The rumors are true: We here at Black Balloon Publishing like to read — and no, not just blogs and listicles, but real books too. You know, the ones that you hold. With your hands.
In effort to showcase our affinity for literature, we’ve decided to start a weekly series in which we share with you what we’re reading. With the weather finally starting to get warmer (Sort of? Kind of? At least there’s no longer snow on the ground?), you can grab one of the below books and spend the weekend outside reading.
Freddie Moore, Editorial Assistant: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
I've been reading Woolf’s To the Lighthouse off and on over the past few weeks, cheating on it with other books, which I know is dirty, but hey, let's be real, stuff happens.... I've dog-eared the hell out of it, and it's hard not to love anything written by Woolf, but I've a harder time committing to this one than Mrs. Dalloway. At the time I read Dalloway, I was still in college, living in an apartment right next to the woods, and it was a totally different experience than reading Woolf on the subway. I've hated reading Woolf on the subway, which is saying A LOT considering I love reading on the subway, but the denseness of her work demands every ounce of your attention, which has been hard to give during rush hour. I've been reading it at home more often and am just a few pages short of finally finishing it. After my time reading it in bed, I never want it to end, but I keep telling myself I can always go back to it someday.
Barbara Cleveland Bourland, Digital Director: This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I'm re-reading This Side of Paradise. Amory Blaine's transition from backwoods Wisconsin gentility ("I'm diffrunt, I don't know why I make faux pas") into a self-obsessed Princetonian ("I detest poor people") is still a classic Midwestern coming-of-snob story. And the further I travel my own journey from Summit Ave. to Fifth Ave. (Fitzgerald and I shared both zip code and school), the funnier it is.
Janna Rademacher, Managing Editor (Distribution): The News from Spain by Joan Wickersham
I've finished News from Spain by Wickersham because everyone loves it and now I know why. I've just started reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Fowler, not because I saw The Great Gatsby the movie — I didn't — but The Great Gatsby, the book, rocked my world at age 13 and, could be said, started me on the crazy path to literary publishing. Lastly, I keep Tony Hoagland's collection of poetry, What Narcissism Means to Me, near me always. The line I read before sleeping and one which offered strange comfort: "sometimes I like to think about the people I hate" from "Hate Hotel." I am an upbeat person, though. Really, I am.
Arvind Dilawar, Senior Editor (The Airship): The Best American Essays Edited by Lauren Slater and Robert Atwan
I'm currently reading The Best American Essays, which I found while day-drinking at a bar in San Francisco a while ago. It's the 2006 edition, so I'm eight years late in getting to it, but the three essays I've read so far — one about the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, another about being a deadbeat and looking for god, and the last about discussing the word "nigger" in all-white African-American studies classes — are all still fresh, retaining their significance and style. I'm hoping the collection will improve my approach to The Airship's future longform articles. Fingers crossed.
Lori Shine, Managing Editor (Production): Come Here Often Edited by Sean Manning
I've been reading Come Here Often: 52 Writers Raise a Glass to Their Favorite Bar. Of course, that's a Black Balloon title, forthcoming in October, and I'm its copy editor, but I've never had so many near-snarfs of shock and delight while working on a book. And it introduced me to Heather Havrilesky, whose hilarious take on drinking while parenting produced one of those "where have you been all my life" moments for me. I'm now catching up with everything she's written, via her blog.
Michelle King, Indefatigable Intern: Leaving a Doll’s House by Claire Bloom and Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia
I typically like to read two books at once, which, would be a humble brag if one of those books wasn’t always, without fail, the literary equivalent to eating a bowl of Lucky Charms for dinner or spending a Friday night watch The OC’s season one in its entirety. It’s not a guilty pleasure, per se (mostly because I hate that term), but it’s certainly not the most highbrow thing imaginable. This week, my lowbrow book is Bloom’s Leaving a Doll’s House, a memoir detailing the actress’s marriage and divorce to Philip Roth. Spoiler Alert: Philip Roth, not a great husband. I know, I know, shocking. As far as literature that’s not author gossip (Writers! They’re just like us!), I’m reading Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Paglia. It tackles sexual decadence in Western literature and covers everything from Medusa, to Dorian Gray, to Elvis Presley, to the Marquis de Sade. I don’t always agree with Paglia, but I do always enjoy reading her.
Ryan Deshon, Lead Developer: Cows by Matthew Stokoe
So this week I am reading, well finishing, Cows by Stokoe. It might be the darkest book I have ever read. Amongst the bestiality, violence, sex and brutality is a completely relatable self-struggle of trying to find oneself in the grimmest of circumstances. It floats somewhere in between insanity and reality, leaving the main character stripped down and insecure. In a world of shit, its hard to find the difference between the blood and guts. This wonderfully grotesque book was suggested to me by Paul Kwiatkowski.
Happy Friday Reads! Be sure to let us know via Twitter or the comments section below what you’re reading this weekend and what you think of our reads.
Black Balloon Publishing is an independent press headquartered in New York, NY, with both print and digital distribution channels. We've published literary fiction, nonfiction and memoir, and we're willing to grow our reach in any direction that suits. Our books evolve, rotate, get mapped onto cities and light up your screen. We champion the weird, the unwieldy and the unclassifiable. The Airship is our blog and chief propaganda vehicle.
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