Joe Gross, the recently hired books, music, and culture editor of the Austin American-Statesman has a plan. In addition to hosting upcoming events here at BookPeople, and covering a few choice ones for the paper, he'll be leading our brand new graphic novel book club. Joe has deemed the group 'The Statesman Words and Pictures Book Club' based on a quote from legendary curmudgeon Harvey Pekar who quipped, " Comics are words and pictures, you can do anything with words and pictures."
I've been around enough authors to realize they don't necessarily share the personality of their writing. However, the time I've spent with Jonathan Woods and reading his work has never made me ponder the gulf between the two more. This nice, erudite, soft spoken, family man taps into another personality when creating short work that has appeared in Plots With Guns, Pulp Pusher, and Thuglit.
Getting hired at BookPeople was an exciting thing. Being part of the bookstore, meeting new people, and being around lots of books was, and is, great. But what most excited me about my new employee status was the opportunity to write staff selections. If you’ve been to BookPeople, you know what I’m talking about. Little laminated cards that contain a small essay that pleads with customers to buy the books we love. The styles are as diverse as we are, proper grammar is not needed, and approaches range from plot trots to unabashed begging. They’re fun, and, other than limited space, no restrictions are placed on them. Next time you’re in, check out what we have to say, but also pay attention to the bottom of the card. In a light blue banner running along the lower half of the card you’ll see the declarative sentence, “If you liked this book, check out this one, too!” Booksellers then fill in the space with a book title.
Choose your weapons! Opium magazine and the Writer's League of Texas are hosting a LITERARY DEATH MATCH tonight at the Speakeasy on North Congress. The event will be judged by a trio of local literary all-stars: Owen Egerton, Sarah Hickman and John Pipkin and will include readings by local writers Spike Gillespie and Anna Mitchael. The death match is free for all Opium magazine subscribers, $8 for non-subscribers and $5 for anyone with a valid student ID. The doors open at 7PM, and the show begins at 8:05 (sharp). Check out the facebook page for more information.
Jake Silverstein's debut book, Nothing Happened and Then It Did: A Chronicle in Fact and Fiction, is a partly true, partly imagined chronicle of a young journalist's attempt to find his first great story. This search takes Jake from the drought-ridden ranches of West Texas and Mexico, to a poetry contest in Reno, Nevada. We'll … Continue reading Interview with Jake Silverstein, “Nothing Happened and Then It Did”
Ace Atkins is at the top of his game when it comes to putting the reader into his story. He does vast amounts of research, but barely uses it. The attention to detail is exact and used in the right amount. He's less interested in telling you about a time period than immersing you in it and drawing subtle parallels to the present. Crossroad Blues, his debut novel, was the first in his series character, ex-football star, blues historian Nick Travers. As Nick travels the Mississippi delta, looking for a lost colleague and recording of blues legend Robert Johnson, Atkins makes you sweat in the humidity, even if you're reading it in December. The music comes alive by the way it's given history and more important, feeling. He practically makes it a character. Because of this, we never question Nick risking his life for a record.
Can I have a word with you? Or you can have a word by yourself if you want. For only $5, you can purchase your very own vocabulary-expanding, friend-impressing, sentence-swelling word from our Austin Bat Cave display. The best part is that the money goes to a great cause.
Austin Kleon does amazing things with a black marker. He doesn't so much write poems, as free them from existing text; like a sculptor carving a figure from a block of granite. Kleon uses the New York Times for inspiration, marking out and whittling away at the articles until a new work is born.
Congratulations to Katy Moore, winner of our Will Grayson, Will Grayson Video Contest! Katy gets a signed hardcover copy of the book, and will hob-nob with the authors at a special pre-signing party this Friday.
Every couple of months there is another article about the death of the short story. In Mother Jones, Ted Genoways does a fine job explaining some of the issues confronting the literary magazines that publish these stories. Although I wouldn’t disagree with much of what Mr. Genoways says, I’m more optimistic. I believe that good writing, really good writing, will always find a place, and right now the best young writers continue to put out phenomenal short fiction. Adam Haslett, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Oscar Casares have all put out short fiction in collections and through journals that will stand the test of time. We’ll be talking about these three authors for the next fifty years, and, if my little dream comes true, some of that discussion will focus on their shorter works.