or, 84 reasons to believe in 2014.
From behind the paywall, the little bark of my wit now lifts her sails
Truman Capote once said that you lose an IQ point for every year you spend on the West Coast. That may or may not be true, but we’d like to counter that by reminding you that you gain smarts with every book you read from that very same region. The Pacific side of the US has brought you the Beats, the noir of Raymond Chandler, the despair-laden fiction of Joan Didion and Bret Easton Ellis, and the indie publishing powerhouse McSweeney’s, among others. So let’s side aside the Capotean snark for a moment and lend our eyes to the best writing from the west.
Complete list of books/ordering info here.
Henry Miller in Tropic of Cancer
"What color is lunch? Maybe some sort of lipsticky red? (My favorite colors are actually orange and blue.)"
- Frank O’Hara to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1964
citylightsbooks just dropped a 50th anniversary edition of O’Hara’s LUNCH POEMS, complete with postcards, letters, and a cloth cover in Frank’s favorite colors.
On June 28, 1969, police stormed the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, where members of the NYC gay community were known to gather. The riots and protests that ensued - and the activist groups that formed as a result - made the event a watershed moment in the gay liberation moment, and, today, cities worldwide mark the anniversary with Gay Pride celebrations. In recognition of the 45th anniversary of Stonewall, as well as Pride week here in Chicago, we put together a window display of LGBTQ literature, art, and theory.
Complete list/ordering info here.
It’s been five years since Infinite Summer. Who’s down for My Summer?
Ok, so maybe you’re like “Doesn’t the vast majority of literature and art and whatnot come from New York? Isn’t a celebratory window therefore overkill?” And then maybe we’re like “Maybe and maybe and so what?” A few of our booksellers took a trip to New York a few weeks ago for Book Expo America, and another one is heading there soon for grad school, so NYC has been on our minds a lot lately. Bookish New York has been in the news a lot lately, too, from the instantly-infamous article in the NYT about bookstores closing in Manhattan to the ongoing Rizzoli saga and abundant coverage of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s recent string of appearances in the city. And yeah, many of our favorite living authors are living and working there, and a lot of our favorite dead authors spent a lot of time there, too. And chances are 99% of the books on your shelf come to you via a whole army of people that make up the NYC publishing industry. So why NOT give a little hat tip to the city that, for a few hundred years now, has brought us so much of the culture we consume every day? Here’s to you, New York, and the Whartons and Warhols and Whites and Woodys you’ve given us . We read you, and, yes, we <3 you.
Complete list/ordering info here.
New titles out NOW at the Seminary Co-Op and 57th Street from the likes of César Aira, Anne Carson, Samuel Beckett (?!), Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) and others. PLUS: the scholarly book on Swedish crime fiction that you never knew you needed.
Let’s talk about otherpress, Pushkin Press, and Stefan Zweig. Other has been all over the news lately as every reviewer and his/her mother jumps on the bandwagon of praise for George Prochnik’s biography of Stefan Zweig, The Impossible Exile (and with good reason). But don’t stop there - dig into Other’s backlist (with a little help from our staff recs) and thank them later. Meanwhile, Pushkin’s been releasing Zweig’s novellas and short stories with style and grace since way before Wes Anderson started talking them up. But why read anything by or about Stefan Zweig, you ask? Because he is your next favorite author. Because his tragedy is the tragedy of the 20th century. Because you need more Zs on your bookshelf. Ok?
Pushkin Press titles:
This window all started with a book called BARN, and a conversation about a certain play by Edward Albee about a man who loves a goat. Inspired, we combed the store looking for other books related to life on the farm, whether real or fictional, idyllic or dystopic, and came up with an electic mix of novels, how-to guides, and art & photography tomes. Whether you want to learn about bee keeping, gawk at beautiful chickens, or return to childhood classics, this window has something for you. E-i-e-i-o.