Next month our author David Sanders brings his celebrated novel Busara Road back to his childhood stomping grounds on the West Coast. So far, stops are planned in San Francisco, Seattle, and Pacific Grove. See his website for details. If you're near any one of these cities, we hope you can stomp with him.
The headline for this post could serve as a description for any of our books. As it happens, though, it's from the latest advance comment on HOMING, the extraordinary memoir by Mark Lyons that we'll publish in November. And the author of said comment is the marvelous Elise Juska, perhaps our favorite Philly-area novelist. Here's the quote in full:
"To read Mark Lyons’s HOMING is to feel you’re in the presence of a writer excavating years of memories—by turns harrowing, confusing, nostalgic, tender—with great honesty and integrity. While at times painful, this memoir doesn’t veer into the sensational or sentimental. Nor does it offer easy answers. This book truly moved me."
We'll have info soon about advance orders of HOMING. In the meantime, two (2) (ii) ARCs are still available for reviewers.
And don't forget, in a few days (September 19), David Sanders will bring his novel BUSARA ROAD to South Philly.
In a guest blog at Hidden River Arts, David Sanders explains how he lost his novel in order to find it -- an astonishing essay that details the roles of computer crashes, whiskey, cancer, rejection, and utter confusion in the production of a great book.
Writers ought to look at this to learn about dealing with frustration, including the kind where you curl in a ball on the floor, sobbing and moaning.
As most locals believe, the road to wisdom leads through South Philly, and if we need any extra proof of that, we'll get it on September 19 when David Sanders brings his extraordinary novel BUSARA ROAD to the charming bookstore called A Novel Idea on Passyunk.
We've been sitting on this news awhile, eager to make the announcement, and finally the time has come.
In November we're publishing Mark Lyons' memoir Homing, a book that defies our trove of adjectives. Even a thesaurus doesn't help much: "compelling" is too trite; "devastating" too vague; "powerful" too dull. Here's the description we managed to cobble together:
In this heart-twisting memoir, a teen boy is the object of his mother’s deep sexual urges. Does it cross the line into abuse? Is he responsible for her frequent retreats to mental hospitals? Can he ever forgive her? The son needs most of a lifetime to unravel, then free himself from, the mysteries of her demise.
After reading this book, you won't be the same. Guaranteed.
The genre, memoir, is a departure for us, since we've previously devoted our energies to fiction. This is a book, though, that uses fictional techniques to great effect: imagery, time shifts, odd juxtapositions, inventive syntax. It also displays (which we somehow didn't manage to say in our initial description) a brilliant sense of place, creating a vivid portrait of Southern California in the late 1950s. If you never had the chance to cruise a rebuilt '49 Studee to the Long Beach Pike, this book will take you there.
Most of all, it's the tale of the author's lifelong quest to overcome early trauma. And it's a success story. We dearly need success stories, don't we? Watch for this one in November.
Latest Goodreads review of The Speed of Clouds! Click the image to see the full review.
Item of interest: Ms. Mirai chides the publisher (us) for creating the Kindle ebook as a print replica, meaning that it follows the paperback page by page and the type size isn't adjustable (although you can zoom in to magnify parts of the page). We did that because the novel has multiple types of text distinguished by different typography (a lot of work went into that), and we thought it'd be confusing to the reader if we lost most of that graphic variation in a standard ebook. We tried the published version on our own tablets and it seemed to work fine, though we realized it probably wouldn't work well on a phone.
This is the only one of our ebooks that uses the print replica format. We'd be happy to hear readers' thoughts on the matter. (See the Contact page on this site to send us a message.)
Meanwhile, we can all be mad at Amazon for not making clear which devices are suitable for print replica ebooks.
And oldsters can be nostalgic for the days when no one would have tried to read a book on a phone.
We've always thought our fiction was friendly, but now it's official: David Sanders's novel Busara Road has made the Friendly Fiction list at QuakerBooks, along with the excellent Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton. We haven't read the other books listed, but the title of Vagabond Quakers does sound intriguing.
David is giving a friendly (lowercase) reading tonight at Narberth Bookshop.
Our next public event is a reading by David Sanders at Narberth Bookshop, 221 Haverford Avenue, Narberth, PA 19071, at 7 p.m. on May 30.
This is an excellent, carefully curated bookshop run by long-time literary professional Ellen Trachtenberg. Busara is a Swahili word for wisdom and common sense, so it's fitting that Busara Road runs through Ellen's shop.
The latest review of Busara Road, on the website of the Historical Novel Society, gets the point of the book exactly. Talking about the discoveries of the protagonist, 11-year-old Mark Morgan, the review says:
Mark’s story is one of adventure and discovery, friendship and enmity. His education moves beyond books and blackboards to recent Kenyan history: the remains of the Kazi camp of huts and torture pits where Radio was born and spent the first six years of his life, the actions of Kenyan Home Guard loyal to British colonial rule, and freedom fighter Mau Mau during the Kenyan Emergency of the 1960s.
Click on the image to see the complete review.
David Sanders reading from Busara Road at the Fairmount Arts Crawl in Philly, at a space set up by Toho Publishing and Green Street Poetry. Quite a few people stopped to hear the readers, and a great time was had by all.
The few folks who zoomed by on bikes or motorcycles must not have understood the "Crawl" concept.