Today is the official release date of Ben Miller’s River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa. This weekend, Steve Almond said that he read his copy of RBC while commuting to and from work. Three times in one week, he missed his stop because he was so engrossed in the book.
To celebrate all our authors reading together for the firs time, we’ve been working on a limited edition booklet to feature work from the four Lookout authors, called Debut Voices of Lookout Books. (Come see them, Friday 1:30PM and then to the book signing after at table A6/A7.) We wanted to design a unique glyph to represent a component of each author’s work and would be used on the covers and interiors of the chapbook.
We read the stories and poems and picked elements from each that spoke to us. Then we studied images of each element, and, using the pen tool in Photoshop, recreated their lines and curves, filling them in with the tone and emotion of the stories. Here is what we came up with.
With the March 12 release of Ben Miller’s River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll Amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa, the Lookout interns wanted to celebrate five strong memoirs about place.
Only three are listed here since River Bend Chronicle is a soon-to-be fourth. (Rounding out our list will be the forthcoming joint effort by Lookout Interns and PubLab TAs that will focus on lives subject to the cruel whim of the Adobe Creative Suite and there’s always a disturbing amount of doughnuts.)
In celebration we assembled gift boxes to bookstores, including a copy of River Bend Chronicle, a reading guide, a bow tie button, postcards, Ben’s personal map of Davenport attractions—and, perhaps most touching, a note straight from Ben’s Royal typewriter.
We drew on the wild, memorable, pop-culture saturated prose stylings of Ben Miller. The inside lid of the box features an excerpt from “The Reinvention of Ice,” a chapter in which Ben recalls a classmate’s father’s big American invention: a mail-order ice rink, complete with tarp and spikes. Just hook up the hose and wait for frigid conditions!
Best of all the boxes look like the mail-order ice rink as it’s described in “The Reinvention of Ice.” Check out a few photos of the process.
So get ready, bookstores—they’re coming your way this week! (And there’s a good chance you’ll see these items at AWP, where we’re debuting River Bend Chronicle!)
Congratulations to Lookout’s next author, Ben Miller, on a terrific first review from Publishers Weekly. They call his memoir, River Bend Chronicle, “funny and beautifully crafted” and Miller “a canny portrait artist … [his] affecting chronicle reveals the often messy ways that families fall apart and the way that writing acts both as remembrance and redemption.” Available for pre-order: http://www.lookout.org/riverbendchronicle.htm. If you’re a bookseller or reviewer and would like an advance copy, let us know.