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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Henri, le Chat Noir Will Obliterate the Feline Competition

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2013 at 10:31 AM

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New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.

Last week, the New York Times' Liesl Schillinger declared 2013 "The Year of the Cat," and the evidence suggests she is correct. Monopoly has ousted the flatiron, aka nobody's favorite token, in favor of a silver cat. Grumpycats.com was in demand at South by Southwest. There are books on training cats, dealing with cat OCD, and getting inside a cat's brain.

And, of course, there is Vinecats.com.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Read Local: The End of San Francisco

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 9:30 AM

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New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore was barely legal when she sought refuge in San Francisco, but the now-infamous radical queer troublemaker was disappointed with what she found. In The End of San Francisco, a new book that is part memoir, part social history, Mattilda casts a critical eye on her time in the Bay Area. Over the last couple of weeks, we emailed about her new book, published by City Lights Bookstore.

This is a memoir written in the moment of tragedy, rather than at a safe distance. Traditionally, there's usually a good deal of seemingly necessary space between the actual life event and the process of committing it to the page. Was this a conscious decision?

Yes. I'm not interested in a safe distance, or in massaging the reader's allegedly fragile world view, like most memoirs insist on doing. I think this weakens the potential for honesty and depth of feeling. Memoir is an incredibly tired genre, taking the wildest, messiest, and most creative lives and turning them into laminated timelines. I wanted to create something more layered and intimate and explosive.

See also: Public Displays of Oddity

10 New and Forthcoming Books from City Lights

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Read Local: Public Displays of Oddity

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Tiled Steps, 2005, by Colette Crutcher and Aileen Barr, at Sixteenth Avenue and Moraga Street.
  • Tiled Steps, 2005, by Colette Crutcher and Aileen Barr, at Sixteenth Avenue and Moraga Street.

New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.

San Francisco might not be the cultural center of the world, but unlike Manhattan, we're surrounded by public art. The city's urban landscape reflects its citizens' celebration of diversity, creative energy, and political activism. Often commissioned or funded by the tireless efforts of the San Francisco Arts Commission, one can hardly walk a block without passing a sculpture garden, WPA mural, music venue, or photography exhibition.

What isn't always abundant, however, is how the work got there, but a new book from Bay Area publisher Heyday Press, San Francisco: Arts for the City: Civic Art and Urban Change, 1932-2012, fills that void. Writer Susan Wels begins with one of the San Francisco Arts Commission's first projects, the WPA murals at Coit Tower, once hotly contested, and concludes with the 2003 sculpture on the Embarcadero, Crouching Spider by Louise Bourgeois. Here are sample pages from a book that belongs on every San Franciscan's coffee table.

See also: The San Francisco Center for the Book

UC Press Highlights North Africa's Cultural Achievements

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Read Local: The San Francisco Center for the Book

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 3:31 PM

KOTA EZAWA, SAN FRANCISCO CENTER FOR THE BOOK
  • Kota Ezawa, San Francisco Center for the Book

New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.

No publisher in this city speaks to the mission of "Read Local" more than the San Francisco Center for the Book. Local publishing takes myriad forms throughout the 4,000 square-foot facility on Rhode Island Street, where books are made, exhibited, and sold. Ardent readers with artistic leanings can, and should, take one the 300 classes offered throughout the year, on everything from letterpress to tunnel books, but the nonprofit also promotes the craft of the handmade book through their own imprint. Every year, the SFCB sponsors an Artist-in-Residence, who devotes 12 months to producing a trade and deluxe edition of their project. The books are sold alongside the imprint's small plates edition series, four-inch square letterpress-printed books issued in editions of 100 signed and numbered copies.

Here are four beautiful, limited edition books produced by the SFCB:

See also:

McSweeney's Amy Fusselman Hits Hard

UC Press Highlights North Africa's Cultural Acheivements

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Read Local: UC Press Highlights North Africa's Cultural Achievements

Posted By on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM

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New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.

The published title may read Poems for the Millennium, but editors Pierre Joris and Habib Tengour spent years calling it Diwan Ifrikiya, a combination of the Arabic word for "a gather, a collection or anthology" and an Arabization of the Latin word "Africa." Whatever it is called, they hoped the fourth volume in this ongoing series will, to borrow a line from Frank O'Hara, satisfy readers who want to "see what the poets of North Africa are doing these days."

Read Also:

McSweeney's Amy Fusselman Hits Hard

Zest Books Makes Reading Fun For Teens

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Read Local: McSweeney's Amy Fusselman Hits Hard

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 3:07 PM

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New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.

I want to talk to my dad, but my dad is dead now. I know we can't have a regular conversation so I am trying to stay open to alternatives. I am trying to figure out other ways we can communicate.

In The Pharmacist's Mate and 8, Amy Fusselman takes on the dichotomy of life and death, parenthood and childhood. She does so in earnest language, presented in a slim, double-sided volume, and yet despite these familiar idioms and tropes, Fusselman had completely destabilized me just five pages in. I hardly knew what happened, only that I had been summarily reduced by a writer of disarming talent -- one I had never even heard of, but she knew me, alright, and I felt, rather creepily, desperate to know her.

See also: New York vs. San Francisco: Who Tops the Bestseller Lists

How to Be a Real Cook

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Read Local: Zest Books Make Reading Fun For Teens

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 9:00 AM

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New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.

Zest Books produces award-winning, nonfiction books for teens. They recently released Zoo Station, a book that has been a cult classic in Germany for 35 years, but much of their list is originally published titles on relationships, health, how-to, pop culture, school life, style, and true stories, like a newly launched line of memoirs and first-person accounts. Here's a look at five of their most interesting offerings.

See also:

Olivia Ngai on Publishing and How Bloggers Are Changing the Book World

Avant-Punk Puppets and Radical Reads

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Read Local: Olivia Ngai on Publishing and How Bloggers Are Changing the Book World

Posted By on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 7:30 AM

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New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.

Recent college graduates are struggling to enter just about every field, but book publishing is notoriously elitist, and has one of the highest attrition rates. As a reviewer, I often communicate with interns about logistics, but never before have I noticed the same intern's name pop up at totally different houses. Readers, meet the intrepid Olivia Ngai, an intern at both the publishing arm of City Lights and the lesser-known Zest, producer of books for teens.

See Also: Arion Press Transforms Books Into Works of Art
Avant-Punk Puppets and Radical Reads

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Read Local: Avant-Punk Puppets and Radical Reads

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 8:30 AM

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New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.

AK Press, a worker-run collective that publishes and distributes radical books and media, certainly exhibits the liberal ethos of the East Bay. Good luck calling and asking for the person in charge, because these self-proclaimed anarchists structure their Oakland workplace the same way they make their books: Collectively. Here's a sampling of their offerings, which includes books, video, audio, wearables, zines, periodicals, and more:

See Also: Arion Press Transforms Books into Works of Art
Everything You Want to Know About Asian Culture

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Read Local: Everything You Want to Know About Asian Culture

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 8:30 AM

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New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.

Chronicle Books and McSweeney's are the best-known publishing houses on the West Coast, but there are a proliferation of small presses in Northern California worth getting to know. Peter Goodman, the publisher of "quality books about Asia," was kind enough to speak with me about Stone Bridge Press, which he founded in 1989.

See Also: Arion Press Transforms Books into Works of Art

10 New and Forthcoming Books from City Lights

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"