Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bradfield Holiday Cheer

Get yourself into the spirit of the season with a short story from Scott Bradfield's 2005 collection, Hot Animal Love, called 'The Anti-Santa' which will be broadcast Christmas Eve on Renassiance 104.4 sometime between 8pm and Midnight. I'm sure there's some way to stream the broadcast from the web. Or you can go to the source and download the recording from the Spoken Ink website.

The Washington Post has called Bradfield "a master chronicler of the absurdity, emptiness, and beauty that riddle modern life," and 'The Anti-Santa' sounds as though it fits the bill:

"Christmas is a-coming and Santa, throbbing with fairy dust and subliminal advertising, is out with the prezzies. Poor old Anti-Santa who wants children to grow into mature, well-rounded and responsible citizens, is not having a very good night. Things go from bad, to worse to awful when his present of parsley is turned down by a six year old and he gets attacked for being a smart-ass."

Kassie Rose, book critic at WOSU, our NPR-affiliate here in central Ohio, raved about Bradfield's fifth novel, The People Who Watched Her Pass By upon it's publication in April, saying: "This short novel is a wake-up call shouting Bradfield's humorously erudite take on modern American life." The book made the critic's year-end best-of list as well, which is very cool and very much appreciated.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Big Ups, Sanjay Bisht

Apparently we belong on the West Coast. I feel like it would be kinda like the Bee Girl finding all those other Bee People in the Blind Melon video for 'No Rain.' We lived in San Diego for two years and are often haunted by the urge to return.

Here's another West Coast-er who has gotten the TDR tat, Sanjay Bisht out of San Francisco. I think Shawn Mitchell, of Carbondale, IL, is the only one not stationed on the left coast who has gotten the tattoo.

From Sanjay: "After touching down in the middle of the delta blues in the middle of the pouring rain, I went to sit in the dock of the bay, and ran into my teenage hobo vampire junkie friends. We sucked down GK's Orange Eats Creeps, and craved more Two Dollar Radio blood and hence the tattoo!"

Big Ups, Brian Manning

Here's a guy named Brian Manning out of Portland, Oregon, who heard about our Tattoo Subscription offer (get a Two Dollar Radio-logo tattoo, get TDR books for free for life) from the MobyLives blog.
Brian claims to have a video, so you may be seeing that sometime soon . . .

Monday, December 20, 2010

Big Ups, Shawn Mitchell

Shawn Mitchell done got inked up in November, and while we've had his pic up in our virtual wall of fame since then, I'm just now getting around to posting a note to this here blog.

Shawn is "pursuing my MFA in fiction at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. I contribute to the Fiction Writers Review, and my fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Torpedo, NANO Fiction, and Crafty Magazine. This bio sounds so formal compared to the others. I like your books. I like your colophon. I'm looking forward to having both around."

You should also lay your eyeballs upon this often hilarious interview Shawn did largely concerning his tattoo with Fiction Advocate.

CAVELIGHT FILMS: Cost of Construction

Cost of Construction Pitch Reel from CaveLight Films on Vimeo.

Our friend, Jordan Ehrlich, started his own production company called CaveLight Films. From the start they've been putting together some fantastic and impressive projects. Their latest is a documentary on the safety of American workers, called 'Cost of Construction.' The film unravels a national scandal, where the race for profits trumped the safety of American workers while the country’s top safety agency failed to enforce their own regulations - all during the most expensive commercial construction project in the United States. Apparently, an average of 4 workers die every day in America.

'Cost of Construction' is on its latest stage of production and could use some financial shoving to help it cross the finish line. To help support CaveLight's efforts, you can make a tax deductible donation here.

And be sure to check out the other CaveLight happenings on their website.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yet Another Solution to the Health Care Crisis

Walgreens now provides flu shots, advertising that they’re covered by most health insurance policies and you don’t have to bother with long waits and the difficulty of getting an appointment from your healthcare provider. If you go into a Walgreens, the pharmacist will come out from behind the cash register where he or she normally takes prescriptions, put on rubber gloves and expertly plunge the syringe into your bicep muscle. With the Obama health plan still jeopardized by Republican attempts to whittle down its impact, discount pharmacy chains, which are proliferating virally, may soon take up the slack. Does it seem implausible that pharmacists will do prostate and colorectal exams? Will there be a room in the back of Walgreens with stirrups so that the pharmacist can offer Pap smears on the go? If I’m having chest pains, will I go into a Walgreens to get an EKG? And if I’m suffering from a headache, might I pop in for an fMRI before I bother to take two Tylenols. Pharmacists are not trained to take the place of doctors—they fill prescriptions rather than prescribing. But there are a thousand other tasks associated with your yearly physical that could easily be handled by a discount pharmacy chain. Amongst these are the taking of pulse and body temperature, X-raying the lungs, examining the eyes for dilation (something many pharmacists who are experienced in dealing with addicts have practical experience in doing) and measuring for height and weight. And who’s to say that the average pharmacist can’t triage, performing minor and even major surgery when necessary? Is it farfetched to think that the solution to our healthcare crisis may lie in the big discount pharmacy chains: Walgreens, Duane Reade, CVS and Rite-Aid? What about having a triple-bypass at Duane Reade instead of merely renewing your Lipitor? What about having a prefrontal lobotomy, which makes it unnecessary to continue coming back for SSRI’s. Want therapy? What better place to start than under the harsh white light of the pharmacy, with its shelves of condoms, lubricants and pregnancy test kits? Suffering from appendicitis? Walk over to your CVS in the next decade and the infected organ will be removed by liposuction. Perhaps Walgreens and the other big chains will start making deliveries, and not just of drugs. A pharmacist is not a licensed doctor or surgeon, and some procedures might not work out. But what M.D. bats a thousand?

[This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.]

Thursday, December 16, 2010

127 Hours

Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours is a perfect film school assignment. How to make a movie about a guy who is trapped by a rock—more specifically, a rock that pins his arm so that he can’t move from the brooding beauty of a remote crevice that threatens to become his tomb? It’s also a parody of the notion of individualism and independence. The character of Aron (James Franco) is as industrious as the actor who plays him, and whose hyperactive productivity has been widely documented lately. Aron is haunted throughout the action by the fact that he never returned a telephone call from his mother or told anyone where he was going when he set off on his own for the mountains. If he had told someone, they might have noticed he was gone in time to save him. The answer to the film school assignment, if you are not a student but legendary director Danny Boyle, is to have a flair for fantasy and for depicting the mind in a state of shock. The famous toilet sequence of Trainspotting is the embryo of Boyle’s style, and its swirling appears like a footnote in the scenes involving liquids, whether they be water or urine. On the matter of bodily functions, it’s lucky that the real-life character Franco plays was not a vegetarian, as he might have had qualms about drinking his own blood, as he does to survive in the movie. On the matter of fantasy, there are two kinds that the movie depicts: that which occurs in Aron’s head and that which is played out for the camera Aron uses to record his experience. At one point, Aron realizes his fantasy life when he masturbates while looking at a photo of a female hiker he’d met along the way. “This rock has been waiting for me its entire life, waiting to come here, right here. I’ve been moving towards it my whole life,” he says. Ironically, Aron’s statement is discountenanced by the sudden turn-around of his predicament that the movie so brilliantly portrays. One moment he is free, insouciant, daring reality, and the next he is totally humbled and reduced. There is no build-up, no intimation of the fate that will befall him, unless of course you’ve read the reviews.

[This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Eulogy to Those Who March to the Beat of a Different Drummer

“He marched to the beat of a different drummer” is a derogatory description of the non-conformist. We are all supposed to goose-step to the same drummer, and anyone who heeds a different beat will not be the kind of majorette we want in our parade. Those who march to the beat of a different drummer end up who knows where. Do they become toy soldiers? Do they end up encased in those novelty crystal balls with the fake snow? Do they wind up as prostitutes or worse? Do they get syphilis and go mad like Oswald in Ibsen’s Ghosts (a play whose greatness may not be sufficiently credited by contemporary critics)? The Unabomber Ted Kaczynski marched to the beat of a different drummer. He had brains and talents that could have made him rich, but he chose to live like a hermit and hurt people. The average member of our band of weary travelers who marches to the beat of a different drummer isn’t so extreme. You can usually identify someone who is going to be out of step even before they set foot on the pavement. Firstly, those who march to the beat of a different drummer are usually the ones who don’t realize they have a big glob of green snot hanging from their nose. Then there are the ones who locate the snot and see nothing wrong with eating it. If you have ever gone to the St. Patrick’s Day parade and seen a majorette out of step because they are trying to eat their own snot at the same time as they’re marching, you will know exactly what we mean. Does anyone remember Tiny Tim or Arnold Stang, who did the Chunky commercials? They both marched to the beat of different drummers, but neither ate their own snot or sent lethal packages to computer scientists in the mail.

[This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.]

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fuck You!

You can say something is bullshit, which means it is as worthless as the feces of bull, but how did fucking become an adjective? Fucking, as we all know, began its life as a gerund, referring to the act of sexual intercourse. It then evolved into a modifier, as in the case of a woman on 23rd Street the other day who was overheard angrily saying, “You take the fucking car.” But how did the adjectival form of the noun come to take on the same connotation as the imperative of the verb, as in “fuck you”? Now, “fuck you” means you will get fucked, which is basically a nice idea, unless fuck in some way implies that in being fucked rather than doing the fucking you are getting the lesser end of the deal, as in Philip Larkin’s famous line, “They fuck you up, your mum and dad.” For instance, people who feel they have been taken advantage of frequently refer to themselves as “being fucked in the ass.” But there are lots of people, male and female, who enjoy being buggered—at least an equal number (if not more) than those who enjoy doing the buggering. It all doesn’t make a helluva lot of sense, but there is no mystery to language. Idioms tell us something, and the message in “fucking,” “fuck you” and “fucked in the ass” is that there is something about a normally pleasant experience that is not pleasant. This negative association seems to derive from the folksy and now anachronistic notion that it is better to be the giver than the receiver, better to penetrate than be the one who is penetrated. But passivity and vulnerability, as we all must realize at some point, are highly successful ways of gaining knowledge.

[This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.]

Monday, December 13, 2010

Waste Land

Lucy Walker’s Waste Land is a film about Vik Muniz, the Brazilian artist who, to put it euphemistically, uses organic matter in his art. The net result of his preoccupation, which started with making portraits of children out of sugar to point out the sweetness that was missing in their lives, becomes a project based on the Jardim Gramacho, the enormous garbage dump in Rio where equality finally asserts itself when the waste produced by millionaires is mixed with that of the impoverished occupants of the favelas. The catadores who occupy the dump are pickers of recyclable goods. From the beginning, comparison with the artist is unavoidable—the artist recycles reality just as the pickers recycle garbage, transforming often-painful circumstances into beauty. The dump, in fact, looked at from afar, resembles a palette, in much the way that Monet’s water lilies assume their form when looked at from the distance. Muniz, who himself grew up in a poor family, employs extensive art historical referents. In one iconic setup, for instance, he employs a pose based on David's Marat, using a tub that has been extricated from the garbage. The dump’s resident intellectual, an autodidact who has read a volume of Machiavelli’s The Prince that he found in the detritus, compares Rio to the world of Machiavelli and its fiefdoms. The transformative power of art is another theme the film explores, since Muniz looked at the film as a social act, in which his pickers would participate in and profit from the production of art. The project that Munoz describes is utopian, in that it aims at liberation, and yet it is curiously Candidian. The film ends with Muniz offering a whole new world and life to his subjects (one of the most affecting scenes takes place at an auction in London where the work is being sold off), whose expectations are heightened and whose ability to survive without him must be a source of concern to both Muniz and anyone who views the filmic document of this esthetic and social experiment.

[This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.]

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

This is Mail Worth Rifling Through

Pics above from Bookshop Santa Cruz, Grace Krilanovich's hometown, where the book was a staff favorite for the year. For those who missed it, Grace had a great big essay on the LA Times website yesterday, talking about her experience publishing The Orange Eats Creeps and it's path toward her being selected as one of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35.

W Magazine took '5 Minutes' with Xiaoda Xiao to discuss his new memoir-in-stories, The Visiting Suit: Stories From My Prison Life. This is an intense, incredibly ambitious book -- tell your friends and friends' friends about it!
The Fanzine, a great site that regularly features the work of some talented writers like Kevin Sampsell, Dennis Cooper, Trinie Dalton et al, ran an excerpt from Barbara Browning's forthcoming novel, The Correspondence Artist, called 'La Rire de la Meduse.' It's a long-ish excerpt, which is the nice thing about the web and a place like The Fanzine, that they can publish longer pieces and disregard word and page counts.
So that's a truck-load of reading material that'll hopefully keep you busy for a while.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Big Ups, Small Beer

It hurts my soul that our books are available through Amazon. It's like that guilt from not recycling something or leaving an unnecessary light on.

This is a great quote from 'Books After Amazon' by Onnesha Roychoudhuri in the Nov/Dec issue of Boston Review:

"For small publishers Amazon provides unprecedented access to a larger audience of customers. The costs of reaching this audience can, however, outweigh the benefits. For Gavin Grant, keeping Small Beer Press afloat without slashing already-modest author royalties means making cuts in advertising and marketing budgets. Grant isn’t shy about Amazon’s role in keeping him in this tight spot: “If I meet a reader and they say, ‘I buy all your books through Amazon,’ I often say to them, ‘That’s great for Amazon, that’s great for the shipper. It does nothing for me, and it doesn’t do much for the author.’”

On a more chipper note, I'm obsessed with this band:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dany Laferriere

This past spring, Douglas & McIntyre, a Canadian publishing company sent a manuscript by Dany Laferriere to us called I Am a Japanese Writer. The morning my son, Maceo, was born, after he and Eliza were firmly planted in a hospital room and napping, I started to read the book. It’s seductive, playful in a postmodern way, about a black writer – the best titler in America - who pitches his editor on a new novel called I am a Japanese Writer. The editor, smitten with merely the title, accepts the book. All the writer has to do is complete a manuscript. But word of the book has leaked, and the author becomes the object of interest of the Japanese embassy and their tourism board. The writer becomes a pop culture figure in Japan based on nothing more than the title of his new project. It’s about identity, and your relation to the writers whose work you read. Laferriere is drawn repeatedly to the work of Basho, a wandering poet of the Edo period in Japan. It made me wonder how does nationality define us in our hyper-modern times?

So while I was in NYC for the 5 Under 35 party, I stumbled into St. Marks Bookshop and saw where Douglas & McIntyre reissued a previous novel of Laferriere's called How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired, which earned the author comparisons to Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, James Baldwin and Charles Bukowski. It is an urgent, ferocious book that tackles head-on the issues of race, class, and social standing in a very unapologetic manner. There are frequent passages that perfectly encapsulate the writer’s condition:

“All you need is a good Remington, no cash and no publisher to believe that the book you’re composing with your gut feelings is the masterpiece that will get you out of your hole. Unfortunately, it never works that way. It takes as much guts to do a good book as a bad one. When you have nothing, you can always hope for genius. But genius has refined tastes. It doesn’t like the dispossessed. And nothing is all I’ve got. I’ll never make it out of here with a so-so manuscript.”

Laferriere was a writer in Haiti during the Duvalier regime. When a journalist he was working on an assignment with was found dead, he fled to Canada. Last year, Laferriere was awarded France's Prix Medicis, alongside Dave Eggers, for his book L'enigma du retour. He is a strong, original voice, well worth a read.

Graphic Novels

Everyone was comparing The Orange Eats Creeps to Charles Burns' Black Hole, so I finally upped and read it. I thought it was fantastic. So in the future we're going to start considering graphic novel submissions for publication.

Also, along those lines, The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute is hosting a panel discussion on Sunday, December 5 at 2:30 on the subject of 'The Art of the Graphic Novel.' Panel participants include Lynda Barry, Hillary Chute, N.C. Christopher Couch, Ben Katchor, and Francoise Mouly.

Here's how they introduce the panel:

"The underground comics movement in the 1960s and '70s and the avant-garde RAW magazine in the '80s and '90s established comics as an important medium for storytelling and self-expression. Since then the field has opened in many new directions. Today there are cartoonists such as Joe Sacco publishing four-hundred-page works of comics journalism about Gaza, and Alison Bechdel publishing comics-form book reviews in The New York Times Book Review. An unprecedented critical and popular interest in “graphic novels,” book-length fiction in comics, has emerged in recent years. Why is there such enthusiasm about comics in our current moment, and where is the form headed? What can this intricate, double-tracked narrative form, composed of words and images, bring to journalism, or to memoir, or to the art of fiction? How are politics and aesthetics intertwined in comics, and how are popular and so-called high cultures melded in the form? This roundtable will bring together some of the foremost cartoonists, publishers, and critics in the field to explore current and future avenues for the comics form—its strengths and capacities, and where it is headed."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Supernatural Teen Narco-Insomniac

Last week I was in NYC to celebrate Grace Krilanovich. The National Book Foundation put together a pretty fun time to honor each of this year's 5 Under 35. The party took place at the powerHouse Arena in DUMBO last Monday night. They had (free) booze, a taco truck, and a photo booth (see above). Scott Spencer gave me goosebumps when he introduced Grace.

Some other writers read too. I have trouble digesting writing aurally. I assume their work is most likely good.

Grace also got loved on by some other folks this past week. Shelf Unbound Magazine named The Orange Eats Creeps one of their Top 10 Books for 2010. They went on to say:

"A relentless existential nightmare as baffling as it is brilliant. Krilanovich dispenses with so many writing norms that the reader is required to figure out a new way to read. It's a thrilling ride."

Also, Bookforum gave the book a killer review. I can't imagine anyone reading it and not wanting to check out the book immediately:

"Beautiful and deranged. [Krilanovich] nails the shaky worldview of a supernatural teen narco-insomniac . . . Being undead, here, is the defining paradox of the teenage female experience: to be both immortal and rapidly aging."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Charge, Angry Youth

Heard this first at The Rumpus -- it's pretty incredible:

According to the BBC, a 46-year old female human rights activist was jailed in China over a message she posted to her Twitter-feed. The tweet was apparently mocking Chinese protestors of Japan who were smashing Japanese products in the streets over a debate concerning uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. The tweet encouraged protestors to attack the Japanese pavilion at the Shanghai Expo instead, with the attached message to "charge, angry youth."

The activist, Cheng Jianping, was sentenced to a year in a labor camp. Obviously, this underlines the absurd, on-going, and general absolute fucked-up-ness of the Chinese government.

I wanted to say again that we are making a section from Xiaoda Xiao's forthcoming The Visiting Suit: Stories From My Prison Life (Dec.) downloadable for free in Chinese. By doing so, we hoped his tale would be available to members of the population still affected by the extreme policies and daily hardships that Xiao describes who are only receiving and exposed to heavily censored news and stories.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

'Like I'm Made Out of a Sponge'

"I love the album format. I'll never lose that. Never. I don't want to lose it. I mean, why can't we keep experiencing it? It's easy, it's palatable. I'm so used to buying music in my hand and I can't get over it. Packaging matters. The visual album-cover connection to the music matters. Remember the gatefolds with the storybooks in them and the pop-up photos and stuff? This kind of thing is a boutique, elitist origami item now, but when I was a kid it was a five-and-dime item. I remember how it felt when I had Jethro Tull's Passion Play in my hands as a kid, from a poncy Shakespearean Renaissance Faire English hippie guy, knowing that, like, another million kids also were reading this storybook. There was this feeling that so many other people were experiencing what I was experiencing, at the same time. It was like combining that Harry Potter intrigue with the music for the kid of the time. That's empowering. Those records connected us . . . ."

-Chris Goss of Masters of Reality in conversation with Arthur Magazine editor Jay Babcock in LA Weekly

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jason Jefferies: Iron Man

Big ups, Jason Jefferies, our newest lifetime subscription holder. Jason got inked up by Steven at Artful Tattoo in San Francisco, California, smack on the bicep.

Above are some pictures of Jason's tat and the fingers of an employee of Artful Tattoo.

In Jason's own words: "I am a writer/professional reader here in downtown San Francisco. I love your books, and I love radios that are too loud to ignore, so I think we have a win/win situation on our hands."
As a lifetime/tattoo subscription holder, Jason will get every book we ever publish.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Erotomania Optioned for Film

Hot news: Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, which was a and Inland Empire Weekly Best/Standout Book of 2008, was just optioned for film by director Greg Levins (Bittersweet) and producer Jason Tyrrell (The Brave and the Kind, All My Friends are Funeral Singers).

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Real Moustache on the Face of Depravity

We received a curious email from a community leader of a neighborhood group in Irondale, WA, interested in what is being said about them in Grace Krilanovich's novel, The Orange Eats Creeps.

I found this odd, since apart from labeling the book a novel explicitly on the front, the synopsis also refers to "a band of hobo vampire junkies." So I don't believe anyone would mistake it for anything but fiction.

There is one particularly juicy section where Irondale makes a grand entrance, that I believe accounts for some of the best, most lucid and effective prose in the book.

Here it is:
"Down by the creek there’s a small town by the name of Irondale, a single lane of highway tacked down right in the middle of a lush forest wilderness the likes of which would do Marty
Stouffer proud. I found the rest of my hobo buddies camped out among a few modest houses and sheds situated on a dozen acres littered with mobile home trailers and smelly Meth accoutrements, a display resplendent of the region’s claim to fame in the local papers: seedy clusters of mutant skinless stripped-bare mobile home trailers. This was one of the famous Meth squats of Irondale, a real mustache on the face of depravity. The Jefferson County Leader routinely sent out reporters to lurk behind some crap-filled bathtub, taking notes. More than one soul had been absorbed. Irondale stood as a living monument to Meth dudes who had casually reached a level of ingenuity whereby — after selling the metal siding off their trailers for scrap — they found themselves with nothing left to practice tagging on, so they put the word out, soliciting others to haul in something to fill the void. A yard full of wrecked shit fulfills many needs, doubling as shelter, jewelry, target practice, and…? Some neighbors were once baffled to see a Meth squatter hauling a boat filled with garbage on a trailer with no wheels. When the trailer couldn’t be coaxed into going any further it was unceremoniously abandoned out in the middle of the road, which even by Meth squat standards is pretty resourceful."

An E-book Positive

Something I do like about e-books is that people in other countries have easier access to read our books. People can order our books electronically through vendors by entering a random U.S. address. Even if we assign sales restrictions to only U.S. and Canada, for e-books that doesn't mean squat because the vendors can't enforce these restrictions. But I enjoy getting emails from someone in Turkey saying that they're reading our books.

Visiting Suit + The Nervous Breakdown Book Club

The popular literature and culture site, The Nervous Breakdown, has selected The Visiting Suit: Stories From My Prison Life by Xiaoda Xiao as their December book club selection.

The Visiting Suit is in good company. Launched this fall, the book is following previous selections Room by Emma Donoghue, Exley by Brock Clarke, and Half a Life by Darin Strauss.

Discussions will take place on The Nervous Breakdown's blog, The Feed, on the book club's Facebook page, and at the end of each month through an online, moderated, video interview with the author.

So be sure to check it out and take part in the conversation.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Cory Bennet: Iron Man

We've got a new 'Iron Man' and he goes by the name of Cory Bennet. Cory hails from Vacaville, Cal-i-for-ni-a, and got himself inked up by Jeremy Bolding at Electric Voodoo Tattoo.

Per the Iron Man, himself: "I'm a four time college dropout who loves to skateboard and read, and get tattoos of awesome publishing houses."

Nice to see the tat prominently featured beside 'Shit.'

Big ups, Cory B. As the tattoo subscription stipulates, Cory will receive every book we ever publish.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Ravenna Third Place

Big thanks to Ravenna Third Place Books in Seattle, Washington, for their table display of Two Dollar Radio books.

For those in the area, be sure to stop by:
Ravenna Third Place
6504 20th ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115

More Big Ups, Grace Krilanovich!

Congrats, Grace Krilanovich. She knocked it out of the park with her first novel The Orange Eats Creeps, pretty much an instant cult classic. The book, one of the National Book Foundation's '5 Under 35' selections, one of Gawker's 'most interesting fall titles', was named today one of's Top 10 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books for 2010.

There's also plenty more Grace on the way: Jonathan Bastian interviewed the author for 'Page by Page', Aspen Public Radio's book program; and Nylon Magazine has a photoshoot with the author running with an interview in their December/January issue.
But stepping back, to celebrate making the list, we're giving away 50 electronic Kindle versions of The Orange Eats Creeps for free this afternoon. Drop an email to twodollar[at] with the subject "OEC!" and we'll ping you back at some point soon with an attached .mobi file. We're only going to give copies away today (11/4), and no more than 50 copies -- so write soon.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Correspondence Artist Galleys

So, due back any day now from the printer, are galleys of Barbara Browning's debut novel, The Correspondence Artist (late-ish February 2011), a witty new comedy sure to delight fans of Nicholson Baker, Miranda July, and Charlie Kaufman.
The book was excerpted in Bomb Magazine this past summer, and will be excerpted in Knock this November.
Harry Mathews says, "The Correspondence Artist is smart, funny, sexy, knowledgeable, subtle, disturbing, light-hearted, obsessive, and tragic: a comedy that, I surmise, is wholly confessional and wholly imaginary."
Here's the story: Vivian, a writer, is carrying on a relationship with an internationally acclaimed artist. There are those who stand to profit — and suffer — from the revelation of her paramour’s identity, so in the service of telling her tale, she creates a series of fictional lovers. There is Tzipi, a sixty-eight-year-old Nobel-winning female Israeli writer; Binh, a twenty-something Vietnamese video artist; Santuxto, a poetic Basque separatist; and Djeli, a dreadlocked Malian world-music star.

Largely through Vivian’s e-mail correspondence, she divulges the story of their relationship, from their first meeting to their jumpy spam filter, which arrests the more explicit notes that result in Vivian being held captive in a tiger cage in a Berlin hotel/being chased by a Medusa-like woman on a Greek Island/imprisoned by a splinter cell of Basque separatists/in an African hospital with a bout of Dengue Fever.

Barbara Browning’s captivating wit and passionate intelligence make The Correspondence Artist a love story like none other.
Those interested in receiving Advanced Reader Copies of the book should write to Brian at brian[at]
Here's an excerpt:

Friday, October 22, 2010

My review of James Franco in Sunday's NY Times

The wonderful people over at the New York Times Book Review asked me to weigh in on James Franco's first collection of stories, "Palo Alto." The whole review is here and will be in Sunday's print edition.  But a snippet for those of you who are into the whole snippet-thingie (and we seem to be a country of snippets, sound bytes, and tweets):

Too often, our comfort zones are our tombstones. We settle into numbing patterns and that’s that — wake me when it’s over. Not so in the frenetic world of James Franco, whose ambition over the past few years has manifested almost as performance art: he’s been affiliated with multiple M.F.A. programs, in fiction, poetry and filmmaking; he’s angling to add “Dr.” to his name, having recently become a Ph.D. aspirant at some shabby school called Yale. Oh, and in case your particular comfort zone is a cave: he’s a pretty successful actor, too.

Congratulations to Franco for the publication of his first book!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Melting Pot


We're headed to San Antonio over the weekend for a wedding, so what follows is a boiling hot pot of some cool happenings in our world.

Grace Krilanovich is converting skeptics. She'll be in NYC reading from The Orange Eats Creeps this Sunday night at KGB Bar @ 7pm as part of a two-night 'Indie Press Crush Fest' with featherproof books authors Lindsay Hunter (author of Daddy's), Christian Tebordo (author of The Awful Possibilities), and Amelia Gray (author of AM/PM). Night #2 will take place at Greenpoint's WORD Bookstore on Tuesday, May 26 @ 7:30pm.

All next week, October 25 - 31, Joshua Mohr will be partaking in a live chat with The Next Best Book Club. You can read the book club's blog post in which they declare Termite Parade 'the next best book'!

Bomb Magazine has posted a podcast of their 'Bomb Literary All-Star Reading' at Greenlight Books earlier this month. Barbara Browning read a selection from her forthcoming novel, The Correspondence Artist (February '11), an excerpt from which was published in Bomb's Summer issue.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kevin Thomas: Iron Man

Kevin Thomas is our first 'Iron Man,' who will be receiving an almost free lifetime subscription of books -- every book we've published plus every book we will publish. Forever.

I say "almost" free because he had to tattoo the Two Dollar Radio radio on his body. Inked by Lisa at Icon Tattoo in Portland.

Kevin is an unemployed cartoonist living in western Washington. So the free books should help. Last year he started a webcomic called Horn Comix Supplement that recently turned into a biweekly book review for The Rumpus, everyone's favorite books and culture site. Check out his work -- it's pretty rad.

Kevin will be the first member of a virtual plaque on the wall that we have yet to create, which will be special for lifetime subscription holders. Some light-website lifting will likely take place, but be prepared.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Visiting Suit Free E-Book!

We're making the first two stories from acclaimed writer and Chinese dissident Xiaoda Xiao’s forthcoming collection, The Visiting Suit: Stories From My Prison Life, available for free as an electronic download in Chinese.

The Visiting Suit: Stories From My Prison Life is a memoir-in-stories about the author’s five years spent in a labor prison as a counter-revolutionary.

The recent recognition of the struggle of Chinese writer and dissident Liu Xiaobo by the Nobel Committee, as well as the Chinese government’s attempts to mute the story, underlines the fact that the oppression and suppression of the Chinese population is on-going, and that Xiao’s writing of his prison experience from over a quarter-century ago is as timely as ever.

In 1971, at the age of twenty, Xiaoda Xiao was arrested for accidentally tearing a poster of Chairman Mao. Without a trial, he was declared a counter-revolutionary and sentenced to five years in a labor prison, in his case a stone quarry on West Hill Island in Taihu Lake.

By making Xiao’s work downloadable for free in Chinese, his tale will be made available to members of the population still affected by the extreme policies and daily hardships that Xiao describes who are only receiving and exposed to heavily censored news and stories.

Stories from The Visiting Suit have appeared in Guernica Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, The Atlantic Monthly, DoubleTake, Confrontation, and Antaeus. Xiao’s writing has been compared to Solzhenitsyn by the Los Angeles Times and Kafka by the Washington Post, and he has been called “a masterful storyteller” by Bookforum. The Visiting Suit has been chosen as one of the most anticipated and interesting titles of Fall 2010 by Gawker and The Huffington Post.

A limited quantity of 500 free downloads will be permitted in PDF format exclusively through WeightlessBooks (
We'd love it if you'd help us spread the word . . .

Monday, October 11, 2010

Grace Krilanovich Live!

Watch live video from Two Dollar Radio on

Watch live video from Two Dollar Radio on

Watch live video from Two Dollar Radio on

Watch live video from Two Dollar Radio on

Watch live video from Two Dollar Radio on

Xiaoda Xiao's Second Book Coming Soon

Xiao's second book, The Visiting Suit: Stories From My Prison Life, a memoir-in-stories of his five years spent in one of Mao's labor prisons, is currently at the printer and we just received color proofs in the mail. We're real excited with how it turned out. The cover painting is one of Xiao's works, titled 'The Barter Market.' There are also two other original paintings by Xiao that appear in the book in black and white: 'He Beings to Talk' and 'Release.'
The Visiting Suit has been chosen as one of this fall's most anticipated and interesting titles by Gawker and The Huffington Post.
Stories from the book have appeared in Guernica Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, The Atlantic Monthly, DoubleTake, Confrontation, and Antaeus.
If you are affiliated with a media review outlet and would like to receive an advance reading copy of The Visiting Suit, contact Brian Obenauf at brian [at] We can now provide either a galley or digital copy of the book.

Grace Krilanovich Live Reading

After getting back from this past weekend's LitQuake in San Francisco -- which I heard was a rousing success -- where she read with Joshua Mohr, Grace Krilanovich will be doing a live web-reading tonight hosted by HTML Giant at 9 Eastern.

You can also tune in through Two Dollar Radio's Justin TV channel.

It's interactive, so get your questions ready!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Why I Love What I Do

Jonathan Evison's a cool guy. His first book, All About Lulu did well for Soft Skull when it came out a year or two ago. Now, his second book, West of Here, is getting all kinds of mammoth buzz. It's got the endorsement of some big-hitters, like Ron Currie Jr. who calls it "epic" and Dan Chaon, who refers to it as "a novel of stunning sweep." I managed to snag a copy at last year's BEA, where Evison was doing a parade of panels and signings. Everywhere he went the line snaked around the corner. I'm excited to read the book, it feels grand and ambitious and like a wonderful story to disappear into.

Evison's got his hands in a number of different lit-related things. A couple months back he asked me to contribute to a series he's involved with at the blog Three Guys One Book. I was supposed to discuss the history of Two Dollar Radio, why I enjoy publishing books, and my outlook on the future of literature. It was daunting and vague as I imagine my thoughts on these topics are broad enough to fill a book of its own, so I had to put if off for a while. But eventually I came up with the following:

My Creepy, Run-Down Entertainment

We got started while we were living in San Diego. Eliza and I drove up the coast to Big Sur to camp with our dogs and celebrate our one-year anniversary. We stopped at the Henry Miller Memorial Library where I bought a photocopy of a letter that Miller wrote to random visitors who sought him out at home, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch, and a book that had nothing to do with Miller called The Business of Books, by a writer named Andre Schiffrin. The subtitle was 'How International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing and Changed the Way We Read.' Schiffrin was the publisher at Pantheon for many years before being shoved out by the new regime at Random House.

My background was in film. I interned at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where I realized if I wanted to take part in any established medium as a writer I would inevitably be forced to devote the next decade of my life to climbing the ladder before I'd be able to work on something that even remotely interested me. So while in San Diego I immersed myself in fiction writing, envisioning the world of books as one untainted by greed and pop culture. The Schiffrin book woke me up. At the time, I was also beginning to feel disillusioned with contemporary publishing, as though my appetite wasn't being sated by the new books that occupied shelves at stores. I spent a lot of time surfing the spines at the local bookshop in search of anything published by the colophons that I had come to trust: Akashic (I loved their Urban Surreal Series), Soft Skull, Dalkey Archive.

I was bartending at the time, earning more money than I really deserved. The bar was across the street from the harbor. Apart from the local crowd, the bar catered to the out-of-town yuppies on their way to or from sport-fishing trips, and the uber-wealthy who'd get tanked on their sailboats in the morning and stop by for a drink after coming ashore, still rocking on their sea-legs. Rich old men don't like to get cut off by the snotty-nosed bartender. I was doing my best to put off the inevitable, and this one particular old drunk knew it. He said, “Don't mind me, I make more noise than a $2 radio.”

It was the confluence of these events – finding the name “Two Dollar Radio,” Schiffrin's book, and immersing myself in the work of some exceptional indie publishers – that served as the foundation and initial impetus to want to start my own press.

I've got a stable of pretty rad memories that really underline that I absolutely love what I do. Coupled with the fact that I’m able to work on this with my wife and brother, makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

I remember the first time I met Rudy Wurlitzer, chatting across couches in the basement of a townhouse while Philip Glass railed on the piano in the room directly above us. I carried everything around in my backpack and didn’t know what I was doing. We didn’t even have a distributor for our books at that point. Looking back, it’s incredible that a writer of Rudy’s stature took a chance with us. He’s someone I talk to on the phone a couple times in a good week, and refer to fondly as my consigliere.

Francis Levy, author of Erotomania: A Romance and the forthcoming Seven Days in Rio, in addition to being a groundbreaking and provocative voice, has become a wonderful friend. In the '70s he worked at Grove Press before he was fired (which I imagine would be hard to do). A few years ago, Francis was kind enough to invite me to meet Barney Rosset (who blurbed Erotomania). We sat around Barney's apartment chatting, before we migrated to a restaurant around the corner. At some point, Barney pulled from the inner pocket of his jacket a worn Russian copy of Tropic of Cancer. He took his time relaying the particular copy's importance, which amounted to him publishing the book in Russian merely to piss off the Soviets since the book was still under ban in the country. And I loved that. His defiant spirit.

More recently, we were in NYC in May for a benefit we put together for Girls Write Now. Josh Mohr had agreed to emcee and flew in from San Francisco. We were going to grab a sandwich before the event, and were meeting at the transfer from the L to the A line. I was arriving from a meeting with an editor at the New York Times Book Review who had told me that they had assigned Josh's second novel, Termite Parade, to review. When I met Josh and his girlfriend, Leota, he asked how the meeting went and I told him. We were both a little stunned. It was to be a first for both of us. We were waiting on my brother, Brian, who was coming from Brooklyn, to meet us before boarding a train to the event. It felt like we had to wait a long time. The subway cars blew humid air in our faces. I think I mentioned how Jack Kerouac stayed up all night and went to a kiosk for the first delivery when the Times reviewed On the Road. Someone, maybe even me, commented that this sounded a lot less romantic. But it was romantic.

I remember meeting Xiaoda Xiao for the first time. We had driven to Amherst from NYC to interview Xiao for a documentary we were producing. The drive north I spent relaying some of Xiao's true-life prison stories to my friend who was directing the video. We were both getting excited. Xiao is a writer I'm incredibly humbled to publish: when he was 20, Xiao was arrested for accidentally tearing a poster of Mao and spent the subsequent five years of his life in a stone quarry. We parked and were walking across his driveway to the house when Xiao emerged from the sliding doors. “You're so young,” he said to me, and then opened his arms wide. He was wearing a Two Dollar Radio shirt I had sent him. That was pretty cool.

For many of our books, I remember reading the submission for the first time. 1940, I sat on the stoop of our bungalow in San Diego. The Drop Edge of Yonder, I was on our fire escape in Bed-Stuy. Erotomania, I sat on the floor in the kitchen beneath the stove making dinner. The Orange Eats Creeps was during the period I played basketball at the local university at 6:30 in the morning. I read the manuscript on our front porch with a cup of coffee after I got home, hoody draped over my head, sore.

And it's incredible the number of really stellar submissions that we have to pass on. It's obvious to me that the important, progressive work that will last, the work that I find myself reading most often, the work that will be celebrated now and into the future, is being done by independent and university presses. You don't have to look very hard: it's evident in the awards being handed out, from the Pulitzer to the Nobel to the year-end best-of lists.

I often come back to the example of Jacek Utko, who transformed newspapers in former Soviet bloc nations into indispensable, profitable products. In speaking of Cirque du Soleil transforming circus arts and applying that ideology to newspapers, he said “These guys were doing some creepy, run-down entertainment and put it to the highest level of performance art.”

Books are a creepy, run-down entertainment. But they're far from obsolete because of the countless independent presses who elect to focus on work that is indispensable rather than gimmicky or what might apply to the mass market. It's the Field of Dreams approach: “If you build it, they will come.” And with the internet (big ups, Al Gore), that's possible.

Now, in our modern age, the sales handles that ring are words like organic, boutique, fuel-efficient, indie. This dude in LA, Roy Choi, opened up a truck that sold high-quality food at reasonable prices and grossed two million dollars his first year in business. Whether a restaurant is “green” or not makes a difference to the majority of customers. The age of microwaveable dinners has passed. The future is bright, and I'm excited to be a part of it.

Eric Obenauf
Sept. 2010

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Wurlitzer's Slow Fade

Will Oldham is recording an audiobook of Rudy Wurlitzer's fourth novel, Slow Fade, to be released by Drag City.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Barbara Browning Reads Correspondence Artist!!!

Watch live video from Two Dollar Radio on

GRACE KRILANOVICH selected for NBF's 5 Under 35 Honor!!!

Big ups, Grace Krilanovich!

We at Two Dollar Radio are super-stoked, super-excited to announce that Grace Krilanovich has been selected for the National Book Foundation's '5 Under 35' Honor!
The honor is given annually to five writers under the age of 35 who have demonstrated excellence in fiction. Honorees are selected by previous National Book Award winners and finalists. Grace K was selected by Scott Spencer, author of Endless Love, A Ship Made of Paper, and the just-published Man in the Woods (buy his books!!!).
Grace will be honored at the 5 Under 35 Bash thrown by the National Book Foundation celebrating National Book Week, and the lead-up to the announcement of the National Book Awards. The bash is Monday, November 15, and will be hosted by Roseanne Cash and DJed by Rob Sheffield (author of Talking to Girls About Duran Duran).
Also, Grace will be reading/doing a live interview Monday, October 11 at 9EST/6PST on Two Dollar Radio's new video channel. The reading/interview will be hosted by the always-sweet HTML Giant.
Congrats, Grace! Pretty cool.
Here's the official press release:
5 UNDER 35



2010 marks the fifth year of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 selections, recognizing five young fiction writers chosen by National Book Award Winners and Finalists. Last year’s reading and party at powerHouse Arena in DUMBO, Brooklyn prompted The Huffington Post to publish a piece called “How to Throw a Party for Books: The NBA’s 5 Under 35 Event.” This year’s celebration will again be held at powerHouse Arena at the start of National Book Awards Week on Monday, November 15, hosted by musician and author Rosanne Cash with music journalist Rob Sheffield as DJ.

Leslie Shipman, Director of Programs at the National Book Foundation, comments, “In the five years of 5 Under 35, we’ve been thrilled to see many of our honorees go on to receive great acclaim. We’re delighted that 5 Under 35 provides us with an opportunity to recognize these young writers early in their careers, with the help of past National Book Award Winners and Finalists.”

The 2010 5 Under 35 Honorees are:

Sarah Braunstein, The Sweet Relief of Missing Children (W.W. Norton & Co., 2011)
Selected by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, National Book Award Fiction Finalist for
Madeleine Is Sleeping, 2004

Grace Krilanovich, The Orange Eats Creeps (Two Dollar Radio, 2010)
Selected by Scott Spencer, Fiction Finalist for A Ship Made of Paper, 2003; Fiction Finalist for Endless Love, 1980 and 1981

Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife (Random House, 2011)
Selected by Colum McCann, Fiction Winner for Let the Great World Spin, 2009

Tiphanie Yanique, How to Escape from a Leper Colony (Graywolf, 2010)
Selected by Jayne Anne Phillips, Fiction Finalist for Lark and Termite, 2009

Paul Yoon, Once the Shore (Sarabande, 2009)
Selected by Kate Walbert, Fiction Finalist for Our Kind, 2004

(Biographies for 5 Under 35 honorees and National Book Award authors at end of release.)

With its fifth year of 5 Under 35 selections, the National Book Foundation now honors 25 writers under 35, including Ceridwen Dovey, Samantha Hunt, Bret Anthony Johnston, Nam Le, Dinaw Mengestu, ZZ Packer, Anya Ulinich, Josh Weil, and Charles Yu, selected by past National Book Award Winners and Finalists such as Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Franzen, Mary Gaitskill, Charles Johnson, and Christine Schutt.

The 2010 list of books reflects a range of publishers from Two Dollar Radio to Random House. Among the 2010 5 Under 35 honorees’ early accomplishments, Tiphanie Yanique is a 2010 Rona Jaffe Foundation Award Winner, an award which Sarah Braunstein won in 2007; Grace Krilanovich was a finalist for the Starcherone Prize; Paul Yoon’s Once the Shore was a New York Times Notable Book; and Téa Obreht was named one of The New Yorker’s 2010 “20 Under 40.” Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, the National Book Award Finalist who selected Sarah Braunstein for 5 Under 35, was also on the “20 Under 40” list.

At this year’s 5 Under 35 party, the young writers will be introduced by the National Book Award Winners and Finalists who selected them and will each give a brief reading. Author Amanda Stern, host of the first 5 Under 35 event in 2006, will interview the honorees and Winners and Finalists during the party. Party guests will be invited to pose for portraits by The Photo Booth Party. Food will again be provided by the Red Hook Food Vendors and wine by Brooklyn Oenology. The Foundation will continue its tradition of having a musician/author, Rosanne Cash, host the event and an author with a musical slant, Rob Sheffield, provide the soundtrack for the evening.

For more information on this year’s 5 Under 35 honorees and past 5 Under 35 celebrations, please visit

This event is by invitation only. Press interested in attending should contact Sherrie Young at

5 Under 35 Honorees

Sarah Braunstein is the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Writers' Award. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and lives in Portland, Maine. Her novel, The Sweet Relief of Missing Children, will be published by W.W. Norton in 2011.

Grace Krilanovich has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow and a finalist for the Starcherone Prize. Her first book, The Orange Eats Creeps, is the only novel to be excerpted twice in the literary magazine Black Clock.

Téa Obreht was born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia, and spent her childhood in Cyprus and Egypt before eventually immigrating to the United States in 1997. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Téa received her MFA in Fiction from the Creative Writing Program at Cornell University in 2009. Her first novel, The Tiger's Wife, will be published by Random House in 2011. Her fiction debut—an excerpt of The Tiger's Wife in The New Yorker—was selected for the The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010. Her second publication, the short story The Laugh, was published in the summer 2009 fiction issue of The Atlantic, and will be anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2010. Téa currently lives in Ithaca, New York.

Tiphanie Yanique is from the Hospital Ground neighborhood of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. She is an assistant professor of Creative Writing and Caribbean Literature at Drew University and an associate editor with Post-No-Ills. Her first book, How to Escape from a Leper Colony, was published by Graywolf in 2010. She lives between Brooklyn, New York and St. Thomas.

Paul Yoon was born in New York City. His first book, Once the Shore, was a New York Times Notable Book; a Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Publishers Weekly, and Minneapolis Star Tribune Best Book of the Year; and selected as a Best Debut of the Year by National Public Radio. He is the recipient of an O. Henry Award, the John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares, and his work has appeared in One Story, American Short Fiction, Glimmer Train, and The Best American Short Stories. He currently resides in Baltimore with the fiction writer Laura van den Berg.

National Book Award Authors

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a Finalist for the 2004 National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her fiction has appeared in several magazines and anthologies, including The New Yorker, Tin House, The Georgia Review, and The Best American Short Stories 2004 and 2009. The recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and an NEA Fellowship, she directs the MFA program in writing at the University of California, San Diego. She lives in Los Angeles and was recently named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by The New Yorker.

Colum McCann's newest novel, Let the Great World Spin, won the 2009 National Book Award and is a New York Times bestseller. He is the author of two collections of short stories and five novels, including This Side of Brightness, Dancer, and Zoli, all of which were international bestsellers. His fiction has been published in 30 languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, The Paris Review, Bomb, and other places. He has written for numerous publications, including The Irish Times, Die Zeit, La Repubblica, Paris Match, The New York Times, the Guardian, and The Independent. In 2003 Colum was named Esquire magazine's "Writer of the Year." Other awards and honors include a Pushcart Prize, the Rooney Prize, a French Chevalier des arts et lettres, and the Hennessy Award for Irish Literature. Colum was born in Dublin in 1965 and began his career as a journalist at The Irish Press. Colum teaches at Hunter College in New York, in the Creative Writing program, with fellow novelists Peter Carey and Nathan Englander.

Jayne Anne Phillips was born in Buckhannon, West Virginia. She is the author of four novels, MotherKind (2000), Shelter (1994), Machine Dreams (1984), and Lark and Termite (2009), and two collections of widely anthologized stories, Fast Lanes (1987) and Black Tickets (1979). She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and a Bunting Fellowship. She has been awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction (1980) and an Academy Award in Literature (1997) by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has been translated into twelve languages, and has appeared in Granta, Harper’s, DoubleTake, and The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. She is currently Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. Her most recent novel, Lark and Termite, was a National Book Award Finalist in 2009.

Scott Spencer is the author of ten novels, including Man in the Woods, A Ship Made of Paper, Waking the Dead, and the international bestseller Endless Love. He has written for Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ, and Harper's, and has taught writing at Columbia University, the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Williams College, and the Bard Prison Initiative. He lives in Rhinebeck, New York.

Kate Walbert is the author of the novels A Short History of Women, named one of The New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of 2009, Our Kind, a Finalist for the National Book Award in 2004, and The Gardens of Kyoto, winner of the Connecticut Book Award for best fiction in 2002, as well as the New York Times Notable story collection, Where She Went. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize Stories, and numerous other publications. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and taught fiction writing at Yale for many years. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughters.

The 5 Under 35 Celebration’s Host
Rosanne Cash has recorded fourteen albums charting twenty-one Top 40 country singles, 11 of which made it to # 1, and two gold records. She has received ten Grammy nominations—winning in 1985—and was nominated this year for “Sea of Heartbreak,” a duet with Bruce Springsteen on her current CD, The List. Cash achieved the highest chart position of her career with the debut of The List. The album, which Vanity Fair called “superb,” debuted in the Top 5 on the Country Chart, and entered The Billboard 200 at No. 22. Cash is the author of Bodies of Water and the children’s book Penelope Jane: A Fairy’s Tale. Her essays and fiction have been published in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and New York magazine. Her memoir, Composed, was published by Viking in 2010. She lives in New York City with her husband and children.

The 5 Under 35 Celebration’s Featured DJ
Rob Sheffield has been a music journalist for more than twenty years. He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, where he writes about music, TV, and pop culture, and regularly appears on MTV and VH1. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Love Is a Mix Tape, which has been translated into French, German, Italian, Swedish, Japanese, Russian, and other languages he cannot read. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

The Mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.

About the National Book Awards:
The nation’s most prestigious literary prize, the National Book Award has a stellar record of identifying and rewarding quality writing. In 1950, William Carlos Williams was the first winner in Poetry, the following year William Faulkner was honored in Fiction, and so on through the years. Many previous Winners of a National Book Award are now firmly established in the canon of American literature. On November 17th, the National Book Awards will be presented in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Barbara Browning Live!

Good news for people who like really fantastic news: Barbara Browning will be doing two readings next week from her forthcoming debut novel, The Correspondence Artist (February 2011).

On Wednesday, October 6 at 7:30, Barbara will be reading as part of BOMB's All-Stars Literary Reading Series at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. 'Santuxto Exteberria,' an excerpt from The Correspondence Artist, appeared in the summer issue of BOMB.

For those not in Fort Greene, Barbara will be reading, live, via Two Dollar Radio's brand spanking new video channel the night before, on October 5 at 8pm. Anyone will have the opportunity to pop in and ask Barbara questions about her new book. (I'm super-excited about this.) In the future, we'll be doing regular live web readings, interviews, and miscellaneous activities with our authors. It should be a blast, and plenty more opportunity for readers to interact with the writers.

The E-Book Hype Bubble

Christopher Mims has a great article in the Technology Review that is the most realistic and level-headed take on e-books that I've read to-date. I highly recommend checking it out.

Free Lifetime Subscription!

COLUMBUS, OH - Two Dollar Radio announced today from the mezzanine (front porch) of their corporate headquarters a new lifetime subscription initiative. The plan would give a free lifetime subscription — every book ever published by Two Dollar Radio, including those as yet to be published or even signed — to any persons willing to tattoo the company logo upon their body.

Eric Obenauf, publisher of Two Dollar Radio, concedes the tattoo essentially boils down to branding, which is ordinarily associated with horrific historical events or livestock, but believes the option is a two-way street.

"It will hopefully grant the brandisher some credibility in literary circles as well as a hipness factor in social settings. Plus," he adds, "it’s a conversation-starter: I don’t know how many times I’ve had to answer the question, ‘Is that a boombox on your wrist?’"

To date, those who have tattooed the Two Dollar Radio radio upon their body are Obenauf, his wife and business partner, Eliza Jane Wood-Obenauf, as well as author Joshua Mohr, who published his first (Some Things That Meant the World to Me) and second (Termite Parade) novels with the press.

"The day after getting my Two Dollar Radio tattoo," Mohr says, "I won the lottery, fell in love, vanquished a foe, was cast in a feature film, and the Iranian president offered to fellate me (I accepted). All in all, let’s just say things are on the uptick for this disgruntled writer."

Obenauf admits that the likelihood of this string of events being repeated for someone else is statistically improbable; however he does affirm that "Josh Mohr is exceptional."

Availability of the tattoo subscription will continue in perpetuity. Or until things get "totally whack," "bogus," or "out of control."

Persons can send pictures of their tattoo to Both an action shot of the tattoo being drawn as well as a picture after the tatt has healed is required. In addition to receiving their lifetime subscription, the person will be featured on the publishers’ blog.