I met Christian TeBordo years ago at the Rainbo Club. He’s a regular. His spot is by the door, facing west. There’s a calm, self-contained quality to the way he carries himself. There’s no smartphone, notebook, or any other accessory on the bartop in front of him; just his pint of beer on the bar and a thoughtful expression on his face. He doesn’t look bored or lonely or sad like so many solitary drinkers do. The visit to the bar is clearly part of a routine. I find out later it’s the mid-point stop on his return from work between the Blue Line and home. For years we waved familiarly but rarely talked. I’m not in the habit of intruding on others’ space without a good reason. I knew TeBordo was a writer of some kind and that he was a professor at Roosevelt University, but not much more than that.
Burn it Down is a collection of essays by women exploring women’s anger. Editor Lilly Dancyger solicited essays from a broad spectrum of women and presents a variety of different types of anger, from the anger surrounding sexual assault to the anger derived from not being believed by their own doctor. The writers explore the triggers of their anger, the emotional response of the experience, and how anger impacts their lives. Lilly is a contributing editor and columnist at Catapult, runs the Memoir Monday newsletter and Brooklyn-based reading series, and is the author of a forthcoming memoir. We spoke by phone shortly after the release of the book.
Hello my name is Zac and I have a book up for pre-order from CLASH Books. About a month ago, like all authors trying to promote a new book via live readings, I started looking into 1) what cool cities I’ll be in/near in the coming months and 2) which cool friends or potential friends live in those cities. And I discovered that 1) I was planning on going to Richmond, VA for Thanksgiving this year and 2) Lindsay Lerman, whose debut novel I’m From Nowhere was just released by CLASH, lives in Richmond. Obviously what followed was a riveting tale of burgeoning friendship and authorial cross-promotion: we read each other’s books, we started planning a reading, Lindsay wrote a strikingly kind blurb for my book, I agreed to write a blurb for her book’s second run, and, of greatest benefit to you, the reader, we found ourselves in a conversation that could, given some more structure and copyediting, culminate in a nice, formal, literary interview. And well looky here, we got ourselves a nice, formal, literary interview. We got ourselves two authors in conversation, talking about things like books and philosophy and ecological disaster and MySpace.com. All the hits. Everything you could ask for.
Joshua Chaplinsky‘s new collection, Whispers in the Ear of a Dreaming Ape, boasts one of the best titles I’ve seen in ages and a cover that suggests some lost cosmic horror classic. The stories contained within range in tone from surreal to horrific to satirical; it’s a terrific statement of purpose, and one that never lets the reader rest. I talked with Chaplinsky about the genesis of the book, the ways in which it came together, and what’s next for him.
The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
Brian Evenson isn’t an author that fans of Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, or Chuck Palahniuk typically know, but he certainly should be, as his work is every bit as apocalyptic, surprising, and haunting. For years, Evenson’s readers have been slipping copies of his books into the hands of friends, students, and family members. When travelling, I often keep a copy of Contagion (which Evenson graciously allowed my small press, Astrophil Press, to reprint) and drop it into neighborhood lending libraries, and I must admit that I find a little thrill in knowing that I’ve done my small part in introducing people to this pitch perfect collection of stories. I am not alone in this; many of Evenson’s readers border on evangelicals, spreading the dark word of Evenson. This enthusiasm for Evenson’s work is understandable considering his ability to publish tightly wrought, layered stories that often stick with us long after having read them. There are very few authors I can think of who have a catalog as strong as Evenson; his stories feel entirely new and each of his sentences feel entirely necessary.
Recently, MCD Books has begun to establish itself as a home for some of today’s most memorable horror fiction. That’s bolstered by the recent publication of Rachel Eve Moulton’s Tinfoil Butterfly and the forthcoming publication of Andy Davidson’s The Boatman’s Daughter. To learn more about the press’s foray into horror, their aesthetic, and their future plans, I spoke with MCD Books Executive Editor Daphne Durham. Our conversation touched on everything from what constitutes literary horror to the legacies of bygone horror imprints, and includes some details of what you can expect from horror at MCD Books in the future.
Hillary Leftwich has a knack for titles. Her new collection has arguably the best one I’ve encountered this year: Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock. In it, she combines surreal fiction, sharply-composed poetry, and taut nonfiction into an unpredictable and compelling whole. In addition to her book, she’s also the person behind the reading series At the Inkwell Denver; in other words, Leftwich is someone who can approach literature from many sides. I talked with her via email about the range of work in her collection, literary kindred spirits, and her handling of class.