- Big discussion on Modern Monetary Theory. I don’t have a complete opinion one way or another, other than to say that anything which is against austerity policy is prima facie superior to austerity policy. (from BoingBoing)
- Tor.com is posting their monthly roundups of genre fiction titles scheduled for release in March 2019:
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez interviewed by The Intercept’s Briahna Gray at South by Southwest 2019.
It was a quiet week for the acquisitions department here at Winkelman Abbey. But what it lacked in the X axis it more than made up for in the Y. From left, we have A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, followed by the most recent issues of Jacobin, Willow Springs, and Poetry Magazine. On the right is To Leave with the Reindeer by Olivia Rosenthal, the latest from my subscription to the catalog of And Other Stories.
All of which is to say, one deliberate purchase this week.
I feel like I have been orbiting Deleuze and Guattari for a very long time. Back in my Angry Young Man days in the late 1990s I amassed a collection of titles published by Autonomedia and Semiotext(e), publishers of very wild and far-out titles from a wide variety of unconventional, leftist and radical writers and thinkers. One of those books (unfortunately lost in a long-ago purge) was Nomadology: War Machine, from the chapter of the same title in the then-unknown-to-me A Thousand Plateaus. I understood very little of it at the time, but it haunted me. These were words from thinkers operating on a plane of existence so far above my own that they might as well have been performing magic.
Over the years I forgot their names but the sense of the conversations stuck with me. It felt like peeling back a layer of reality and seeing some of the inner workings of the universe.
This past summer my girlfriend and I traveled to San Francisco where we made a pilgrimage to City Lights Bookstore, which had been a goal of mine for some decades. Wow, what a store – probably the best-curated bookstore I have ever seen. The Philosophy section held scores of titles and thinkers which were new to me, or which I had only ever seen as references in other places. And of course. A Thousand Plateaus was one of them. That brought Deleuze and Guattari back into my awareness.
Shortly thereafter I borrowed Plateaus from the Grand Rapids Public Library, attempted to make sense of it, and made almost zero headway. Then I did so again, a month later. Then I resigned myself to the fact that I will be forever haunted by D and G if I did not add this book to my personal library, and so here it is.
In the reading side of things, I finished The Black God’s Drums by P. Djeli Clark this past Thursday, and absolutely loved it. Probably my favorite read of the year so far. Clark’s use of language and patois in world-building is wonderful and, though this is not precisely the New Orleans so near and dear to my heart, it is close enough to make me feel some serious longing and wanderlust.
Currently I am a little over halfway through Scarborough, by Catherine Hernandez. I picked this one up several months ago and attempted to read it while on a business trip to Las Vegas. Reading that book in that city made me want to burn everything to the ground. So I set it aside. Now that I am not in the worst city in the world I am able to read and enjoy this beautiful, heartbreaking book.
- Excellent interview with Marlon James, author of the newly-released Black Leopard, Wed Wolf.
- A conversation between Victor LaValle and Marlon James
- If you have the time and inclination, you can listen to four hours of David Bowie.
- The In Theory column at Ceasefire Magazine.
- On Surveillance Capitalism.
- If Property Rights Were Real, Climate-Destroying Companies Would Be Sued Out of Existence.
- The Naropa Poetics Audio Archive – 5,000 hours of lectures, discussion and reading from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute.
Only a few additions this week, but what they lack in quantity they more than make up in quality. First is The Hole by Damian Duffy and John Jennings, a graphic novel delivered from Rosarium Publishing, which arrived as part of the Sunspot Jungle Kickstarter reward. Next to it is Lord by João Gilberto Noll, the latest from my subscription to the catalog of Two Lines Press (part of the Center for the Art of Translation). In the bottom row we have A People’s Future of the United States and Marlon James‘ Black Leopard, Red Wolf, followed by the Winter 2018 edition of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine.
In reading news, I am about a hundred pages from the end of The Blood-Tainted Winter. I would be done, but I keep getting distracted by, well, book like A People’s Future of the United States. There are just so many good books out there, and so little time for reading.
- Why Marlon James Decided to Write An African “Game of Thrones”. The first book in the series, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, will be released on February 5. Have I pre-ordered it? YES!
- 20 New Books by Asian Writers.
- Lawrence Ferlinghetti on the Cusp of 100.
- Good, detailed Metafilter thread on the rise of the Young Left in American politics. As always with Metafilter, the comments are very much worth reading.
- From TOR.com – Lists of books being released in February 2019
This week brought in a couple of books which I have been looking forward to for months. Sunspot Jungle, the two-volume exclusive-to-Kickstarter hardcover set by Rosarium Publishing, arrived by mail yesterday, and they are stunning! I’ll get into the set in a moment, but first, here is the rundown of this week’s acquisitions.
On the left is the Winter 2018 issue of Rain Taxi, which I became aware of when their article about Lawrence Ferlinghetti appeared on LitHub last week. On the right is the latest book from Deep Vellum, Mephisto’s Waltz by Sergio Pitol.
So: Sunspot Jungle.
I first heard of this project when Bill Campbell, owner of Rosarium Publishing, announced the Kickstarter campaign back in the early part of 2018. I supported the pledge on the first day and the rest has been a year of eager anticipation.
I first heard of Rosarium when John Scalzi posted a photo of one of his weekly stacks of new books, and in that stack was a small collection of short stories called The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria.
That, of course, is one hell of a title.
And Rosarium is one hell of a publishing company.
In reading news, the past week was hectic, what with the polar vortex and associated schedule disruptions. I did make significant progress through Reckoning #1, and am a couple of chapters into T L Greylock’s The Blood-Tainted Winter.
Amazing how a schedule disruption, even one which ostensibly frees up a chunk of free time, seldom actually results in more usable free time.
Lest the last few posts give the impression that I only purchase books at conventions, here are some others which arrived in the past week.
On the left is The Black God’s Drums by P. Djeli Clark, which has been on my radar for a couple of months now. Next to it is Katherine Arden‘s The Bear and the Nightingale, because Russian folklore. Also about a year ago I wrote most of a Baba Yaga story for an anthology call, and in the research for that story this book came up repeatedly.
The third is The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, the sequel to her excellent The City of Brass which I read several months ago. Next to it is Friday Black, a collection of short stories by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah which came to my attention when LitHub posted the story “Zimmer Land“.
The bottom row includes reading material from various subscription. First is Night School by Zsófia Bán, then I Am God by Giacomo Sartori, and finally the latest issue of Poetry.
In reading, I finished Fix by Ferret Steinmetz (which Mr. Steinmetz signed at ConFusion 2019!) and am now bouncing between three of my ConFusion acquisitions: Reckoning #1, Death March by Phil Tucker, and The Blood-Tainted Winter by T L Greylock.
For this year I am keeping a list of the books I read, and I plan to write reviews (GoodReads, Amazon, etc.) both to boost the signal of those authors and to give me practice at writing reviews.
That’s all for now. The books continue to accumulate.
Okay, so I didn’t pick up these books at ConFusion, but I did talk to the authors and was thereby convinced that I should pick them up. Here they are, from top left:
T L Greylock – The Hills of Home
T L Greylock – Already Comes Darkness
Phil Tucker – Nightmare Keep
Phil Tucker – The Path of Flames
Nathan Lowell – Quarter Share
Mike Shel – Aching God
Michael J. Sullivan – Theft of Swords
Michael J. Sullivan – Age of Myth
Maurice Broaddus – Buffalo Soldier
D. Thourson Palmer – Ours is the Storm
David Anthony Durham – Acacia
Since I purchased these post- ConFusion 2019 I will bring them to ConFusion 2020 to be signed. Of course.
Yeah, it was a good weekend. Here are the books I picked up during the first signing session at ConFusion 2019. Also some I picked up while talking to various folks at the convention. From top left, and going through in order.
The Blood-Tainted Winter, by T L Greylock
Death March by Phil Tucker
The Field Trip by R.A. Andrade
Darkness by Erin Eveland
Reckoning, issue 1
Gate Crashers by Patrick Tomlinson
The Rite of Wands by Mackenzie Flohr
Justice in an Age of Metal and Men by Anthony W. Eichenlaub
Peace in an Age of Metal and Men by Anthony W. Eichenlaub
The Queen Underneath by Stacey Filak
Timehunt: Borrowed Time by Keith Hughes
The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken
While the Black Stars Burn by Lucy A. Snyder
Garden of Eldritch Delights by Lucy A. Snyder
Ice Bar by Petra Kuppers
Power Tools in the Sacred Grove by Josef Matulich
Camp Arcanum by Josef Matulich
I would have picked up many more, but I was in a panel during the second book signing session. Fortunately I took many notes, so I was able to order the ones I missed. They will be in a separate blog post. Other than Reckoning and Gate Crashers, all of them were signed by the authors.
This is the small stack of books from this week. The Big Stack consists of books I picked up at ConFusion 2019, which is a large enough collection that it warrants its own post.
The books on the ends, Life on Mars and Whereas, are poetry books I purchased on a whim while at Books and Mortar picking up AfroSF and Seven Surrenders. The Anna Karenina Fix arrived from Amazon while I was at ConFusion.
With this week’s exceptionally large haul, I am now over 1,500 books catalogued in LibraryThing. I have shelf space in my house for maybe 100 more books if they are the usual mix of thin and thick. That should be enough to get me through the rest of 2019. We shall see…
In reading news, I finished Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer while at ConFusion on Thursday night. Friday morning I had coffee with Miss Palmer and several other people, where she held forth on various Papal shenanigans from the mid-1400s. To cool my head I read about half of the poems in Life on Mars, which is an absolutely wonderful collection by our current national Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. I am now a little more than halfway through Fix by Ferret Steinmetz, the sequel to Flex and The Flux. Thus far it is just as good as the first two. I expect to be finished by the end of the week and am enjoying every page of it.