April 2009

Shane Jones and Dear Leader have a conversation


Kevin Sampsell (seen above dancing) made our friend Shane and our Dear Leader talk about small press issues and being an “internet writer.” The conversation appears on the blog of the mighty, mighty Powell’s Books.

It’s a mighty fine conversation. Here’s an abridged highlight:

Blake: People call you and me “Internet writers” in certain forums, though I don’t necessarily ride that term at all, and think mainly it comes from people not understanding the Internet as a tool. Have there been things you’ve done that you thought effective? Have there been things you would like to do but haven’t, or are not sure how?

Shane: …The “Internet writer” thing is just a label. I don’t consider myself, or you for that matter, an Internet writer.The “Internet writer” thing is just a label. I don’t consider myself, or you for that matter, an Internet writer. I think it’s because we both have blogs and publish online that some people call us this. But we also have printed stuff in journals and printed books, so I don’t really get it. I do know that starting a blog was probably one of the most important steps I made in my writing “career.” I became involved in a community of talented writers and it let me expose my own writing to a community of readers. And that’s very important…

Blake: Yeah, saying “Internet writer” is about as arbitrary and misplaced as saying “typewriter writer.” People so desperately want to name things.

Author Spotlight / 22 Comments
April 30th, 2009 / 8:55 pm

Haut or Not: Joan Didion


We’ve been trying to do a special Joan Didion Haut or Not for the past few months, corresponding not only with her agent, but her agent’s numerous assistants. This paper-ridden FedEx-pectation process of contracts ultimately led to her New York apartment (we even hired a professional photographer), where it was precluded, indignantly, by Didion herself. She told us to thank her rheumatism, the only reason we weren’t all punched in the face. We were, however, able to sneak a quick peak at what appeared to be The Year of Magical Thinking, no doubt a signed copy.

Rating: Not (probably).

Haut or not / 24 Comments
April 30th, 2009 / 5:44 pm

HTMLGIANT Book Exchange


HTMLGIANT Book Exchange is a place to post lists of books you want or books you’d like to get rid of in return for other books.

It’s pretty simple: in the comments section, post your lists. Then if you see a book you want, nest your reply under the list you found it. Though it’s up to you and the other person to work out details of the trade, we will manage the lists and hopefully make a market of it, perhaps one more closely-knit and attentive to ‘good books’ over ‘just any old thing,’ in light of the now overrun book trade sites like Bookmooch and etc.

[In that mind, when you are listing books, please try to be selective in your ‘what I have’ lists, avoiding the common things that most anyone would have or could easily find, and instead try to focus on books that might not be as readily available for trade: i.e. less classics, more contemporary. If someone is looking for, say, Stephen King or Mark Twain, they can ask for it by name, and then you can follow up.]

[Also, if you post a list and want to go back and add more, make a note nested under your original and we can consolidate. Don’t make more than one node post of haves/wants, as that will get messy.]

This will be chaotic and wonderful to begin with. We’ll learn as we go, and if plans go as plans might, we plan on developing the thread into a page of its own. More on that later.

For now, a good way to search for a specific book you want once the list populates, use the Find command in your web browser, and hope it got spelled right.

Please post your lists, use some discretion (a compendium of every book you have in your attic is not necessary). Let’s do some sharing.

Web Hype / 36 Comments
April 30th, 2009 / 3:12 pm

An Exclusive Interview with J.G. Ballard

J.G. Ballard Interview by John Hughes


The following interview with J.G. Ballard took place in the spring of 1996. It was recorded on to micro-cassette off speakerphone on a 6 a.m. call from the 4AD Records office in Los Angeles, CA to J.G. Ballard at his home in Shepperton, England.  The tapes were transcribed in New York in 2005.


I contacted J.G. Ballard through a friend at Zone books. Zone had recently published a Ballard essay; an experimental dictionary of words for the future.  I got his home number and called him to set up the interview below.   The original plan was to discuss Rushing to Paradise.  The interview opens, however, with the revelation that David Cronenberg was planning to release Crash at the Cannes Film Festival, summer’96. 


In that respect, the interview has two parts. The first addresses the Crash movie release and the second, Rushing to Paradise.


Author Spotlight / 18 Comments
April 30th, 2009 / 2:47 pm

elimae reading in New York, update


Here’s the latest on the elimae reading in New York. The one hosted by Shya Scanlon. Here’s the lineup.

Lincoln Michel, Rozalia Jovanovic, Kimberly King Parsons, James Yeh, Justin Taylor, Nicolle Elizabeth, Tao Lin*, Nick Antosca, Todd Zuniga, Dennis DiClaudio, John Madera, Timmy Waldron, Forrest Roth, Terese Svoboda, Barry Graham, Dawn Raffel, Sasha Graybosch, Eric Nusbaum and more.

It will be at the KGB Bar, May 26, 7pm – 9pm. Everyone will read for 3 minutes.


James Yeh got left out, and has been added. Sorry, James. Here’s an extra James Yeh link.

Also, would anyone in New York like to appear as me? Volunteer in the comment section.

* Sorry. No link here. This person apparently has no web presence. Maybe he should start a blog or something.

Author News / 22 Comments
April 30th, 2009 / 1:52 pm

DFW Praise Compendium


At the height of my obsession with David Foster Wallace, garnered after reading ‘Infinite Jest’ over several weeks in 2001, an act which literally changed my life, I began going after any and every piece of writing not only of his, but that he had recommended, blurbed, mentioned in interviews, taught, etc. Many of these books also had a profound influence on my brain, including Gass’s ‘Omensetter’s Luck,’ McCarthy’s ‘Blood Meridian’ and ‘Suttree,’ Donald Barthelme, and countless others.

During this period I began constructing a list of these texts as I found them. The list, which I remember as being several pages long, is now likely floating somewhere in one of my many expired computers. I was able, though, to find at least what makes up part of the list in an old email folder, and as such it appears below.

I know this is not an exhaustive list at this point, and if I find a later draft of it I will repost: in the meantime, however, if you have any other knowledge of blurbs or etc. (and any that might have occurred later in his life, after I stopped making the list, will obviously be absent) please comment them. Where I could, I tried to include the actual blurbs and/or comments, and in other places just included the names of authors mentioned in passing or other ways.

(It likely should be noted that many of these refs came from the amazing and wonderful interview conducted with Wallace by Larry McCaffery for the Review of Contemporary Fiction, which if you have not yet, you should read.)

Also included is a Reading List from a class Wallace taught on postmodern fiction (I believe), which is a pretty fantastic collection of texts.

Incomplete list is after the break:


Author Spotlight & Presses / 140 Comments
April 30th, 2009 / 12:27 pm

more fun with the internet and my own name

JustinTaylorFront.jpg Justin Taylor Front image by father_bananas

Author Spotlight / 18 Comments
April 30th, 2009 / 11:39 am

Man tries to pay bill with spider drawing


From: Jane Gilles
Date: Wednesday 8 Oct 2008 12.19pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Overdue account

Dear David,
Our records indicate that your account is overdue by the amount of $233.95. If you have already made this payment please contact us within the next 7 days to confirm payment has been applied to your account and is no longer outstanding.

Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Wednesday 8 Oct 2008 12.37pm
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Overdue account

Dear Jane,
I do not have any money so am sending you this drawing I did of a spider instead. I value the drawing at $233.95 so trust that this settles the matter.

Regards, David.


Web Hype / 44 Comments
April 30th, 2009 / 4:13 am

Poet Craig Arnold Missing in Japan

Hey all.  Not exactly an upper, but I received this e-mail from a friend and it seems like an apt place to use our powers for good (!) and get the word out.

The poet Craig Arnold is currently in Japan with the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission’s U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship and has been missing since April 26th (evening Monday April 27th Japanese time).


Author News / 12 Comments
April 29th, 2009 / 10:05 pm

Power Quote: Marcel Proust


Marcel Proust describes a booger:

Its viscous, warm core had slipped down the linen of one, but had adhered to the cloth of the other, and held the silvery, fluent fringe that dripped from it in suspense above the void. The sun, piercing them, confused the sticky mucus with the diluted solution. One could make out just the one single succulent, quivering mass, transparent and hardening; and in the ephemeral brilliance with which it decorated [his] attire, it seemed to have fixed the prestige of a momentary diamond there, still hot, so to speak, from the oven from which it had emerged, and for which this unstable jelly, corrosive and alive as it was for one more instant, seemed at once, by its deceitful, fascinating beauty, to present both a mockery and a symbol.

From video games to porn, the explicitness of today is merely rendered before the eyes, not inside the mind. In the old days, a sickly gay french dude who lived with his mom was all there was — and it was good.

Power Quote / 16 Comments
April 29th, 2009 / 2:43 pm