Book News Roundup: Fantagraphics scores big, Stacey Levine resurfaces, and a case is made against Little Free Libraries

  • Congratulations are due to Seattle's own Fantagraphics Books, which cleaned up in the Eisner Awards nominations this week. (The Eisners are the comics version of the Oscars.) Fnatagraphics picked up more nominations than almost any other publisher. Go help them celebrate tomorrow by visiting their store for Free Comic Book Day.

  • We haven't seen a lot of new work from Seattle author Stacey Levine in a while. Levine, who writes delicately crafted sentences that shine like jewels and howl with the wind of alien planets, hasn't published a book since 2011. But there's hope for a Levine-aissance on the horizon: she just published a new story, "Brown Seaweed Soup," at The Brooklyn Rail. Levine said on Facebook that this story might eventually become the basis for a novel. I hope so; it's been too long since we've seen paragraphs like this:

The dead get vulnerable near their birthdays. They get under the weather. As Bruce’s birthday was enroute, a celebration of his life would soon take place. As I stood in the kitchen’s doorframe, my desire to cook grew more powerful than I had anticipated, nearly an autonomic mechanism. The problem was that I had never cooked any food in my life. I didn’t know how to cook at all. But the mailman told me, laughing, his blue bag gaping, that standing on a kitchen chair and dropping seaweed into a pan of hot water produces good results. About this method I had a few doubts.
  • Twice Sold Tales owner Jamie Lutton published a blog post titled "A brief history of book theft in Seattle." In the post, Lutton theorizes that Seattle has an underground culture of book theft that may be "unique" to the country. "I called a few Denver bookstores, both new and used, and they said that they did not have a problem with systematic theft like we do here," she writes.

  • The Atlantic's Citylab published a post with a very controversial title: "The Case Against Little Free Libraries." Early in the post, a librarian grouses, “As a librarian, my gut reaction to [the name 'Little Free Library'] was, ‘You know what else is a free library? A regular library.’”

  • I don't know if I buy that post's argument, but I do have to say, as someone who visits Little Free Libraries often, it does seem as though Seattle's Little Free Libraries are suffering in quality even as more and more of them pop up in neighborhoods around the city. Often, I'll encounter a Little Free Library that's basically just a home for trash or outdated magazines or books that nobody on earth would ever, ever want. Perhaps if there were fewer Little Free Libraries around the city, the quality of their offerings would improve?