(from OTHER PRESS)
by Irmgard Keun
Keun masterfully tells the story of day to day life in 1930s Berlin through the voice of Doris a young, party-hard, bad decision making woman willing to do anything to make it. Follow her through crummy jobs, shitty apartments, faked orgasms, and bad hangovers with the occasional Nazi thrown in. Doris spews unfiltered truths that reveal much more than just the life she’s living. Filtered through her naivety she speaks to much larger ideas about feminism and what it meant to be successful as a woman.
by Marek Hlasko
(part of the NEVERSINK LIBRARY from Melville House)
The drunken ferocity with which this dystopic critique of Poland’s communist party regime was written is gripping. Hlasko is pissed off. His rage permeates the clean prose of this fable-like account of what happens to an individual living with an oppressive government he helped to create. The protagonist is no Winston from 1984, Franciszek is a loyalist whose commitment is relentless. At every turn he clings to an old self who hasn’t made a costly mistake. He truly internalizes the aspersions thrown his way, making his sensitivity his greatest weakness when facing a hostile mass. While reading I kept thinking back to the day I proudly cast a vote for our current leadership and the sick feeling I get every time I hear of wrongful detainment, and endlessly delayed trials for people who have done nothing. Franciszek is arrested for one arrant comment while drunk, quickly loses his party card, then becomes outcast. We like to think of ourselves as being immune to such mistreatment but his story is our own.
This is a powerful book.
I drank a glass of beer once, but I will never drink another one again. Where will it lead? To noble endeavors? Certainly not.
—Robert Walser, A Schoolboy’s Diary, “Fritz Kocher’s Essays”
Photo submitted by pattyyumicottrell.tumblr.com
As inveterate consumers of caffeinated beverages and nyrb classics alike, we wholeheartedly endorse this project.
Simon Menner’s incredible new book TOP SECRET: IMAGES FROM THE STASI ARCHIVE more or less has it all: blurred out faces, men sporting fake mustaches, and weird Stasi selfies. It is both disturbing and humorous, informative and aesthetically fascinating. It also demonstrates that, when awkwardly attempting to blend in with average citizens, Stasi agents looked a lot like your average Logan Square-dwelling hipster.
"And yet love, which is selfishness in duplicate, sacrifices everything for itself, exists on lies."
We played host to a Small Press Night for local book people (and some that were in town for MLA) so that some amazing small presses could enchant us with their amazing books. It worked! Charmed.The people (from top to bottom):The dashing Nick During from NYRB CLASSICSThe darling Jeff Waxman, from OTHER PRESS.The dynamic Patrick Thomas from MILKWEED EDITIONSThe dapper Declan Spring from NEW DIRECTIONThe dauntless Jeremy M. Davies from DALKEY ARCHIVE PRESSAnd The distinctive Chad Post from OPEN LETTER BOOKS
Hey thanks Unabridged for being such excellent hosts the other night! We think we speak for all attendees in saying that there are some really exciting titles coming at you from ALL of these presses. Check their sites & come running for the books on our shelves.
Scenes from last night’s spectacular TALES FROM THE PUNCH BOWL at the Punch House in Pilsen. We heard from poets Russ Woods & Daniela Olszewska as well as novelist Anne Marie Wirth Cauchon. We listened, laughed, and mingled. We drank potent punch. We walked through a doorway concealed with a bookshelf to get to the event space. We plan on doing this again.
Best of/year end lists: OUT
Previews/teasers/OMG I CAN’T WAIT FORs: IN
OP matchbook, made by Lauren Reese of @citylit_books
& 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):