We’re very excited to be partnering on some great events this fall with Asymptote, a new online journal featuring literature in translation. Asymptote’s brand new summer issue is now available and features: interviews with first-time translator David Mitchell, Man-Asian winner Tan Twan Eng, and Can Xue; new writing by Fady Joudah; fiction from László Krasznahorkai; poetry from Pierre Peuchmard; bilingual playwrights on self-translation; Michael Jacobson on asemic writing and more. The website now also includes a clickable world map for easy armchair travel. Take a look at Asymptotejournal.com.
"That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Map of Tulsa
by Benjamin Lytal
I feel incredibly self conscious writing this recommendation since last time I was reading this book in the store the author came up to me. Maybe since this is a positive recommendation and all if he were to ever read this he’d forgive me my terrible writing.
Among so many trite love stories comes one brimming with originality where the main character Jim is not only telling the story of his love Adrienne but the love story between him and the city of Tulsa. Every sentence is just bursting with original imagery and insightful observations about the experience of a young person finding their way into self awareness and through the ups and downs of that first love of adulthood. There comes a time when so many of us flee our hometowns, only to return years later, with a sense of urgency trying to understand if we still fit this world we left behind. Jim desperately attempts to relive a life that will never actually come to be as he spends the summer after college with Adrienne in Tulsa only to be separated and reunited five years later.
by Truman Capote
I know it’s a little on the nose but this is one of the most satisfying summer reads I have ever encountered. Lost for over sixty years this gem of a novel was finally published eight years ago. It tells the story of Grady McNeil who is left alone for a summer in New York by her socialite parents who are off to Paris. When I first read this book all I could hear were the songs of Beach House playing in my mind. It is washed out, delirious, extravagantly lazy summertime bliss. In some ways this book is like a prettier, smarter, version of the TV series Girls. Grady is as directionless as Holden Caulfield but as charismatic as Jay Gatsby. As she falls in love with absolutely the wrong guy I fell in love with her. But, like all summer flings, it can’t last. If you haven’t read Capote already this is a nice first introduction and an incredible debut novel dug up from the grave.
But really, Pilsen needs to CHILL OUT right now.
Vol. 15, No. 3
In the annals of baseball, statistics-freaks love talking about the players who came up from the minors and got a single hit, or two, then retired with a batting average of a thousand. (I think I read once of a guy who went 3-for-3 on his sole day in the bigs, the Ty Cobb of one-day-wonders.) Or the pitcher who struck out the only batter he ever faced. Well, I was once party to the writing equivalent—mystery-man Rob McCleary, who offered up one perfect fluttering knuckleball of a short story, “Nixon in Space,” then seemingly evaporated. You can barely even Google up evidence the thing existed, apart from a few LiveJournal pages. The reason I know about it is I was once upon a time a regular contributor to CRANK! Magazine, the now-itself-forgotten venue where McCleary offered up his gem, which humbled those of us prematurely jaded veterans who thought we had better stuff than the rookies. The story is exuberant and rageful, political and eccentric, relevant and timeless. If you wrote “Nixon In Space” or its equivalent fifty times you‘d be George Saunders or Donald Barthelme. Do it just once and you’re Rob McCleary, I guess.
Author of Fortress of Solitude
Join us in supporting
By Rob McCleary
Recommended by Jonathan Lethem
On July 20, 1969, or so I am told, after forty-eight hours of hellish labor, Leigh was born and some guys walked around on the moon. Leigh had red hair, and was a girl. The people who walked around on the moon were all male, that is to say they had penises. Due to zero gravity, they had erections the entire trip. Even when they blasted off they had hard-ons. The roar of the rocket engines excited them. “It was better than sex,” they said afterwards.
The whole deal started like this: some guys looked up at the moon and said “Hey, let’s go there.” And so they did. They dreamed it up like some forgotten oriental city and put it into action (they had the money to indulge such fantasies in those days). The Americans made it to the moon first, because they had the most cash. Also, they had captured Nazi rocket scientists
In 1958, Ian Fleming interviewed Raymond Chandler for the BBC in London. Part 1.
In honor of International Crime Month, our Friday evening author event featured Zane Lovitt, Bayo Ojikutu and Mark Billingham. These three writers spoke on a variety of topics, including the schism between the public consumption and critical reception of “crime” fiction, and whether books benefit from being defined by genres. They also touched on the confines and freedoms of crime/noir as a literary form.
I’m passing along Mark’s recommendation that we all listen to this awesome BBC radio broadcast of Ian Flemming interviewing Raymond Chandler.
“You really can’t write unless you read. You have to know what the game is all about.” —Harold Brodkey
We love old hollywood stars, especially when they’re reading.
Hello again, beautiful. Missed you. (at 57th Street Books)
When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright are bright in dark directed.
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow’s form form happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!
All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.
In other words, we missed you too.
Because maybe you just finished school for the year and aren’t quite ready to crack open Ulysses.
Every Day - David Levithan
Every Day is a heartbreaking love story about a young person with no physical body, but with an autonomous sense of self that transcends corporeality. When “A” falls in love, the impermanence with which they had formerly lived their life takes on a desperate new edge. This book is perfect for anyone who has ever questioned their identity. So, basically everyone.
Paper Valentine - Brenna Yovanoff
This is a chilling mystery perfect for the Valentine’s Day lover. In this book the term “bloody valentine” is absolutely literal. There is a killer on the loose in a small, sleepy town in Indiana, and his targets are pretty young girls. Literally haunted by the ghost of her best friend, Hannah gets wrapped up in an obsession to find the killer while also pursuing a Valentine of her own. While dealing with coming of age issues such as eating disorders, the foster care system, popularity and perfection, Yovanoff spins a smart and intricate web of lies and clues. If you are looking for a fun, scary and romantic read, Paper Valentine is it.
Railsea - China Mieville
Railsea is a tremendous feat of imagination. Bleak, without being dystopian, Railsea re-situates the Moby Dick mythology in a world where trains ply the soft earth and humans live safely on the “hardland.” Though the story is technically YA, it is nonetheless a richly detailed, creative and challenging work of science fiction.
A great depiction of the cyclical nature of tragedy, anger, spite, revenge, tragedy…
Falling to Earth - Kate Southwood
I’m not even at the bookstore right now. I’m cleaning off my bookshelf at home, and to my utter chagrin I just realized that I shelved this book:
in my science section. This is especially embarrassing because I had a laugh earlier today at the expense of whoever mis-shelved a science fiction book in the travel guides section.
Having a mushroom on the cover does not a natural history make…
I think I just got it confused with this one: