Deep Vellum Publishing Launches With Party at Wild Detectives Monday Night

Categories: Books

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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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The Stars of the Indie Publishing World Are Descending on Half Price Books Tomorrow

Categories: Books

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Image by Scott Morgan
If you didn't get enough literary nerdiness at last weekend's FenCon, never fear. The indie publishing industry descends on Dallas this weekend with vengeance. Indie Vengeance. As in IndieVengeance Day.

Get it? No? Either way it goes down Saturday, October 12 at Half-Price Books (5803 East Northwest Highway).

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A Stunning New Book on Wes Anderson Drops Today, Written by a Former Observer Film Critic

Categories: Books, Film and TV

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Max Dalton/Abrams Books
The Wes Anderson Collection
The Wes Anderson Collection, an artful and comprehensive new coffee table book released today, sheds light on the popular auteur's films. Featuring a generous spread of rare, behind-the-scenes photos, an introduction by novelist Michael Chabon, critical essays and much more, the book is a must for Anderson fans.

The book's author, Matt Zoller Seitz, is TV critic for Vulture.com and New York Magazine, as well as editor in chief of RogerEbert.com. But in 1994, when Anderson was living in Dallas and filming Bottle Rocket, his first feature, Seitz was a young film critic with the Dallas Observer.

Bottle Rocket began as a short film featured at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, and later that year, at Dallas's own USA Film Festival. Seitz saw it and wrote a capsule review as part of his coverage, making him, in his words, "the first professional critic to review a Wes Anderson film," though he's quick to add that he didn't discover Anderson--he'd already gotten the attention of influential figures at Sundance.

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Get Well-Read in 90 Minutes at Grapevine's Runway Theatre

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Photograph by Alicia Auping
It's well into August and you haven't made a dent in that super-ambitious summer reading list you made for yourself back in May, have you? Whether you aimed to catch up on the classics or relax with the latest beach-reads, time is just not on your side. Poolside boozing and summer blockbusters don't help either.


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Justin Bieber's Mom Wrote a Book about Being Justin Bieber's Mom

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Barnes & Noble
We momentarily empathized with Justin Bieber as he made the walk of shame to a chorus of boos to accept the first-ever Milestone Award at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, defeating Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars.

"I'm 19 years old...I think I'm doing a pretty good job," he said defensively. "I'm an artist, and I should be taken seriously. All this other bull should not be spoken of." Fair enough.

In hindsight, perhaps he saw it coming: the leaked TMZ video of Bieber peeing in a restaurant mop bucket and his tirade on Bill Clinton as he defaced a photo of the former president. Now, who's gonna clean up that mess?

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Philipp Meyer, Author of the Great Texan Novel The Son, Is at B&N Tonight

Categories: Books

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I'm not quite finished with Philipp Meyer's just-released Texas epic The Son, but unless the ending is a complete disaster I think it's safe to say it's one of the best books I've ever read, and certainly one of my favorite books about and set in the Lone Star State. Not bad for a Yankee.

According to a recent interview with The Dallas Morning News, Meyer did years of intense, immersive research on our state for the book, reading some 300 books and teaching himself to bow-hunt and tan hides. It shows in the beautiful, detailed descriptions of everything from the way the prairie flora looked before it became crowded with Anglo settlers and displaced Eastern tribes to the taste of blood from a freshly killed buffalo.

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