April 30, 2014
We mourn the loss of Paul Robeson, Jr., a brilliant thinker and writer always ready to say the things that weren’t being said that needed to be said, very much his father’s son and his own man.
April 28, 2014
In David Ulin’s review of IF THIS ISN’T NICE, WHAT IS? in today’s Los Angeles Times, he writes, “the speeches in ‘If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?’ neither sugarcoat nor browbeat. ‘What other advice can I give you?’ [Vonnegut] asks one set of graduates. ‘Eat lots of bran to provide necessary bulk in your diet. The only advice my father ever gave me was this: ‘Never stick anything in your ear.’ … Don’t murder anybody — even though New York State does not use the death penalty. … That’s about it.’”
Read the whole review here.
April 23, 2014
Win a signed, original printed piece of art by Kurt Vonnegut!
In celebration of the April 8th release of If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?, Dan Wakefield’s collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s tongue-in-cheek words of advice for graduates, Seven Stories is holding a window display contest for independent bookstores!
Here is your chance to create a special window featuring If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?, rounded out with other Seven Stories’ Vonnegut titles as well as Vonnegut backlists from his other publishers. We also have some downloadable images for your use (see info below). The best window display will be awarded a piece of original, signed Vonnegut art. Two runners-up will each receive 5 copies of the book each, signed by Dan Wakefield.
The contest will run May 1st-May 15th. Photos of the displays must be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 20th. Winners will be selected by Seven Stories Press staff and will be announced at BEA in the Seven Stories Press booth, posted on Seven Stories Press social media, and announced by press release.
April 23, 2014
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a star prizefighter who spent 19 years in prison on a wrongful murder conviction, died at his home in Toronto last Sunday. He was 76.
Initially commissioned to write a magazine article on the boxer, Nelson Algren became so inspired by Carter’s fight against injustice that his research grew into a novel. The Devil’s Stocking chronicles a battle for truth and human dignity, which gives way to a larger story of life and death decisions amid the shadowy world of low-purse fighters, cops, con artists, and bar girls.
Carter’s life story also inspired Bob Dylan’s 1975 song “Hurricane” as well as the 1999 film The Hurricane, in which Denzel Washington portrayed Carter.
April 18, 2014
Editor’s Note: Author and fellow hoosier Dan Wakefield was a longtime friend of Kurt Vonnegut. He edited and introduced Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, as well as the newly released If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?, a collection of quirky, insightful and refreshing commencement speeches Vonnegut has delivered over the years. Dan joins us to reflect on the amazing staying power of Vonnegut’s prose and the lasting appeal of his grouchy charm to new generations of readers.
Kurt Vonnegut’s humor, honesty, and fresh ways of seeing things have always made him a favorite of young people. I remember back in the late sixties, before Slaughterhouse Five made him rich and famous, college students were carrying around dog-eared copies of Cat’s Cradle, a novel in which he playfully invents a fictitious new religion, foresees a way the world could end, and introduces new words that strike a chord of satiric truth (a “Granfalloon” is a proud and meaningless association of people; examples cited are The Communist Party, The Daughters of the American Revolution, and General Electric.)
Few writers are able — or willing — to take on the most serious issues (e.g.
April 18, 2014
The author of Guns, Germs, and Steel is out with an adaptation for young people of The Third Chimpanzee. He also has some strong words for his critics.
It turns out the incident of the chimp who tore off his owner’s friend’s face was more family feud than disgruntled pet.
Much like the humans he documents who came to rule Earth, Jared Diamond is out with a new book sure to increase his rule in the classroom. Most students known Diamond from the PBS documentary based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel.Now, Diamond is out with a new edition of his popular book The Third Chimpanzee, this time adapted “for young people” by Seven Stories Press and Rebecca Stefoff. The book, for those who missed the original, discusses how and why humans evolved differently than did chimpanzees, who differ from us in DNA by only 2 percent.
April 18, 2014Published on The Nation
Why You Can’t Stop Me From Speaking Ill of Thomas JeffersonKurt Vonnegut | March 26, 2014
Kurt Vonnegut was the celebrated author of novels like Cat’s Cradle, Mother Night and Slaughterhouse-Five. This article was adapted from a speech he made in Indianapolis to the Indiana Civil Liberties Union (now the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana) on September 16, 2000. It appears in the collection If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? Advice to the Young, edited by Dan Wakefield, to be published by Seven Stories Press on April 8.
There is something you are entitled to know about me—something I’m not proud to confess. This is it: I was born into a society as segregated as Biloxi, Mississippi, except for the drinking fountains and the buses. And I am the product of a lily-white public high school in Indianapolis. Shortridge had a faculty worthy of a university.
April 15, 2014
If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to fill in your Kurt Vonnegut book collection, now’s the time to strike while the iron’s hot. Between now and May 1, Seven Stories Press is offering the following titles at 50% off of their list price. Just click on each book’s cover to purchase the book (both hardcover and paperbacks are on sale). Happy reading!
April 3, 2014
Join Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond as he discusses his first foray into illustrated young adult nonfiction. The Third Chimpanzee for Young People is both an explosive indictment of human nature and a hopeful plea for a better survival.
With fascinating facts and his unparalleled readability, Diamond intended his book to improve the world that today’s young people will inherit. Triangle Square’s The Third Chimpanzee for Young People is for them and the future they’ll help build.
Professor Diamond’s scheduled appearances:
Boston (4/3 @ 6:30PM) – Porter Square Books at First Parish Church in Harvard Square
New York (4/4 @ 8PM) – 92nd Street Y, Kaufmann Auditorium
San Francisco (4/9 @ 7PM) – Los Altos High School, Eagle Theatre
Seattle (4/10 @ 7:30PM) -University of Washington’s Kane Hall, Room 130
Los Angeles (4/13) – Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
April 1, 2014
By Clare Swanson | Apr 01, 2014
In January 2013, Donald Farber, the literary executor of Kurt Vonnegut’s estate, asked Vonnegut’s long time friend, the author Dan Wakefield, to come from Indianapolis to New York City to sift through cardboard boxes full of the late writer’s belongings. Among the stack of papers, which included rejected short stories from the 1950s, were speeches from the many commencement addresses Vonnegut delivered in his lifetime.
Wakefield compiled and edited the speeches, and wrote an introduction, for an e-book called If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? published by RosettaBooks last April. Now, a year later, Seven Stories will be releasing the book in hardcover on April 8, just ahead of graduation season, updated with illustrations from Vonnegut’s journals.
“He always responded to those invitations [from universities], and always liked speaking to young people, to college graduates and reminding them what they accomplished,” said Wakefield, who also edited and introduced Kurt Vonnegut Letters, released in 2012 by Delacorte.