January 04, 2006

In the Same Breath as John Stewart?: Book's Cover one of the 50 Best

I got this email from the designer of my forthcoming book, Brett Yasko ( brettyasko.com )

Hi David

We went to New York City to see our book in AIGA’s “50 Books, 50 Covers” exhibition.

At the beginning of the exhibit was a “Chair Statement” from Cheryl Towler Weese and I wanted to send you the final paragraphs of it:

“Four politically activist works are of particular note, and others pepper the group, representing the full range of production values: America (The Book), A Good War is Hard to Find, NorthSouthEastWest, and the opulent Something Lived, Something Dreamed. Books like these, in particular, are an encouraging reflection of contemporary American culture – the way we live, work and think – as well as the state of American designers’ ambitions and ethics. To paraphrase the artist and critic Johanna Drucker, there’s a critical question these designers have asked themselves in taking on these projects: ‘Who are we designing for, and to what ends?’

“What we design reflects what we deem important – and the doggedly persistent flourishing of the book industry and book design leaves me optimistic.”

A Room of One's Own

Here's a shot of my "office." I'm doing this as a test. I got a digital camera for Christmas, and I'm trying to figure out how to upload photos.

Let me narrate: The bulletin board bears a few motivational images. The first is a photo roster of my students, which reminds me that they're counting on me to know what the hell I'm doing. The second is a black and white photo (maybe by Richard Avedon) of my man John Cheever sitting on a set of stone steps looking haggard. It reminds me that drinking and writing are a dangerous mix. The last is a Polaroid of Flannery O'Connor's grave stone in Milledgeville, GA. (My wife and I went there last Christmas on our way to visit her folks in Louisiana.) Kind of morbrid, but she's still my biggest literary crush.

"Visionary" Soft Skull Publisher Richard Nash Wins Indie Publishing Award

On December 22nd the Association of American Publishers awarded Richard Nash, publisher of Soft Skull Press, the Miriam Bass Award for Creativity in Indie Publishing.

From the citation:

A judging committee representing a cross-section of the publishing industry selected Mr. Nash based on his tireless and visionary work at Soft Skull Press. Mr. Nash single-handedly took a struggling company and turned it into one that has become synonymous with excellence in literary fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Mr. Nash has demonstrated a remarkable ability to find and publish exciting and challenging new works as well as skill and creativity in getting his titles noticed, reviewed and publicized. Soft Skull titles have been featured and reviewed by national publications including The New York Times Book Review, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly and Vanity Fair, and on television programs such as “The Today Show,” “20/20” and “48 Hours.” The Neighborhood Story Project, a community documentary program in New Orleans, garnered national attention as well when Mr. Nash and other printers donated printing services and published books by four young authors.

“I think of an award like this as a symbol of something much larger than the individual recipient. It's a celebration of the remarkable ecology that is independent publishing and it is an honor to be, for a moment, representative of that beautiful ecology,” Mr. Nash said of the honor. Jed Lyons, President of Rowman & Littlefield commented, “Miriam Bass loved creativity in people, especially when it was in service to the book business. Miriam would have heartily approved of the selection of Richard Nash who is one of the most talented and audacious people in our industry.”

A bit of transparency necessary: Richard and Soft Skull are publishing my book A Good War is Hard to Find early in this new year (April 15th or there abouts).

Congrats to Richard and the crew at Soft Skull. Check them out at www.softskull.com Be sure to browse their blog as well.