Monthly Archives: December 2009

Concord Free Press: Books for free, for good.

concord free press logo

Concord Free Press logo

Concord Free Press has the coolest idea:  they’ll send you a free book if you donate to a worthy cause.  That’s it.  You can donate money or items, to any cause you like.  You just tell them about it on their site, so they can track how many donations their books have generated.

The most recent book (all gone now) is a short novel by Gregory Maguire, of Wicked fame.  It’s titled The Next Queen of Heaven, and the cover design (pro bono by design firm Alphabetica) looks gorgeous.  If you’re bummed that you can’t get a copy of the book anymore, you can always shop for a poster or a T-shirt, and help keep Concord going that way.  Or you can straight-up donate via PayPal, or submit your writing to I.O.U., their upcoming collection about money and stuff.

In any case, Concord’s doing a great job of jumping into the deep end of the “where the hell is publishing going?” pool, and I like their freestyle.

Banner image nicked from the CFP site.


Win mysteries from a book pirate.

Colin Matthew, over at The Book Pirate,* is offering a free mystery parcel of mystery books, for the low-low price of commenting, tweeting, or posting about his offer.  (I guess I’m entering, by posting this–ah, the circular Internet.)  At the same time you can check out his great blog, and get acquainted with local mystery bookshop Murder by the Book.

*  Best blog name EVER.


Helen Simpson’s story “Diary of an Interesting Year,” in this week’s New Yorker, is devastating.

Happy holidays?

Jeff VanderMeer interview with BLDGBLOG

I’ve been a fan of the excellent architecture-and-ideas blog BLDGBLOG for a while, and I happen to be working my way through Jeff VanderMeer‘s great new book, Booklife.  So it tickled me to find out that BLDGBLOG interviewed VanderMeer.  In case you missed it (the interview was in 2006), it’s a great conversation about cities:  how we build them, imagine them, see them, draw them, read them…  Fantastic stuff.

Event Recap: Where the Revolution Began

Wherein I recap last Saturday’s great multimedia launch of Where the Revolution Began, a new book about Lawrence and Anna Halprin, and their legacy of public space in Portland. A really gorgeous book — if you’re a Portlander, or a dancer, or you know anyone who is, you might want to get a couple of copies.

New Moon in a Minute

I’m headed out tomorrow to see this.  Light a candle for me.

Libraries are the bomb.

Last Friday I got to visit Multnomah County Library’s John Wilson Special Collections, where librarian Jim Carmin presides over a truly amazing collection of rare and special stuff.  I was part of a small group of librarians, there on official gawking purposes.  Among the things Jim showed us:

  • A rejection letter from Charles Dickens to an aspiring writer, a lady whose story didn’t make it into print.  Actual Charles Dickens signature!  Actual Charles Dickens rejection!
  • A letter from Isaac Asimov declining to visit Oregon for some convention or speaker event, stating that he lives a quiet and sedate island life (i.e. Manhattan) and that there is “absolutely no chance of [his] ever being in Oregon at any time.”
  • A scribbled postcard from a guy named Allen to a guy named Bill, dated 1965, talking about Allen’s trip up the west coast from California to Seattle, with a stop in Portland to catch a Beatles show.*

I’m a librarian by trade, but every so often libraries still catch me off guard:  that we believe in them and fund them, that they live so quietly among us, that they’re such amazing, stuffed-to-the-gills layer cakes of story.

Libraries are like the great-aunt at the family gathering, the one who sits in the corner and doesn’t draw attention to herself, but if you bring her a snifter of Schnapps she’ll tell you every last thing about every single person who has ever had your last name–as well as anyone they’ve ever dated, maligned, mentored, threatened, or struck with a 1973 Citroen outside of the Rambling Scamp pub in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

Libraries are awesome.  And so are librarians.  Thanks for the tour, Jim!

*  See photo.  Also, Bill = Bill Burroughs.

ETA: Now with corrections to Jim Carmin AND Charles Dickens’s names…thanks to Kim, who is more awake than I am. Thanks, Kim! When I get things wrong, I like to get them really wrong.