Book News Roundup: A new reading series, a contest for young writers, and the end of Bookslut

  • Save the date: the Seward Park branch of Third Place Books will be having its grand opening party on May 21st and May 22nd. This is super-exciting! It's not every day (or even every year) you get to celebrate the grand opening of a new Seattle bookstore. You can (and should) confirm that you'll be there on the Facebook invite for the weekend.

  • Save the date, part 2: on June 2nd, you'll get a sneak preview of a new reading series hosted and curated by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. Contagious Exchanges: Queer Writers in Conversation is self-described as "a monthly series featuring two dynamic writers bridging genre, style, sensibility, and all the markers of identity in queer lives." The official launch will be in October, but the June outing at the Hugo House will be a sort of "pilot episode" for the series, featuring poets Tara Hardy and Anastacia Tolbert.

  • Seattle poet and novelist Karen Finneyfrock just launched something called the "Seattle Youth Novelist Project," in which a Seattle writer aged 13-19 will earn a mentorship from Finneyfrock and a spot in a reading this October. If you know any young writers, you should let them know about this. Deadline for submissions is May 30th.

  • Where to begin with this stupid New York Times story on men's book clubs? Look, I just don't think this kind of thing should be celebrated: "'We do not read so-called chick lit,' he said. 'The main character cannot be a woman.'" There is nothing newsworthy in men who read only books by men. That's still the status fucking quo. A bunch of men who choose to ignore the experiences and perspectives of 50 percent of the population is, unfortunately, absolutely normal. When you run a media outlet, one of the most important decisions you make is to whom you pass the microphone. These men's book clubs did not deserve the microphone because there is nothing interesting about them. The only good thing to come from this story is the Twitter hashtag #ManlyBookClubNames:

  • A lot of writers are getting upset about this (very good) interview with Bookslut founder Jessa Crispin. Many Facebook posts have been written refuting Crispin's claim that everyone in modern American literature is "super-cheerful because they’re trying to sell you something, and I find it really repulsive. There seems to be less and less underground. And what it’s replaced by is this very professional, shiny, happy plastic version of literature." Frankly, it seems weird to get upset over Crispin's opinion. If your view of American literature differs from hers, that's great. Go revel in the book world you see, and share its joys with others! But if your vision of American literature is somehow threatened by Crispin's negative opinion, to the point where you have to write an angry screed about it, maybe she's got a point?

  • Speaking of Bookslut, the final issue of the online book review site features a good interview with Seattle writer Eli Sanders about his book While the City Slept. (We interviewed Sanders about his book a while back.)

  • Every month, the University of Chicago gives away a free e-book. This month's free e-book is a very short collection titled Ebert's Bests, featuring an autobiographical essay by the late, great Roger Ebert about how he came to be a film critic. Go download the book now.

  • One day, publishers will finally figure out a way to bundle an e-book edition with the purchase of a physical book. (It's really not that hard; comics publishers do this all the time.) Until that glorious day, Harvard Book Store is teaming with an app called Shelfie to offer e-books for sale with certain physical books at a low cost. It's not good enough, but it is at least a single step in the right direction.