Coming to a Curbside Near You!

Curbside-splendor-Sq_LOGOIf you live in the Chicago area, you’ll soon be able to visit a brand new center of community and independent publishing, in the best form of all: a bookstore! This June, Curbside Splendor — a publisher of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that has celebrated its Chicago roots since its inception in 2009 — is opening “Curbside Books and Records.”

The store was first announced in a Publishers Weekly article on May 24. While it will carry titles by Curbside Splendor (like Mickey, which HBO-TV/Girls star Lena Dunham recently touted in her online newsletter), it will also feature titles by indie publishers across the nation, as well as regional titles and records produced by independent labels. Curbside Splendor doesn’t produce music, but some of their titles do celebrate the rich entertainment history in Chicago, such as The Empty Bottle Chicago, which chronicles the famous venue’s 20+ year life through stories, photos, and ephemera.

Independent bookstore, independent publishers, independent labels—you may be sensing a theme here. The emphasis on independently-produced goods is entirely intentional. The goal, according to Curbside Splendor publisher Victor David Giron, is to expose people to new and exciting literature and music, to lift up voices and experiences that can get lost in chain bookstores and big business publishers.

The bookstore will be located inside a café in Revival Food Hall, a showcacover-draft-Chelsea9se for local chefs from 15 Chicago restaurants, which features communal seating and a wine bar that opens in the evenings. It’s not your average bookstore locale, and that was also an intentional choice.

“It won’t be a traditional bookstore,” Giron said. “The idea is that it’s going to fit into a larger communal space; it’s going to be part of this community center.”

Revival Food Hall is located near the famous Michigan Avenue, a commercial and cultural hotspot, as well as near several schools, including the School of the Chicago Art Institute, Columbia College, and Roosevelt University. In the future, Giron hopes to tap into the talent in MFA programs there to schedule programming and community events.

Is it July yet? We can’t wait! Congratulations, Curbside Splendor! Chicago is lucky to have you.

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Entertainment Weekly Highlights the Two New Emcees Taking to the Page in 2016

Two weeks ago, Book Expo America took over Chicago for three whole days of galley signing, panels, raffles, and more. When all was said and done, nearly 20,000 people attended. For those of us who missed the fun, Entertainment Weekly provided a handy-dandy recap of the “11 Best Things We Saw at BEA.” Clocking in at #6 were two new dynamite female MCs: one, the fictional Rani Patel of Cinco Puntos Press’s Rani Patel in Full Effect; the other, real-life poet/playwright/role model Chinaka Hodge, author of Dated Emcees from City Lirani patelghts Books.

Lee Byrd, one of the publishers of Cinco Puntos Press, knew from the beginning that Rani Patel in Full Effect was a special book.

“Publishing is like writing, an act of self-discovery,” Byrd said. “Every book we’ve acquired has taken us on a journey, to places we’ve never been before. And oh, the places Rani Patel in Full Effect has taken us, starting with the title — did I even know what ‘in full effect’ meant before I met Rani Patel?”

sonia patelEvery epic female character comes from an equally epic author. Sonia Patel may have a day job as a psychiatrist, but by night, she goes to underground hip-hop clubs, dances, and spits bars with the best of them. Don’t believe it? Check out this clip of her rapping some of Rani’s lines from the book in character, which Patel says helped a lot with her writing process.

Patel isn’t the only impressive author bringing a wide range of skills to the table. Poet, educator, playwright, and screenwriter — Chinaka chinaka hodgeHodge can and does it all. If you think you’ve heard her name before, it may be from the collaborative hip-hop ensemble she helped form, The Getback. Maybe you know her from the experimental play she wrote in 2010, which starred Daveed Diggs, the Tony-nominated actor from Broadway hit Hamilton. Or maybe it’s because she was on not one, but two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry. Her list of credits and accolades goes on and on, and it’s well-deserved.

Elaine Katzenberger, the publisher at City Lights Books, has been a fan of Hodge’s work since the beginning.

dated emcees“I first became aware of Chinaka Hodge’s talent when she was a teenaged writer in the Youth Speaks program. In a room full of eloquent and charismatic young spoken word poets, she stood out in a way that demanded recognition: here was a voice to reckon with,” said Elaine Katzenberger, the publisher at City Lights Books. “Publishing Chinaka Hodge’s first collection of poems here at City Lights is a hugely exciting moment for all of us, and I personally couldn’t be more proud of this book and this author.”

Mark your calendars – Rani Patel makes her debut on October 11, and Chinaka Hodge’s book is available starting May 24!

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Publishers Weekly Highlights the Limitless Language of NubeOcho

nubeochoWith advances in technology making it easy to communicate with people all around the world, the importance of learning a second language is often stressed young. Books are a crucial component in language learning, but where can you find good non-English-language reads that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to have shipped?

Enter NubeOcho.

On April 29, Publishers Weekly online featured six different international publishers who are bringing Spanish language books to an American market, including NubeOcho.

NubeOcho was founded in 2012 in Madrid, with an international focus from the very beginning. Their mission is to publish picture books that deal with topics relevant to kids all around the world, such as diversity, inclusion, and competitiveness. Through reading, NubeOcho believes, children can learn to navigate their way through new experiences and know that they’re never alone. As editorial director Luis Amavisca told Publishers Weekly, the “books promote respectful attitudes towards all types of diversity. . . [in] a playful medium that makes it easier to engage.”

With such universal themes, it’s only natural for NubeOcho to distribute their books internationally. Most of NubeOcho’s books are published in Spanish, but, to make them more accessible, the publisher decided to use the more common Latin American Spanish instead of Spaniard Spanish. A few of their titles are bilingual (including Princess Li/La Princesa Li), and many of them are translated into English in addition to their Spanish editions.

There’s no fear here of any of the whimsical magic of NubeOcho’s books being lost in translation. Accolades for the vibrant picture books have been rolling in from internagalinostional and U.S. trade publications. One of the most popular titles from 2016 is The Galinos (or, in Spanish, Los Galinos), the story of a group of aliens from the planet Gala who learn the consequences of taking Mother Nature for granted. The May 1 issue of School Library Journal raved that The Galinos was “an environmentally conscious and thought-provoking story.” On April 1, Kirkus Reviews highlighted another of NubeOcho’s spring 2016 titles, Carlota Wouldn’t Say Boo, saying that “the whimsical, tongue-in-cheek narration asks readers questions . . . and adds little asides . . . making readers feel the story is being told just to them.”

Transcending boundaries to reach out to one and all – isn’t that what publishing is all about? Bravo, NubeOcho!

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Thinking Big Thoughts: An Interview With Charlie Quimby

Author Charlie Quimby swung by the Consortium offices today to sign advance copies of his newest novel, Inhabited, a sister novel to his earlier work, Monument Road, both from Torrey House Press. While visiting, we got to sit down with him and talk about writing, roots, and radical change.

charliequimbyWhat inspired you to write this book?

Inhabited came from two sources. Once I finished Monument Road, I discovered I had a lot more to say about that place, its culture, and the sort of colonial relationship it has with the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, I was blogging about some volunteer work I do in a Minnesota family shelter and a Colorado day center for homeless adults. I considered a nonfiction book project about homelessness, but I couldn’t find a satisfactory balance between the factual and emotional dimensions, the big forces driving homelessness and the intimate realities of people’s lives.

So I chose to dramatize the complexity of what I was experiencing and free myself from making a particular case. The values collisions that occur in Inhabited are not just about homelessness. They express a common search for belonging, for feeling secure, for overcoming our bad luck and bad choices—the stuff of novels.

What is it about the West as a setting that draws you?

I grew up there, so it’s in my bones, and fiction writers draw from that bone place.

But I also write about the region because it contains so many contradictions. The West’s beautiful, dramatic places draw people who then find out they can’t eat the scenery. It’s home to this libertarian myth of self-sufficiency, while being dependent on the federal government and outside money—tourists and extraction industries. Class warfare plays out differently there. And that landscape! You can’t spend any time in the West without thinking big thoughts about your place in creation.

How did you come to work with Torrey House?

They’re based in the intermountain region and they have a mission to conserve the earth—especially the imperiled lands of the West. We batted eyes across a crowded literary room and recognized each other as people who shared a set of values. We’d love to move lots of books but we’re even more interested in moving hearts and minds.

Are you currently on tour?inhabited charlie quimby

I’m planning for the October launch of Inhabited, and I’m excited that we’ll be doing a swing west from Minneapolis to Denver and Tacoma for Heartland, Mountains and Plains and the Pacific Northwest book shows. Right now, it looks like there’ll be bookstore stops in Utah and Colorado and the Bay Area, before I return to Minnesota. I’ll have the events schedule up at charliequimby.com as soon as the major dates are finalized.

Any sneak peeks at what you’re working on now?

Let’s just say I’m mining another claim somewhere out west. It may have something to do with how, after your first couple hundred million, you buy a ranch with perfect picture-window views of the mountains so you can pretend you’re a conservationist. I haven’t decided yet if it’s a satire or a tragedy.

That’s some pretty powerful stuff to look forward to. Thank you, Charlie Quimby, for your time and your work!

Inhabited will be published on October 11, 2016. In the mean time, find out where to purchase Monument Road and other titles here on the Consortium website.

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Flying Eye, Flying High: What to Look Forward to From Nobrow Press in 2016

nobrowlogoOn April 19, 100 Scope Notes, a School Library Journal blog which highlights the latest and the greatest in children’s literature, interviewed Tucker Stone of Nobrow Press and its children’s book imprint, Flying Eye Books. They talked about shaving beards, smartmouth mice, and, of course, books, giving us a preview of all of the excitement we can look forward to from Flying Eye Books in 2016!

Since its creation in 2013, Flying Eye Books has proved to be a force to be reckoned with: racking up starred reviews, bestsellers, and awards (including two nominations in 2016 alone for the Eisner Awards) for its authors and illustrators alike, and the 2016 titles look to be no different. While, as a self-defined “visual publishing house,” Flying Eye is known for its stunning visuals that appeal to readers of all ages, they also gravitate towards producing works with important messages. The message of this season? Empathy and compassion.

“The world feels like a difficult place to live in right now,” Stone said, “and we have to find a way to share the space.”

Francesca Sanna’s The Journey, which publishes Septembjourneyer 13, is just one of Flying Eye’s titles this season which represents that timely drive.

“It’s a picture book for young children about a family of refugees abandoning their homeland due to the war that, among other things, takes their father. It’s particularly inspired by the experience of Syrian refugees, but also incorporates the journeys that have had to be undertaken by the people of Somalia, Tibet and Eritrea,” Stone said. “I can’t imagine anyone walking away from this book without being stirred up by it.”

hilda and the stoneThis year is also one of what Stone called “triumphant returns,” including new books from the beloved Hilda and Professor Astro Cat series (Hilda and the Stone Forest and Professor Astro Cat’s Atomic Adventure, respectively); exciting additions to their nonfiction animal books (including Wild Animals of the North and One Day on Our Blue Planet… In the Antarctic); and a gorgeous new title from William Grill (The Wolves of Currumpaw), winner of the 2015 Kate Greenaway Medal (for illustration). In 2016, Flying Eye Books will also be reissuing some beloved children’s titles from the 1950s and 1960s, such as Helen Borten’s Do You See What I See? and Do You Hear What I Hear?.

Whether you’re a nonfiction aficionado or a regular comic book fiend, both Nobrow Press and Flying Eye Books are sure to have something for you this season!

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The FADER Sees the Fearlessness of Koyama Press

KoyamaPressWe’ve written about Annie Koyama before: about the playful and innovative comics she publishes at Koyama Press, about her unusual entrance into the world of publishing, even about her quirky bookshelf. But we just can’t get enough. Her story is so inspiring that notable music magazine the FADER branched out from its usual subject matter to interview Koyama on April 29.

The article opens with the accurate claim that Koyama Press’s origin story “could easily be the plot of one of the poignant autobiographical comics it publishes”: Annie Koyama, whose background is in film production, started the press on a whim after undergoing major brain surgery for a terminal aneurysm in 2007. The life-saving surgery spurred Koyama to delve into something she felt truly passionate about, so she began funding Toronto artists’ comics, publishing them, and taking none of the profits in return. Her generous spirit allowed little-known cartoonists, who were frequently snubbed by larger publishers, the validation and exposure she felt they deserved. As the FADER puts it, “her commitment to taking risks on emerging artists reflected an ongoing paradigm shift affecting the way alternative comics are produced and consumed,” and as a result, Koyama Press has become “one of the most important forces in independent comics” around today.

Even though Koyama is currently living with a second, inoperable brain aneurysm, she continues to push forward with Koyama Press and remains committed to diversity. As she9781927668276 told the FADER, “we live in a multicultural society and we need more artists telling their stories well—from every background.” She laments that finding a vast audience for alternative comics is still “an uphill battle,” but some of the attention Koyamobscenitya Press has gotten lately should help. The A.V. Club provided an exclusive preview of upcoming Koyama titles Gorgeous and What Is Obscenity?. Check out the previews here and here, respectively. Both books come out on May 10, and they’re just a few of the many wonderful things we know are in store for Annie Koyama and her press in the future.

 

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With Book Love to Mom

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a mother in possession of one or more children must be a superhero. That’s how the Jane Austen quote goes, right? In the United States, we’re celebrating all mothers on Sunday, May 8th. From CEOs to stay-at-home types, from soccer moms to PTA-faithfuls, from teachers to carpenters to scientists and more, no two moms are alike. Finding a Mother’s Day gift that fits your mom(s) just right can feel like an impossible task.

That’s why we’ve made this special “Mom Edition” round-up of titles sure to pique the interest of even the most one-of-a-kind moms. They’ll be sure to thank you for your thoughtful gift, if they can stop reading long enough!

If your mother is the hippie gardener type…

soil sistersSoil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers (New Society Publishers) by Lisa Kivirist is a practical, hands-on guide for female farmers. Women in agriculture are sprouting up in record numbers, but they face a host of distinct challenges and opportunities. Blending career advice with sustainable agriculture practices viewed through a gender lens, Soil Sisters provides a wealth of invaluable information for fledging female farming entrepreneurs.

If your mother likes to use the word “patriarchy” in everyday conversation…

Men Explain Things to Me (Hamenexplainymarket Books) by Rebecca Solnit is a landmark essay collection based on the article that went viral, inspired the word “mansplaining,” and prompted fierce arguments. In Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit takes on the conversations between men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don’t. The ultimate problem, she shows in her comic, scathing essay, is female self-doubt and the silencing of women.

If your mother knows “home” is a complicated word…

miles between meMiles Between Me (Curbside Splendor) is Toni Nealie’s debut essay collection. New Zealand native Nealie examines journeys, homelands, family, and motherhood. She details humiliating confrontations with airport security, muses on the color brown, and intimately investigates her grandfather’s complicated and criminal past, all while hearkening home—wherever and whatever that is.

If your mother knows that “family” isn’t just biological…

the mothersThe Mothers (Text Publishing) by Rod Jones is a moving multi-generational story of motherhood, adoption, and the inescapable presence of the past in all our lives. The Mothers interweaves the lives of three generations of women who learn that it’s often the stories we can’t tell that shape us and make us who we are. Rod Jones’ writing has been praised by the New York Times as “utterly original.”

If your mother was an English major…

you should pityYou Should Pity Us Instead (Sarabande Books) by Amy Gustine is a collection of short stories that explore love in its many guises—family, romance, friendship. You Should Pity Us Instead explores some of our toughest dilemmas: the cost of Middle East strife at its most intimate level, the likelihood of God considered in day-to-day terms, the moral stakes of family obligations, and the inescapable fact of mortality. Gustine’s complex characters and thoughtful turn-of-phrase will make you want to read this book again and again.

If your mother knows her way around a kitchen torch…

Little Flower Baking (Prospect Park Books) by Christinlittle flower bakinge Moore, is a collection of recipes from one of California’s most acclaimed bakers, all adapted and carefully tested for the home cook. Extensively photographed and rich with Moore’s down-home warmth and wisdom, it inspires home cooks to make her rustically beautiful, always delicious cookies, cakes, pastries, savory baked goods, breads, rolls, bars, puddings, and so much more.

If your mother is a runway star no matter where she goes…

ysl coloringYves Saint Laurent Coloring Book (Arsenal Pulp Press) has been heralded by BuzzFeed as the “Chicest Stress-Reliever Ever”. This elegant, imaginative adult coloring book explores the dynamic, fanciful creations of iconic fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. The book’s line drawings for coloring are based on many of the designer’s original sketches for dresses over the years, accompanied by full-color photos of original dresses for reference.

 

Find out where to purchase Soil Sisters, Men Explain Things to Me, Miles Between Me, The Mothers, You Should Pity Us Instead, Little Flower Baking, and Yves Saint Laurent Coloring Book here on the Consortium website!

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