&Now Unread To-Reads 

su(pe)rficial notes on some recent acquisitions

Stack of Newspapers

Chicago Loop

(c) 2006 Derek White

Went to the &Now Lake Forest Literary Festival last week. I came home with a lot of questions, like is the forest named after the lake or the lake after the forest? Seriously, lots of academic rhetoric went around that flew over my head, and I suppose this world needs the "smart people" to analyze and critique everything, but I'd prefer to just keep my untrained eyes and enjoy something not necessarily knowing why. Not that I even read a lot, or as much as I should, but going to this &Now thing definitely added some height to my to-read stack, and I met some cool folks en vivo. A lot of these acquisitions were trades for Calamari books which I was mongering. Oh, and I didn't snap any shots of the literary event itself, but these shots to the left are just some random flashes in and around Lake Forest and Chicago. Camille Bacos took pictures of faces.


As the rest of April progresses and I get around to reading these, I May fill in my 5 ˘ents on them:

  • The Quorum | Joshua Cohen (Twisted Spoon)—okay, so I didn't pick this one up at &Now, but it has been perched precariously on top of my stack and I have been awed by what I have read so far, especially the dream pieces. I imagine I will be coming back to this one for a while.

  • Cirque Du Calder | Jules Cuiff (Rogue Literary Society)so sue me, I didn't get this at &Now either. This is one of those books you covet without even breaking the spine (which was hand-made "using Asian techniques in the shaping of a hand-sewn artifact"). And don't be fooled by the author, it's yet another one of Norman Lock's literary pranks, with Faruk Ulay as his partner in crime. With an afterword by none other than Gordon Lish. My copy is #4, and I think Norman has the first 3, so if you're looking for true surreal circus adventure...

  • what begins with bird | Noy Holland (FC2)this one has been on my to get list as recommended by brother Markus, though actually he might have been talking about her first one. But when FC2 wanted to trade me for Markus' fish, I thought it only appropriate.

  • Retelling | Tsipi Keller (Spuyten Duyvil)Tsipi was mongering the Spuyten Duyvil wares, so when she wanted to trade for Sleepingfish 0.75 (which she got excited about because evidently she's a friend of Joshua Cohen, see above), this was the obvious choice that presented itself.

  • PP/FF | edited by Peter Conners (Starchereone)this one came in the mail while I was at &Now, but Starcherone (Ted Pelton) was at &Now, and I got the first glimpse, which besides my work, *ahem*, includes flashes by brother Markus, Gary Lutz, Brian Evenson, Brian Clements, Ander Monson, Joyelle McSweeney, Johannes Gorannson, Noah Eli Gordon, Stephen Ratcliffe, Daryl Scroggins, Anthony Tognazzini, Diane Williams, and many more. Its great to be between the covers with such fine company.

  • The Secret Service | Wendy Walker (Sun and Moon)this one is thick enough to venture into summer reading territory.

  • When the bluebird of happiness shits on your armpit by crazy S.O.B. Jirí Cęch (Jaded Ibis Productions)—this shit is über-hilarious, and its only the tip of the iceberg of Jirí's vast and jaded product line. Jirí's rebuttals to canned rejection letters were a refreshing anti-venom to all the stuffy rhetoric filling the air.

Also refreshing, were these crazy border-blurring Canadians who terrorized the quiet library by sticking a CD in a Microwave during their panel. I missed it because I was manning my table, but could smell it and enjoyed listening to the repercussions of the snooty academics wondering how burning stuff in microwaves qualified as literary. I think they were all with BookThug press, but it could be a case of guilt by association. Here's some books procured from them:

  • A Penny Dreadful | Gustave Morin (Insomniac Press)just flipping through this, some excellent collagic visuals. Geof Huth reviews it with some samples from it on his dbqp. Looking forward to spending more time with this one.

  • Atone Neither Overflowing Clause | AEM & Rob Read (Produce Press)—this is an irregular dimensioned book that I think has a metallic cover, but its hard to tell as it's covered with blood-colored paint or lacquer that chips off as you break open the pages. Inside it claims to be two novellas in the form of a play.

  • O Spam Poams | Rob Read (BookThug)i still haven't ripped the spam-can-like cover off this to sample the cured-meaty contents inside, but it bills itself as a 'treated' collection of email spam. Rob also gave me a little something to counterbalance that salty aftertaste: 18 Full English Breakfasts (Wood & Coal). 

  • The Windsor Salt (Common Ground)—this is an old (1998) possibly defunct or one-off literary magazine edited by Gustave Morin and a Mark Laliberte. If you google Windor Salt you get a Canadian salt company of the same name and product design, so maybe they graduated to the salt business! Or actually, ends up they were were inspired by this very salt company. A good anthropological cross-section of a scene. 

I also traded mIEKAL aND & co. for some of his fine Xexoxial publications, which all look visually stunning: 

  • Molecular Juice Glue | 1992 Dreamtime Corroboreethis is a collage of collages from a few dozen folks that got together for a relaxed rural retreat on "sustaining the hyperklture" in the Dreamtime Village. Even back in 1992 they were veterans at subverting the dominant paradigm and they are still going strong.

  • pleasure TEXT possession | Maria Damon & mIEKAL aND 

  • My Range | Serge Segay 

  • Sequencing | K.S. Ernst

Stay Tuned as I flesh these out as I actually "read" them, or unread them. As if. As if they were cats in a box ready to have their wave functions collapsed.