Luke Goebel, Known in Tyler as 'That Creative Writing Guy,' On Debut Novel Fourteen Stories

Categories: Books

Luke Goebel has something of a reputation in Tyler, Texas. When he goes for a haircut, say, the barber is likely to know him, even if they haven't met. Word of the eccentric writer spreads throughout the smallish East Texas town via the parents of his students. "People go, 'Oh, you're that creative writing guy," he says. Goebel is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at The University of Texas at Tyler. He left the University of Massachusetts -- the school that conferred his MFA -- to accept that position in 2011.

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Why Are Rush Limbaugh Supporters Verbally Abusing Local Author Merritt Tierce?

Categories: Books

via Merritt Tierce
Local author Merritt Tierce is quite the media darling these days. After publishing her debut novel Love Me Back, Tierce has made the rounds on TV, been compared to Joan Didion by one critic, and perhaps most famously, told The Dallas Morning News about the time she donated Rush Limbaugh's extravagant tips to an abortion fund. After the DMN published the story, it quickly went viral, and was picked up by outlets like Gawker, Newsweek and Cosmopolitan.

Soon after her revelation, fans of Limbaugh came after Tierce with a vengeance. Her personal and public Facebook pages were inundated with hate mail, much of which was extremely violent. "You do realize that once a body as a beating heart, it's called murder right?" wrote one grammatically challenged commenter. "Better yet, someone should just murder you. I mean shit seriously." According to Tierce, Facebook refused to remove the post because it didn't violate their list of community standards, which supposedly exist to protect the platform's users against threats of violence.

"I suppose I should have seen it coming," says Tierce. "[Rush Limbaugh's] fans are legion, and they are people who are exceptionally responsive to the fomenting of ​hate." And the hate was certainly fomented. Moving beyond Facebook, Limbaugh fans took to and Barnes and Noble's website to spit their vitriol in the form of "reviews" of Love Me Back.

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Where Is Dallas' Iconic Bookstore?

Movilius In Mobili
Portland has Powell's. Dallas has ... not much.
In downtown Portland, Powell's Books stretches the length of a city block. Inside, hundreds of wooden bookshelves stuffed to the brim with everything from classic literature to engineering manuals keep crowds of regulars and tourists engrossed. When you go to Portland, you have to go to Powell's.

Even readers who haven't been to Oregon have probably heard of the store. Like Seattle's Elliot Bay Book Company or San Francisco's City Lights, Powell's is a national landmark, one of a handful of bookstores that help define the characters and cultures of their hometowns. Los Angeles has Vroman's and The Last Bookstore, New York has The Strand and Book Culture. They're both cultural centers for locals and regular stops for tourists, who are as likely to walk away from these stores with T-shirts as they are copies of the latest best-seller.

"If you haven't been to Powell's, you haven't seen something," says Miriam Sontz, CEO of Powell's Books. "It's one of the top things to do in Portland, and when visitors come, they want to take something with them as a souvenir of their trip."

You won't see anyone wandering the streets of Portland wearing a T-shirt with the logo of Dallas' own iconic bookstore, because we don't have one. It's an odd missing piece in a city that has dedicated huge resources into reshaping its downtown into a nationally recognized center for the arts. We've invested millions in building what the city proudly calls the nation's biggest dedicated arts district, with homes for opera, theater, the symphony, painting and sculpture.

The literary arts, meanwhile, have been all but ignored in Dallas' top-down planning for igniting its cultural life. You want to find a book downtown? Try the public library, if it's open ... and it's probably not.

Which is a shame, because bubbling away outside the official boundaries of "art" is a small, devoted literary scene that's beginning to show new signs of life. The question is, can we cultivate the love of books without a central outpost? Or to put it in words Dallas will understand: What kind of world class city doesn't have its own damn Powell's?

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Merritt Tierce Finds Ingredients for Her First Novel, Love Me Back, in a Dallas Steakhouse

Categories: Books


Merritt Tierce spent her mid-twenties waiting tables at a Dallas steakhouse. She was a writer, sure, but she spent most of her days serving the elite and struggling toward 30. That this experience would serve as formative life experience and become fodder for her first novel, Love Me Back surprises no one more than Tierce.

"It wasn't like I would go home and take notes like I thought I would write a book about it someday. I didn't even think of myself as a writer, at least not professionally," Tierce says, sipping an Americano at Oak Lawn Coffee, just "around the corner" from the unnamed inspirational steakhouse. "I see now that your twenties are about floundering and fucking everything up."

Love Me Back hits bookstores September 16, and while it isn't about real life Tierce, the Dallas-based author put a lot of her own story into the protagonist, Marie.

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Hear Audioplay of Local Author Darin Bradley's Chimpanzee at Dan's Silverleaf Tonight

Categories: Books


Tonight in Denton at Dan's Silverleaf local author Darin Bradley will officially release his second novel Chimpanzee complete with a live rendition of the audioplay of the novel. Bradley released his first novel, Noise, through Random House in 2010 while he was still working as a lead video game writer for id Software. Since then he's moved on to an editor position with Resurrection House publishing, the same publisher who bought Chimpanzee. We talked to Bradley about his novel, his job move, and how exactly he managed to put together a audioplay using all local talent.

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Deep Vellum Publishing Launches With Party at Wild Detectives Monday Night

Categories: Books

Will Evans
Books have always been cool. They, like, make you smarter.

Let's say you took a six-month-long apprenticeship as a publisher with Open Letter Books -- a small independent publishing house at The University of Rochester in New York, dedicated to bringing great works from around the world to the English-speaking world. Now let's say you move to Dallas in 2013, a city that until recently didn't even have an indie book scene, and start your very own publishing company. How hard do you think it would be to convince some of the very best writers in the world to sign on the dotted line?

Well if your name is Will Evans, executive director of Deep Vellum Publishing, the answer to that is "easier than you would have thought."

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Four Local Bookstores to Shop at Today

Categories: Books

Lucky Dog Books
A sight for sore eyes (which i blame on my iPad)

The Internet has not been kind to the printed word. It's deformed language, crippled print journalism, and perhaps most depressing of all, it's suffocating books. You know, the bouquets of paper you check out from libraries; the gently used paperback you rescue from Half-Priced Books; America's next great novel available first in hardback with an aesthetically pleasing cover you'll proudly display on the bookcase in your living room, even if you never finish all 800 pages.

This is not the case of the disappearing novels, or memoirs, or chick lit, or historical fiction, or sci-fi, or graphic novels, or biographies. Writers are still writing and to a certain extent, readers are still reading. But they're reading on their Kindles and their Nooks, or squinting into their iPads (goodbye, future eyesight).

Not everyone has given up on books. In fact, some madmen just opened up an awesome new bookstore in Oak Cliff. This brings us to this, very small, but very important list. The four local bookstores you should grab your wallets and head to now. Put down the Kindle Fire you're reading this post on and look around you. Stretch your arms to the glorious blue sky. Say hello to that stranger sitting next to you at Starbucks. And go buy some books. Right now. Oh, and here are five local coffee shops that aren't Starbucks.

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Author Charissa Terranova on iPhones, Cars and the Dallas arts scene

Categories: Books, Visual Art

It's 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning and Dr. Charissa Terranova is regretting last night's purchase of the iPhone 5. "I'm really not happy with Apple as a company right now," she explains. "I may take it back and get the new Samsung."

This week she may be deliberating on her medium for cellular communication, considering its functionality, aesthetics and even the ethical implications of the company behind the product. But that's to be expected. As a scholar of art history and architecture, Terranova's spent years asking questions of human interactions with both art and the everyday landscape. In her newest book, she considers the automobile. Tonight RE Gallery hosts a book signing and launch party for Automotive Prosthetic: Technological Mediation and the Car in Conceptual Art.

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Parker Posey's Coming To Read To You Dallas, So Wipe that Face Off Your Head

You've loved everything she's ever done.
It's unclear how we got quite so lucky, but indie film's most famous mug, Parker Posey, will read for Art and Letters Live's 2014 Texas Bound series. The popular showcase pulls well-known actors (Tommy Lee Jones, Kathy Bates and Larry Hagman have all previously lent their voices) to read short fictional works by Lone Star authors.

Posey's contribution comes as part of Danger and Desire: Tales of Hopper's City, where she, David Straithairn (Good Night, and Good Luck, LA Confidential) and Kaneza Schaal will bring "Hopper's poignant and evocative noir themes and settings to life in stories on stage." Sounds pretty sexy. Currently, Posey's set to read The Working Girl by Ann Beattie, but stories are subject to change. The event's a KERA and DMA tagteam effort and it happens on Saturday, January 25, 2014.

Get your tickets now, or hold off until Thursday, December 12, when Arts and Letters hosts a Season Preview and Open House in the DMA's C3 theater. It's a little gab fest on who's coming, when, and what you must-see -- offered in two, hour-long hangouts. The first is from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, and the other is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Last year's Arts and Letters highlights included visits from George Saunders and Margaret Atwood. This year's big names are Amy Tan (Joy Luck Club), Ruth Reichl (Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth), Dave Barry (You Can Date Boys When You're Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About), Daniel Woodrell (Winter's Bone) and even a stopover by The Office's favorite temp, B.J. Novak, who's promoting his new book of shorts, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories.

See also: A Long, Weird, Slightly Self-Serving Chat with George Saunders, Who's In Dallas Tonight

Baffling, Elaborate and Beautiful, The Magician Rewrites the Rules on Art Books

Photo by Catherine Downes

This magician's crate wouldn't quite fit as a carry-on. It's a custom-built blend of wood and metal, perched on casters, painted black and decorated by a white rope pattern that crisscrosses its width. It serves as a sculptural rolling library for the 12 books hiding inside. They slide in and out with the same satisfying thud you'd get from pushing a blade into an old magician's compartment trick. And while most of them are paper-based and of varying sizes, one "book" is actually a series of microscope slides, usable through a light-up ocular lens installed into the crate's top. Another is an LED screen that plays a five-minute video animation when plugged into a special hat. Barely any of them contain words, but together they might hold the secret to the universe.

This is The Magician, the most complicated art book currently in production. And it's coming out of Dallas.

Author Chris Byrne, who's also co-founder of the Dallas Art Fair, laughs while he explains the project -- and with a tone that sounds a lot like a dare. What you notice as he flips through the pages is his fairly cunning way of not explaining The Magician's thesis.

Photo by Catherine Downes
Card trick "toilet paper" flip book, made by hand-stamping letter press
He will tell you about the little things that make it so special, like how each piece is uniquely bound, some portions by hand at Tieton, a tiny incubator community of artisans, cider pressers and makers of fine books in Central Washington, founded by The Magician's publisher, Ed Marquand.

Or how others are made out of unconventional materials, like the card-trick flip book whose textured pages replicate the quilted print of toilet paper. Achieving that look required hand-stamping each page out of letter press, something that simply isn't done in bookmaking. But the more conceptual elements, the theory and perceptions you glean from interacting with the work -- and it is interactive -- those are things Byrne would rather not influence or interpret.

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