follow us in feedly
Your favorite new publisher for hip, cult, and brilliant works of literature
03.07.2014
10:26 am

Topics:
Books
Literature

Tags:

11brokburnboy.jpg
 
If, like me, you have sold or lost a favorite book and, no matter how hard you try, cannot find a replacement volume in some second-hand bookshop, dime rack, or yard sale, then you will probably be delighted to hear about Valancourt Books, which publishes a fabulous selection of lost classics, well-loved out-of-print novels, and neglected works of literature.

Valancourt Books are not only saving these authors for another generation, it is publishing books that seriously demand to be read. Let’s take a cue from cult novelist Michael Moorcock, who wrote this about the publishers:
 

Valancourt Books are fast becoming my favourite publisher.  They have made it their business, with considerable taste and integrity, to put back into print a considerable amount of work which has been in serious need of republication.  Their list has been compiled by editors who know their stuff, bringing back into the light a raft of books I, for one, have been waiting years to read!  If you ever felt there were gaps in your reading experience or are simply frustrated that you can’t find enough good, substantial fiction in the shops or even online, then this is the publisher for you!


 
Even the Times Literary Supplement got in on the act, stating:
 

Valancourt Books specializes in new editions of rare and sometimes almost entirely forgotten fiction from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. These are not cheap reprints: the “Classics” range comes annotated with scholarly introductions and, in some cases, contextualizing appendices. […] Valancourt Books is to be lauded for the scope of its ambition. It will spare scholars and the atmosphere many long-distance journeys to university and copyright libraries, and makes available to the lay enthusiast some curious marginalia from the history of the novel.

 
No mean praise there. And I have certainly found many of my favorite authors here, including John Blackburn, whose novel Broken Boy is a chilling, dark classic. It was truly a shame that Blackburn was all but forgotten until his rediscovery by Valancourt Books. Blackburn wrote such damnably good novels as A Scent of New Mown Hay, and Nothing But the Night, which was made into a rather disappointing film—just read the book and you’ll see what I mean.

But it’s not just thrills; there’s the sadly neglected author David Storey, whose early novel This Sporting Life was filmed by Lindsay Anderson. Storey also wrote plays (In Celebration and Home being the most notable) and several award-winning novels, in particular Pasmore, and the Booker Prize-winning Saville.

We’re just getting started; other writers whose works have been saved from literary limbo include J. B. Priestley, John Braine, Hilda Lewis, Gillian Freeman, Gerald Kersh, Jennifer Dawson, Keith Waterhouse, and Colin Wilson. There’s a wide selection of lost Gothic literature, gay fiction and nonfiction, and a diverse selection of modern novels. Don’t take my word for it—go have a browse, and I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like.
 
22roottobrai.jpg
 
More covers from Valancourt Books, after the jump…..
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Someone is defacing hundreds of copies of Anne Frank’s Diary in Japanese libraries
03.07.2014
09:58 am

Topics:
Books
Crime

Tags:

Anne Frank
 

Last month it was discovered that a total of 305 copies of the Japanese translation of The Diary of Anne Frank have been severely defaced—some most likely slashed with a knife, others with entire pages forcefully torn out—in a number of libraries across Tokyo, according to Asahi Shimbun, a major newspaper in Japan. The affected libraries, of which there are 31, have reported no other acts of vandalism or theft, leading authorities to regard the vandalism as the handiwork of a person or persons with a political motive.
 
The Diary of Anne Frank
 
The diary is one of the most moving and inspiring documents of the twentieth century. Anne Frank, of course, was a teenager hiding in Amsterdam with her family to evade detection from the Nazis during World War II. The diary covers the years 1942 through 1944, years during which Frank was 13 to 15 years old. In early 1945 she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. In 1947 her diary was published in the Netherlands to widespread acclaim under the title Het Achterhuis (The Annex); the English translation would follow five years later, under the title Diary of a Young Girl, although it is most commonly called simply The Diary of Anne Frank. As one of the best-known testimonies about the Holocaust, it has been widely read in Japan and many other countries.

Officials in Japan have commenced an investigation into the mysterious mutilation of hundreds of copies of the diary as well as other books related to her at public libraries across Tokyo. The motive for the mutilations are likely to reflect Japanese politics more than ordinary anti-Semitism per se. The New York Times made reference to vague conspiracies from the late 1970s incorrectly claiming that the name of the Enola Gay B-29 bomber that delivered the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima meant “Kill the Emperor” in Yiddish. Meanwhile, the election of right-wing politician Shinzo Abe as prime minister in 2012 (he had served in the post for a year spanning 2006 and 2007) has emboldened right-wing groups across Japan.
 
The Diary of Anne Frank
 
Some libraries have elected to remove materials relating to Anne Frank off the shelves, which means that a personal request will have to be made with a library employee to read them. Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga has expressed disappointment at the damage; “It is extremely regrettable and shameful,” he told reporters. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights group, has issued a statement expressing “shock and deep concern” over the vandalism: “Only people imbued with bigotry and hatred would seek to destroy Anne’s historic words of courage, hope and love in the face of impending doom.”

On a more hopeful note, an anonymous donor has already funded the replacement of 100 copies of The Diary of Anne Frank.
 

 
via RocketNews24

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Fabulous covers from the ‘Golden Age’ of Lesbian pulp fiction 1935-65
02.26.2014
12:02 pm

Topics:
Books
Queer

Tags:

nomalacvr.jpg
 
These fabulous pulp covers come from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library‘s collection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer materials representing “the fields of history, literature, cultural studies, popular culture, the arts, and design.”

This selection come from the “Golden Age” of lesbian pulp fiction between 1950 and 1965, when several hundred lesbian pulp novels were published and sold in their millions. The covers often mixed lurid and sensationalist images with suggestive tag-lines. Authors were said to have “frequently complained that the illustrations rarely matched plots.”

You can read more about the “Golden Age” of lesbian pulp fiction here.
 
iawocover.jpg
 
anthcvr.jpg
 
H/T Retronaut, via Beinecke Library
 
More lesbian pulp covers, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
I Got You, God: Sonny and Cher pimp The Bible, 1970
02.21.2014
12:41 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Books

Tags:


 
According to my extensive and laborious research (I Googled it) this ad appeared in the November 28, 1970 issue of TV Guide.

The small print reads:

The people who make music today read the Bible. It’s that kind of book. It can make things work for you. Read the Bible. Find out where all the music is coming from.

And if you don’t have a Bible of your own, we’ll send you one for only a dollar. Hard cover and everything. Just one should do it. The Bible lasts a long time.

Bibles are good for people on bummers, like “Pammie” in Sonny Bono’s preposterously epic “Pammie’s on a Bummer.” He doesn’t even start singing until after three minutes have passed! “Singing” might be too strong of a word, here.
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Process Church of the Final Judgement: Revelations of an apocalypse cult
02.18.2014
07:42 pm

Topics:
Belief
Books
Occult

Tags:


 
Alessandro Papa’s excellent new book, The Process: Archives, Documents, Reflections and Revelations, is an indispensable addition to the small number of publications devoted to the 60s apocalypse cult, The Process Church of the Final Judgement.

When I say small, I refer only to the handful of books—well, three—that includes Love, Sex, Fear, Death: The Inside Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment and Propaganda and the Holy Writ of The Process Church of the Final Judgment, both published by Feral House in recent years, along with William S. Bainbridge’s sociological study of the organization, Satan’s Power: A Deviant Psychotherapy Cult, which came out in 1978. Not a lot.

The Process is the subject of fascination for many people—I’m one of them—because of how dark their theology was, and a desire to understand what caused the well-educated middle class members to join up with such a group in the first place. What weirdos! Although they appeared at first blush to be a Satan-worshipping cult—something Ed Sanders’ lurid Manson book The Family is partially to blame for—this view is very widely off the mark. The Processean tenants sought to harmonize the notion of the Christian eschaton with the carnage the cult’s young adherents had literally been born into, the bombed out ruins of post-WWII Europe. Christ would return and team up with Satan for the final judgement of mankind. After what had just gone down, would this have seemed so incredibly far-fetched? In this sense, the poetic Process theology, most of it coming via the inspired pen of the group’s charismatic leader, Robert DeGrimston, was firmly grounded in Judeo-Christian imagery and the thanatonic impulses of eschatological beliefs in general.

DeGrimston’s “Game of the Gods” described a universe where Lucifer, Satan and Jehovah battle it out on a cosmic chess board where we—and all of history—are just their pawns. This idea of the trio’s endtime “unity” comes from a not-so-esoteric reading of The Book of Revelation. I’m not saying this is exactly the same sort of energy that’s been channeled into the Left Behind book series, but there IS a certain similar impulse at play. Christians LOVE them a little end of the world, right, so how surprising would it be that something like The Process would sprout up in postwar Britain, where the participants were probably all raised as Christians? (This is a very difficult thing to shake, as many of you reading this can no doubt attest to.) That Charles Manson’s prophecy of a coming race war would find inspiration in DeGrimston’s end of the world sermonizing isn’t that surprising, either.

The thing is, I think people who are fascinated by the Process want them to be “darker” than they actually were. Based on the dramatic—indeed the infernal—prose of DeGrimston, they probably expect to find “rites” or Crowleyan sex magick rituals, when the reality was much closer to a “Jesus freak” coffee house with newsletters, folk singers and veggie burgers. Setting aside any “mindfucking” that authoritarian cults tend to engage in, viewed in retrospect, the Processeans actually seem pretty tame, an ascetic, gentle and devotional lot.

Papa’s book makes good use of his extensive collection of Process memorabilia. As the shadowy cult’s narrative history unfolds, he is able to refer to, quote from extensively and even reproduce from the vast amount of literature they produced. In doing so, Papa is able to give his readers an accurate picture of what actually transpired, cleaving the myth from the history and presenting the most objective portrait of The Process yet, even when it can be a little goofy.

The Process: Archives, Documents, Reflections and Revelations has been published in a limited edition of just 555 copies. You can order it from End of Kali-Yuga editions via eBay.

Below, a 2010 interview that I conducted with former Process member and author, Timothy Wylie
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
J. G. Ballard: Undermining bourgeois certainties and ‘Empire of the Sun’
02.17.2014
01:15 pm

Topics:
Books
Heroes
Thinkers

Tags:

xydrallabgjyx.jpg
 
Writing is a very peculiar existence, J. G. Ballard told an audience during an interview for his novel Empire of the Sun, at the ICA London, in 1984.

”Unlike playwrights, composers, sculptors and painters who can go to first nights and gallery openings and alike, the writer never sees his audience. I mean, I have never in my life seen anybody reading one of my books.”

Ballard’s knowledge of his audience came from the letters he received, mainly written by teenage Science Fiction fans. He believed his audience was limited as the reading of such speculative or “imaginative fiction—which is not popular on the whole—is a very solitary business.”

”It’s an extreme fiction made out of extreme metaphors, and I think only people with that taste for extreme solutions are going to be drawn to imaginative fiction. Let’s face it, if Gulliver’s Travels or Alice in Wonderland were published for the first time now they would meet with rather a mixed response. Imaginative fiction is not popular as a whole, I don’t think.”

Ballard devoted his whole career to imaginative fiction, and was more influenced by the Surrealists than his favorite novelists Graham Greene and William Burroughs.

”I have a great built in hostility towards the realistic social novel because it does tend to accept society as it finds it. I feel it is particularly dangerous in sort of puritanical, northern European countries like this one, where there’s a polite distaste for going too far—for going anywhere at all practically.

“I have devoted my career, for what it’s worth, to undermining the bourgeois certainties wherever I can, and the bourgeois novel is target number one on my list. I see the writer’s role as important but I recognize, and one has got to be a realist, most people prefer cosy certainties of life to permanent revolution, as the Surrealists called it, but that doesn’t discourage me at all.”

Empire of the Sun was the first of Ballard’s fictional autobiographies, loosely based on his childhood experiences as a prisoner-of-war at Lunghua Civilian Assembly in Shanghai during World War II. The novel was his most successful and was filmed by Steven Spielberg in 1987. In this interview with Matthew Hoffman, Ballard briefly discusses this book, his career as a writer up to 1984, as well as giving his views on America and the rise of China.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Movies R Fun!’: R-rated movies drawn in the style of a children’s book
02.17.2014
11:49 am

Topics:
Amusing
Books
Design
Movies

Tags:


The Graduate
 
Pixar storyboard artist Josh Cooley‘s new book Movies R Fun!: A Collection of Cinematic Classics for the Pre-(Film) School Cinephile will be available to purchase on March 1.

I’m going to hold out for Cooley’s XXX version children’s book.
 
The Godfather
 

Rosemary’s Baby
 

Léon: The Professional
 

Seven
 

Fargo
 

Blues Brothers
 
Apocalypse Now

Pan’s Labyrinth
 

Silence of the Lambs

Via Imgur

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
No More Mister Nice Girl: Maggie Estep, RIP
02.12.2014
08:13 pm

Topics:
Books
Pop Culture
R.I.P.

Tags:


 
Sad to hear that poet-novelist-spoken word performer Maggie Estep has died at the age of 50. According to friends, Estep, an East Village fixture of the 1990s, suffered a massive heart attack on the 9th and died earlier today.

She is probably best remembered for her numerous MTV and Def Poetry Jam appearances and a music video for “Hey Baby” from her 1994 album No More Mister Nice Girl. Estep was the author of Diary of An Emotional Idiot and several “Ruby Murphy” mystery novels.

The East Village Grieve blog reports that Maggie Estep had been living in Upstate New York while working on a new book.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Neil Gaiman, Jesse Jackson and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’
02.01.2014
12:40 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Books

Tags:


 
Author Neil Gaiman, known for the Sandman comic book series, the teleplay and novel Neverwhere, and the book and film Coraline, among many other wonderful works, has made an amusing video of himself reading aloud from Dr. SeussGreen Eggs and Ham. There’s probably a rich lode in the notion of Gaiman/Seuss mashups, but this was done for charity:

I promised WORLDBUILDERS that if they made it to $500,000 raised I would read Green Eggs and Ham ob video. They did, so I did. I hope you enjoy it.

 

 
It’s fun, but it doesn’t touch Jesse Jackson’s infamous read of the book on Saturday Night Live in 1991:
 

 
Another winning contender in the Green Eggs and Ham-off is “Weird Al” Yankovic, whose response to a fan letter asking him to read the book on TV is hilarious:
 

 
I will not include Ted Cruz in this roundup. This is Dr. Seuss, we need to keep this dignified and respectful, please.

Via Metafilter

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Terrifying, vivid portents of doom from 16th-century Germany
01.24.2014
04:05 pm

Topics:
Art
Books

Tags:

Book of Miracles
 
Wow! Apparently, someone in Bavaria a very, very long time ago wanted to scare the living daylights out of a bunch of people. These astonishing gouache and watercolor paintings, commissioned by an unknown patron around 1552 in Augsburg, Germany, depict flying dragons, two-headed beasts, armored cupids (!), fire and brimstone, the whole kit and caboodle of the End of Days. They were discovered quite recently and sold at auction a mere six years ago.

I wish I could read these; I can understand German, but centuries-old portentous religious texts expose the limits of my paltry fluency. Fortunately, we have Joshua P. Waterman, who helped compile 169 (!) of these phantasmagorical images for the recently published Book of Miracles, to guide us:
 

The unidentified patron who commissioned this manuscript wanted to create a stunning visual experience…. The Protestant viewer would have reflected on the greater significance of these wonders: Why are there dragons in the sky? Why does it rain blood? Why are there three suns overhead? We know from contemporary sources that the answer was general: Things are wrong in the world. Repent and prepare for the end times, which are possibly now.

They implied moral improvement could mark a path not only to a better existence on earth, but also eternal life. Unfortunately, the catastrophes in the book—earthquakes, floods, storms, fires, and volcanic eruptions—are still all too relevant. Let’s hope instead that 2014 brings harmless wonders such as battles of celestial armies, which was the 16th-century interpretation of northern lights, and maybe some sword-wielding comets.

 
 
The Taschen book must be quite an impressive volume: the list price is $150, but at Amazon it’s a veritable steal at $101.12. Me, I’ll wait for the inevitable HBO series.
 
Book of Miracles
 
Book of Miracles
 
Book of Miracles
 
Book of Miracles
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Page 30 of 73 ‹ First  < 28 29 30 31 32 >  Last ›