Posts filed under ‘Beyond 112th St.’

Je Suis Charlie

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In answer to why we have put the posters in our window with Je Suis Charlie.

We must stand firm in defense of free speech. It is one thing to not sell or read or ally ourselves with what we see as destructive imagery or language, it is another to say nothing when there is a fundamental attack on free speech. Book Culture is in the publishing business and as such we are obligated, without equivocation, to support that right.
We are not defending “Charlie Hebdo” or any idea or publication no matter how offensive or acceptable to us. We are defenders of the right to free speech.
Standing for the rights of only ourselves, our views of what is acceptable, proper, meritorious or warranting the right to publication, is not standing for the right at all. We are committed enough to stand up for the right to free speech for others. This is the commitment we must make if we are to uphold free speech as a right.
It is perfectly right and just that somewhere at the far edges of decency where Charlie Hebdo and super right wing literature exists we find ourselves deeply offended. We can see the devastating effect that inciting anger can have in Rwanda or Bosnia or Nazi Germany for example and we can make sense of the idea that some of this stuff ought to be censored.
But it is only in those places where censorship has won that day that we see the awful results of living in a place where the fundamental rights are not guaranteed to all. Every genocide in history has come in a land without the right to free speech.
We stand with Charlie Hebdo now because free speech has been attacked, and those attackers are asking for our complicity.

Je suis Charlie means we believe in democracy, human rights, the right to dialogue and the power of ideas and writing over violence and coercion. Je suis Charlie means that we will not review the content of our book shops to ensure we are not offending someone. Je suis Charlie means that as coworkers in the business of publishing and books we support, above the ideas themselves, the right of those ideas to be published. Je suis Charlie means that we’re booksellers and it’s a badge of honor. I say- wear it well.

In 1988 Salman Rushdie had published Satanic Verses in England and was almost immediately condemned and threatened with death because in an Ayatollah’s view it was blasphemy. Penguin in New York almost withdrew the publication and when it was eventually published the major chains and many smaller bookselling outlets didn’t offer to sell the book because they were afraid. Many indie booksellers, including the founders of your shops, did sell it. Because we were one of the few outlets that did, we put a mountain of 500 copies in the front of the store and sold 800 copies in a weekend because people didn’t want to be threatened and have their rights infringed upon. Another of the stores that did in Berkeley, Cody’s, was bombed. The question of offensiveness in the book was without question.
If the few outlets that sold the book didn’t what would that say about our democracy, about our commitment to the first amendment?
Where would we be without the first amendment?
We never have issues of free speech when the material being defended is without critics and universally regarded as culturally beneficial or innocuous.
We only have to defend free speech when it is being attacked, that is the nature of the right. If we don’t defend others rights to free speech we cannot claim it for ourselves.
As booksellers, as independent booksellers, we are committed to free speech. It is what we do. We offer a place to criticize governments, religions, ideas, each other. We do not condone or agree with all the ideas, nor do we purvey language that we do find hurtful or denigrating to others without merit.
We do however stand firm on the right to Free Speech.

Chris Doeblin

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January 17, 2015 at 3:29 pm Leave a comment

Q&A With Atticus Lish

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Earlier this month, Atticus Lish launched his first novel, Preparation for the Next Life at Book Culture on Columbus. Lish was joined in conversation with Lynn Lurie, author of Quick Kills and Corner of the Dead.  We would like to thank both authors for taking the time to share their work and hope you enjoy the following Q&A with Lish.

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How did you come to write Preparation for the Next Life?

Distress over post-9/11 America: the invasion of Iraq, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, hooding, waterboarding, indefinite detention, prisoner abuse, and the plight of undocumented immigrants caught up in immigration sweeps; combined with a morbid fascination with war and especially the effect of war on the psyche of the combatant; combined with two powerful sources of inspiration: the landscape of Central Asia–deserts, mountains, vineyards–and the landscape of New York, from the industrial outskirts to the extended immigrant neighborhood along Roosevelt Avenue–Jackson Heights, Corona, Flushing–and down to Ozone Park, Jamaica and beyond. A migrant’s view of the world–walking on the highways, taking buses, crossing the border–from one country to the next, from rural to urban, mountain to desert, life to death.

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What are you currently reading?

National Geographic magazines, staring at pictures of amoebas. I want to read Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me.

Do you have a personal favorite book of all time? If so, can you share it and tell us why?

I don’t have a single favorite book, but one book that stands out to me as a true-crime masterpiece is People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry. Parry puts chills in my spine. The very title of the book, which is both perfectly logical and yet never fully explained, is an example of his gift for capturing horror.

Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to the publication of?

I regret to say that I am not up on what is coming out–I’m very uninformed–so I don’t know what to look forward to. I’m always looking forward to Joseph Wambaugh‘s next book.

What’s next? Any upcoming book projects in the works that you can tell us about?

I’m working on a second novel, but I’m going to respectfully decline to say anything much about it for now.

December 27, 2014 at 2:45 pm 1 comment

Periodical Spotlight: King’s Review

kingsCan you tell us a bit about the history of King’s Review?
KR was founded about two years ago in Cambridge, UK, by a group of graduate students who shared the same frustration: the research we were doing on topics as diverse as climate change, modern political systems and the knowledge economy didn’t find its way out of the small academic circles in which they originated. The King’s Review was founded with the goal of using research and expert knowledge as a basis for exciting journalism. Since then the original idea of an online journal has developed further: besides our online presence, we are now publishing four print issues a year and sell them in shops in Berlin, London, Paris, and with you in New York.

In your mission statement, you say that KR “exists to promote accessible journalism underpinned by long-term, rigorous research.” Do you find that this goal is in response to a lack of journalism with these particular aims: to be both accessible and rigorously researched? Does today’s journalism too often meet only one criterion or the other?
The most recent trend in journalism, particularly online, has been about ‘accessibility’. Buzzfeed et al. are not doing more than filtering information to make it more accessible to readers. What happened to TNR last week shows how good that is for journalism. KR goes beyond this digestible, surface-level form of information à la ‘Here is the 5 most important things to know about Climate Change’. We understand ourselves as being part of the recent re-invention of long-form writing, which is now being published in places like n+1 and Medium, as well as in classic outlets such as the NYRB, LRB and TLS.
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December 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

Atticus Lish in Conversation with Lynn Lurie December 10th

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We are thrilled to have author Atticus Lish read and discuss his first novel, Preparation for the Next Life, at our Columbus store this Wednesday, December 10th, at 7pm.  Lish will be joined in conversation with Lynn Lurie, author of Corner of the Dead, winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction, and Quick Kills.  Though both writers are based in New York City, critics have pointed out that their books read unlike any typical New York novel.  In Dwight Garner’s rave review of Preparation for the Next Life in the New York Times, he admires Lish’s “intricate comprehension of, and deep feeling for, life at the margins.” And in Jesse Barron’s interview BOMB Magazine, he writes, “It’s been a while since we had a great novel about being poor in New York where poor did not mean broke. The difference between the two conditions may be how reasonably you can hope they’ll change, and Atticus Lish’s Preparation for the Next Life is a book about people hoping to change their lives in a city that will not let them.”

On a related note, Nicole Cliffe’s two part interview with Lynn Lurie in The Toast (check out part I and II), talks about how Lurie’s unconventional writing is influenced and complicated by her time spent living and traveling in rural South America.  While volunteering with the luriePeace Corps in a remote village in Ecuador, Lurie recalls that in witnessing and experiencing intense social and economic inequality,  she “had felt the weight of being less than, of being the other.”  It is precisely the complex “status of the outsider” that Lurie explores through the narrator of Quick Kills.

For more information about Wednesday’s event, be sure to visit our website.

 

 

December 9, 2014 at 6:07 pm Leave a comment

Spotlight on: Izabela Gabrielson

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We were so pleased today when we opened a box full of hollyhocks, gladioli, carrots and beets, red roosters, crows, a few earnest foxes, and coffee cups, all printed on cards by Izabela Gabrielson. Based in Seattle, Gabrielson is a painter who depicts natural landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, still lifes, as well as adorable portraits of animals.  Gabrielson works primarily in watercolor and ink, and all of the designs on her greeting cards are printed from original watercolor paintings.

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Aside from her evocative and vibrant color palette, we love how Gabrielson leaves the sentiment of her cards up for interpretation.  Placing each image against a plain white background, Gabrielson lets each creature speak for itself.  On what occasion will you give someone a midnight blue crow? Or a bunch of winter beets?

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Be sure to visit Gabrielson’s etsy store as well as her website to learn more about her work.

December 6, 2014 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

Small Press Spotlight: Projective Industries

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For this Small Press Spotlight, we are featuring an interview with the three editors of Projective Industries, a small press that publishes beautifully designed, handmade letterpressed chapbooks. We would like to thank the editors for the interview and hope you will come visit our small press table, showcasing unique publications from Projective Industries as well as many other presses locally based in New York City.

Can you tell us a little bit about the history of Projective Industries? When did the press first get started?

Kate McIntyre: Stephanie, you founded it in 2008, right? I became part of it in 2011 because I wanted to learn more about bookmaking, and wanted to be more involved in the small-press poetry community. It was after that that we started letterpressing the covers. Stephanie and I took some classes in letterpress and other printmaking techniques (on the simpler end of the printmaking spectrum) at Spudnik Press Cooperative in Chicago—which is where I’m from, and where Stephanie lives now. I moved to New York a little over a year ago, so now we’re a sort of transcontinental press—last year, while Stephanie was living in Tokyo, we were international! And Karen joined this summer, which is so wonderful.

Stephanie Anderson: Yep, the poet Sam Amadon and I founded the press in the summer of 2008, as we were leaving New York. (I went to Chicago, Sam went to Houston.) I think it was partly founded from the desire to keep in touch with our literary community in New York, which was starting to disperse. But I was also in love with the handmade, with letterpress — I had taken the Center for Book Arts’ emerging writers letterpress seminar, and I was much inspired by Ryan Murphy, who showed me his tabletop Kelsey, on which he made his beautiful one-off chapbooks. Of course, I didn’t manage to acquire a letterpress until 2011 or so, when a brilliant stroke of luck (and the poet Adam Weg) brought me one.

How did you arrive at the name, “Projective Industries”? Does the work you publish reflect what Projective Industries means to you?

KM: Well, Stephanie came up with the name, so her answer is the originary one. But I can tell you my own associations with it. I like the idea that we are an industry; that one thing chapbook-making does is make labor visible. And I like that it’s plural; we’re not doing just one kind of thing, either aesthetically or materially. And, while “projective” recalls Olson’s “projective verse” for me, I like to think that we’re projecting a little farther than that. The work we publish tends to be quite experimental, and the idea that the press is itself about launching (projects or projectiles, take your pick) and about futurity, rather than stasis, is important to me.

SA: I love Kate’s associations, and agree with them. Sam is to be credited with the name itself, I think; he and I made several lists — one column of which was the generic words we could have in the name, like “Books” and “Press,” and I was rather smitten with “Industries” because it emphasized the making of the objects and potentially gave us the freedom to make or do or create things that weren’t books, per se. But the “Projective” was purely Sam, and he was thinking of Olson. I also like the “project” embedded in there — and we do tend to publish chapbooks that are projects, in one way or another. The industry of the poet AND that of the bookmakers.

Karen Lepri: I’ll simply add that for me, the newcomer, “projective” includes the flashing up against a white background, a cinematic element that depends on the reader to organically take the work in and see-feel-hear it. Also, industries–plural! I imagine this multiplicity of makings, of processes that begin in other texts, conceits, forests, fields, threads, needles and so forth.

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Above: Obvious Metals
By Leora Fridman

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November 26, 2014 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

Call for Submissions: Apogee Journal

Apogee Journal is now accepting submissions for Issue 5, a print and online issue, to be released in Spring 2015.

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Submission Guidelines:

  • We accept original poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction.
  • Please keep your prose submissions under 5,000 words and send no more than 3 poems for consideration.
  • Send your submissions in either .doc or .docx format.

Apogee Journal’s dual purpose is to showcase writers from the periphery and to provide a platform for all writers to thoughtfully engage with issues of race, class, and identity. We are proudly accepting submissions for the fifth issue–to appear in print and online–from November 1st to December 31st 2014. Our goal is to publish exciting work that sits at some distance from the mainstream and to provide a forum where unheard issues and voices can rise to the fore. To get a sense of what we publish, please browse our previous two issues or click here to order a hard copy of our current issue.

Submissions for our blog Perigee are open year round. We will consider completed interviews, critical and lyrical essays, book reviews and flash fiction for publication.

To submit, please go to: apogeejournal.submittable.com/submit

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Apogee is a literary journal specializing in art and literature that engage with issues of identity politics: race, gender, sexuality, class, and hyphenated identities. We currently produce a biannual issue featuring fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. Our goal is to publish exciting work that interrogates the status quo, providing a platform for unheard voices, including emerging writers of color.

The word “apogee” denotes the point in an object’s orbit that is farthest from the center. Our mission combines literary aesthetic with political activism. We believe that by elevating underrepresented literary voices we can effect real change: change in readers’ attitudes, change in writers’ positions in literature, and broader change in society.

Apogee was founded in 2010 by students of color and international students in Columbia University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing. Two annual issues were produced in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, the organization became independent from Columbia University.

To learn more, visit: www.apogeejournal.org

November 25, 2014 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

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Book Culture is an independent community bookstore with two locations in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City on 112th street and 114th street and Broadway. Visit us online at www.bookculture.com

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