Happy day! After almost an entire year of work, CCLaP's newest original book is finally being released today, an essay collection called Famous Drownings in Literary History by an Ohio professor named Kevin Haworth. Kevin is in an interesting position in his life -- a serious and practicing Jew who is married to a rabbi and spends every summer in Israel, he is also a full-time creative, a young father, a liberal, and someone who spends a lot of time with hipsters, and this book is a series of NPR-worthy essays about the sometimes funny, sometimes profound issues that come up from trying to combine these two sides of his life. It's already a pre-publication winner of a grant from the Ohio Arts Council, and this from a writer who has in the past won the Samuel Goldberg Prize for Jewish fiction; I've been an obsessive fan of it ever since Kevin first randomly sent it in literally as a cold submission, and it gives me an immense amount of pride to be able to unleash in on the world today. This will be right up the alley of existing fans of "This American Life" and The Believer, so I especially urge all of you to check it out; but what's pretty amazing about this book is that you don't need to be particularly religious to enjoy it, or a spouse and parent yourself, nor need to have a particular opinion one way or another about Israel, Judaism or Zionism, even though the book is specifically about all of these things (as well as circumcision, the Catskills in the '70s, how to handle a five-year-old son who loves to wear frilly girls' dresses, and all kinds of other amazingly unique and wonderful things).
As always, the ebook is being released under a "pay what you want" system, in PDFs for both American and European laserprinters, EPUB for most mobile devices, and MOBI specifically for Amazon Kindles; and as always, a special handmade "Hypermodern" paper edition is being released as well, this time featuring a fantastic new cover illustration by our old friend Laura Szumowski. Oh, and if you like that image she did, why not order a 16 x 20 inch poster of it, or a two by three inch refrigerator magnet? I've got one of each myself, and I think they look great! And of course, for all my fellow book lovers over at social network Goodreads.com, don't forget that there's a listing there for the book as well, so I highly encourage you to add it to your library there and help get it a little more publicity. Usually we also post a wealth of supplemental content for our books on release day as well, although a series of different factors have hampered that in this case: Lauryn Allison, who will be writing a "Passing the Torch" critical essay about the book, has been in the middle of moving; I didn't get my own critical essay finished in time; and since Kevin is our first-ever non-Chicago author, we didn't get an opportunity to sit down and talk for the podcast either, although later this week we'll finally be "talking" via text chat and posting the resulting conversation here. Anyway, so all that stuff will instead be getting slowly posted here over the next few weeks, so I hope you'll have a chance to follow along and check each thing out as it's ready. I'm incredibly glad to have this book as part of CCLaP's catalog, and immensely proud to have my name associated with it, so I urge you to stop by its main online headquarters as soon as you have a chance and check it out for yourself. I guarantee, you'll be glad you did.