I do my best to write the Litblog Roundup on a bi-weekly basis. This time around, I think to myself: well holy shit could any pair of two weeks possibly be any more different from each other! I’ll do my best to recap, but I can’t promise to be apolitical. It simply wasn’t an apolitical pair of weeks.
I’m just going to put this here…
Something about the current mood has me recalling the “alternative” music of days gone by. It was a time when, after decades of Reagan and Bush, the word “underground” may have actually meant something, too. It took a while for the frustration to give way to hope, however briefly. During that time, there were songs like this. Nobody should ever have to live in a world like the one this song describes.
The angels all have guns now
The angels aren’t anyone you’d want to pray to
No-one here has goals[…]
The ambitions are
Wake up breathe keep breathing
What’s “Alternative” Anyway?
Surely you heard the endless spin about “post-truth” and “alternative facts” lately. What caught my ear about these buzzwords though is the revised use of the word “alternative.” Maybe my bubble’s just popped, or maybe something really has changed, but I always thought that the word “alternative” was akin to words like “progressive.” To me, it seemed that with “alternative” music for example the word had been associated with something less-corporate, closer to the source of its creation, and somehow innovative. Now, the word “alt-right” is associated with something more corporate, more autocratic, and somehow millitaristic. Is it even the same word anymore? Where am I going with this?
The Guardian has a recent article about the effect that the alt-right is having on the publishing industry. It seems that, whether its because of a love for the ideas being published, or maybe there’s a “know your enemy” sensibility behind it, there’s a growing phenomenon of rightwing publishing.
Part of the success of rightwing publishing rests with the fact that while the left, diverse and fractious, reads across a larger group of authors, conservatives tend to focus on a few big names. Book-business execs can’t say no to the cash cows this herding breeds, no matter if it offends their more genteel sensibilities.
Don’t Read That. Read This.
Maybe you’re not a lifelong member of the aforementioned “know your enemy” camp, and the recent Women’s March has you curios to know more. Elle Magazine has you covered, with “Read This Before You March: A Syllabus to Contextualize the Women’s March on Washington.” Pass it on.
Feel Like Cussing These Days?
If recent events have you reaching for your copy of the Profanisaurus then you’ll want to catch your breath while you enjoy the New York Review of Books’ precient review ‘Fuck’-ing Around. It’s a review of What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves. Enjoy.
Have you heard of micro-presses? You probably have heard of them, but maybe not by that name. In any case, Book Riot has an interview that says “It’s Time to Talk About Micro Presses.” Like so many terms, “Micro Press” is a bit difficult to define clearly, but…
Here are some of the things most people seem to agree on:
- The main criteria is that the books are published in limited releases – no more than 300 copies for handmade chapbooks and 500 for spine bound (glued).
- They are run by one-two people, usually out of their homes
- University Presses are not micro presses
- Chapbook Presses are closely associated with poetry, but they also publish all kinds of fiction, essays and even comics.