Amherst Tonight

Thu 20 Nov 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

http://www.amherstbooks.com/Images/Site/Store.jpgOh yeah, Ben Parzybok is reading tonight at 8 PM Amherst Books and then we will be heading over for refreshments at the Amherst Brewing Company. This afternoon you can hear him read, pick music, and so on at 4 PM EST on WAMH.

Last night Ben read at KGB Bar with Caitlin R. Kiernan (who read a couple of erotica pieces from her Subterranean Press books and was kind enough to sign a paperback since we forget to bring anything down, dur. It was a great, packed house and dinner afterwards at Grand Sichaun made the trip to NYC even more worthwhile.

Friday Ben’s off to New Jersey, Tuesday: Boston. Wednesday, the world!



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

We just got a draft of the cover of the next LCRW from Kevin Huizenga and it is all the happy we hoped it would be.

Tonight at his reading at Powell’s, Ben Parzybok isn’t promising anything, but may take off his clothes, run screaming, or just do some gentle knee bends. (For his reading at Amherst Books, we’re going to give free copies of the book to anyone who brings a couch!)

The Oregonian writes about moving a couch:

Ten years ago, Benjamin Parzybok and Laura Moulton bought a couch at the William Temple House thrift store. They didn’t have a truck or enough money to pay anyone to help them move it and started carrying it down Northwest 23rd Avenue.

Parzybok and Moulton had to go about 14 blocks, “and it was a really heavy couch,” Parzybok said. The couple had to stop and rest every half-block or so, and what better place to rest than on the couch?

People stopped. They talked. They offered to help. This being Portland, they asked if moving the couch was some kind of performance art.

Pretty Monsters is on one of the best reading lists around, The Winter ’08 /’09 Children’s Indie Next List, at #9:

“You’ll find a little bit of everything in this book, from a mother-daughter team of ghost collectors to a cult-like organization waiting for aliens to return to Earth. Kelly Link gives us great stories in this collection — a wonderful (and thought-provoking) read.”
–Samuel Morris Barker, Summer’s Stories, Kendallville, IN

Miette reads “The Specialist’s Hat” for her Bedtime Story podcast.

Read “The Specialist’s Hat”? How about “El Sombrero del Especialista“? Traducción: Hernán Ortiz y Viviana Trujillo. Presentado en Descarga Fractal:

“Cuando estás Muerta,” dice Samantha, “no tienes que lavarte los dientes…”
“Cuando estás Muerta,” dice Claire, “vives en una caja, y siempre está oscuro, pero nunca tienes miedo.”



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

We just got a draft of the cover of the next LCRW from Kevin Huizenga and it is all the happy we hoped it would be.

Tonight at his reading at Powell’s, Ben Parzybok isn’t promising anything, but may take off his clothes, run screaming, or just do some gentle knee bends. (For his reading at Amherst Books, we’re going to give free copies of the book to anyone who brings a couch!)

The Oregonian writes about moving a couch:

Ten years ago, Benjamin Parzybok and Laura Moulton bought a couch at the William Temple House thrift store. They didn’t have a truck or enough money to pay anyone to help them move it and started carrying it down Northwest 23rd Avenue.

Parzybok and Moulton had to go about 14 blocks, “and it was a really heavy couch,” Parzybok said. The couple had to stop and rest every half-block or so, and what better place to rest than on the couch?

People stopped. They talked. They offered to help. This being Portland, they asked if moving the couch was some kind of performance art.

Pretty Monsters is on one of the best reading lists around, The Winter ’08 /’09 Children’s Indie Next List, at #9:

“You’ll find a little bit of everything in this book, from a mother-daughter team of ghost collectors to a cult-like organization waiting for aliens to return to Earth. Kelly Link gives us great stories in this collection — a wonderful (and thought-provoking) read.”
–Samuel Morris Barker, Summer’s Stories, Kendallville, IN

Miette reads “The Specialist’s Hat” for her Bedtime Story podcast.

Read “The Specialist’s Hat”? How about “El Sombrero del Especialista“? Traducción: Hernán Ortiz y Viviana Trujillo. Presentado en Descarga Fractal:

“Cuando estás Muerta,” dice Samantha, “no tienes que lavarte los dientes…”
“Cuando estás Muerta,” dice Claire, “vives en una caja, y siempre está oscuro, pero nunca tienes miedo.”



on books

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

Alan has a hilarious AP piece that might have run in the NYTimes the other day:

WASHINGTON–House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for “emergency and limited financial assistance” for the battered U.S. independent bookstore industry today, and urged the outgoing Bush administration to join legislators in reaching a quick compromise….

Just found a piece on PW about Obama and Chicago bookshops:

57th Street’s most famous customer, who’s been a member of the three-store consumer cooperative since 1986, was elected president of the United States last night.

More books for the holidays stuff: Bookselling This Week reports:

More than 70 alternative newspapers are encouraging their readers to spend at least $100 at locally owned businesses in their communities this fall … according to the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, a trade organization …  which developed the project with … the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA).

They use some specious math to come up with some huge amount of cash that could be circulated into local economies. At least some of those readers don’t have $100 to spend on books and some other proportion will be spending at least that amount but, sure: why not use hyperbole to get coverage of a good idea: buy books and buy them locally.



Fighting talk

Thu 13 Nov 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Paul Constant in Seattle’s Stranger talking about Couch:

Besides romance, fantasy is perhaps the last of the popular genres to get an overhaul for the 21st century. Not much has changed in the genre since the invention of Bilbo Baggins. Hundreds of writers have slavishly imitated—or outright ripped off—Tolkien in ways that connoisseurs of other genres would consider shameless. What Parzybok has done here in adapting the same old song to a world more familiar to the reader is to revive the genre and make it relevant again. And by making the magical MacGuffin a beloved household item that nearly everyone has a complicated relationship with, he gives the story the depth and allure of the best modern literary fiction.



Maps

Wed 12 Nov 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

This one (a map of events in Couch and locations of Gumball Poetry machines from a great Willamette Weekly piece on Ben P.) is for Christopher (whose Kentucky map skills are legendary):


View Larger Map



Win a copy of Couch

Sun 2 Nov 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

A little fun to keep us going this month:

  1. Carry a couch somewhere unexpected: take a picture of it. (Or, take a picture of a couch in a weird place.)
  2. Email your picture (or a link) to us by November 30 and we will send a couple of winners copies of Couch and maybe some other books.


Don’t tell Ben P. + freebies

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

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

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



Slushee Platform

Wed 8 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Ben Parzybok says:

My opponent has voted for reduced ice cream subsidies 94 times. Listen to my plan. I call for Slushees. I call for a slushee in every pot. Not once has my opponent even mentioned the word ‘Slushee’. But you and I know that it’s tough out there. That every day mothers are getting up early, working hard to feed their kids slushees. Grandfathers who are diabetic and have never even tasted ice cream are sacrificing their retirement so that their grand children can have slushees at school. When I’m president I will reach across the aisle, I will grasp hands with those who favor ice cream, and we will reach bipartisan agreements. We will have a Slushee plan and sign slushees into law. We are the greatest eaters of Slushees on the planet, and we must join hands and work together to solve our Slushee problems. And this is what I will do what I’m president.



Bookshow followup: 1 of a few

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

Way back in May at BookExpo in LA we ran a scavenger hunt (well, we suggested it and Ben Parzybok and the Black Magic Insurance Agency made it happen!) which involved

  1. Getting a quarter from us and putting it into the gumball machine to get a set of clues (and a sticker and some candy)
  2. Following the clues around the LA Convention Center to find a different set of stories than the obvious ones.
  3. Using your cell phone to get clues to get back on track after that all important wait in the line for Leonard Nimoy’s autograph.
  4. Getting recognized by the Black Magic Insurance Company stickers and receiving exclusive (ok, sometimes they weren’t exclusive) goodies from these fine presses:
  5. Tin House (who had Pinkberry gift certificates for Jim Krusoe’s novel Girl Factory (in which girls are manufactured in the back of yogurt shop), the hilarious “Republican family values book” You Don’t Know Me, and The Dart League King [which Kelly blurbed: “Sign me up as a member of the Keith Lee Morris fan club. His characters are as real, fallible, and surprising as anyone I’ve ever met, and his novel has all the textures of real life: precarious, tender, and utterly engrossing.”)
  6. Agate: copies of Where the Line Bleeds and, a favorite of ours, How’s Your Drink?
  7. Gray Wolf: who had toilet paper with aphorisms from Best Thought, Worst Thought printed on it
  8. Algonquin (handy doorhangers featuring a myriad of books including this nonfiction [cough] fave, An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England)
  9. Baby Tattoo: a free book! Tales of the Sister Kane by Christy Kane
  10. BEA Gumball Machine Winning PackageMacAdam/Cage: CDs exclusively available for participants featuring 3-5 original recordings by Linda Robertson (author of What Rhymes with Bastard?) singing and playing the accordion
  11. No Voice Unheard: temporary tattoos of their “heart and paw” logo (publishers of One at a Time and Thought to Exist in the Wild, books no animal lovers should miss)
  12. John Hodgman (not an indie press but he had irresistible and incredibly funny posters for his new book, More Information Than You Require
  13. Drawn & Quarterly: posters for Lynda Barry’s What It Is
  14. and of course us: postcards, galleys of Couch, The King’s Last Song, and The Serial Garden, chocolate (except we had to chuck a box of yucky Peppermint Patties—they were stale!), electric cars, tandem bikes, inflatable couches (because the only good couch is one that you can carry), &c., &c.

Ok. It’s some months later. Everyone who made it all the way round the scavenger hunt received a raffle ticket and we kept those in a box. We pulled one out, and it was from a cool indie bookshop in Brooklyn, Word Books.

Last Saturday at the Brooklyn Book Festival we met Luca from Word—which reminded us that perhaps we should send out the pile of even more goodies we’d gathered from the presses above for the winner. So now we have the package together and it goes in the mail on today. Or tomorrow!

One more thing marked off the To Do list. Yay, just in time for tea!



Couch Excerpt

Mon 8 Sep 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

eleven eleven: 5You can get an advance peek at Benjamin Parzybok’s debut novel Couch in the new issue of eleven eleven (a lit journal from the California College of the Arts) which has an excerpt, “On the Tracks.” The cover photo (which is an awesome wraparound) is by Thomas Dooley and the photo of eleven eleven is by Danielle Baldassini.

We just got a great blurb for Couch from Paul La Farge:

“A lot of people are looking for magic in the world today, but only Benjamin Parzybok thought to check the sofa, which is, I think, the place it’s most likely to be found. Couch is a slacker epic: a gentle, funny book that ambles merrily from Coupland to Tolkien, and gives couch-surfing (among other things) a whole new meaning.”



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