June 2, 2014
Dan Wakefield discusses If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?, the inspiration behind the title, and Kurt’s speeches.
June 2, 2014
Director Michael Cuesta brings to life Gary Webb’s exceptional work. Check out the film trailer and its inspiration, Dark Alliance.
May 12, 2014
May 2, 2014
Dan Wakefield’s collection of Vonnegut’s tongue-in-cheek advice for graduates debuts at #10 on the Barnes & Noble College National Campus Bestseller List in the category of Hardcover Nonfiction!
Don’t forget: Dan Wakefield and Nanette Vonnegut will be speaking at the Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side on May 16th at 7PM. Dan will discuss Vonnegut’s graduation speeches from If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? Nanette Vonnegut will talk about her father’s playful felt-tip illustrations, which adorn the covers of many Kurt Vonnegut works.
May 1, 2014
Empowered by his experiences as a peacemaker with gangs in Los Angeles and Chicago, Luis Rodriguez offers a unique book of change. He makes concrete suggestions, shows how we can create nonviolent opportunities for youth today, and redirects kids into productive and satisfying lives. And he warns that we sacrifice community values for material gain when we incarcerate or marginalize people already on the edge of society. His interest in dissolving gang influence on black and latino kids is personal as well as societal; his son, to whom he dedicates Hearts and Hands, is currently serving a prison sentence for gang-related activity. With anecdotes, interviews, and time-tested guidelines, Hearts and Hands makes a powerful argument for building and supporting community life.
A sweeper discovers a cache of black money and escapes to see the Taj Mahal with his underage mistress; an untouchable races to reclaim his life stolen by an upper-caste identity thief; a slum baby’s head gets bigger and bigger as he gets smarter and smarter, while his family tries to find a cure.
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.