Content Tagged ‘Lookout Books’

Lit News Roundup

Happy Halloween! For this week’s Roundup, we’ve compiled all the spookiest literary news in honor of this sugar-filled holiday, as well as an introduction to Lookout’s next author, Matthew Neill Null!

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Still undecided on your costume for tonight? Be inspired by this infographic courtesy of Electric Literature. (Although, come to think of it, Sontag’s teddy bear suit might prove a little difficult to pull off at the last minute.)

Handing out candy to the tykes? The Washington Post’s Joe Heim revisits an interview with Lookout author Steve Almond about this book Candyfreak—“a must-have hymnal for anyone who worships confection in all its forms”—and finds out what your go-to candy really says about your personality. The results are more frightening than you think!

The folks over at Uproxx suggest ditching the candy entirely and handing out comic books instead. May we suggest books for every holiday?

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“The Junction” by David Means on Recommended Reading

“The Junction” by David Means on Recommended Reading

Lit News Roundup

As always in our weekly Lit News, we round up the headlines and vital discussions in literature and publishing arts, and also announce Lookout and Ecotone author kudos.

Emma Straub suggestedTen Books To Read If You’re Not Traveling This Summer” for Publishers Weekly and included at #3 Arcadia by Lauren Groff, who has a story in Astoria to Zion.

More than dudes in tights or self-indulgent autobiography: at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Anne Elizabeth Moore considers journalistic nonfiction comics from California, Iceland, and Japan.

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Ben Miller, author of last year’s debut memoir in essays, River Bend Chronicle, has been selected as one of Radcliffe’s 2014–15 fellows and will have a year at Harvard’s institute for advanced study to shape a manuscript extending his investigation of the urban Midwest. Congratulations, Ben!

Last night at One Story’s annual Literary Debutante Ball in Brooklyn, two Ecotone contributors made their book debuts. Congrats to Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans, and Ben Stroud, author of Byzantium. We hope you both did it up last night! 

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AWP Video Series

During the AWP conference in February, three Ecotone contributors—Cary Holladay, Rebecca Makkai, and Shawn Vestal—gathered to help celebrate the publication of Astoria to Zion and were kind enough to sit down with us afterwards and discuss their stories in the anthology and the importance of place in their writing. Today we kick off this series with Cary Holladay, who talks about place, travel, and risk in her writing. Her story “Horse People” appears in Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade, published by Lookout Books (2014).

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Seven Questions for Brad Watson

This week longtime Ecotone contributor Brad Watson answers our Seven Questions and charms us with his distinctive humor and insight. His story “Alamo Plaza,” about a family’s vacation in Gulfport, Mississippi, is one of our favorites to appear in the magazine. It won a PEN/O. Henry and now has a permanent home in Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade.

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What books are open on your desk right now?

Geoff Schmidt’s story collection, Out of Time (my students are reading it); a biography of William James (suggested by your own David Gessner); my wife Nell Hanley’s cento manuscript; Meg Pokrass’s new flash collection, Bird Envy; Jamie Kornegay’s forthcoming novel, Soil; Chandler’s The Long Goodbye. And some others a bit further off to the side. A couple of student theses.

If you could change one thing about a classic work of literature, what would it be?

I’d have Huck give Tom what-for when he pulls those shenanigans at the end of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, instead of all that roundabout way of torturing Jim to achieve a phony redemption for Tom. A waste of time, and frustrating. Twain was self-publishing then, right? Well, he should have hired and trusted a good editor. Also, maybe a little more hoozah in that bed scene between Ishmael and Queequeg, don’t you think? It’s damn good as it is, but a devil in me wishes he’d pushed it a little further. Maybe just with dialog of some sort.

If you could spend a year writing anywhere in the world, where would it be?

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Seven Questions for Rebecca Makkai

In Seven Questions, we interview writers, editors, designers, and others in publishing. Today we welcome Rebecca Makkai to the blog. Her story “The Way You Hold Your Knife” first appeared in Ecotone and is now also in Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade.

What books are open on your desk right now?

I don’t read at my desk (I sit here enough as it is) so nothing’s open right now except the New Yorker, and only because I was messaging a friend to add to our ongoing conversation about the way the New Yorker is so unflattering in its physical descriptions of its subjects. Seriously, don’t ever give a quote to them or they’ll say you look like an angry rabbit with crooked teeth.

Where did the idea for “The Way You Hold Your Knife,” your story in Astoria to Zion, come from?

I was still teaching an elementary Montessori class at the time, and two of my students had chosen to do a report on bogs, which quickly turned into a report on bog mummies. Then I remembered a college professor telling a story about her grad school roommate, an archeology student who didn’t want to be buried in a grave but left somewhere unusual so she could give someone “the joy of discovery.” I put those together—along with some scandalous rumors from my undergraduate days—and had the makings of a really strange story.

If you could change one thing about a classic work of literature, what would it be?

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On Location with Lauren Groff

In our new department On Location, we feature photographs submitted by authors, artists, designers, and friends of Ecotone and Lookout, showcasing spaces that are meaningful to them, or that inspire their work—anything from a desk or bookshelves to a place they gather information. We’re pleased for Lauren Groff, whose beautiful story “Abundance” appears in Astoria to Zion, to kick off the series.

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Lauren Groff writes:

Ten years ago, my writing space had to be a separate room with a lockable door, chaise longue, bookshelf, and idea board. It had to be scrupulously neat. I refused to speak to anyone between waking and working; I’d brew a pot of coffee, lock the door, light a candle and meditate, then get started. If anyone had interrupted me, they’d have died a horrid death.

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Introducing “The Blue Tree” by Rick Bass

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Before relocating to North Carolina for graduate school this past summer, I lived for eight years in New York City. The city offered some of the world’s finest food and culture—four-star meals at Daniel, La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera House—but the one thing not readily accessible was natural beauty, though I tried hard to seek it out. My go-to spot was a small, nondescript bench at the peak of Fort Tryon Park, one of Manhattan’s highest points, where I could see the Hudson River laid plain. But as anybody in New York can tell you, nothing in the Big Apple comes easy, and enjoying the view was no exception. There were all manner of distractions to contend with: the endless noise of buses and trucks rumbling along the Henry Hudson Parkway a hundred feet below, the bleating of car horns, the smog roiling up from factory furnaces on the other side of the river bank. And yet if I sat there long enough, eventually the world would grow quiet, and I’d notice the elm tree branches overhead perfectly framing my view of the river.

The Blue Tree” by Rick Bass in Lookout’s recent anthology Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon asks how we hold just such a moment. In it, the main character, Wilson, struggles in nature as much as he enjoys it, and grapples with the impermanence of youth. The story begins with him, his wife, Belinda, and their two daughters, arriving at their cabin in the woods the day before Christmas Eve. Tradition dictates that Wilson cut their tree that night; he wants everything—as in years past—in place for a restful Christmas Eve. Against Belinda’s better judgment, Wilson packs his daughters in the Subaru and heads north in the falling snow, deeper into the forest, where the best trees can be found. They get stuck, of course, just as his wife had predicted.

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It’s Astoria to Zion Publication Day!

Lookout is thrilled to celebrate the official publication day of Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade.

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We unveiled Astoria to Zion last week during the surprisingly sunny whirlwind that was AWP Seattle. EcotoneLookout, and Milkweed Editions co-hosted a book release party atop downtown Seattle’s gorgeous Sorrento Hotel. Longtime friend of Ecotone Ben Fountain, who wrote the foreword, introduced the collection; contributors Brock Clarke, Cary Holladay, and Rebecca Makkai offered fantastic readings from their stories. For more photos from the event, please see our coverage on Facebook. Check back here for upcoming video interviews with the gracious contributors as well.

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Introducing “Leap” by Marisa Silver

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Define bad. Define okay. Define trouble. Define sad. It’s easy to offer dictionary definitions, but when it comes to personal interactions, things are not always so clear cut. As a writer and reader, I’m interested in what motivates people, how behaviors are formed, and just why we do what we do. Marisa Silver’s “Leap” is an intimate character examination that explores how an experience shapes and defines a woman’s life. We’re offered a non-judgmental, introspective view of the oil spill that is human emotion. We see how it shifts and changes, sinks and grows, affecting every aspect of self. Silver treats her characters with care and sympathy in such a way that we understand even the most questionable patterns of thought.

I was introduced to “Leap” when reading for Lookout’s upcoming anthology Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade. Once I finished the story, I understood why it was included not only in this anthology, but in Ecotone’s fifth anniversary edition as well. The characters dwell in an emotional ecotone, where variant and even conflicting states overlap and exist in spite of one another.

The story opens with Sheila as a young girl, selling lemonade at a stand with her sister and two friends. They’re approached by a man holding a wrinkled bag. We immediately understand that his intentions are anything but genuine. While Sheila feels in her body that something is wrong, the event leaves her with a heightened sense of self-awareness. “Suddenly, she felt beautiful and much older than she had ten minutes earlier. She was certain of it … She would never tell her parents that for the first time she had been taken seriously.” From an early age, Sheila’s idea of desire is entangled with risk.

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