"‘She wants to be very, very thin,’ said Richard… ‘she wants to become a bug and live on the air… and a drop or two of nectar. She thinks- she sometimes thinks- she was meant to be born an insect.’"

— Edith Pearlman, Honeydew (via brightlightsandpapercuts)

(via brightlightsandpapercuts-deacti)

beauxland:

“Cornelia had had her eye on it for years. It reminded her of the cottage of a gnome. “Guhnome,” Aunt Shelley used to miscorrect. The other houses in the loose settlement by the pond were darkly weathered wood, but Cornelia’s was made of the local pale gray granite, sparkling here and there with…


- Edith Pearlman, “Self-Reliance,” Binocular Vision, 2011

Lookout Books’ Guide to Valentine’s Day Pt 2

In the second part of our literary Valentine’s Day series, we’re suggesting taking your loved ones out on a literary date. The North Castle Public Library’s Olde Firehouse book club is meeting tonight in Upstate New York to talk about “the dilemmas of Jewish love stories.”

But in case you can’t get there by tonight, find a local reading. You can find a calendar at Poets & Writers, your library, community centers, colleges, and city listings.

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Ben Miller’s book, River Bend Chronicle, just arrived to us on the delivery truck!

Ben Miller’s book, River Bend Chronicle, just arrived to us on the delivery truck!

Wow! I can’t believe the Fall semester here at Lookout Books has come to an end. We’re a teaching press (as you probably know already). Our staff is almost entirely made up of graduate students doing design, marketing, editing, blogging, social media, and way more.
As blog editor, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with our current staff: Joe Worthen, Katie Jones, Ethan Warren, Anna Sutton, and Ana Alvarez. I’d like to thank them for their hard work and take a brief moment to re-cap my favorite blog posts this semester:
The Five Best H.P. Lovecraft Book Covers - Joe Worthen 
Five of the Very Greatest Writers’ (Moustaches) - Ethan Warren 
4 Poets I Would Elect to Be President of the United States and the Subsequent Consequences of Their Presidency - John Mortara 
Dispatches from Old Books on Front St. - Anna Sutton 
Literary Playlist - Ana Alvarez 
Recommended Recommendations - Katie Jones
Also, I’d like to give you a little preview of what’s to come from Lookout Books in Spring 2013!
Ben Miller’s debut memoir, River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa will be released March 12, 2013! 
Thanks to a generous grant from the NC Arts Council, Ben Miller and John Rybicki will tour North Carolina - any booksellers or writing groups interested in hosting? Contact us! 
Our next project will be an best-of anthology of pieces from Ecotone's first 15 issues
Finally, we’ll be at AWP 2013 with bells on - come see us! We’ll be at the bookfair and the following events:
A Tribute to Edith Pearlman
The Debut Voices of UNCW’s Lookout Books
Small Presses Win Big: Publishers Sound Off on Their National Book Award Winners and Finalists
Andre Dubus III & Edith Pearlman: A Reading and Conversation
Much love and all the best,
- John Mortara, Lookout Intern

Wow! I can’t believe the Fall semester here at Lookout Books has come to an end. We’re a teaching press (as you probably know already). Our staff is almost entirely made up of graduate students doing design, marketing, editing, blogging, social media, and way more.

As blog editor, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with our current staff: Joe Worthen, Katie Jones, Ethan Warren, Anna Sutton, and Ana Alvarez. I’d like to thank them for their hard work and take a brief moment to re-cap my favorite blog posts this semester:

Also, I’d like to give you a little preview of what’s to come from Lookout Books in Spring 2013!

Finally, we’ll be at AWP 2013 with bells on - come see us! We’ll be at the bookfair and the following events:



Much love and all the best,

- John Mortara, Lookout Intern

Top 5 Unreliable Narrators - Ethan Warren, Lookout Intern

I love unreliable narrators. They call attention to something interesting about fiction, and writing in general—we’re all unreliable. We process the world through our own lenses, and any story we tell is implicitly our version of events, no matter how fair and balanced we try to be. Nonetheless, some narrators are more unreliable than others, so here are five examples of narrators at their most unreliable.
 

1. Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Holden is far from the earliest example of an unreliable narrator, but he’s the one that always pops into my mind first, and I bet I’m not alone on that. Holden has a giant chip on his shoulder, and he doesn’t care about being fair to the people he’s telling you about. Everyone’s a phony to him, and if they have their own side to the story, he doesn’t particularly care.
 

2. The Narrator, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

I’ll try to avoid spoilers here, but I guess I should throw up a mild SPOILER ALERT just in case. The Narrator is an interesting case, in that during the story he doesn’t know he’s unreliable—he’s unreliable even to himself—but by the time he’s telling the story, he knows, so as a storyteller he’s aware of his unreliability, and he teases the reader until that big twist ending that forces you to reevaluate everything that’s come before. It’s self-aware narrators like this that can give the unreliable narrator a bad name, but I don’t mind being tricked for a while. Unreliability can be more fun anyway.
 

3. Christopher Boone, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

If Fight Club’s narrator doesn’t know he’s unreliable until the end of the story, Christopher never realizes his unreliability at all, even as it’s completely obvious to the reader that he’s filtering the story through his own lens—in this case, his clear but never-specified placement on the autism spectrum. In fact, Christopher would probably say he’s absolutely reliable, because he tells everything at face value, as it appears to him. But due to his inability to understand the emotional implications of what the people around him say and do, we can never be quite sure what he isn’t telling us.
 

4. Benjy Compson, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Like Christopher, Benjy’s unreliability comes from his own psychological diagnosis—he’s profoundly developmentally delayed. Also like Christopher, he’s not aware of his unreliability—he tells his story in the way it makes sense to him, which happens to be completely out of chronological order. This makes Benjy’s section of The Sound and the Fury one of the most challenging pieces of writing in American literature, but Benjy speaks with no prejudices, making him able to provide insights other characters might avoid or miss entirely. Somehow, his unreliability makes him more reliable than someone without his condition could be.
 

5. Pretty Much Everyone, The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales is a book about storytelling, with over twenty narrators, all of them unreliable in their own ways. Some of them, like The Wife of Bath, start off with prologues meant to establish their credibility, but their claims of reliability are usually overshadowed by their clear biases, and their desire to make themselves sound wise and experienced tend to color all the points they try to make. And the tales the characters choose to tell usually reveal even more about the teller—the way they tell their tales show those biases just as clearly as their own prologues. You don’t have to be telling your own story to be an unreliable narrator. 

thepenguinpress:

Shortlist has a great collection of redesigned book covers. Here are a few of our favorites…

There are some excellent designs here! Great seeing these old classics get some new looks!

I tend to get work done while listening to music… possibly to the chagrin of the Lookout Books crew. Sorry, guys. Recently, I’ve been trying to combine the two by finding songs or artists with literary themes. Here’s a list of book-related music I’m listening to this week:

A few song titles to fit the mood…

  • Wrapped Up in Books by Belle & Sebastian 
     
  • Books Written for Girls by Camera Obscura 

A nicely named album or concerto titles that seem appropriate for reference…

  • Album: Libraries by The Love Language
     
  • Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 17 “The Tempest”

And, of course, band names!

  • Titus Andronicus
     
  • Ivan & Alyosha (And if you can’t get enough Dostoyevsky, check out their song called Fathers be Kind.)

What book-related music do you listen to?


- Ana Alvarez, Lookout Books Intern

(Source: Spotify)

Poet John Rybicki, breathing life into desolation

A powerful silence graced the room as Rybicki weaved through anecdotes of time spent with his wife and passages from his books. As he finished, most felt not a deafening sense of sorrow but rather a promised notion of his fortitude in overcoming a grave loss.
“He makes his poems out of true feeling — he lives his poetry,” said creative writing professor Robert Fanning, who introduced Rybicki to an audience of more than 100. “He’s doing things that are so far beyond what we can do in our best hour with our sharpest pen.”

This excellent article was published by CMU’s student-run publication, Grand Central Magazine. Read onward (more photos included).

Poet John Rybicki, breathing life into desolation

A powerful silence graced the room as Rybicki weaved through anecdotes of time spent with his wife and passages from his books. As he finished, most felt not a deafening sense of sorrow but rather a promised notion of his fortitude in overcoming a grave loss.

“He makes his poems out of true feeling — he lives his poetry,” said creative writing professor Robert Fanning, who introduced Rybicki to an audience of more than 100. “He’s doing things that are so far beyond what we can do in our best hour with our sharpest pen.”


This excellent article was published by CMU’s student-run publication, Grand Central Magazine. Read onward (more photos included).

You may have noticed that Lookout is celebrating Banned Books Week, which runs from September 30 – October 6.Here in Wilmington, Old Books On Front St. hosted a Banned Books Read-In on October 1st. The YouTube channel Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out features readers “exercising their First Amendment Right to read a banned book.” Hopefully many readers across the U.S. have been spending this week feeling grateful for—and inspired by—the opportunity to read banned books and fight back against the egregious acts of censorship that have prevented many readers from accessing these titles.
The American Library Association (ALA) explains that at least 326 books were removed from or challenged by U.S. schools and libraries in 2011. Sadly, they also estimate that 70 – 80 percent of acts of censorship go unreported. From Call to the Wild to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to To Kill a Mockingbird, some of our nation’s beloved classics have done time on institutional ban lists. Literary censorship doesn’t stop with literature from the 19th and 20th centuries, however: contemporary books such as The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie were among the most challenged titles of 2011. (The ALA explains that “challenged” means an attempt by an individual or group to remove or limit access to a piece of literature. A “banning” occurs when that piece of literature is actually restricted by a particular institution.)
 If you’re wondering how you can participate in the fight for fair access to literature during Banned Books Week and beyond, here are some ideas:
1) Check out the 50 State Salute to discover events and ideas from every state
2) Participate in the Virtual Read-Out by submitting a video, promoting the cause through social media, and commenting on your favorite contributions.
3) Read widely and often! Banned, challenged, or not, being a proud visible reader makes an awesome statement.
4) Purchase—or check out from the library—books you know to have been challenged or banned. For ideas, download the National Council of Teachers of English list of challenged books.
5) Support your local schools and libraries by informing the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom if you hear about a challenge to a book in your community.
Remember, Banned Books Week only happens once a year as a way to raise awareness about book-banning and challenging, but it’s a relevant national and international issue every day of every year. Let your celebration of challenged, challenging, thought-provoking literature extend far beyond October 6! 
 - Katie Jones, Lookout Books Intern

You may have noticed that Lookout is celebrating Banned Books Week, which runs from September 30 – October 6.

Here in Wilmington, Old Books On Front St. hosted a Banned Books Read-In on October 1st. The YouTube channel Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out features readers “exercising their First Amendment Right to read a banned book.”

Hopefully many readers across the U.S. have been spending this week feeling grateful for—and inspired by—the opportunity to read banned books and fight back against the egregious acts of censorship that have prevented many readers from accessing these titles.

The American Library Association (ALA) explains that at least 326 books were removed from or challenged by U.S. schools and libraries in 2011. Sadly, they also estimate that 70 – 80 percent of acts of censorship go unreported. From Call to the Wild to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to To Kill a Mockingbird, some of our nation’s beloved classics have done time on institutional ban lists. Literary censorship doesn’t stop with literature from the 19th and 20th centuries, however: contemporary books such as The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie were among the most challenged titles of 2011. (The ALA explains that “challenged” means an attempt by an individual or group to remove or limit access to a piece of literature. A “banning” occurs when that piece of literature is actually restricted by a particular institution.)

 If you’re wondering how you can participate in the fight for fair access to literature during Banned Books Week and beyond, here are some ideas:

1) Check out the 50 State Salute to discover events and ideas from every state

2) Participate in the Virtual Read-Out by submitting a video, promoting the cause through social media, and commenting on your favorite contributions.

3) Read widely and often! Banned, challenged, or not, being a proud visible reader makes an awesome statement.

4) Purchase—or check out from the library—books you know to have been challenged or banned. For ideas, download the National Council of Teachers of English list of challenged books.

5) Support your local schools and libraries by informing the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom if you hear about a challenge to a book in your community.

Remember, Banned Books Week only happens once a year as a way to raise awareness about book-banning and challenging, but it’s a relevant national and international issue every day of every year. Let your celebration of challenged, challenging, thought-provoking literature extend far beyond October 6!

 - Katie Jones, Lookout Books Intern