Happy National Poetry Month! We’re celebrating with a showcase of some of our favorite presses, who put out a whole lot of stuff worth reading — from classics to edgy new collections — & look great doing it.
This photo of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre was taken in 1929 – the year the two philosophers first met – at the Porte d’Orléans fairground in Paris. The photo is, according to Open Culture (via the French blog Avec Beauvoir) the first photo the couple took together. Sartre and Beauvoir would maintain a romantic and open relationship for the rest of their lives.
Author, Chicagoan, & weather prophet Nelson Algren would be 105 years old today!
Do you like books? Do you like punch?! ARE YOU FREE NEXT MONDAY 3/31 AT 7PM? Just say yes and join us at the venerable Punch House for an evening of literary delight with D. Foy (dfoyble), Ben Tanzer, and Susan Hope Lanier.
Read more about and/or order books:
For a limited time (i.e., while supplies last) you can call us 57th Street Books & RECORDS. Thanks to nytyrant and fatpossumrecords our stock now includes this book/7” limited edition package. Gathered together in shrink wrap, you’ll find Scott McClanahan’s Hill William (SIGNED!), his band Holler Boy’s record, and an audiobook download. This is not something you “want.” This is something you NEED.
In honor of Flannery O’Connor, who was born on this day in 1925, here are some of her thoughts on the joys and perils of reading and writing.
I write to discover what I know.
Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.
People without hope not only don’t write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them.
The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention.
Part of a collection by Nadine Boughton:
Here is a collision of two worlds: men’s adventure magazines or “sweats” meets Better Homes and Gardens. These photocollages are set against the backdrop of the McCarthy era, advertising, sexual repression, WWII and the Korean War. The cool, insular world of mid-century modern living glossed over all danger and darkness, which the heroic male fought off in every corner.
How about a caption contest?
A recreation of the climactic battle from The Way of Kings, done entirely in Lego
Let’s be honest: this is pretty boss.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s 90-year-old translation of Beowulf will be published this May!
Only PBS has posted an exact date of May 22, so here’s to hoping!
Come on, May!
Yeah. That’s right. We have manga.
If you’ve been lurking about on the interwebs as much as I have, I know you’ve seen this causing mass chaos and confusion, people screaming “WHAT’S HAPPENING?” at their various devices.
If you haven’t, bless your heart. That’s why I’m bringing it right to your face.
If you have, you know what’s up.
Attack on Titan (aka Shingeki no Kyojin) by Hajime Isayama
So here’s the deal:
No one is safe. Humanoid giants called titans have reduced the human population to less than 250,000. They eat, but do not digest. Their only prey: humans. Living behind massive walls, Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert have seen these creatures, watched them decimate their entire town, and have joined the specialized military to help take back the world from these monsters. But when the definition of humanity begins to blur, they and the members of the 104th trainee squad quickly learn that trust is a luxury, and erring on the side of caution is the only game they cannot play.
The anime is on Netflix and Crunchyroll. And it. Is. Stunning. Not just the quality of the voice work, but the pure cinematography of it all. And it’s not that often you get to call an anime cinematic.
If you’re not into reading subtitles, the English dub is in the works, and will probably be out later this year.
Alright. Let’s talk about this book, shall we?
When we first got this in, I stared at it, read the synopsis, kinda wrinkled my nose, and moved on with my life.
Fast forwarding a few months later, I decided to ignore the kind of “Ugh, really?” title and picked it up on a whim, and let me just say: Oh. My. God. It’s dirty, it’s gritty, unrelenting and irreverent. The Dead Run goes from 0 to 60 in less than 2.5 pages, and trust me when I say that’s not even an exaggeration.
Because fake priests and kidnappings clearly go hand in hand right?
NOT for the faint of heart, or for those who curdle easily.
With not-zombies, sorta-gods, and a whole lot of other things I didn’t expect this book to be about, it reads like a horror-thriller, without all the grunts with terrible aim. The villains mean serious businessand the heroes just have to deal with it. Also, an undead (but still-not-zombie) Virgin Army buried throughout the Mexico-Texas desert, hellbent on attaining a sacred beating heart in a box.
So, you know, just another ordinary day.
Guys, did you know we have autographed ART SPIEGELMAN books? Like, in stock? Like, for sale? You must not have known, because if you’d known they’d be gone, but they are here, waiting for you to know about them and buy them.
Sometimes a staff rec is written in a sudden, all-consuming fit of passion & inspiration. Sometimes a line comes to you in the shower, or on the CTA, or while you’re making breakfast. Sometimes writing a staff rec is a collaborative effort, and sometimes it gets messy. But it’s always about getting you together with the books we love.
I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp by Richard Hell
Look, I loved Patti Smith’s Just Kids as much as the next music nerd. But I love this book even more. It’s less sentimental & affected, much funnier, and sharp as a hypodermic needle. There’s also a lot more sex and drugs to go with the rock’n’roll. Hell presents the events of his crooked life with candor and wit, and in doing so paints an extraordinarily vivid picture of a strange and wonderful moment in music history, as well as of a long-lost New York City where you could live on odd jobs, have dinner with Susan Sontag, and party with Iggy. Hell’s remarkable intelligence and articulacy shine most in his lucid, insightful discussions of the punk movement, the cultural milieu that produced it, and the wrecked lives we associate with it. A splendid, wicked ride.