& Other Stories makes books that scream to be displayed, so here are a few looking good in our small press shrine. Treat yourself:
A mittened salute to fellow Chiberia-dwellers Curbside Splendor! This shelf of our small press shrine is dedicated to them. If you haven’t checked out their stuff, you really, really should:
Straight outta Columbus, it’s Two Dollar Radio. Their books are too loud to ignore, so of course they’ve got a shelf in our small press shrine. Tune in, take a listen:
More from the small press shrine, this time featuring Portland, OR’s Tin House. Confession: we’re obsessed! And so can you:
Small press shrine part deux: we pay homage to NYRB Classics. See those dangling pieces of paper? Those are staff recommendations. But don’t take our word for it:
We made a small press shrine. Here, we salute Open Letter and their ever-growing brigade of literary translations. Get your hands on these guys (we ship internationally, FYI):
Do you all have cabin fever yet? Break out of your igloos Thursday and head to Punch House for the first ever TALES FROM THE PUNCHBOWL, featuring drinks (I hear they have hot punch…) and great literature via some of our favorite small presses, Curbside Splendor Publishing and Two Dollar Radio. This is something you really, really don’t want to miss, so we’ll make sure to remind you over the next few days, too.
One of our booksellers, Jeff Waxman, is working his last shift at the store today (seems the weather is making the argument for him to stay: proven by the slushy window display of some of Jeff’s favorite staff recs, handsells, and what-have-you).
Jeff has worked here in some capacity for the last 6 years and in that time has handsold hundreds of books, invented 5 or 6 different ice cream floats (yeah, we have float days over the summer; it’s a hard life), and affected the store in countless ways.
He’s been a phenomenal bookseller, a great coworker, and a good friend. We will miss him (you’re very lucky to get him Other Press), but his staff recs and his influence on his coworkers and the customers that sought him out will remain.
Goodbye…for now, Jeff.
Happy New Years from 57th St Books! We know January can be a bit of a downer, what with the holidays over and -50 windchills around the corner, but at least we have British crime & costume dramas to keep us afloat! In honor of the return of Downton Abbey & Sherlock this month, we put together a window display of related literature, from a “downstairs” history of England to a collection of Victorian crime writing featuring female protagonists. Find a complete list of titles here: http://www.semcoop.com/sherlock-holmesdownton-abbey-0
I’d have a tough time classifying Hawthorn & Child as a literary detective novel (I mean, if we’re labeling things, which we probably shouldn’t, but too late on that front). Sure, the titular characters (who are almost more ghostly presences than anything else) are Scotland Yard detectives and, yeah, crimes and general shady goings-on are peered at through various darkened glasses, but…
There’s something about the novel that knocks around the head for some time after. A quieting of sunshine, a slanted look at the everyday. And the slow ecstasy of the prose and its dark sense of humor.
If we’re doing labels, I guess we’d have to call it gothic? Maybe? Or just incredibly, stunningly beautiful.”
"Raving about an Irish writer’s gift for gab is a cliche, but in this boozy and bawdy collection, Kevin Barry goes far beyond the shores of Ireland, traipsing through Wales, England, and lesbian bedrooms in Berlin to bring an Irish poetry to a wretched people inundated with fucking Anglo curse words, lager, and cider. Marrying clear-eyed and open-hearted narration with an optimistic nihilism and a very dirty mouth, Barry is in a class of his own in Europe, but he’ll be readily enjoyed by fans of Frank Bill and Dan Chaon here. So here’s the deal: I challenge you to stand in the store, read "Fjord of Killary", and not leave with this book. Do it now, while I’m watching you. Now."
- Jeff Waxman
“‘Why are women, who have the whole male world at their mercy, not funny? Please do not pretend not to know what I am talking about.’ So said Christopher Hitchens thus confirming that he was a misogynist and knew nothing about funny. Dummy. Don’t be like Hitch, may he rest, and learn up on the women who have defined what we laugh at for the last half century. Kohen will help you to adopt a more Perry-esque perspective, “This year we saw many hilarious performances by women-as well as many idiotic articles from men about how women suddenly became funny. This wasn’t the year women finally became funny, this was the year men finally pulled their heads out of their asses.” Pull your own head out of your ass by reading this oral history about the ladies who make this comedy nerd proud to be an American. Or at least proud of what, and who, we laugh at.”
This is stand-up comedy in book form, with crudely rendered yet uncannily expressive drawings taking the place of the physical presence of the comic and painfully funny prose ruminations on everyday absurdities and incidents standing in for the spoken word. Although Allie Brosch’s musings on procrastination and ill-behaved canines have caused me to shed laughter-induced tears in public places (including this bookstore), her writings on (and illustrations of) depression are breakthrough-level in terms of their accuracy, honesty, and refreshing lack of sentimentality while still managing to be both comforting and, amazingly, rather humorous. Buy it, read it, share it, give it.
A beautiful, sad memoir about a man investigating the death of his father. Currently the Deputy Editor of GQ, journalism runs in Michael Hainey’s family: Michael’s dad wrote for the Tribune & the Sun-Times. At age 6, Michael loses his father in a mysterious accident. His mother and extended family never discuss the death, and Michael grows up filled with questions and longing. Conversations, interviews, and lots of visits to Chicago haunts help Michael piece together who his father was and how the news biz operated in the 1960s. This read is a personal account of a son’s quest to learn about a man he barely knew…and a wonderful look at the neighborhoods & institutions of Chicago.
Our former bookseller Nicole has been doing intern-y things at Soho Press and here’s her homage to How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
It’s not that I don’t have a good sense of cheer
but the end of December I especially fear.
The windchill is dropping
and its getting colder.
My birthday is coming and I’m getting older.
The trains are delayed and the stations are freezing.
Tourists are shoving and commuters are sneezing.
They’re all making lists and checking them twice.
They’re maniacally shopping and dodging black ice.
I want you to know that there are people like me
who are perfectly happy without a gift or a tree
All we want is some peace and some time to ourselves.
It has nothing to do with toys or with elves.
When I’m trapped on a train with the unspeakably rude
and the ladies are all wrapped up in their snoods…
or is it a sneed? I don’t know! I don’t care!
Want to know what I think when I’m stuck under there?
That I want to READ. Let me read, read, read, read!
“Personal space!” I silently plead.
I know that is something every New Yorker needs.
But I can’t move my arms.
And I can’t really breathe.
I get these ideas.
These awful ideas.
I just get these WONDERFUL, AWFUL ideas!
What if I was alone?
No one else in the town?
No holiday madness?
No pushing around?
I’d fill my house up with books. So many books.
With Edward Said and lots of bell hooks!
Hemingway! Russell! Austen and Heller!
Kafka and Didion! Renata Adler!
New York would be quiet.
No subways, no planes.
No honking of taxis as they try to change lanes.
And I’d sit and I’d smile with a hand to my ear
because quiet’s the sound that I most like to hear.
But after a while of reading alone
I’d finish a chapter and let out a groan—
“oh man what’d you think”—
but no one is home.
I’m sharing my thoughts with the cold, empty air.
This isn’t fun. No one’s there. It’s not fair!
I have so much to say about what’s in my book
but everyone’s gone and I can’t make them look.
I can’t ask them to listen
because it’s only me.
And somehow your fun is diminished by three
when ideas are boinging around in your head
but you can’t talk about all the great things you have read.
So as much as I hate it
The ribbons! The wrappings!
The tags and the the tinsel!
The trimmings! The trappings!
I’ll swallow my misanthropy
(there’s no rhyme for that).
I’ll wrap up my scarf and I’ll pull on my hat.
I’ll smile at commuters who read books on the train
as we shuffle and wriggle, always in vain.
New York is better with people around
even with all its smells and its terrible sounds.
Though I don’t want to go
I will trudge through the snow.
The bookstore will make things better, I know.