldrop_by_Martha_Grenon_1B&W

Howard_Waldrop_by_Martha_Grenon_2B&W

Howard_Waldrop_by_Martha_Grenon_3

Howard_Waldrop_by_Martha_Grenon_2

Howard_Waldrop_by_Martha_Grenon_1



Howard Waldrop, King of Where-I-Go

Tue 12 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Horse of a Different Color cover Hey! It’s been eight years since Howard Waldrop’s last collection, Heart of Whitenesse. Too long! We’re very happy to be publishing Horse of a Different Color: Stories today. (Howard promises us we’ll have more to publish soon.)

Long time readers of Howard’s amazing stories will know (and new readers will find out from his introduction to Horse) that a couple of years ago Howard’s health took a turn for the worse. The good news is the VA and his family and friends have looked after him (are still looking after him!) and he is hard at work. And he promises to be back harder at work once he gets eye surgery. He’s always been a great reader and we have great plans to get Howard to do the audio editions of his books. Great plans! but they do depend on him being able to read in comfort without the 4x microscope he used at Readercon this year.

Anyway. This book includes the best piece of Esperanto-based fiction I’ve read, “Ninieslando,” first published—as so many of Howard’s stories are in an anthology (Warriors) edited by his good friends, Gardner Dozois & George R. R. Martin.

It’s a story of missed chances, as a few of these stories are, and sometimes I argue that Howard’s career is one of missed chances. Not his: everyone else’s. Why I’m not sitting down to Howard Waldrop’s Missed Chances every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. I don’t know. Well, nothing in the way of TV and movies ever goes easily. Fingers crossed Craig Ferguson will read the title story, love the pantomime horse act, get Howard on The Late Late Show and off Howard’s career will go, boom, on a rocket, into space.

Whether that happens or not, we’re very glad to be bring you these 10 stories of wolf-men, actors, pirates, fairy tales and more from the one and only literary mashup master, Howard Waldrop.



Busy week coming

Mon 11 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Tyrannia and Other Renditions cover First, tomorrow, the lovely (well, in the USA), 11/12/13, we celebrate publication day of Howard Waldrop’s Horse of a Different Color: Stories.

On Wednesday there are two readings for you to drop all and get your plane tickets for. How will you decide which to go to? Flip a coin?

For those nearer Massachusetts, Susan Stinson will be reading from Spider in a Tree at 8 pm at Amherst Books in Amherst. The Concord Monitor just chimed in with a lovely review thatcaptured the same sense of surprise I found in myself when I was grabbed by this novel of life in 1740s Northampton:

Massachusetts author Susan Stinson’s Spider in a Tree: a Novel of the First Great Awakening surprised me. I knew the basic history of the period, including a bit about Jonathan Edwards, and frankly, thought it dull. But Stinson takes readers into Edwards’s home, into the lives of his family, their slaves, neighbors, relatives, and yes, even the spiders and insects of colonial Northampton, Mass. Suffering and joy, religious ecstasy and secular sorrow, the conflict between formal theology and individual conscience all make vivid fodder for Stinson’s story, which follows Edwards’s trajectory from 1731, during the religious revival that gripped New England, to 1750, when his congregation dismissed him.

and you can read an interview with Susan on Bookslut.

For those in the middle or left side of the country, Alan DeNiro is also reading on Wednesday night. He is reading at 7 pm at SubText: a Bookstore in St. Paul, MN. Alan’s second collection, Tyrannia and Other Renditions comes out next week and you can read an excerpt from “Walking Stick Fires” on tor.com.

Make your choice!

Susan Stinson
8 pm, Amherst Books, Amherst, Mass.

Alan DeNiro
7 pm, SubText: a Bookstore, St. Paul, Minn.



Indies First!

Fri 8 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Since Sherman Alexie first threw the Indies First idea out into the world, more than 375 authors have signed up to try their skills at handselling books at 300 bookstores.

Sofia Samatar, author of A Stranger in Olondria, will be Borderlands Books in San Francisco from 1-4 pm and Kelly Link will be at the Harvard Book Shop in Cambridge (where you can get Three Zombie Stories).

Some companies want to be your always and everything, these shops want to find you a good book. Ok, maybe sell you a mug, too!

Why are we posting this? Because we love the indie bookshops!

More here.

ETA: And Nathan Ballingrud will be at the excellent Malaprop’s in Asheville!



Alan DeNiro on “The Philip Sidney Game”

Thu 7 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Tyrannia and Other Renditions cover - click to view full sizeI’m delighted to see Alan DeNiro’s new story “The Philip Sidney Game” is up on  Interfictions. When I asked Alan for more about the story, this is how he replied (posted with Alan’s permission, of course):

Diving into the writing of “The Philip Sidney Game” was a strangely autobiographical process. I had to let my wife Kristin know that I was writing her as a character in the story. After she read it, she said that she didn’t sound like herself. I probably didn’t sound like myself either, but there was a version of me within the core of that story that was added to the many other layers of “me.” That, too, is a speculation, just as much as Philip Sidney’s use of magic. But as the rails fell off the story (by design) near the end, I entered a place where I wanted to write directly, as Alan DeNiro, to my readers—and a poem seemed to be the best way to do that. So it was fun to be able to incorporate that other side of me into a story.



Where are they now: Katharine Duckett

Tue 5 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

lustforgenreKDIn the years since reading slush and mastering the art of all-day tea drinking as a Small Beer Press intern, I’ve spent two years in Kazakhstan, two years in New York City, and a handful of months in climes between. It turns out that if you want to break into publishing, you should move to Central Asia, drink lots of vodka, and learn valuable, hands-on life skills, like how to rescue a dog from a trash pit using only an old door and a curtain. (You never know when you’ll need to whip that one out at a job interview.) Then move to New York and start eavesdropping on well-respected authors at readings, which, if done correctly, will turn out to be more charming than creepy when they offer youa job as their assistant. That’s how I ended up handling publicity for the lovely duo of Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, and eventually segued into my current position coordinating book and author coverage for Tor.com, the rocket ship division of Macmillan Publishers.

These days I’m engaged to a recent Oxford grad; we’re taking Spanish classes in preparation for our Costa Rican honeymoon and painting our new Brooklyn living room a cozy shade of “yam.” Around New York City, I write and read stories, perform in the occasional theater piece, and relive the glory of my post-Soviet days with trips to Brighton Beach and experimentation with borscht and dolma recipes.

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Read more in the Where Are They Now series.

Photos (“Coney Island” and “Hyde Park”) courtesy Laura Lamb.



Clamor

Mon 4 Nov 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

This post is inspired by two things: first, reading Anne Elizabeth Moore’s fabulous zine Cambodia Grrl and an Indiegogo campaign to digitize the Clamor backlist.

I was just wondering the other day if there are magazines today similar to some I really miss: Clamor, Herbivore, Punk PlanetVenus. Not to mention Peko Peko, dammit!

I liked their mix of politics, food, and music. And since my New Yorker subscription is coming to an end and (boo hoo!) I’m not renewing it because of their pathetic Vida scores [Bylines, Briefly Noted, Overall], I’m looking around to see if I can find indie magazines coming from the edges of things, rather than bam! in the center.

I read a fair number of mags, but any suggestions are welcome because one thing I know, I am missing a lot, too!



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