M c S W E ENE Y’S W i n t e r / s p r i n g 2 0 1 4 c ata l o g
H U M OR + F ICTIO n + NON F ICTION + POETR Y
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the portlandia activity book
carrie brownstein , fred armisen , and jonathan krisel
Edited by sam riley
This is The Portlandia Activity Book—a compendium of guaranteed enrichment for the Pacific Northwestern part of your psyche. Like a cool high school that prefers a sweat lodge to the traditional classroom, this book will expand your mind through participation, dehydrate you to a state of emotional rawness, then linger in the corners of your bare soul. Here you will find enough activities to get you through a year’s worth of rainy days, including: How to Crowdfund Your Baby, Punk Paint By Numbers, Terrarium Foraging, and so much more. With pages unlike any you’ve seen before, this is the kind of book that you can be yourself around. Shed the trappings of normalcy, let down your glorious mane, and take the deepest breath of your life. Portlandia is beckoning your arrival. featuring: backyard chicken dossier, tarot card expansion pack, official portlandia bird stencils, bed & breakfast starter kit, build your own doily shoppe, and more!
8" × 10" 152 pages $28
the best of mcsweeney’s internet tendency Edited by chris monks and john warner
Back in 1998, the Internet was young and wild and free. Along with listservs, pornography, and listservs dedicated to pornography, there was a website that ran all its articles in the same font and within abnormally narrow margins. This site was called McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and many dozens of people read it. Now, fifteen years later, most of those readers have died, but the Tendency still exists, publishing, every day, quasi-humor writing in the same font within the same abnormally narrow margins. The site has no ads, and no revenue prospects, and thus, every year or so, we collect some of the site’s better material and attempt to trick readers into paying for a curated, glued-together version of what is available online for free. This collection is the best and most brazen of such attempts. “This is my dad’s book. He didn’t write anything in it. He just helped organize the words. Buy it.” —Noah Monks, age 10 “Lose belly fat FAST with this one weird anthology.” —McSweeney’s Twitter follower Katherine Harrison, @KidlitKat
5.5" × 8" 208 pages $20
children and the tundra
dr. doris and benny haggis-on-whey
For years, Dave Eggers and his brother, Toph, have moonlighted as the not-so-secret authors of the Haggis-on-Whey series of faux-scientific texts for children. In each book, elderly scientist Dr. Doris Haggis-on-Whey takes on a subject and rearranges all previous assumptions. She is joined by her husband, Benny, who is pretty much useless. The series started with the cult classic Giraffes? Giraffes!, developed through Your Disgusting Head, and peaked with Animals of the Ocean (in Particular the Giant Squid) and Cold Fusion. To the naked eye, all of the books look like ‘50s-era grade school reference books, but inside they’re strange, deranged, and hilarious. This fifth volume is actually two books in one, as Dr. Doris, due to space constraints, is forced to explain both the concept of children—a species she doesn’t trust for a second—and the tundra, in one book.
9" × 12" 64 pages $20
the parallel apartments bill cotter
Justine Moppett is thirty-four, pregnant, and fleeing an abusive relationship in New York to dig up an even more traumatic childhood in Austin. Waiting for her there is a cast of more than a dozen misfits—a hemophobic aspiring serial killer, a deranged soprano, a debt-addicted entrepreneur-cum-madam, a matchmaking hermaphrodite—each hurtling toward their own calamities, and, ultimately, toward each other. A Texan Gabriel García Márquez who writes tragicomic twists reminiscent of John Kennedy Toole, Bill Cotter produces some of the most visceral, absurd, and downright hilarious sentences to be found in fiction today. The Parallel Apartments is a bold leap forward for one of the most exciting stylists in America, a writer who, as Wells Tower has observed, “proves there is still fresh wit and fierce life in the American tongue.” praise for The parallel apartments:
“Reading Bill Cotter’s The Parallel Apartments is like taking some kind of word drug, but a new one, synthesized in a desert lab from molecules of Lipsyte, Dickens, Pynchon, Williams, Chabon, DeWitt, and Joyce, and then spun together with Cotter’s own unique particles to yield a book that produces an actual high when read. This book is an experience—it is a never-read-anything-like-it-before work of brainy, heartfelt joy.” —Heidi Julavits
6" × 9" 512 pages $25
To those outside it, Pilsen is a vast barrio on the south side of Chicago. To Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski, it is a world of violence and decay and beauty, of nuance and pure chance. It is a place where the smell of cooking frijoles is washed away by that of dead fish in the river, where vendettas are a daily routine, and where a fourteen-year-old immigrant might hold the ability to bring people back from the dead. Simultaneously tough and tender, these stories mark the debut of a writer poised to represent his city’s literature for decades to come. praise for alexai galaviz-budziszewski:
“What attracts me to Alexai’s writing is its humanity and its authenticity. I know the neighborhood and he gets it right, but I don’t mean authentic merely in terms of streets, slang, and folkways; I mean authentic in terms of the literary tradition that he’s writing in—one senses the great Chicago writers of neighborhood behind this—Algren and James Farrell.… [Here is] a young writer with a genuine voice.” —Stuart Dybek
fiction march 2014
6" × 8.5" 192 pages $24
the inland news john brandon
In thirteen stories, John Brandon gives us a stunning assortment of men and women at the edge of possibility—gamblers and psychics, assassins and priests, all of them on the verge of finding out what they can get away with, and what they can’t. Ranging from ruined paradises to forgotten islands, from haunted deserts to alligator-filled swamps, these are stories of foul luck and strange visitations, delivered with deadpan humor by an unforgettable voice. praise for john brandon:
“[John Brandon] writes in a crackling way about small hopes and larger despair. He gravitates to the kind of regional misfits who drew Flannery O’Connor’s eye, and his dialogue is snappy and eccentric, like a combination of two masters of the craft, Elmore Leonard and Charles Portis.” —The New York Times “[John Brandon] deftly renders a desert wilderness where human hearts are compelled to seek isolation from the pains of the world, but tend to find connectedness despite themselves.” —Publishers Weekly
6" × 8.5" 208 pages $24
rights: north america
Translated from the Italian by ann goldstein In Mr. Gwyn, the celebrated author Jasper Gwyn vows never to write another book. But as his life veers into isolation and emptiness, he decides to become a “copyist,” holding thirty-day sittings with clients as he writes their portraits. The rich access this grants the disaffected Gwyn to other people, particularly to his business manager, the fair-haired Rebecca, poses a startling question: what might happen if a vacant heart were suddenly crowded with the complications of love? The book’s second novella, Three Times at Dawn, explores this question while leaving greater mysteries in its wake. A man and a woman—the same couple in each case, despite very different, even contradictory circumstances—meet in a trio of hotels. As their third dawn together draws to a close, Baricco delivers one of modern fiction’s most powerful statements on the heart and the will, on kindness and the destiny that falls light as a shadow over every human life. “Baricco’s narrative virtuosity continues to astonish.” —The Independent (London) “The remarkable Baricco is artistic kin to his compatriot, Roberto Calasso. Both are originals; both weave patterns of myth and human story and the airy and earthly connections between them.” —Los Angeles Times
fiction july 2014
5.5" × 8" 150 pages $22
rights: us and canada excluding commonwealth territories
a load of hooey
Bob Odenkirk is a legend in the comedy-writing world, winning Emmys and acclaim for his work on Saturday Night Live, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and many other seminal TV shows. This book, his first, is a spleenbruisingly funny omnibus that ranges from absurdist monologues (“Martin Luther King, Jr’s Worst Speech Ever”) to intentionally bad theater (“Hitler Dinner Party: A Play”); from avant-garde fiction (“Obituary for the Creator of Madlibs”) to free-verse poetry that’s funnier and more powerful than the work of Calvin Trillin, Jewel, and Robert Louis Stevenson combined. Odenkirk’s debut resembles nothing so much as a hilarious new sketch comedy show that’s exclusively available as a streaming video for your mind. As Odenkirk himself writes in “The Second Coming of Jesus and Lazarus,” it is a book “to be read aloud to yourself in the voice of Bob Newhart.” This book is one of a series of humorous books, written by diverse authors and each blessed and approved by the non-deceased American comedy person Bob Odenkirk. Volumes in the odenkirk memorial library include satire, cartoons, Black Humor, Gentle Humor, Total Humor, and they cover a broad range of subject matter, united only in their tendency to provoke laughter and warm feelings of distraction. No textbooks or pornography will be included in the series.
5.5" × 8.25" 160 pages $24
confidence, or the appearance of confidence the best of the believer music interviews Edited by vendela vida and ross simonini the first collection of interviews from a decade of the believer magazine ’ s popular music issue
Believer Books collects thirty-five interviews with some of today’s most influential musicians and includes such conversational treasures as Björk on e.e. cummings, Lucinda Williams on writing about sex, Trey Anastasio on improvisation games, M.I.A. on the power of the internet, and Jack White on upholstering a couch. The interviews are conducted in the Believer magazine’s intimate, casual, long-form style, and while they focus on the music—creating it, playing it, touring it, living with it—they never hesitate to explore the subjects’ other passions. This collection is perfect for fans, lovers of the interview format, cultural aficionados, and aspiring polymaths.
featuring: Ian MacKaye, Stephen Malkmus, Bun B, Karen O, Bjork, Eddie Vedder, Carrie Brownstein, Angèlique Kidjo, Juana Molina, M.I.A., Nancy Wilson, Irma Thomas, Khaela Maricich, Mike Patton, Lucinda Williams, Genesis P. Orridge, Jack White, Lady Saw, Wayne Coyne, Trent Reznor, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Trey Anastasio, Questlove, Alan Bishop, Stephen Malkmus, Ice Cube, David Byrne, Mark Mothersbaugh, Isaac Brock, Christopher Owens, and more!
5.5" × 8.5" 504 pages $15
invisible hands Voice of Witness
narratives of human rights in the global economy Edited by corinne goria
The men and women in Invisible Hands reveal the human rights abuses occurring behind the scenes of the global economy. These narrators—including phone manufacturers in China, copper miners in Zambia, garment workers in Bangladesh, and farmers around the world—reveal the secret history of the things we buy, including lives and communities devastated by low wages, environmental degradation, and political repression. Sweeping in scope and rich in detail, these stories capture the interconnectivity of all people struggling to support themselves and their families. praise for VOICE OF WITNESS:
“[Voice of Witness] books are amazing… beautifully produced, with incredible editing and literary sensibility. Voice of Witness has done a better job than I’ve seen anybody do with having people tell their stories in a way that really engages you.” —Rachel Maddow, MSNBC “The Voice of Witness series is a megaphone for our country’s most marginalized voices…” —Van Jones, Former Special Advisor to the Obama White House, author of Rebuild the Dream and The Green Collar Economy
nonfiction april 2014
5.5" × 8.25" 364 pages $16
More Curious sean wilsey
More Curious, Sean Wilsey travels across the U.S., from the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, to the isolated artists’ enclave of Marfa, Texas, to the boardrooms and ballrooms of post–9/11 New York City. Wherever he is, Wilsey captures his surroundings with the precision of a photographer and the raw grace of a skateboarder (he’s an amateur practitioner of both arts). And his eye always finds an unrivaled intensity of detail: here, and only here, will a reader be privy to the Dostoyevskian whiff of Marfa’s fugitive underbelly, the unsung delights of a skater rag’s cooking column, the exact amount of time elapsed since the soundwaves of a long-lost, legendary World Cup broadcast passed out of our solar system. praise for wilsey’s previous work:
“A memoir that announces the debut of a remarkably gifted, daring and, yes, very funny, writer.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “[An] irreverent and remarkably candid memoir about growing up in wealthy eighties San Francisco . . . rollicking, ruthless . . . ultimately generous-hearted.” —Vogue
nonfiction july 2014
5.5" × 8.25" $22
rights: us & canada only
simone di piero
No one sounds like W.S. Di Piero. Explosive language, rough sensuousness, unflinching eye—here is a poet who will not look away, and who is always committed to poetry’s first purpose: to bring song. TOMBO is a book of lyrics fueled in equal parts by realism and big-fish storytelling, a book of wanderers, foghorns, summer rain, feral cats, and city jazz. Built on heartbreak particulars, these poems are raw, mysterious dilations of the moments of existence. praise for simone di piero:
“W. S. Di Piero gives off cascades of words that run like a warm engine, with all parts working together. There might be a mysterious noise or two along the way but don’t worry, you’ll be back on the road.” —Ed Ruscha “If your heart doesn’t break before you are halfway through—and if you don’t love the way it breaks and look forward to its being broken again (and it will be)—I will eat my copy. Though of course I’ll have to run out right away and buy another one, because living without this book is no longer part of my plans.” —Troy Jollimore
6" × 8.25" 80 pages $20
Morning in Serra Mattu: A Nubian Ode
A mosaic of interrelated stories exploding with personality, myth, and geohistorical weight, Morning in Serra Mattu is a profound, joyful meditation on life in modern Sudan. Gamal seamlessly blends large-scale political realities with the local, the traditional: “old villages / whose ancient way is so composed / each single blade of grass is known / and in its place.” Epic in scope, spellbinding in its intimacy, generosity, and wisdom, Morning In Serra Mattu is the book we didn’t know we needed. praise for arif gamal:
“An epic poem that manages to be exquisitely intimate. One of the greatest works of literature to emerge from Sudan.” —Dave Eggers, The New York Times “This book of rituals beckons and interrogates, edging underneath intimate details of the Nubian heart and soil, the beauty and the turmoil, and the journey exposes torn roots of the Sudanese soul. Each poem in Morning in Serra Mattu is an epistle of longing and memory.” —Yusef Komunyakaa
6" × 8.25" 150 pages $20
Saint Friend is that rare book that speaks in the voice of a generation. The voice comes from an acclaimed young poet who, after working years in obscurity, was fêted with the prestigious Walt Whitman Award for his first collection. This, his second book, is a freewheeling explosion of celebrations, elegies, narratives, psychologically raw persona pieces (one in the voice of Amelia Earhart), and a handful of punchy lyric poems with a desperate humor. It is, as the title suggests, a book exalting love among friends in our scattered times. praise for carl adamshick:
“He is a poet rarely found these days. He comes not from the land of MFA and writing programs, but from the outsider country of a selfmade artist.” —Matthew Dickman “Reading these poems is like breathing fresh air. Carl Adamshick’s voice is instantly engaging. A sophisticated ear. A continuous feeling for measure. A clarity of complex feelings. The tactile and the mysterious. Emotion embedded rather than proclaimed. A subtle artistry. It is refreshing to read a poet who feels and thinks from inside sound and sense.” —Marvin Bell, Walt Whitman Award citation
6" × 8.25" 65 pages $20
between heaven and here susan straight
real man adventures t cooper
In Susan Straight’s most gracefully told novel, the heart of the Inland Empire is broken wide open to reveal the loyalty, the dark history, and the love that runs in the veins of a hidden America. Between Heaven and Here is gripping in its compassion—a portrait that “ought to be recognized as a national artistic treasure” (The Boston Globe).
T Cooper’s bold and bracing exploration of his transition to male unfurls in a series of inspired vignettes, intimate letters never sent, interviews, lists, and good old-fashioned stories that capture the range of the human experience. Real Man Adventures is a “sharp, hilarious, incredibly personal, and ingenuously honest look at what the hell it even means to be a man” (Interview magazine).
6" × 8.5" 176 pages $15 isbn: 978-1-938073-81-6 rights: north america
december 2013 paperback 5.625" × 7.75" 272 pages $14 isbn: 978-1-938073-75-5 rights: world
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