Congrats to the Shirley Jackson Award nominees!

Sun 11 May 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Congratulations to all the finalists for the Shirley Jackson Awards, especially to Nathan Ballingrud whose debut collection, North American Lake Monsters, is a nominee in the single author collection category, and to Greer Gilman whose Cry Murder! in a Small Voice, is a nominee in the novelette category.

The awards will be presented on Sunday, July 13, 2014, at Readercon 25, in Burlington (outside Boston), Massachusetts. Kelly was one of the jurors this year, so, as the site says: “Where a conflict of interest arises for a juror, the juror recuses himself/herself from voting for the particular work.”

Come say hello if you’re at Readercon! We will have stacks of these books — and more goodies, of course. And by the end of the week we should have another piece of very exciting news for fans of Greer Gilman!

ETA: Susan Stinson and Bob Flaherty (“My god, Susan! What you have you done to me!”) talk about North American Lake Monsters during their monthly bookswap on WHMP.

North American Lake Monsters cover - click to view full size Cry Murder! in a Small Voice cover - click to view full size



Reading like its 1971

Wed 16 Apr 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Emma Tupper’s Diary cover - click to view full sizeI turned one in 1971 and while I like to think I was enjoying some pretty great books (who can tell, they’ve all been eaten by me, my siblings, and time) I know of one good book that came out that year that I didn’t read: Peter Dickinson’s Emma Tupper’s Diary.

I don’t think I even read this book growing up*, which is a shame, as from the age of 9 or 10 on up it would have been a scarily good fit: I lived in the West Coast of Scotland among beautiful hills and lochs and would have eaten up a novel about an odd family (cough) whose cousin comes to visit from Botswana (we had cousins come from South Africa . . .). The only parts that are missing are

  1. the family business — teaching vs. their McAndrew’s Infallible Liniment
  2. the family minisubmarine — my family’s lack, that is, as far as I know . . .
  3. my father (sadly) did not go off abroad leaving us nominally looked after by a beautiful kleptomaniacal governess while we gallivanted about, pulled the wool over the eyes of the BBC, etc. (Also, my mother, unlike in many books for kids, is still alive. And still a great reader!)
  4. and, lastly, despite our searching, no proof of any monsters in any of the local lochs.

I am still sometimes confused by the way that time only seems to move in one way. I certainly feel different ages a lot of the time (although happily not 1-year-old) but I don’t seem to be able to go back in time and hand me this book. Shame! But at least since we reprinted it, it has been finding new readers:

Gayle Surette at SFRevu writes: “a great adventure story with characters that seem very real and as relatable today as there were then. It’s got a great location, adventure, great by-play and witty conversations, as well as an ecological and humanitarian conundrum with real implications for the future of the area and its denizens.”

and the Midwest Book Review notes that it is “Updated with a new cover and illustrations, this remains a great, now classic, summer read.”

Kathleen Jennings provided us with that new great cover of Emma writing her diary with a certain something in the background and we also got to use her sketches throughout the book.

Emma Tupper’s Diary is full of prickly people who rub each other the wrong way. Oh how I do wish I’d read it when I was a kid! But at least Kelly had it when I met her and eventually I got to read it and at some point we realized it would be a whole lot of fun to re-release this book back into the world. It’s a book that’s paced differently from many books for kids (aka readers of all ages!) and as noted by the Midwest Book Review, it also hearkens back to summer holidays when kids (of a certain class and in certain places) got bored and sometimes ran around and did stuff. In that way it is mildly, mildly reminiscent of another classic children’s book that will whisk you away on a summer’s day: Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, which, happily, the fine folk at Godine always have in print.

More suggestions of mucking around in summer books welcome. Especially as we woke up to snow and a reminder from Mother Nature that she’s the one who decides when spring comes, ok? Ok!

Get Emma Tupper’s Diary here and the ebook here.

* I’m not one of those people who can remember every book they’re read. I know (barely**) what I’m reading now and the last two books I read. But, before that? Erm. And what was I reading in 1980? Um. All I can say is lots and lots. Anything, everything. I was often the kid who got to pick the books from the mobile library for the school library refresh. You know, one of those. Inject your own tales of biblioscarcity and scavenging here!

** I was asked this morning and could not remember the title. Um.



LCRW low stock updates

Fri 28 Mar 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

While doing some counting and sorting (and preparing for the next issue, #30!), we found we’re running short of a couple of back issues of LCRW. So! We just switched numbers 15 & 16 to out of stock and this is the official notice that issues nineteen* and twenty-two will be next.

The good news: the ebooks are still available on Weightless (etc.) and selections from all these issues (er, up to #19) are also available in Del Rey’s lovely anthology The Best of LCRW: Some of the Best Parts from the First Ten Years of This Here Zine.

* Isn’t that easier to click than that fiddly 15?

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 19 cover - click to view full sizeLady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 22 cover - click to view full size



The Unreal and the Real wins the Oregon Book Award!

Tue 18 Mar 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Lovely news from Ben Parzybok on twitter from Oregon last night. Among the winners (congrats to all!) of the Oregon Book Award, was Ursula K. Le Guin, whose two-volume Selected Stories received the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction.

Even better, Luis Alberto Urrea (who posted the accompanying photo yesterday) was the the master of ceremonies and, well, Jeff Baker gave it a lovely write up for the Oregonian:

“. . . Le Guin won the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction for “The Unreal and The Real: Collected Stories Vol. 1 and 2.” At 84 Le Guin is perhaps the most decorated author in the state; her many honors include a National Book Award, every major science fiction award and an Oregon Book Award in 1992 for “Searoad.”

Luis Alberto Urrea, the master of ceremonies, began the evening with a humorous, heartfelt tribute to Le Guin. Urrea said he was “a poor boy from Tijuana” who wrote a story based on a family experience that somehow made its way to Le Guin, who asked him to join a workshop she was teaching and befriended him. She chose the story for an anthology she was editing, Urrea’s first sale, and his friends all bought the book and asked him to sign it. Urrea said Le Guin “smoked a pipe back then” and he accompanied her to her first viewing of “Star Wars,” during which she explained all the science errors to him.

“Everything good in my life comes from writing,” Urrea said. “Everything good in my life comes from Ursula. I’m here tonight for Ursula, the queen of America.”

Le Guin accepted her award graciously and first cautioned the audience that they should pay attention to Urrea when he’s writing, maybe not so much when he’s speaking. She remembered that in 1987, the year the Oregon Book Awards began, the award she received was named for H.L. Davis and she presented it to the winner. She touted Davis’ novel “Honey in the Horn” as the best written about Oregon and rued that it is out of print. She remembered the founders of Literary Arts, the organization that sponsors the Oregon Book Awards, particularly Brian Booth, and talked about her feeling for the state.

“I came to Oregon by luck,” Le Guin said, “and lasted 55 years. No plan can beat good luck.”



Celebrate the Questionable Practices!

Tue 11 Mar 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Questionable Practices coverToday we’re breaking out the champagne for breakfast to celebrate Questionable Practices. Not our own no doubt numerous questionable practices, but rather the fabulous Eileen Gunn’s second short story collection, Questionable Practices, which has been making its way out into the world for the last week or two.

It’s been 10 years(!) since Eileen’s first collection, Stable Strategies, which is highly recommended, of course! If you’ve never heard of Eileen (or, even if you have!) and you want to find out more about Eileen and her stories, writing, possible novel and so on, you can listen to her chat with Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe on this week’s Coode Street Podcast. And Gary has a lovely, long review of the book in this month’s Locus magazine which ends with “It’s always good news to get a new Gunn collection, and it’s always bad news that they come so infrequently.” Hey, this one’s out, maybe it won’t be another decade until the next.

Eileen will be out and about over the next couple of months at bookshops and conventions and so on and you can say hi and get a signed copy—or you can order it here.

March 19 – 23, ICFA, Orlando, FL
March 26, 7 pm, Launch Party, University Bookstore, Seattle, WA
April 12, 3 pm, Borderlands Books, San Francisco, CA
April 16, 7 pm, Writers with Drinks, San Francisco, CA
May 22 – 25, WisCon, Madison, WI
June 18, 7 pm, KGB Bar, New York, NY
July 10 – 13, Readercon, Burlington, MA



Ready?

Thu 20 Feb 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Emma Tupper’s Diary cover - click to view full sizeWe’re going to add some books to the world — and this website — soon.

And I’m not just talking our new edition of Emma Tupper’s Diary by Peter Dickinson which will be going out into the world next Tuesday. Emma forever!

Is that enough to answer the question, Ready?

No.

We’re going to announce something else fun, too.

A movie? Nope.

All my open tabs which got lost when Chrome crashed? No. (Saad.)

A tumblr. Well . . .

An indie ebooksite? Come on, stop pandering!

Something fun? I hope so!



JE in the news

Mon 10 Feb 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Susan Stinson’s Spider in a Tree is still catching readers — it’s not quite a Great Awakening, but the novel delves so deeply into life in the 1740s that once immersed, it’s hard to leave.

Apropos of some upcoming reviews and so on, Susan just posted her latest Library as Incubator post just went up, a lot of which is about researching Spider in a Tree at the Forbes Library here in Northampton. It’s 5 of the 6 part series she been doing for them and here is a link for the whole series to date. Click through for som great pictures of the library and the librarians!

Susan’s book got a mention in this interview David Moore carried out with Richard Bailey, associate history professor at Canisius College where they touched on one of the lesser known facets of Jonathan Edwards’s life, his ownership of slaves:

Moore: It is not well known that Jonathan Edwards owned slaves.  How should we think of Edwards in light of this reality?

Bailey: I am not 100% certain how to answer this question, David. I am glad that this fact about Edwards is becoming more commonly known and I am glad that my book can have something to do with that fact.

But how to think of Edwards? Well, Jonathan Edwards is certainly more than simply a slave owner. He is an important figure in the development of American evangelicalism and the modern missions movement. He is one of America’s most prominent philosophers and theologians. He certainly ought to be remembered for those sorts of legacies. But he also was a purchaser of human flesh. He actively defended and participated in the slave trade. And I’d argue he must be remembered for that, as well. I think that is what it means to take on the virtual amnesias of our pasts.

The one way I would encourage people NOT to think of Jonathan Edwards is as “a man of his time.” That sort of phrase doesn’t really mean anything; rather, it is a way of not thinking about Edwards. And I hope people will continue to think about him, relying of the historical work of George Marsden in Jonathan Edwards: A Life (Yale University Press, 2003) or the recent novel by Susan Stinson, Spider in a Tree (Small Beer Press, 2013) to get a more complete picture not only of the man, but also of the society and culture of which he was a part. [continues]

I’m very happy to note that Wikipedia has been updated to change the embarrassingly written section covering his slave ownership and presently just states “In 1747 Edwards took in a slave, “a Negro girl named Venus”. He purchased the girl for 80 pounds from a man named Richard Perkins of Newport.” Although this does still seem connected to the next sentence “The Edwards opened their home to those in need on a regular basis.”

Taking in slaves  does not equal looking after those in need! I don’t really know how to read the change history on Wikipedia—I looked at, but I can’t make sense of it—but there have been a lot of changes in the last few months and I’m glad that this part of Edwards’s and his family’s and the town’s life will be further examined.

Local readers can join Odyssey Books Open Fiction Book Group next Tuesday, Feb. 17th at 7 pm to meet Susan and discuss the book.



Bestsellers & Locus Rec Reading 2013

Mon 3 Feb 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Here are two different views of 2013 in SBP books. What will 2014 bring? Droughts! Witches! Yetis! More and more weird fun!

Congratulations to all the authors on the 2013 Locus recommended reading list. It’s always fun to peruse the list and see, for whatever reasons, what rose up and what didn’t. It’s especially nice to have links to all the online short stories and novellas and so on, thanks Mark et al!

In 2013, we published 2 Peter Dickinson reprints, one chapbook, and six new titles, and of those six, four titles are on the list:

  1. Sofia Samatar, A Stranger in Olondria
  2. Nathan Ballingrud, North American Lake Monsters: Stories
  3. Angelica Gorodischer (trans. Amalia Gladhart), Trafalgar
  4. Howard Waldrop, Horse of a Different Color: Stories

And you can go and vote in the Locus awards poll here. I have some reading to do before I vote. Votes for Small Beer authors and titles are always appreciated, thank you!

In sales, once again our celebration of Ursula K. Le Guin’s fantastic short stories were our best sellers for the year. However, if we split the two volumes into separate sales, Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others would climb a notch to #2. But! Counting them as one means we get another title into the top 5: Elizabeth Hand’s late 2012 collection Errantry: Strange Stories. We really should release more books at the start of the year, as those released at the end have much less chance of getting into the top 5.

According to Neilsen BookScan (i.e. not including bookfairs, our website, etc.), our top five bestsellers (excluding ebooks) for 2013 were:

  1. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin
    Ursula K. Le Guin, The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin
  2. Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life and Others
  3. Kij Johnson, At the Mouth of the River of Bees
  4. Susan Stinson, Spider in a Tree
  5. Elizabeth Hand, Errantry: Strange Stories

Last year it was all short stories all the time, this year Susan Stinson’s historical novel Spider in a Tree jumped in (I’d have said sneaked in if it was #5, but since it’s at #4, that’s a jump!). Susan’s book is still getting great reviews, as with this from the Historical Novel Review which just came out this week:

“The book is billed as “a novel of the First Great Awakening,” and Stinson tries to do just that, presenting us with a host of viewpoints from colonists to slaves and even insects. She gives an honest imagining of everyday people caught up in extraordinary times, where ecstatic faith, town politics and human nature make contentious bedfellows. Although the novel was slow to pull me in, by the end I felt I had an intimate glance into the disparate lives of these 18th-century residents of Northampton, Massachusetts.”

As ever, thanks are due to the writers for writing their books, all the people who worked on the books with us, the great support we received from the independent bookstores all across the USA and Canada, and of course, the readers. We love these books and are so happy to find so many readers do, too: thank you!

    



Champagne!

Tue 28 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Lovely news came in late last week for Sofia Samatar and her debut novel, A Stranger in Olondriawhich has been honored with the Crawford Award. We are immensely happy for Sofia! Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors: Yoon Ha Lee for Conservation of Shadows (Prime Books), Helene Wecker for The Golem and the Jinni (Harper), and N.A. Sulway for Rupetta (Tartarus Press).

Sofia will be at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, Florida, where the award will be presented on March 22.

And in an amazingly graceful segue, I can reveal that Eileen Gunn will also be at that conference and will be celebrating the publication of her second collection of stories, Questionable Practiceswhich just received its first review, and it’s a star from Publishers Weekly!

“Nebula-winner Gunn combines humor and compassion in 17 short, intricate gems that showcase her many talents. Of particular note among these outstanding works are the poem “To the Moon Alice,” in which a bombastic threat provides escape from comedic domestic violence, and “Michael Swanwick and Samuel R. Delany at the Joyce Kilmer Service Area, March 2005,” an affectionate fable-like tribute to two legendary authors. “Up the Fire Road” provides dueling accounts of triadic romance and problematic parentage. “Phantom Pain” is a kaleidoscopic examination of a wounded soldier’s life. Though Gunn first saw print in the 1970s, this short collection contains a surprisingly large portion of her stories; her rate of publication has recently been increasing, giving fans reason to hope for many more delights to come.”

Nice!

And since all posts should have 3 items, we’re raising up a glass of champagne to toast Holly Black whose novel Doll Bones is one of this year’s Newbery Honor books!

“In this distinctive coming-of-age tale, best friends Zach, Poppy and Alice set out on a life-altering quest driven by the presence of a sinister bone china doll who haunts their dreams and waking hours. Black explores complex questions of storytelling, imagination and changing friendships in this superbly haunting narrative.”

It’s a great book for kids or adults and we are just beside ourselves with joy that Holly’s book was recognized by the ALA. Props to the ALA for running a fabulous awards organization: it’s not even the end of January and they fired off a couple of dozen fab awards in under an hour. Wow!



Bookslinger: Understand

Fri 17 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

New this week on Consortium’s Bookslinger app is Ted Chiang’s Asimov and Hayakawa award winning story ”Understand.”

Previous Small Beer stories on Bookslinger:

Kelly Link, “The Specialist’s Hat”

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



Small Beer Podcast 19: Nathan Ballingrud’s “You Go Where It Takes You”

Tue 14 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Julie

North American Lake Monsters cover - click to view full sizeNathan Ballingrud is one of those authors who should be far better known. Hopefully, this collection will do something to bridge that particular gap.

I don’t write fan letters and I don’t read stories that sometimes fall across the border into grotesque, but then Nathan Ballingrud’s North American Lake Monsters came along. Immediately after I finished the collection, before I even knew I was going to record this podcast, I had messaged Nathan directly to tell how how I felt. The thing is—I don’t do things like that.

Even as I type this blog entry, I am holding back my over-eager fangirl. Ballingrud’s stories are that good. They are dark and unique and beautifully written. The prose is Ballingrud’s alone, but it reminds me of Raymond Carver after Gordon Lish had cleaned up his work. (Here’s a link for those of you who don’t know that particular story. It is a psychological horror story all its own.)

Ballingrud’s stories blur that artificial line between psychological, supernatural, and physical horror. But they do more than that. These are stories about people who make hard and, often morally uncomfortable choices, and yet remain emphatically human. We may not approve of what they do, but we damn well understand it. In the end, after traveling through Ballingrud’s world, I didn’t feel anxious or scared, I felt lighter, as though his stories had carried off some darkness within myself. Best of all, I felt entertained.

Episode 19: In which Julie C. Day reads Nathan Ballingrud’s “You Go Where It Takes You” from North American Lake Monsters.

Subscribe to the Small Beer podcast using  iTunes or the service of your choice:

rss feed



Jeff Ford says

Mon 13 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

“Eileen Gunn’s terrific new story collection, Questionable Practices, is a unique amalgam of big ideas and versatile styles packed into short pieces devoid of loose threads and excess baggage. Gunn manages to perfectly balance themes of thought paradox, gender politics, corporate culture, time travel, steampunk, with a storyteller’s ability to immediately draw the reader in through character and drama. Real science fiction, great humor, and some cool collaboration with Michael Swanwick make this a good choice for SF short fiction fans.”

Sounds about right to us!



Unreal and the Real: Oregon Book Award finalist

Fri 10 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The Unreal and the Real: Where on Earth cover - click to view full sizeLovely news this week, Ursula K. Le Guin’s selected stories, The Unreal and the Real, is one of 2014 Oregon Book Award Finalists for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction. All of the finalists for the various categories are here and the award ceremony (hosted by the excellent Luis Alberto Urrea!) is on March 17 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 – $50.

And here is the list of fiction finalists: congrats one and all!

Ursula K. Le Guin of Portland, The Unreal and The Real: Collected Stories: Volume 1 and 2 (Small Beer Press)
Whitney Otto of Portland, Eight Girls Taking Pictures (Scribner)
Amanda Coplin of Portland, The Orchardist (Harper Perennial)
Roger Hobbs of Portland, Ghostman (Knopf)

27th Annual Oregon Book Awards Ceremony
Gerding Theater at The Armory (View)
128 NW Eleventh Avenue
Portland, OR 97209


The Freedom Maze publication day, again!

Tue 7 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The Freedom MazeHey, we are very proud and happy to note that Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze comes out in paperback today from Candlewick Press and before you click off somewhere else I want to note it is only $6.99! How can you resist! Buy it for all the kids you know, and two for yourself (one to giveaway!).

Remember this book? It is the one that took 18 years to write and is a curl-up-and-read-right-through.

How did it do?
Well!

Lookit!

Norton Award winner
Prometheus Award winner
Mythopoeic Award winner
ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults
Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011
Tiptree Award Honor List
Audiobook available from Listening Library.
French rights sold.

And!

Delia did a Big Idea: “Eighteen years ago, I was stuck.”
and wrote a guest post on Diversity in YA: “When I began writing The Freedom Maze, back in 1987, I didn’t intend to write a book about race.”
You can listen to an interview with Delia Sherman and a reading from The Freedom Maze or download the first chapter. [PDF link]

I love this book. So happy it is off into paperbackland with such wonderful folks. May every school and library in the land order it. May cities choose it for One City One Book. May colleges make their incoming classes read it. May it outlive us all!



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.



« Later EntriesEarlier Entries »