Tag Archives: Gary Lutz

Shelf Talker Shelf Talker Shelf Talker…

What the heck is a Shelf Talker you ask?

It’s one of those pieces of cardstock paper you see on a bookstore’s shelf that tells you when an employee really loves a book and wants to draw attention to it. I think the best bookstores are the ones full of passionate readers always willing to share their literary discoveries while also cultivating a sense of community. You can learn a lot about a bookstore’s collective personality by scanning what they choose to give shelf talkers to. I have been to a couple of bookstores where there are NO shelf talkers at all and it always jars me a little, like the store is saying: “You’re on your own here. We are not excited about anything and we have no opinions.”

Oof. What a downer.

Bookstores: Show us your shelf talkers!!

Last year, at work, we introduced a whole line of new shelf talker designs to freshen up the look of the store. That’s cool and everything, but (like a bibliophile hoarder) I am a little sad about throwing away some of my old stand-bys. I love making shelf talkers for my small press section. I think it has really helped a lot of readers discover new talent through the past fourteen years I’ve been in charge of it.

So before I tossed them in the recycling, I took photos of some of my favorites and decided I’d post them here (about 140 more are not pictured). That way, they live FOREVER! Enjoy this journey–and read these books!

(click on the pic to make it bigger)

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For Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City (Dark Sky Press)

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The first shelf talker I wrote for Gary Lutz, when 3rd Bed republished Stories In the Worst Way.

The first shelf talker I wrote for Gary Lutz, when 3rd Bed republished Stories In the Worst Way.

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Another book that we've sold a ton of at Powell's.

Another book that we’ve sold a ton of at Powell’s.

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Zachary Lipez, Stacey Wakefield, and Nick Zinner did a great reading for this book at Powell’s back in 2010.

I was so excited to introduce Chelsea Martin's magic to the world.

I was so excited to introduce Chelsea Martin’s magic to the world.

I think this was for Greg's first book, I Have Touched You.

I think this was for Greg’s first book, I Have Touched You.

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For CA Conrad

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I love Spork Books!

I love Spork Books!

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Proof of my early love of all things Iredell.

Proof of my early love of all things Iredell.

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My favorite literary journal.

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We've sold so many copies of Ghost Machine. One of my all-time faves.

We’ve sold so many copies of Ghost Machine. One of my all-time faves.

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Still pretty obscure, SJB was one of my first writing influences.

Still pretty obscure, SJB was one of my first writing influences.

I still think this is kind of a minimalist classic.

I still think this is kind of a minimalist classic. By Paul Fattarusso.

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Like how I burned the edges?

Like how I burned the edges?

The first shelf talker for Chloe's classic.

The first shelf talker for Chloe’s classic.

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What the Heck Am I Doing?

Well, I was planning on laying low this summer, but after updating my Events page, I realize I am actually pretty dang busy. Go check it out.

I’m also hosting an event with my fellow Future Tenser Bryan Coffelt on August 3rd at Colonel Summers Park. Outdoors! In the shade of trees! BYOB! The readers will be three of my favorite people: Amelia Gray, Matthew Simmons, and James Gendron (a poet I’m pretty obsessed with right now). Details here.

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In the meantime, Mr. Coffelt and I are also putting the finishing touches on the paperback reprint of Gary Lutz’s book, Partial List of People of Bleach. It’s going to be as amazing as you’d expect a Lutz collection to be. At the same time, we’ve started work on putting together the fall Future Tense release, a collection of personal essays by Jamie Iredell. We’re still wrestling with titles ideas. Jamie will be in Portland for Wordstock and we’re hoping to have copies of his book by then (first weekend of October).

In other news, the audiobook of my memoir, A Common Pornography, was just released by Audible. If you’re an audiobook fan and aren’t hooked into Audible, you really should be. They’re producing some great stuff. They did the audio book for Chloe Caldwell too. And they’ll be doing the audio version of my novel, This Is Between Us, as well. Rumor has it, that they’re also going to do a bunch of audiobooks of the Akashic Noir series, including Portland Noir, which I edited in 2009.

Writing-wise, I seem to have picked up on some poetry mojo and have written a good dozen or more poems in the last couple of months. I read one as the surprise guest at Dena Rash Guzman’s book release party recently while Ryan Werner danced in spandex pants and cowboy boots. I ended up riding on Ryan’s shoulders by the end of the poem (it was called Rock Criticism).

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I have my own page on Ink Node if you wanna read some poems. I also have some appearing soon on Sink Review and elsewhere.

In the more journalistic side of things, I also have a article in the current Poets & Writers Magazine about people who are kick-ass live readers. You gotta buy the mag to read it but they also ran this cool web-only feature with clips from the people I interviewed (Almond, Lisick, McClanahan, Heald, Zhang, Kennedy, Nutting, D. Brown).

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Speaking of Alissa Nutting, I am crowning her saucy novel, Tampa, my fave of the year so far. And I talked to her about it for Tin House. That woman is tearing up the summer reading lists right about now, and for good reason.

Non-bookish stuff? TV stuff? Our household has been really into The Killing this season (the last Jonathan Demme-directed episode was amazing) as well as The Bridge and the new season of Wilfred (so depraved and funny). I also like that Amy Schumer show quite a bit. And we can’t wait for Breaking Bad, of course.

That’s all for now. Stay cool out there, friends. See you soon.

The Sweltry Recap of NY/BEA

I’m back from hot and sweaty New York! This past weekend I was there to attend Book Expo of America and to meet various booksellers and talk up my upcoming novel, This Is Between Us.
I had a great time. Here are some pics…

My New York City welcome.

My New York City welcome.

I realized that the subways in NY are much longer and apparently deadlier than the ones in Portland.

I realized that the subways in NY are much longer and apparently deadlier than the ones in Portland.

I saw a lot of friends at BEA. One of the first people I saw was Johnny Temple of Akashic. While we were chatting, a woman walked up and said to me, “Hey! I copy edited your book.” I was really glad to meet Anne Horowitz, because she dominated that manuscript.
Soon after that, I ran into various folks like David & Arielle (The Book Doctors), a bunch of Powell’s peeps, Michael Miller of Bookforum, Meg, Rob, and the Tin House gang, and then Rhonda Hughes of Hawthorne.

Rhonda and Poe!

Rhonda Hughes and Poe Ballantine, sharing their peanut M&Ms with me!

I also saw the always sweet McSweeney’s booth.

Isaac and Sam from McSweeney's with Michelle Tea (who was finishing up her book signing for Mermaid in Chelsea Creek).

Isaac and Sam from McSweeney’s with Michelle Tea (who was finishing up her book signing for Mermaid in Chelsea Creek). Check out that Ikea floor!

I did a book signing at the Tin House booth on Saturday. By that time, they only had about 30 books left, so they went quick.

Hiding behind my sign. Photo by Beth Lisick.

Hiding behind my sign. Photo by Beth Lisick.

These cool little notes were given away too. I can’t believe Tin House had about 500 of these suckers (with an excerpt and ordering info) folded up for me. They must really love me.

I still have a few of these left if you want one. :)

I still have a few of these left if you want one. :)

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Susie is trying to get my attention while I fixate on the decadent dessert. Pic by Beth.

After my signing, I met up with Beth Lisick and we hunted down Susie Bright at The Out NYC Hotel. Even though she wasn’t actually staying there, it seemed as if she knew the whole staff already and treated us to drinks, food, and treats. What did we talk about? Mostly parenting… and Mad Men. Hahaha

Besides the conference, I walked around Time Square and Central Park with my new pal Ariel Maccarone, went to see Gary Lutz, John Haskell, and others at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn, spent a whole afternoon at Mellow Pages Library, took a cab with Joseph Riippi, met superhunk Sean H. Doyle, met Penina Roth of the Franklin Park Reading Series, hung out at Soda Bar and had some of their pierogies, ate some Ample Hills “ooey gooey” ice cream, walked around Tompkins Square Park, and did my own reading with some friends for Polly Bresnick’s reading series, Writers Reading to Writers.

Lots of painters making art at Tompkins Square Park on Sunday morning.

Lots of painters making art at Tompkins Square Park on Sunday morning.

I also got some amazing French toast at Angelina Cafe with my friend Marc, who I stayed with on the lower east side. While he was at work one morning, I downloaded some of his awesome music collection (The Drums, some classic old Go-Betweens, Yo La Tengo). Apparently, the Pop Fest NYC was also happening this weekend, so we were both getting back to his place late and he’d tell me about all the cool bands he was seeing. I wish I could have seen The Bats! Thanks for the couch, Marc!

And thanks to everyone else. I’ll probably be returning this winter when the book is out (on 11/12/13).

2011 is Dead. Long Live 1997.

Hey–First off, I have new little stories at Unshod Quills and Hart House Review!

And since 2011 is just about over, I thought I should post a little year-end thingamajig. A few of my favorite things:

Novels: Donald Ray Pollack’s The Devil All the Time and Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers were both pretty kick-ass rough and tumble kind of novels and both steeped in a dark Americana style.

Mr. deWitt

Short story collection: How many times do I have to tell you. Lutz is a master. Divorcer simply destroys.

Memoir: Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy. So, yeah, it was all popular like ten years ago but I just finally read it and it’s pretty awesome. Some people say the Ann Patchett book, Truth & Beauty (about her friendship with Grealy) is even better. Can’t wait to read that one. I’m sad that Grealy is not around anymore.

Poetry: Gregory Sherl is the new leading man of the drug-addled emo poetry scene. Does that make it sound bad? I hope not. Because it’s beautiful. He’s also kind of like the Rob Pollard of the lit world now too–so many books coming out (including Monogamy Songs from Future Tense, summer 2012), so many words coming out of him.

Surprise Manuscript: Chloe Caldwell sent me a query in 2010 that piqued my interest enough to have her send me more stuff in 2011. In that short amount of time, her essays became even more powerful and I signed her on for a Future Tense release in spring of 2012. Legs Get Led Astray is gonna kick your butt and give you a heartache. Helping her edit her essays the past couple of months has been a constant thrill. She’s my favorite writer of personal essays. Watch out for her!

Movies: Oh, man. Has it been a shitty stretch of years for film? It feels like the quality of movies is down lately. I did really like Drive (like everyone else, I know) and Buck was great as well. My favorite DVD release was definitely Dogtooth, the strange and brilliant Greek film about a fucked-up family in a world all their own.

TV: There are many shows that I once really liked and have lost interest in (Dexter, Weeds, maybe even American Horror Story already) but the ones that have stayed awesome are Breaking Bad and Mad Men (in other words, the usual suspects). The saddest goodbye this year was for Friday Night Lights, one of the greatest and most realistic shows about small town living and family life to ever be on TV. Luckily though, FNL writer Jason Katims also does the AWESOME show Parenthood, which has a lot of the same great qualities of FNL. I never miss it–and yeah, I have a crush on Lauren Graham. So what?

Lauren

Music: I feel like I got more and more behind on the music scene this year. I’m just not as on top of it as I used to be. I remember people would ask me, ten or fifteen years ago: How do you find out about all these cool bands that you listen to? I would usually answer that I hung out at listening stations a lot, had friends with record store jobs, and that I read a lot of music magazines (NME and Melody Maker, Copper Press, Spin, or whatever). Now my answer is: the library. I get stuff at the library all the time. Just recently, I snagged a CD by Sarah Jaffe, thinking it was my friend Sara Jaffe. It wasn’t, but now I have a new favorite singer. Also discovered this year: Ayvett Brothers, Blind Pilot, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and I got to interview The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy and Jenny Conlee for Relix Magazine, which was cool. My 17-year-old son has reached the point where he’s listening to all these weird bands I’ve never even heard of.

The Decemberists

There were a lot of other personal highlights in 2011 as well. Getting married to B. Frayn Masters in January was a beautiful moment that keeps turning into more beautiful moments.

Married Bliss Attack!

Now come on, 2012!

I’m reading at If Not For Kidnap on a special Friday night edition, January 20th. I’m joined by Bryan Coffelt, poet, designer, Future Tense co-hort, and 49ers fan. There will also be Edward Mullany, a musical guest, and a secret special surprise reader at this event. Not to mention booze. House readings: They’re the best.

Alright, folks. Have a great Christmas and New Year.

love,

Kevin