Ugly Ducklings, All in a Row

Books acquired during the week of April 28. 2019

This past week was quite busy, so I didn’t get the chance to dive into the pile of deliveries until late Sunday night during an uneven episode of Game of Thrones.

From top left, we have Empty Words by Mario Levrero, the latest from And Other Stories, followed by Igiaba Scego’s Beyond Babylon, from Two Lines Press. The remaining six arrived in one glorious bundle from Ugly Duckling Presse, who continue to impress the hell out of me with the quality and breadth of their offerings.

All of these books are part of subscriptions I have to the various publishers. While I will at some point create a lengthy blog post on the topic, I want to say that my several-year experience/experiment with subscriptions to publisher catalogs has left me thoroughly loving the concept. Open Letter Books, Deep Vellum, Restless Books, And Other Stories, Horse Less Press, Two Lines Press, and Ugly Duckling Presse all produce consistently good-to-superb titles which I would likely never have encountered had I not made a leap of faith and shelled out the money for a subscription.

[Side note: All of the above institutions are (mostly) publishers of literature in translation and/or or poetry.]

I haven’t had much time for reading in the past week. I closed out National Poetry Month with Gestures by Artis Ostups (published by Ugly Duckling Presse, of course), and am about 60% of the way through Ours is the Storm by D. Thourson Palmer. The current book of poetry is everything we met changed form & followed the rest by Jessica Comola, published by Horse Less Press.

Incidentally, Gestures is the twentieth book I have finished so far this year. At this pace, if I cut into my sleep schedule just a bit, I should be able to complete fifty by the end of 2019.

A Quiet Week

It was a quiet week here at Winkelman Abbey, what with the latest polar vortex turning Grand Rapids into a wasteland of ice and snow. Not a lot of time or energy for complex tasks (or thought), so it is just as well that the new stack was small.

From left we have the latest issue of The Paris Review and the new Two Lines journal. Next is 77, the most recent shipment from my subscription to Open Letter Books. The last two are If This Goes On and Hope in This Timeline, books from a couple of Kickstarter campaigns which I backed some time ago. They will go nicely with the other resistance-themed anthologies which I have picked up over the last few months.

Speaking of such anthologies, I am still reading through A People’s Future of the United States, which remains amazing. Such consistently powerful writing from an exceptionally diverse group of writers! I expect to have it finished by the end of this week.

This issue of The Paris Review includes an interview with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who will turn 100 in a couple of weeks! The interview was conducted over several weeks in 2018, when he was 99. That he is still alive is remarkable, and that he is still active in the literary world is nothing short of astonishing! In the interview he offhandedly mentions regular occurrences from his early life in France, like occasionally seeing Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoer in a cafe in Paris. You know – trivial things.

Ferlinghetti’s book A Coney Island of the Mind was published in 1958, which means it has been out for over 60 years. I have the 50th anniversary edition, which I picked up at City Lights Bookstore this past June. Ferlinghetti has been doing great things in and for the literary world for a decade longer than I have been alive, and he is still going at it, with a new book, Little Boy, coming out on March 19. I was going to hold off on buying more books for a while, but I can see this is a lost cause.

For more on Sartre and de Beauvoir, I highly recommend At the Existentialist Cafe.

A Big Book in a Small Stack

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.

Hot Books for Cold Days

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 JamesBlack 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.

2019 Books and Reading List

And here we are all of a sudden in calendar year 2019. This is the fifth iteration of my reading material acquisition list, and I plan to keep doing it much the same way as I have in previous years. For my complete catalog of books which I own, please visit LibraryThing. For the list of books I have read, with the occasional rating and review (I know, I know. I need to be better about reviewing things I read), please visit GoodReads.

One change from previous years – instead of linking to their pages on GoodReads, I will from now on be linking book titles directly to the appropriate pages on the websites of their publishers or, where publishers do not sell directly to customers, I will link to resources such as IndieBound and the like. Keep the money in the hands of the writers and publishers.

And now, The List.

January

  1. Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet #38
  2. Châteaureynaud, Georges-OlivierA Life on Paper (Small Beer Press)
  3. Steinmetz, FerretFix (Angry Robot Books)
  4. Steinmetz, FerretThe Uploaded (Angry Robot Books)
  5. Shalamov, VarlamKolyma Stories (New York Review Books)
  6. Apex Magazine, #115, December 2018
  7. Palmer, AdaSeven Surrenders
  8. Hartmann, Ivor W. (ed.) – AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers (StoryTime)
  9. Smith, Tracy K.Life on Mars (Graywolf Press)
  10. Long Soldier, LayliWhereas (Graywolf Press)
  11. Groskop, VivThe Anna Karenina Fix
  12. Eveland, ErinDarkness (Selladore Press)
  13. Andrade, R.A.The Field Trip (Selladore Press)
  14. Greylock, T LThe Blood-Tainted Winter (Grass Crown Press)
  15. Tucker, PhilDeath March
  16. Reckoning #1
  17. Tomlinson, Patrick S.Gate Crashers
  18. Flohr, MackenzieThe Rite of Wands (BHC Press – Indigo)
  19. Eichenlaub, Anthony W.Justice in an Age of Metal and Men
  20. Eichenlaub, Anthony W.Peace in an Age of Metal and Men
  21. Filak, StaceyThe Queen Underneath (Page Street Publishing Company)
  22. Hughes, KeithTimehunt: Borrowed Time
  23. Kuppers, PetraIce Bar (Spuyten Duyvil)
  24. Künsken, DerekThe Quantum Magician
  25. Matulich, JosefCamp Arcanum (Post Mortem Press)
  26. Matulich, JosefPower Tools in the Sacred Grove (Post Mortem Press)
  27. Snyder, Lucy A.Garden of Eldritch Delights (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  28. Snyder, Lucy A.While the Black Stars Burn (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  29. Bán, ZsófiaNight School: A Reader for Grownups (Open Letter Books)
  30. Poetry #213.5 (February 2019)
  31. Palmer, D. ThoursonOurs is the Storm
  32. Broaddus, MauriceBuffalo Soldier
  33. Durham, David AnthonyAcacia
  34. Lowell, NathanQuarter Share (Durandus)
  35. Tucker, PhilNightmare Keep
  36. Tucker, PhilThe Path of Flames
  37. Greylock, T LThe Hills of Home (Grass Crown Press)
  38. Greylock, T LAlready Comes the Darkness (Grass Crown Press)
  39. Sullivan, Michael J.Age of Myth
  40. Sullivan, Michael J.Theft of Swords
  41. Shel, MikeAching God
  42. Adjei-Brenyah, Nana KwameFriday Black
  43. Sartori, GiacomoI Am God (Restless Books)
  44. Arden, KatherineThe Bear and the Nightingale
  45. Clark, P DjèlíThe Black God’s Drums
  46. Chakraborty, S.A.The Kingdom of Copper
  47. Poniatowska, ElenaMephisto’s Waltz (Deep Vellum)
  48. Campbell, Bill (ed.) – Sunspot Jungle, Kickstarter-exclusive 2-volume hardcover set (Rosarium Publishing)
  49. Rain Taxi 23.4 (Winter 2018)

February

  1. Duffy, Damian and Jennings, JohnThe Hole: Consumer Culture (Front Forty Press)
  2. James, MarlonBlack Leopard, Red Wolf
  3. LaValle, Victor, and Adams, John Joseph (eds.) – A People’s Future of the United States
  4. Noll, João GilbertoLord (Two Lines Press)
  5. Hines, Jim C.Terminal Uprising
  6. Sullivan, Susan Abel (ed.) – Cursed: Wickedly Fun Stories (World Weaver Press)
  7. Wolford, Kate (ed.) – Skull & Pestle: New Tales of Baba Yaga (World Weaver Press)
  8. DreamForge #1
  9. Rosenthal, OliviaTo Leave with the Reindeer (And Other Stories)
  10. Jacobin #32
  11. Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, FelixA Thousand Plateaus (University of Minnesota Press)
  12. Willow Springs #83 (Spring 2019)
  13. Poetry #213.6 (March 2019)
  14. Emergency Index #7 (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  15. Berenguer, AmandaMateria Prima (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  16. González, WingstonNo Budu Please (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  17. Ponce, Liliana – Diary (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  18. Montalbetti, MarioLanguage Is a Revolver for Two (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  19. Feinstein, RochellePls. Reply (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  20. Cope, David (ed.) – Song of the Owashtanong: Grand Rapids Poetry of the 21st Century (Ridgeway Press)
  21. Harris, BillBirth of a Notion, or The Half Ain’t Never Been Told (Wayne State University Press)
  22. Evans, CJA Penance (New Issues Press)
  23. Upton, LeeUndid in the Land of Undone (New Issues Press)
  24. Kocher, Ruth EllenWhen the Moon Knows You’re Wandering (New Issues Press)
  25. Daniels, JimNight with Drive-By Shooting Stars (New Issues Press)
  26. Platt, DonaldDirt Angels (New Issues Press)
  27. Huey, AmorakHa Ha Ha Thump (Sundress Publications)

March

  1. Senkus, MarkScreaming Like War (Single-Minded Cocktail Press)
  2. Rahmani, Zahia“Muslim”: A Novel (Deep Vellum Publishing)
  3. Two Lines Journal #30
  4. Rambo, Cat (ed.) – If This Goes On (Parvus Press)
  5. Frank, Meg (ed.) – Hope in This Timeline (Fireside Fiction)
  6. Saccomanno, Guillermo77 (Open Letter Books)
  7. Paris Review #228
  8. James, D.R.Surreal Expulsion (The Poetry Box)
  9. Ridl, JackSaint Peter and the Goldfinch (Wayne State University Press)
  10. Malte, MarcusThe Boy (Restless Books)
  11. Poetry #214.1 (April 2019)
  12. New Ohio Review #25
  13. Wolff, LinaThe Polyglot Lovers (And Other Stories)

April

  1. Reckoning #2
  2. Browne, Mahogany L, Simmonds, Idrissa, Woods, Jamila (eds.) – The Breakbeat Poets Vol. II: Black Girl Magic (Haymarket Books)
  3. DeMott, Robert (ed.) – Conversations with Jim Harrison (Revised and Updated) (University Press of Mississippi)
  4. Morey, Chris (ed.) – I Am the Abyss (Dark Regions Press, LLC)
  5. Oomen, Anne-Marie (ed.) – Elemental (Wayne State University Press)
  6. Davis, JeanTrust (Caffeinated Press)
  7. Pimwana, DuanwadBright (Two Lines Press)
  8. Buckell, Tobias S.It’s All Just a Draft (Xenowealth LLC, Kickstarter exclusive)
  9. Poetry #214.2 (May 2019)
  10. Wellman, MacAwe (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  11. Farrell, NathanielLost Horizon (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  12. Osman, JenaMotion Studies (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  13. Rodríguez, Reina MariaThe Winter Garden Photograph (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  14. Steck, EdAn Interface for a Fractal Landscape (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  15. Fitterman, RobertRob’s Word Shop (Ugly Duckling Presse)
  16. Peninsula Poets #76.1, Spring 2019

May

  1. Levrero, MarioEmpty Words (And Other Stories)
  2. Scego, IgiabaBeyond Babylon (Two Lines Press)
  3. Van Gelder, Gordon (ed.) – Welcome to the Greenhouse (OR Books)
  4. Duncombe, StephenDream or Nightmare (OR Books)
  5. Boyd, AndrewBeautiful Trouble (OR Books)
  6. Coleman, Elizabeth J. (ed.) – Here: Poems for the Planet (Copper Canyon Press)
  7. Pulphouse #5, Winter 2019
  8. Poetry #214.3, June 2019
  9. Rasmussen, BjørnThe Skin Is the Elastic Covering That Encases the Entire Body (Two Lines Press)
  10. Rucker, RudyMillion Mile Road Trip (Night Shade Books)
  11. Rucker, RudyThe Big Aha (Night Shade Books)
  12. Scholes, Robert, Comley, Nancy R., Ulmer, Gregory L.Text Book
  13. Kazin, AlfredThe Open Form
  14. Waugh, PatriciaMetafiction (Methuen & Co.)
  15. Fernández, BelénExile: Rejecting America and Finding the World (OR Books)
  16. Jacobin #33, Spring 2019

June

  1. Talusan, GraceThe Body Papers (Restless Books)
  2. Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet #39
  3. Dreamforge #2
  4. Ellison, HarlanDimensions of Harlan Ellison (Edgeworks Abbey)
  5. Ellison, HarlanThe Book Needs No Introduction (Edgeworks Abbey)
  6. Ellison, HarlanThe Ephemeral Ellison (Edgeworks Abbey)
  7. Ellison, HarlanThe Ellison Treatment (Edgeworks Abbey)
  8. The 3288 Review 5.1 (Caffeinated Press)
  9. Riekki, Ron and Scarpino, Andrea (eds.) – Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice (Michigan State University Press)
  10. Klatt, L.S.The Wilderness After Which (Otis Books)
  11. Rain Taxi #24.2 (Summer 2019)
  12. Swanwick, MichaelDragonskin (Dragon Stairs Press) (signed, #21/50)
  13. McGookey, KathleenNineteen Letters (BatCat Press), (#11/100)
  14. Broaddus, MauricePimp My Airship (Apex Book Company)
  15. Sizemore, Jason and Conner, Lesley (eds.) – Do Not Go Quietly (Apex Book Company)
  16. Townsend, TracyThe Fall
  17. Roanhorse, RebeccaStorm of Locusts
  18. Harrison, JimThe Essential Poems (Copper Canyon Press)
  19. Asghar, Fatimah and Elhillo, Safia (eds.) – The Breakbeat Poets vol. 3: Halal If You Can Hear Me (Haymarket Books)
  20. Shiner, LewisOutside the Gates of Eden (Subterranean Press)
  21. The Paris Review #229
  22. Brace, KristinEach Darkness Inside (Finishing Line Press)
  23. Split Lip Magazine #2
  24. Burn Collector #14 (Microcosm Publishing)
  25. Gnade, Adam (ed.) – The CIA Makes Science Fiction Unexciting #6: The Life of Lee Harvey Oswald (Microcosm Publishing)
  26. Ensminger, David A. – Out of the Basement (Microcosm Publishing)
  27. Moore, Anne ElizabethCambodian Grrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh (Microcosm Publishing)
  28. Suren, BobCrate Digger: An Obsession With Punk Records (Microcosm Publishing)
  29. Herbert, AlexanderWhat About Tomorrow? An Oral History of Russian Punk, From the Soviet Era to Pussy Riot (Microcosm Publishing)
  30. Campbell, John W., Jr.Frozen Hell (Wildside Press)
  31. Doyle, AidanThe Writer’s Book of Doubt (Ate Bit Bear)
  32. Poetry #214.4
  33. Reckoning #3
  34. Yong, Jin – A Hero Born (ARC)
  35. Silver, Steven H. and Palmatier, Joshua (eds.) – Alternate Peace (Zombies Need Brains LLC)
  36. Coe, David B. and Palmatier, Joshua (eds.) – Temporally Deactivated (Zombies Need Brains LLC)
  37. Bray, Patricia and Butler, S.C. (eds.) – Portals (Zombies Need Brains LLC)
  38. Yideum, KimBlood Sisters (Deep Vellum Publishing)
  39. von Goethe, Johann WolfgangThe Golden Goblet (Deep Vellum Publishing)

July

  1. Amazing Stories 76.4
  2. Brace, KristinToward the Wild Abundance (Michigan State University Press)
  3. Jallal, Karim and Zbiciak, Teresa – Mustapha Panda
  4. Willow Springs #84
  5. Daáood, KamauThe Language of Saxophones (City Lights Books)
  6. Long, Michael G. (ed.) – We the Resistance (City Lights Books)
  7. Breedlove, LynnForty-Five Thought Crimes (Manic D Press)
  8. Ivánova, AdelaideThe Hammer (Commune Editions)
  9. Schatz, Kate and Stahl, Miriam KleinRad American Women A-Z (City Lights Books)
  10. Neidich, Warren (ed.) – The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part Three (Archive Books)
  11. Zisson, Steve (ed.) – A Punk Rock Future (Zsenon Publishing)
  12. Torres, FernandaGlory and Its Litany of Horrors (Restless Books)

August

  1. Serna, Rudolfo A. – Snow Over Utopia (Apex Publications)

Reading at the End of the Year

Here we are at the end of 2018, and here are the last additions to the library before we ring in the new year. On the left is the January 2019 issue of Poetry, and on the right is Decals by Oliverio Girondo, the latest from my subscription to the catalog of Open Letter Books.

The holidays have been hectic as always, but I have made good progress in Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning. I hope to have it completed before ConFusion 2019, where Palmer will be the Guest of Honor.

And with that, Happy New Year!

Some Light Holiday Reading

This week brought a wide variety of new reading material in a small stack. The latest issue of Salvage just arrived, along with the latest Paris Review and the fourth volume of the Long List Anthology. I’m off of work until January 2, so I should be able to sneak in some reading time.

I finished reading Ferret Steinmetz’ excellent The Flux and am now dividing my time between Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer and Seth Dickinson’s The Monster Baru Cormorant.

Earlier today I opened the Fall 2018 edition of the Copper Canyon Reader, which contains some excellent poetry by several Copper Canyon poets. I would get a subscription to Copper Canyon, as I have to so many other wonderful publishers, but their subscriptions are $1,000, and that it a little steep for me at this point in my life.

And since this is likely the last post for 2018, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Brief Reads for the Week

Not a lot new this week for the library at Winkelman Abbey. Here we have the latest issues of Amazing Stories and Apex Magazine. I’m saving my money for the holidays and will probably burn a gift card or two to add to my collection of Russian literature, anarchist literature, and Russian anarchist literature.

Apex Book Company just announced that they will no longer be publishing the print version of their magazine, which makes me sad. It was a year-long experiment on Patreon to see if there was enough interest to keep such an endeavor afloat. According to editor Jason Sizemore, there were just barely enough subscribers to launch the print version for a year, and therefore they are going to return to only publishing electronic versions with possible annual “Best of” collections or the like. If you have not yet experienced Apex Magazine, or the books produced by Apex Book Company, I recommend you hie yourself to their online store post-haste.

In reading news, I completed Flex by Ferret Steinmetz, and immediately started the sequel The Flux, which thus far (two chapters in) is every bit as good as the first. Still about halfway through The Monster Baru Cormorant, and in the spare moments I am reading random entries in Salvage. The most recent was China Mieville’s long essay about social sadism, which is online at Salvage.zone. So it goes.

New Reading Material for the Winter

A few new books with dark and somber covers to match late-autumn Michigan. The first two are the second and third issues of Salvage, which bills itself as “a quarterly of revolutionary arts and letters,” and has the tagline “bleak is the new red.” It is good. Really really good. I first heard about it when researching different *punk literary subgenres, and came across an article about China Miéville wherein he discussed his involvement with Salvage. Miéville has lengthy essays in each of the issues I have so far purchased (2, 3, 5) and likely will have more in the future issues which arrive as part of my subscription. Well, of course I purchased a subscription.

On the right is the latest shipment from Two Lines Press, which continues to surprise me with wonderful books.

On the reading front, I have mostly recovered from the week at the AWS:Reinvent conference in Las Vegas, and am partway through The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson and Flex by Ferret Steinmetz. Both are quite excellent reads and they are absolutely nothing alike. I highly recommend both.