Friday, December 19, 2008
I'm on the Philoctetes programming email list and I regularly forward event listings to friends in the city. And, I should add, it's a great selling point as to why nothing really beats New York City: Where else would you be able to witness something such as this, with such amazing and knowledgeable panelists, first-hand, in such an intimate setting?
In a very sad turn of events:
"...the foundation that funds all activities at the Philoctetes Center held large investments with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, and the Center's capital and income source has literally vanished overnight.
"We at Philoctetes feel very strongly that we need to do all in our power to assure the survival and continued growth of the Center. Our programs not only generate interest here in New York, but our online resources serve those across the country and in other parts of the world as a unique engine for intellectual enrichment.
"In order to continue, even at a reduced level of activity, we urgently need an infusion of funds. For this reason, we are appealing to all of you who have been friends of the Center and have partaken of our activities to contribute as much as you are able. Additionally, if you know of any foundations that might be interested in supporting the activities of the Center, please contact us."
Contributions may be sent to:
The Philoctetes Center247 E. 82nd St.New York, NY 10028
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Michael Miller, the books editor of Time Out New York, selected The Drop Edge of Yonder by Rudolph Wurlitzer as #1 on his list of the Top 10 Books of 2008.
"Wurlitzer develops a dreamy, carnivalesque portrait of the American West, exploring the territory’s mythology even as he wildly entertains."
Miller has impeccably good taste, so it makes it all the more meaningful to have Drop Edge edge out his list this year.
Also worth noting, is that in addition to reissuing Wurlitzer's countercultural classic first novel, Nog, next summer with a new introduction from noted critic Erik Davis, we will be publishing Wurlitzer's second and third novels as well - Flats and Quake - in a "69ed," compilation edition shortly thereafter.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Billy Thompson contributes some thoughtful, in-depth coverage to the December issue of The Quarterly Conversation. Thompson is clearly a Kundera fan (as is Francis Levy, I later learned), and so I take it as a positive sign that Thompson devotes so much space in comparing Erotomania (on some levels) with Identity.
"[Erotomania] can just as easily be a bookend to the beautifully nuanced prose of Milan Kundera as it can be a long-version story for a nudie mag minus the accompanying photographs. It's all in the context - as it is with most relationships."
(I've also included a full-cover shot of the book cover with this post, for the complete effect: some hot, full-body action.)
Finding a favorite passage was a difficult task, but here's the winner:
"Amy Koppelman explores with ruthless honesty a woman come undone. Laney remains captivating in her certainty that although her family's dissolution is her sole responsibility to deter, she can't quite conjure the necessary thwarting efforts. For the only thing as ferocious as Laney's lack of preventive action is her behavior, the reader powerless against her vice: an addict hooked to Koppelman's potent writing and her protagonist's unpredictable conduct."
"His nonfiction has an awe-inspiring syntax and rigorous sensibility that suggest Joan Didion’s political takedowns but have a droll power all their own, one that’s tuned in to the frequencies of art, sexual power and human folly."
Also, Arthur Nersesian has just contributed a great blurb for Indiana's first novel in six years, The Shanghai Gesture, which we'll be releasing in April '09:
"Indiana has gloriously revived an obscure Hollywood film of the same name, infused it with eroticism and intrigue - and added Dr. Fu Manchu! The result is a lustrous, laugh-out-loud world of bawd and mayhem; an erudite, charmingly operatic opium den of decadence that seesaws between high brow and low camp and reads as though Cormac McCarthy had rewritten Austin Powers."
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This week, from the December issue of Elle, and in the December/January issue of the always-thoughtful Bookforum.
"Stomach-churning... Koppelman mosly writes from inside Laney's disillusioned mind, ricocheting between the quotidian details of wife and motherhood and big-picture musings, forming exquisite stand-alone tone poems."
"Laney Brooks is a woman in agony, suffering from an undefined malady that makes standard housewife ennui—boredom from carpooling or picking up dry cleaning—look like a picnic. Laney’s despair, ably depicted by Amy Koppelman in her affecting second novel, I Smile Back, is rooted in childhood.
I Smile Back is now available in bookstores and through online retailers.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
It's pretty amazing to digest the book in this way. Lauren Fortgang gives a great reading that adds an interesting dimention to Koppelman's protagonist, the dismantled Laney Brooks.
For those interested in a tangible copy, you can order the book now through online retailers, or pick one up at an independent bookstore near you.
From the article:
"...this tiny upstart has already produced an impressive array of subversive fiction from former literary big-leaguers - like Rudolph Wurlitzer and Jay Neugeboren.
Try if you like: Jonathan Lethem, Cormac McCarthy."
Also profiled in the piece were Small Beer Press and Dalkey Archive, both of whom are insanely rad.
Kirch spotlights Crust alongside boring boring boring boring boring boring boring by Zach Plague, released by Featherproof Books, as examples of indie presses disregarding the translation of a book to digital format.
From the article:
"Mainstream publishers are hastening to join the digital revolution, with many formatting their digital book content to make it conform to Kindle specifications. Some houses are even making digital book content accessible via Web-enabled cellphones.
"Bucking this trend toward digitalizing book content, two independent small presses—Featherproof Books, a Chicago press founded in 2005 by a pair of Time Out Chicago staffers, and Two Dollar Radio, a Granville, Ohio-based press founded by a husband-wife team, also in 2005—insist on pursuing a more tangible aesthetic in book production. Both presses publish primarily fiction and both are adamant that the physical book itself is not just a work of art, but a highly evolved object keyed to a reader's experience—a philosophy that runs counter to the central premise behind digital access."
Sunday, November 02, 2008
However, right now, in our present moment, "one of America's leading cultural critics" has a new collection of essays fresh out from Basic Books, called Utopia's Debris.
It sounds pretty stellar, as the author riffs on topics ranging from Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial win to Bill Clinton's autobiography, from Celine to Wurlitzer.
Yes: believe it. There is an entire chapter on the works of Rudolph Wurlitzer.
From the preface of Utopia's Debris: "We live in the wreckage of a century I lived through the second half of, a century of false messiahs, twisted ideologies, shipwrecked hopes, pathetic answers."
From Kirkus: "Indiana's thorough and balanced research coagulates into a convincing argument that the ills of the world are not natural occurrences like glaciation; there is accountability, and these people are responsible. A polychrome pastiche that soars with delicious insights."
Sunday, October 26, 2008
To discuss her point, Kellogg mentions the worldwide bestseller Wetlands by German author Charlotte Roche, coming stateside spring '09, and Crust, by Lawrence Shainberg.
She says, regarding Crust: "Shainberg writes of a man who changes culture by picking his nose. No matter how well the book lampoons New Age movements, I'm still grossed out by the title and the premise. Nosepicking as a central metaphor sounds ridiculous and amusing - but it also makes me go 'ewww.'"
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Unwittingly, we stirred up some old East Coast / West Coast dust that hasn't completely settled since the days of Tupac and Notorious BIG.
In a post on his blog, Chekhov's Mistress, Bud Parr mentions his move to Tivoli, New York, and suggests that the captains of the Two Dollar Radio team uproot and move up the Hudson River as well. He did make a particularly solid and smooth delivery at the release party for Crust (attention: Tivoli Town Council).
Meanwhile, on the West Coast, in the beatific forrested mountains of south Oregon, Tod Davies, editor and publisher of the about-to-assault-the-indie-publishing-scene Extreminating Angel Press, discusses regionalism and makes a convincing (and blunt) case for a Two Dollar Radio move to the Pacific Northwest:
"...and I’ve been thinking about my publishing mentors, Two Dollar Radio, Eric and Eliza Obenauf, who keep thinking about moving their act to New York because that’s where the independent press action is. And I’m saying now, Eric and Eliza, don’t do it! Get out here to Portland! We need you out here…and PDX is a shorthop skip and a jump to Manhattan any day. Come on out, and I’ll drive up, and we’ll go to Village Books together! And then we’ll drive back and have another drink with the guys from Powell’s…"
Adding to the West Coast discussion, was Bruce Rutledge, of our pals Chin Music Press (who we're also sharing a booth with at the 2009 BEA), who offered "free babysitting services for Rio whenever the $2 folks are in Seattle."
If you have a suggested destination for us (and you aren't related by blood to us), then we'd like to hear them (if you are related by blood [mom], then we wouldn't like to hear).
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Entertainment for the party was provided by Andrew Blauner, in the form of his never-ending supply of two dollar bills.
Pictured here are Eric O., the author, and Eliza.
Thanks to all those who came out and ate the food and drank the drinks and celebrated this wonderful book that - Larry told me - has been eight years in the making.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
However, the review is presently available online.
Here is an upstanding excerpt:
"A postmodern examination of the self that teases the very idea of postmodernism. . . that rare bit of lampoonery that is both humorous and smart."
You should be reading this book.
The story begins as Ja Feng is contained within a 3' x 4.5' solitary confinement cell in a prison camp. He has survived this punishment for a miraculous nine months, a period of time that has forced him to question his basic human faculties and emotions.
The Cave Man follows Ja Feng as he is released from his solitary confinement, as he is forced to integrate with fellow prisoners who view his skeletal figure and erratic screaming fits as freakish, and his heartbreaking attempts to assimilate into Chinese culture, to reestablish familial bonds and to seek out an ordinary human experience.
XIAODA XIAO was arrested in 1971 for tearing a poster of Mao and was sentenced to a five-year prison term as a counterrevolutionary. As a result, he spent the next seven years in a prison labor reform brigade on an island in Taihu Lake in Jiangsu province. He came to Amherst, MA, in the spring of 1989 shortly before the break-out of the democratic movement in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, where he lives with his wife. He has published stories based on his prison experience during the last years of Mao’s regime in China in various magazines in the U.S., among them, The Atlantic Monthly.
The Cave Man should be out in the Fall of 2009.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
He revisits the central topic weighing heavily on voters minds in recent days, a subject originally breached by the Village Voice: "Might golden showers be the blowjobs of tomorrow?" ("Whatever works, works.")
Lazauskas continues: "Though this is Levy's first novel, his background is in humor writing, and Erotomania wields a comedic punch that makes it, above all, a fun novel to read."
Friday, September 26, 2008
I know you're probably saying, 'what the flip does this have to do with Two Dollar Radio?'
Swim Party played at the first literacy benefit concert that we helped sponsor in San Diego way back in '05.
Not to mention, bassist/vocalist Alex Devereaux crafted killer designs for our titles, The Drummer and Vagabond Blues.
You can get the album at iTunes, and some other places. Visit their website. Check 'er out.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Afterwards, we celebrated the release of Beneath the Pines with a great group of friends at Vig Bar.
Janet is presently on tour throughout much of Virginia and Tennessee. If you're in the area, check out her reading schedule on the Two Dollar Radio events page.
Barney will also receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Foundation.
I love this series of quotes from the article in today's New York Times:
Mr. Rosset went on: “All my life I followed the things that I liked — people, things, books — and when things were offered to me, I published them. I never did anything I really didn’t like. I had no set plan, but on the other hand we sometimes found ourselves on a trail. For example, out of Beckett came Pinter, and Pinter was responsible for Mamet. It was like a baseball team — Mamet to Pinter to Beckett.”
Mr. Rosset sipped from his drink and smiled. “Should we have had more of a business plan?” he added. “Probably. But then the publishers that did have business plans didn’t do any better.”
Barney is insanely rad.
Friday, September 19, 2008
The party was at the Museum of Sex and was dubbed by publishing blog GalleyCat in a post the following day, "The Sexiest Book Party Ever."
The current installation in the museum was The Sex Lives of Animals, and featured sculptures of certain animals copulating (pandas, deer, etc).
Follow the link to GalleyCat to watch a carefully cropped video and an amusing interview with Francis about the party and book.
Pictured here are the author's wife, Hallie Cohen; Francis Levy; Eliza; Eric.
"This crushing novel by the author of A Mouthful of Air is a shocking portrait of suburban ennui gone horribly awry. Laney Brooks, approaching middle age in Short Hills, N.J., appears to have it all: doting husband, two beautiful children, the big house with a kidney-shaped pool. But beneath the facade of upper-middle-class perfection, Laney’s life descends into a chasm of indiscriminate sex and drug and alcohol abuse. Koppelman’s prose style is understated and crackling; each sentence is laden with a foreboding sense of menace, whether she’s describing a sunny Florida resort or the back alley of a seedy strip mall. Laney’s self-debasement can be a bit over-the-top at times, but like a crime scene or a flaming car wreck, it becomes impossible not to stare."
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I try to stay clear from discussing politics on here, but in today's New York Times, there's an "interesting" profile of VP nominee, Sarah Palin.
She scares me in a bad way. Here's (one of the many reasons) why, and how it is relevant to include here:
"Shortly after becoming mayor, former city officials and Wasilla residents said, Ms. Palin approached the town librarian about the possibility of banning some books, though she never followed through and it was unclear which books or passages were in question.
"Ann Kilkenny, a Democrat who said she attended every City Council meeting in Ms. Palin’s first year in office, said Ms. Palin brought up the idea of banning some books at one meeting. “They were somehow morally or socially objectionable to her,” Ms. Kilkenny said.
"The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article.
"In 1996, Ms. Palin suggested to the local paper, The Frontiersman, that the conversations about banning books were “rhetorical.”"
Just when you start to think that it'd be impossible to digress any farther after the last 8 years...
Friday, August 22, 2008
"I started reading the book on the subway. People around me quickly noticed the effect the book was having on me and became curious. Soon, they were asking, hey man, what you reading. Then it was, hey man, read it out loud. The whole car was insistent. What choice did I have.
"So I started to read it aloud. I am no actor, but I read well. I read slowly, calmly, carefully. I did not ham it up. I did not overemphasize the racy parts. But then the writing doesn't need that, does it. Perhaps my calm reading only increased the effect.
"I was focused on my reading, nose in the book. So I didn't at first see what was going on. People stayed on, let their stops pass by. They become flushed and a bit squirmy. At first, they didn't know what to do. But then one man and woman who were not traveling together, moved to sit together. Soon the entire car had paired up. Some of the pairs were a bit weird, ages and styles that did not belong together, but no one wanted to be alone. I just kept reading. I was totally engaged and I guess became oblivious to those around me. When I finally came to a point where I needed to pause, I looked up. Every single couple, young, old, in between, mixed up, were lying back in post coital bliss. The car was now heavy not only with the words, but also the sounds, smell and taste of sex.
"It was like the old cigar factories. One worker would read stories while therest worked. I was the reader, they worked, so to speak.
"Though i had not participated, not had the satisfaction the others achieved, I still felt very good. I hadn't written the book and I hadn't had thepleasure of letting it take me over. But clearly I had helped increase the pleasure in the world by a small amount in one subway car.
"I left the car then to allow them all to put themselves back together and resume their anonymous travels. No one said a thing as I exited."
I'd like to encourage this sort of behavior. It's good for people.
As the reader notes, the book has a tendency to make you squirm. Anyone with an experience of reading (doesn't have to be aloud) Erotomania in a public place is strongly encouraged to either share by commenting on this blog, or emailing to twodollar [at] twodollarradio.com.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The Village Voice
Read Francis Levy's Erotomania, Wash Hands.
Are golden showers the blowjobs of tomorrow? Just ask this satirical novelist.
Review by Zach Baron
"[A] hilariously satirical debut novel: sex, leavened by comedy, shimmying enthusiastically in the echo chamber of a century of writing on the once-taboo subject. Miller, Lawrence, and Genet stop by like proud ancestors, godfathers of modern literature's pornographic impulse. But it's a more recent generation of mischievous, deviant writers (Nicholson Baker, Mary Gaitskill) that truly looms large—"
"Gaitskill and Baker's French-kissing cousin."
Review by Andrei Codrescu
"Erotomania is a spiritual quest: substitute the word "God" for "fuck," and there you have it, the silence filled with joy.
"It's a great book, written with flawless verve by a tremendous fictioneer and thinker, and it deserves glory. It is published by a small press that may yet become great if it manages to set Erotomania as the high-bar of its offerings. In any case, have it on my word, a reader, run and buy this book, it's a classic."
Get giddy with these ringing endorsements:
"Amy Koppelman’s I Smile Back is amazing. There’s wit, speed, range, and complete authority here. Among other qualities, it has presence — you hold in your hands a pretty wild ride."
“Amy Koppelman probes deeply into the dark and cavernous recesses of a picture-perfect suburban mom, and emerges with one of the most terrifying novels I’ve read in ages. It’s a glorious little explosion of a book.”
“Like the outlaw movies that Laney likes, Amy Koppelman’s unforgettable heroine is dangerous, raw and untamable. Like Laney, Koppelman refuses to tone down, be polite, or color in the lines - which is what makes I Smile Back so brilliant and devastating.”
“Amy Koppelman writes with beauty and precision about a life turned ugly and disoriented. Laney Brooks is a heroine on par with Joan Didion’s Maria Wyeth. She captivates not only because she recognizes the darkness closing in around her, but because a part of her welcomes it.”
“One of today’s most fearless and brilliant writers, Koppelman peels away at the dark side of the suburban dream. The prose gleams like poetry, and she’s given us a heroine so original and disquieting, that I dare any reader to forget her — or Koppelman.”
“Amy Koppelman’s portrait of a contemporary American couple will slash and burn every idea you ever had about marriage. Koppelman’s vision is both dark and ferocious; once you are in her grip, she’ll never let you go.”
—Yona Zeldis McDonough
(December is when I Smile Back will be released.)
(Check out Amy's pic, where she dons a TDR tee.)
Regarding Erotomania, Rosen says: "Three year-old Two Dollar Radio plans to launch this nontraditional love story, with traces of Bukowski and Henry Miller, at New York City's Museum of Sex."
Regarding Crust: "This novel stands out for several reasons, not least its subject matter, nose picking, but also its more than two dozen four-color illustrations."
The title alone packs a wallop: Some Things That Meant the World to Me.
Stephen Elliott, author of Happy Baby said this about the book: "A startling debut. Joshua Mohr takes us to a different city, but a city we know, populated by the dark side of ourselves."
Feast on this first paragraph from the novel:
I’d like to brag about the night I saved a hooker’s life. Like to tell you how quiet everything else in the world was while I helped her. This was in San Francisco. Late 2007. I’d been drinking in Damascus, my favorite dive bar, which was painted entirely black—floor, walls, and ceiling. Being surrounded by all that darkness had this slowing effect on time, like a shunned astronaut meandering in space.
It's sharp, it's potent, it will make you swoon.
Friday, July 25, 2008
I was very happy to discover that in this past Sunday's issue (7/20 -- second to last issue ... ever), Richard Rayner reviewed Francis Levy's Erotomania: A Romance in his monthly "Paperback Writers" section.
This is what he had to say:
"[Levy's] excellent too, like Miller and Bukowski, on the mechanics and energy and animal filth of rumpy-pumpy, bringing to his sex scenes all the humor they need. There's a hilarious sequence in which the lovers use art criticism as a sex aid. Readers will never think of Robert Hughes or the abstract Expressionists in quite the same way. Sex is familiar, but it's perennial, and Levy makes it fresh."
The Los Angeles Times has been very supportive of our titles so far this year, but even had they not been, I'd be sad to see the Book Review go. I realized this when I randomly told my two-year-old daughter (jokingly), "You'll never know the Los Angeles Times Book Review in your lifetime," and I stopped because I imagined the lack of appreciation of the literary arts in the mainstream media, and where things could go during her lifetime. Something has to change.
There was this particularly convincing passage:
"The wisdom of Neugeboren's novel comes from its recognition that final solutions evade without answering questions. Bloch rejects facile attempts to explain Hitler and subdue Daniel. The advice he quotes from Rainer Maria Rilke, "to have patience with everything unresolved and to try to love the questions themselves," is as valuable in 2008 as it is in 1940."
The interview was broadcast in Los Angeles on July 24, and is available for download, podcast, or in other related mediums through KCRW's website.
Silverblatt provides a very focused, engaged forum for author's to discuss their work, and his take is always extremely thoughtful, prepared, and passionate.
This is worth checking out for anyone interested in the dynamics behind The Drop Edge of Yonder and background to the book.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Tova Reich, author of the novel My Holocaust, wrote the review, titled "Diagnosing Hitler." Reich called 1940 "Intelligent and absorbing."
Also, excerpted from the review:
"Complexity is the underlying motif of Neugeboren's subtle and affecting novel -- the complexity of the human hearts Elisabeth draws, of the subway system her father helped create, of the subterranean world under the city streets that so attracts Daniel, and, most important, of the roots of evil hidden in Bloch's memories of Hitler."
Add to that, a splendid write-up in the Summer Issue of the Jewish Book World, which declared that "this well written ... novel merits a wide, appreciative audience."
Friday, June 06, 2008
Rudy Wurlitzer has succumbed to the digital age and contributed a guest blog at MaudNewton.com.
The really fascinating piece tackles Rudy's history in publishing and Hollywood, and is called "Rudy Wurlitzer regretfully declines the invitation to tap dance on your rubber raft."
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
What makes the memory that much sweeter is that it happened with an amazingly talented author who also happens to be a great person.
In May, The Neil celebrated the release of his third novel, Yellow Medicine, with Bleak House Books.
Publishers Weekly called the book "well-written ... contemporary noir," and Booklist says "Smith has a powerful voice and delivers quite a romp."
Ch-ch-check it out.
Nog was originally published in 1969 by Random House, and, throughout the years, has survived several incarnations. (Despite someone, somewhere dubbing it a "headventure". Ummmm.)
Here's what people said about Nog when it was first released:
"The Novel of Bullshit is dead. Rudolph Wurlitzer is really, really good." -Thomas Pynchon.
"Nog is to literature what Dylan is to lyrics." -Jack Newfield, Village Voice.
Plenty more to follow, so stay privy.
The Opening to the Article: "It's finally here! I'm talking, of course, about "Crust," the hotly anticipated novella by Lawrence Shainberg, author of "Memories of Amnesia" (a neurosurgically acute piece of fiction in which a brain reports on its own deterioration), not to mention one of the most entertaining books I've ever read about Zen Buddhism, "Ambivalent Zen." The literati have been buzzing about this book for a couple of years now, so I almost thought it was an April Fool's joke when it arrived in the mail.
"Published by Two Dollar Radio, Shainberg's footnote-laden, Vonnegut-worthy satire recounts how one Walker Linchak, a highly decorated but bored author in his late 40s, accidentally helps pioneer and promote a Scientology-like movement that combines science, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and theology. The movement is called Nasalism, for reasons which immediately become obvious, and George W. Bush is one of its fervent adherents. In the book, I mean; I don't know where the president comes down on this issue in real life."
And in Closing: "But what the book really satirizes is American culture and media -- the way trends are conjured out of nothing, thanks to a few blog posts here, a tenure-track academic looking for a hot topic to theorize about there, and of course, newspapers like this one.
"I can't reveal any more, at this time, because the book is embargoed until October. But let me just add my two cents to the excited blurbs contributed by the novelists Jonathan Lethem ("One of the most perverse and single-minded satires I've ever read") and Norman Mailer ("It's wild as sin and revolting as vomit and as exceptional as the lower reaches of insanity itself"). I think that Two Dollar Radio has picked a real winner."
Here are some good folks whose acquaintance we made over the Memorial Day weekend: author Jami Attenberg, Zach and Jonathan at Featherproof Books, the future of books Kevin Sampsell, Jennifer and Willy of Impetus Press, Jon Resh of Undaunted design, author Timothy Schaffert, Lauren Cerand, among others. Be sure to check out their work.
Also, a sincere virtual congratulations to Amy Guth and Leah Jones, the masterminds behind Pilcrow who managed to raise $4,000 in support of the New Orleans Public Library. We should all be so inspired.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The acclaimed author of Do Everything in the Dark, Depraved Indifference, Let It Bleed, Resentment, Gone Tomorrow, and Rent Boy (among many others) returns with a modern take on Fu Manchu (beware!) that crackles with the sharp wit, nihilistic vision, and utterly original voice that have become lynchpins of the author's career.
When we know more, you'll know more.
In the 5/5 issue, they placed those profiled in this series to-date on their cover. Eliza and I happened to be the fortunate ones profiled in this particular issue.
We thank Lynn Andriani for the wonderful article and the graphics department for allowing us to use a picture where I'm wearing a lei.
The opening to the article: "Far from the cubicles of corporate Manhattan publishing, Eric Obenauf, 26, and Eliza Jane Wood, 28, run a publishing outfit called Two Dollar Radio out of their home in Granville, Ohio. The husband and wife sport tattoos of the company logo on their wrists. They put photos of their two-year-old daughter, Rio, and their dogs, Hoon and Scarlet, in their book catalogues. They both work second jobs: he waits tables and manages a restaurant; she proofreads textbooks. They used to live in New York, but the cost of living and running a business was too high, so they moved to Ohio, near family. “We have grass and stuff,” says Obenauf. They also have a fledgling publishing company that's on the verge of busting out from tiny to an official small press."
In it's May issue, Library Journal gave 1940 a glowing, Starred Review, saying: "This tautly constructed, utterly readable book raises questions the reader must answer. Highly recommended."
The Los Angeles Times published an absolutely marvelous review by Tim Rutten that couldn't have been more positive - which has, subsequently, been picked up by everyone from the Orlando Sentinel and the Chicago Tribune to Today's Zaman (the largest English-language newspaper in Turkey). Here is what Mr. Rutten had to say about the book:
"Jay Neugeboren traverses the Hitlerian tightrope with all the skill and formal daring that have made him one of our most honored writers of literary fiction and masterful nonfiction. This new book is, at once, a beautifully realized work of imagined history, a rich and varied character study and a subtly layered novel of ideas, all wrapped in a propulsively readable story. Neugeboren is marvelous. Part of the power of this intelligently and finely wrought novel is that... thoughts and questions arise unforced from the story, as though from life itself."
To complete the trifecta, Commonweal also bestowed praise upon 1940: "Jay Neugeboren's 1940 is a taut, nuanced, beautifully written novel that captures an anxious and uncertain time in ways that a straight rendering of facts and dates could never achieve. Neugeboren casts a spell on the first page of his novel that never goes away. This memorable work of historical fiction is to be contemplated as well as savored."
That's the latest, but, as always, there is rumor abound that there is plenty more to come.
The Los Angeles Times Book Review called the book "A picaresque American Book of the Dead... in the tradition of Thomas Pynchon, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut and Terry Southern."
Arthur Magazine featured a substantial and wonderful 5-page article and interview by Joe O'Brien with author Rudolph Wurlitzer that covers everything from the publication of Rudy's first novel, Nog, to his Oscar-worthy acting stints in several scripts he wrote.
Mark Athitakis says, in a review of the book in the Washington City Paper, "In his hero, Zebulon Shook, Wurlitzer has invented a funny, acerbic, hugely compelling representative of American heroism... This is that rare story that improves as it expands, not unlike another rambling picaresque, Don Quixote."
Rudy just completed a radio interview with Bookworm's Michael Silverblatt in early May in New York City. Stay tuned for air date of the interview.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Inaugural Pilcrow Lit Fest To Highlight Very Best Small, Independent Publishers
CHICAGO, February 11— Pilcrow Lit Fest, a new literary festival named after a semi-obscure editing term, today announced its forming line-up for its debut May 22-25, 2008, in Lakeview. Designed to honor the vibrant, vital independent streak in American culture, Pilcrow Lit Fest will feature authors from small presses via literary readings, informative panels and social events.
Pilcrow Lit Fest opens on Thursday, May 22, with a launch event at The Fixx, continuing with a party at Baby Atlas on Friday night, and followed by a full day of panels, workshops and readings at various Lakeview venues. Confirmed participants so far include Jami Attenberg, who went from distributing her short stories as DIY ‘zines on the subway to mainstream success with her debut novel, The Kept Man (Riverhead Books, January 2008), cultural critics Peter Bebergal and Scott Korb (co-authors of The Faith Between Us), novelist Timothy Schaffert (Devils in the Sugar Shop, Unbridled Books), Eric Obenauf and Eliza Jane Wood, co-founders of Midwest-based Two Dollar Radio, publishers of edgy, breakout fiction including Hollywood screenwriter Rudolph Wurlitzer’s new novel, The Drop Edge of Yonder (April 1), praised by rock icon Patti Smith as “a book you watch as you read, cast the film as you reread, and create a sequel as you sleep,” plus local playwrights, poets, writers, editors and literary impresarios.
On Saturday, May 24, the evening will be dedicated to a fundraiser for the New Orleans Public Libraries, which are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina today. The event is centered on Rebuilt Books, commissioned following a national call for authors and publishers to destroy and recreate their own book as art to be auctioned as part of the evening’s fundraising efforts. NOPL director Ronald Biava will be on hand to personally accept the proceeds.
Sunday promises a joint event created in collaboration with Sunday Salon Chicago and more. Local independent, The Book Cellar, will be the official bookseller throughout the festival.
“Chicago's book lovers almost have it all,” notes Pilcrow Lit Fest founder and creative director Amy Guth, herself a debut novelist published by an independent press (Three Fallen Women, So New Media). “The city has great independent bookstores, literature and poetry reading series and the Printer's Row Book Fair, but until now we did not have a literary festival to call our own. After speaking at lit festivals in New Orleans, Omaha and Atlanta that all were so focused on community-building, I really felt like their philosophies would translate well in Chicago."
For the latest updates on events, participants and more, please visit www.PilcrowLitFest.com.