Sunday, May 24, 2015

Zone by Mathias Enard

I've been reading Zone by Mathias Enard, tired sometimes and spacing out, but always some vivid description or series of incisive fused sentences (indeed) lures me back in. I'm experiencing it mainly as anti-war / anti-genocide and with some great literary references and anecdotes. Almost all of these, for better or worse, are to 20th Century European or American literature, but they are some fantastic ones, from Celine to the Beats and beyond.

So I recommend the book. It seems deserving of as many readers as Bolano, Knausgaard, and recent others from Europe whose longer works sold well in the states, yet the poor guy cannot even get a Wikipedia entry going.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Self-publishers only, need apply

Make way for a brick-and-mortar bookstore that only sells books by self-published authors!

Bring your own cushioned chair, brew your own coffee, read self-published fiction, hit the facilities, and, well, skip that, and then every six months, claim a large reserve against royalties or don't send yourself any at all!

It's literary paradise, with no wall of Knausgaard to smile at you on the way out the door.

On the other hand, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Martin Luther King, and Walt Whitman are among famous writers who self-published at least once, if not their entire work.

So feel free to free associate freely, and count the recent story of surveillance planes over Baltimore as proof that the authorities' publishers (read "New York") cannot be trusted. Indeed, they would censor away your very best sentences, so just like countless writers scribbling under the yoke of dictatorship in police states, your self-publication is insurrectionary literature (even if it has zombies in it).

So I'll just drive down to Florida, stroll into the store, and select my contemporary classic from current offerings on the shelf.

Welcome to literature, Gulf Coast!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

editing "Turquoise Truck" for Mendicant Bookworks

I received detailed edits for "Turquoise Truck," a car-lot e-single set to arrive from Mendicant Bookworks this summer, and I hope to return them soon.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Auggie's Revenge at Beating Windward Press

Beating Windward Press to Publish Alex Kudera’s Tragicomic Novel Illustrating
Precarious Times for College Adjuncts and Contract-Wage America.

APRIL 6, 2015, ORLANDO, FL: As the issue of destitute adjunct professors breaks into the mainstream with articles appearing in The New York Times, Al Jazeera, Salon, and The New Republic, Beating Windward is excited to publish Alex Kudera’s second adjunct novel, AUGGIE’S REVENGE this fall.

AUGGIE’S REVENGE is a satiric crime novel packed with small cons, betrayals, vigilante justice, stolen vegetables, and clandestine romance. Michael Vittinger is an adjunct philosophy instructor on his last contract and searching for a life worth living. Disenchanted with academia, he finds himself drifting into late-night supermarket friendship with Auggie, a man on the make, and Jonny November, a one-legged grifter who is Auggie's protector-mentor, of sorts. As the economic recession drags on and the marks dry up, the three plot to murder Auggie's abusive stepfather and divide Auggie’s rightful inheritance between them.

At 75,000 words, AUGGIE’S REVENGE offers a fast-paced thriller while illustrating some of the critical labor issues of the day.

Alex Kudera is a Philadelphia native who teaches contemporary literature at Clemson University in South Carolina. His debut novel, FIGHT FOR YOUR LONG DAY (Atticus Press) won the 2011 Independent Publishers Gold Medal for Best Fiction from the Mid-Atlantic Region. Reviews and interviews can be found in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Academe, and other locations.

Beating Windward Press is an independent publisher of novels, short story collections, and non-fiction. They are based in Orlando, Florida and produce 4 to 6 titles a year. Their books reflect the individual tastes of the small staff - mostly mainstream fiction with a literary edge. Print books are distributed internationally through Ingram; E-books are distributed in all e-reader formats through VitalSource and Smashwords. Matt Peters established Beating Windward Press in 2011. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans.

Visit and/or for updates or find Alex Kudera at #AWP15 Atticus Books Table 1840 from 12 to 2 p.m. on Saturday where he'll be visiting with Atticus's Dan Cafaro and other talented publishers leading the Indy literary scene.

Monday, February 2, 2015

the son's room

Last night's collection of Super Bowl advertisements included one that featured the death of a child, and I can see why folks would find such crass commercialization of tragedy disturbing. Alas, it also reminded me of an Italian film I saw in the theaters many years ago, and always look to recommend. The Son's Room has excellent cinematography, parallels the Raymond Carver story, "A Small Good Thing," and also contains a Carver poem in the middle. There are some comic moments, but I would not have guessed the director was considered "Italy's Woody Allen" as the IMDb link notes.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Turquoise Truck for Mendicant Bookworks

I'm excited to announce that in addition to published paperbacks of Over Fifty Billion Kafkas Served and Auggie's Revenge, I'll also have "Turquoise Truck," a car-lot story, published as a stand-alone e-book at Mendicant Bookworks by summer of 2015. Mendicant is known for gritty realism and has published Gerald Locklin, Mark SaFranko, Ben Tanzer, and other small-press stars in the past. This will be my second foray into the world of e-book singles; my first was a short novella (or long story), The Betrayal of Times of Peace and Prosperity.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

books: 20 + 1

Lying on my couch at an uncommon angle, I looked up at a shelf with a small selection of paperback fiction and saw these ten titles in order: Lorrie Moore's Anagrams, Toni Morrison's Beloved and Sula, Murakami's Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World, Arthur Nersesian's The Fuck Up and Chinese Takeout, Chris Offutt's Out of the Woods, Yuri Olesha's Envy, Pynchon's V, and Roth's The Human Stain.

I have so many books in storage and in piles on the floor or shelves in other rooms, yet, possibly, these ten represent in exacting proportion all the fiction I read. Having said that, I soon realize that 30% women might be high, sadly enough, and 20% in translation is low, I think, and it would be weighted more toward fiction from Europe and Russia, not 50/50 between Europe/Russia and Asia. Also, because I anticipated teaching contemporary literature, after 1945, when I drove down to South Carolina, I left most of my titles written before World War II in storage space in Philadelphia.

I do have the white whale and friends, Pierre, etc. on hand, at least a couple of the same Penguin paperback editions I read in college. Of the ten I just named, only Olesha's Envy is one I was assigned to read as an undergrad, but the copy on the shelf is one I procured years later. The British Picador paperback V is one of two editions I've owned, and I bought it in England when I was working as a busboy in Paris and then traveling in Europe the summer and autumn before the Berlin Wall fell. The Crying of Lot 49 rests on a different shelf where I keep the books I've been teaching most recently.

What's on the shelf above the first ten, you ask?

Ha Jin's Waiting, Denis Johnson's Angels and Jesus' Son, Edward P. Jones's Lost in the City, two different editions of James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and then four Kafka Schocken Classics w/Dad's Kunderas leaning against them. Kerouac's On the Road rests horizontally on top the paperbacks just named.

When Over Fifty Billion Kafkas Served, my bilingual stack of stories, arrives from Romania, I'll let the copy I keep rest in its alphabetical place, between Kafka and Kundera, on the higher plane of shelf.