Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is Going Grody the New Edgy?

Carolyn Kellogg, the lead blogger at the Los Angeles Times' book blog, Jacket Copy, considers whether "familiar literary tropes - sex, murder, betrayal, booze, isolation, love, war, warlocks, aliens - have become too worn at the edges?" And whether "ick is the last literary frontier" to explore.

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

Blog Wars: East Coast vs West Coast

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

Celebrate Good Books.

We celebrated the release of Lawrence Shainberg's first novel in not one but two decades, Crust, in a wonderfully intimate loft in the Village.

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

Crust - Los Angeles Times Book Review

Tod Goldberg (Living Dead Girl, Fake Liar Cheat, Simplify) reviews Crust very favorably in this Sunday's Los Angeles Times Book Review.

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 Cave Man / Xiaoda Xiao

We're extremely excited to announce that we'll be publishing the debut novel by Xiaoda Xiao, called The Cave Man, an exceptionally moving and fascinating portrait of a brutalized man named Ja Feng, imprisoned during Chairman Mao's rule.

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

Francis Levy - The Nerve Interview.

Interviewer Joseph Lazauskas of Nerve sat down with Francis Levy, author of Erotomania: A Romance, to discuss meaty fodder, such as the animalistic sex portrayed in the novel, monogamy, and the author's wife's reaction to the book.

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."