I'm Dyin' Here: A Life in the Paper by Tim Grobaty has won the Gold medal in humor from the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. This is our funny friend's second honor; he also took the Silver award in humor from the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Grobaty's book also was selected to inaugurate Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia's citywide Book Club last fall.
Brown Paper Press launched its fourth title today, with the publication of The Inheritance of Shame: A Memoir by Peter Gajdics. We couldn't be more proud of this book, or this author. And the accolades it has been receiving from reviewers, reporters and readers has made this experience all the sweeter.
Please check out the book on Amazon — here's the link! — and let us know what you think.
Peter's book tour begins tonight at Fingerprints in Long Beach and extends through June 3 — including stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle and Portland. Click here for more information about those events. We'd love to see you there!
And, finally, for more information and to see what people are saying, see below.
Deborah Kalb, Q&A with Peter Gajdics, May 16, 2017
Largehearted Boy, Book Notes & Music Playlist for The Inheritance of Shame, May 16, 2017
CKNW's Simi Sara Show, Interview with Peter Gajdics, May 15, 2017
The Rumpus, Notable LA, May 15, 2017
The Press-Telegram, Long Beach Publisher to Release New Memoir From Survivor of Gay Conversion Therapy, May 15, 2017
The Long Beach Post, Gay Conversion Therapy Survivor Launches New Memoir with Two Long Beach Events, May 15, 2017
Lambda Literary, review of The Inheritance of Shame, April 25, 2017
New Books Magazine, Review of The Inheritance of Shame, April 22, 2017
Kirkus Reviews, The Inheritance of Shame, April 18, 2017
Matthew Shepard Foundation, Q&A with Peter Gajdics, April 11, 2017
Foreword Reviews, The Inheritance of Shame, March 27, 2017
(We'll be updating this list throughout the coming weeks on our Reviews & Publicity page, so stay tuned.
Author Peter Gajdics, who survived six years of gay-conversion therapy under the direction of a Canadian psychiatrist, is about to kick off the West Coast book tour for his resonant new memoir, The Inheritance of Shame (2017, Brown Paper Press).
The book tour will begin in Long Beach on the book’s official publication date, May 16, and include readings at Book Soup in Los Angeles (May 19), Dog Eared Books in San Francisco (May 23), Another Read Through Books in Portland (May 26) and Elliott Bay Books in Seattle (June 3).
Called “raw and unforgettable” by Foreword Reviews, The Inheritance of Shame details the time Gajdics spent in a bizarre form of therapy that attempted to “cure” him of his homosexuality. Juxtaposed against his parents’ tormented past — his mother’s incarceration and escape from a communist concentration camp in post-World War II Yugoslavia, and his father’s upbringing as an orphan in war-torn Hungary — Gajdics’ story explores the universal themes of childhood trauma, oppression, and intergenerational pain.
“Peter’s story is bigger than his own remarkable experience,” said Jennifer Volland, co-publisher of Brown Paper Press. “His book explores how trauma can pass from one generation to the next, and how deep-seated shame can lead people to abandon their true selves in favor of something that doesn’t exist.”
Conversion therapy (also called reparative or ex-gay therapy) is still legal in most states, despite evidence of the great suffering it causes, and Gajdics is hopeful that his book will spark legislators to take up the issue and put an end to these programs, particularly those that target vulnerable youth.
The Inheritance of Shame: A Memoir (ISBN: 978-1-941932-08-7) is distributed in the United States and Canada by SCB Distributors and available for pre-order now.
Confirmed Author Appearances
[Please visit www.inheritanceofshame.com for the most up-to-date information]
Fingerprints Music, 7 pm
420 E. 4th St., Long Beach, CA
Book launch and reading/signing with reception by Berlin Bistro and music by Bearcoon
The Art Theatre, 2025 E. 4th St., Long Beach, CA
6:30 PM: Screening of Call Me Kuchu and conversation with with Gajdics and Ellen Hartwick, clinical director of The Center Long Beach.
Book Soup, 7 pm
8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA
Reading, signing and discussion with novelist Dan Lopez, author of The Show House, (2016, Unnamed Press)
Dog Eared Books, 8pm
489 Castro St., San Francisco, CA
Gadjics will be interviewed by Ann Raeff, author of The Jungle Around Us (2016, University of Georgia Press), nominated for the California book award. Both authors will read and sign books.
Laurel Bookstore, 7 pm
1423 Broadway, Oakland, CA
Gajdics will be in conversation with Lucy Jane Bledsoe, a five-time Lambda Literary Award finalist and author of A Thin Bright Line (2016, University of Wisconsin Press).
Another Read Through Books, 7 pm
3932 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR
Pre-Pride Week event, reading/signing with other authors TBA
Elliott Bay Books, 7 pm
2125 10th St., Seattle, WA
Book launch and reading/signing
AWARDS UPDATE (April 12): I'm Dyin' Here has won the 2016 Silver Medal in Humor from the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY's). Yay, Tim!
Many congratulations go to Tim Grobaty and Alan Rifkin, both of whom were named finalists Wednesday for the 2016 Foreword INDIE Awards. Grobaty's I'm Dyin' Here: A Life in the Paper qualified in the contest's HUMOR category, while Rifkin's Burdens by Water, qualified in the highly competitive category of Essays.
So proud of both these books, and their authors, and grateful to the Foreword INDIES for recognizing what we first saw in them: a whole lotta greatness.
A review for Peter Gajdics' The Inheritance of Shame is set to run in Foreword Reviews' May/June edition, but there's no dang way we're waiting that long to share a few snippets with you.
"Raw and unforgettable," writes critic Paige Van de Winkle in an advanced proof we received this week. "With its stark presentation of the tangible effects of not only homophobia, but xenophobia — his mother's time in a concentration camp, and his father's own traumatic WWII experience — this book is appallingly appropriate in these times."
"In a book that celebrates and embodies the power of the medium of writing in a pure way, Gajdics uses the written word to heal from trauma, to reconcile with his parents, to unearth their own suffering in World War II, and as an unforgettable call for compassion."
And, finally, this:
"The passionate writing makes the book not only an intriguing read but an important one in the literary and political realms."
Couldn't have said it better ourselves. Thanks, Foreword.
Update: The review is now live online, and has been named an Editor's Pick.
In solidarity with all those who continue to protest at airports throughout the country, Brown Paper Press will be donating half of all its proceeds from ebook sales during the month of February to the American Civil Liberties Union, which stands on the front line of the fight against our president's unconstitutional order banning immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Please join us in congratulating Canadian author Peter Gajdics, whose breathtaking memoir — The Inheritance of Shame — will be published by Brown Paper Press this spring.
The Inheritance of Shame chronicles the six years Gajdics spent in a bizarre form of conversion therapy that attempted to “cure” him of his homosexuality. You can read more about the book here, or on the book's website — inheritanceofshame.com
We cannot tell you how proud we are to have this memoir in our small but slowly growing arsenal. The book is a page-turner, to be sure, but also is an inspirational glimpse at the power of compassion, resilience and self-acceptance.
And, as you'll soon see, it took a hell of a lot of courage to write it.
We expect the book will be of special interest to Americans curious about conversion therapy, as Vice President-Elect Mike Pence has thrown his support church-based therapies in the past. This, despite reams of evidence proving such tactics are both fruitless and damaging.
The Inheritance of Shame will be published on May 16 — during Long Beach’s Pride Week. Stay tuned for news of Peter's launch party and book tour. As always, we'd love to see you there.
Oh! And the beautiful cover was designed by the Alban Fischer, whose other work can be found here.
Title: The Inheritance of Shame
Author: Peter Gajdics
Pub Date: May 16, 2017
Format: Trade paperback
Distributor: SCB Distributors
Since our inception in 2014, Brown Paper Press has been distributed through IngramSpark, a subsidiary of Ingram Content Group. This arrangement has made our books readily accessible by every bookstore in America and in several foreign countries.
But it also means we lack a dedicated sales force, or automatic exposure to established booksellers — which is a disadvantage when it comes to building a publishing business.
So, as of Jan. 1, 2017, our books will be made available through SCB Distributors — a full-service distributor and home to a number of small presses we greatly admire. At the same time, we will be making our first foray into offset printing with Peter Gajdics' The Inheritance of Shame. Check out SCB's latest catalogue here.
We are very excited about this new step, but it also means that we are taking a big risk. So think of us fondly, will you? With all your fingers crossed.
A huge thank you to the amazing audience at Sunday's State of Journalism event. Not only did you show up at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning, but you were gracious and inquisitive and laughed at all the right times. It doesn't get any better than that.
Seriously, we are incredibly grateful for the support. It's not been easy starting up a new press — in fact, sometimes it seems impossibly hard — but it's events like this, attended by good people like you, that make it worth doing.
Unfortunately, we did not have the forethought to tape the panel discussion — a mistake we won't be repeating. And we regret that we were not able to get to more questions from the audience; we easily could have extended the discussion by an hour. But I do hope everyone enjoyed themselves and will return for our next event. (Yes, we're already planning another screening & discussion with the Art Theatre!) Please be sure to stay in touch — either on social media or via email to stay in the loop. We want all the exact same people to come. :-)
Please join us for a free screening of "All the President's Men," followed by a panel discussion about the state of American journalism with a host of accomplished journalists and academics — including the Press-Telegram's Tim Grobaty, author of I'm Dyin Here: A Life in the Paper.
The screening will be held Sunday, Dec. 11, at 10:30 a.m. at the Art Theatre, 2025 E. 4th Street in Long Beach. Doors open at 10 a.m.
REGISTER AT STATEOFJOURNALISM.EVENTBRITE.COM
Released in 1976, "All the President's Men" is the incredible story of how two green Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Berstein, uncovered the details of the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A with Jennifer Fleming (moderator), Tim Grobaty, Russ Parsons, Sarah Bennett and Barbara Kingsley-Wilson — journalists and educators with more than 130 years of combined experience. The discussion will center on the many changes in the newspaper industry since "All the President's Men" debuted 40 years ago. Panelists will consider how a host of factors have changed "the press" as we know it today, offer their perspectives on the future of journalism, and address the role of the media in covering the impending presidency of Donald Trump.
Tim Grobaty's memoir, "I'm Dyin' Here: A Life in the Paper" — chosen to inaugurate the 2016 Long Beach Mayor's Book Club — will be on sale in the lobby throughout the event. Free coffee and pastries will be offered to all those who buy the book.
Moderator Jennifer Fleming is a professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at California State University, Long Beach. Her work focuses on media literacy, news literacy, and television news. She also studies the history and evolution of civic and journalism education in the United States. Jennifer received a PhD from the University of California Los Angeles. Previous to joining the CSULB journalism department in 2002, she worked at CTV National News In Toronto — Canada’s largest private broadcaster — where she was a writer and producer for two of Canada's most-watched programs, CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson and Canada AM.
Panelist Tim Grobaty, a daily humor columnist at the Long Beach Press-Telegram, has won numerous awards including being named the Best Columnist in the Western United States by Best in the West. He also has authored three books on local history: Growing Up in Long Beach: Boomer Memories from Autoettes to Los Altos Drive-In; Location Filming in Long Beach; and Long Beach Chronicles: From Pioneers to the 1933 Earthquake. In I'm Dyin' Here, his most autobiographical book to date, he tells the inside story of a life lived in newspapers and offers his reflections on the end — both as a person and a newspaperman. A native of Long Beach, Grobaty lives (he still lives!) in the city with his wife, daughter, and two pups.
Panelist Russ Parsons was the food editor and columnist of the Los Angeles Times for more than 25 years and a reporter at five newspapers for the previous 15. He is a member of the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America — the food world's hall of fame. In addition, he has won every major American food journalism award, including those from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the Association of Food Journalists. His first book, How to Read a French Fry, was a finalist for two Julia Child cookbook awards. His second, How to Pick a Peach, was been named one of the best 100 books of the year by both Publisher’s Weekly and Amazon.
Panelist Sarah Bennett is a journalist, editor, designer, zinester and educator. She is an adjunct professor of communications and media studies at Santa Ana College and has spent more than a decade covering news, music, food, beer, art, culture and all-things-Long Beach for a variety of local, national and international publications. She is the former executive editor of the Long Beach Post, former food editor of the LA Weekly and a founding editor for the monthly print newspaper, Beer Paper L.A. She has weekly columns covering local food and drink in the Los Angeles Times and the OC Weekly, and continues to work with music magazine L.A. Record. Bennett also is on the organizing committee for the Long Beach Zine Fest.
Panelist Barbara Kingsley-Wilson has been a journalist for 20 years — covering courts, crime, education and sports for the Orange County Register, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Rochester (N.Y) Times-Union. She also wrote about sports for USA Todayand worked as an intern with the Associated Press in Tel Aviv, Israel. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Ohio University, and taught news writing in the Kiplinger Mid-career Reporting Program there. She taught journalism classes at the University of Southern California, and now lectures in the Journalism Department at Cal State Long Beach. She continues to write for the Registerand for online news sites, such as LBReport.com.
September was an amazing month here at our little press, thanks in large part to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, to whom we owe a debt of gratitude. By choosing Tim Grobaty's "I'm Dyin' Here: A Life in the Paper," he not only brought much-deserved exposure to Tim's wonderful book, but he threw his support behind a largely unknown entity: Us! (And, dang, do we appreciate it.)
Plus-also, the mayor's flagship event at the beautiful Beverly O'Neill Theater Sept. 15, was So Much. Fun. Grobaty, a notorious nervous wreck in public, was in fine form — engaging and hilarious. Kudos go to the mayor, too, who had a bag full of great questions for his fellow liberal Democrat, neither of whom shied away from the controversial topic of politics. (At one point, Tim was asked what led him to his political philosophy. "Well, I got an education," he quipped.)
One of our personal favorite moments came at the beginning of the audience-participation portion of the event, when former Mayor Bob Foster took the mic and spoke in glowing terms about both Tim and his book to the crowd of some 250 people. "You've been a tremendous asset to this city," Foster said.
And then there was the woman who asked what profession Tim would have chosen if he couldn't have picked journalism. "Probably marine biology," Tim answered, at which point Jerry Schubel, president and CEO of the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific stood up to offer Tim a job if the whole journalism thing doesn't work out.
Tim has been writing for the Press-Telegram for 40 years — and has been the paper's most well-read daily columnists for a great number of them. He also has written three books about the history of Long Beach. At one point during the evening, he acknowledged that, having written about the city's lore for so long — he felt as though he has become a part of it. And when asked whether he'd ever kept a journal, Tim said: "My column. Really, my column is my journal."
You can read about the event in the media here and here.The whole thing was filmed and will be available to watch online at some point — we'll keep you posted. But in the meantime, please consider joining Tim at our next two events.
We are thrilled to announce that Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has just launched of a new citywide book club — aptly named the Mayor's Book Club — and he has chosen I'm Dyin Here: A Life in the Paper by Tim Grobaty as the first read.
“I just loved I’m Dyin’ Here," Garcia said, describing the book as "an honest and extremely funny look at life in the newspaper business and here in Long Beach."
The Mayor's Book Club replaces "Long Beach Reads One Book" — which fell victim to budget cuts several years ago. The book club is sponsored by the Long Beach Library Foundation.
Grobaty and Garcia will appear together for a community conversation and interview at the Beverly O'Neill Theater Sept. 15, and a number of other book-related events and promotions will be held at local venues throughout the fall — including "Drinks with Tim" Oct. 26 at the Brass Lamp Book Bar & Lounge and a screening of "All the President's Men" at the Art Theater Dec. 11.
We've set up a Reader's Guide here, which has information on the book, the book club and related events.
Be sure to check out Alan Rifkin's beautiful & fascinating story about a brain-injury-victim-turned-artist, which ran on the front page of the Orange County Register June 24. It's a piece of literary nonfiction that becomes strangely, almost awkwardly, personal by the end — classic Rifkin.
Please do give it a read. And if you like it, be sure to check out his book, Burdens by Water, because there’s A LOT more where that came from.
Just a quick note: Relax, It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You're Not Religious has been awarded a Silver Medal by the Independent Book Publishers Awards (AKA IPPY Awards) in the category of Parenting. Congrats to all involved, and a special thanks to the folks at at the the IBPA.
Okay, yeah, we are giving ourselves a D- on keeping up with this blog. It's shameful, really, but we will be getting back on track beginning... wait for it... NOW!
First, if you have a chance, check out Wendy's bit on a new public radio podcast called But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids where she tackles the question posed by a 6-year-old girl from Kansas. "Why do people have so many religions?" Good question, right? The answer is pretty good, too.
Second, speaking of podcasts, be sure to listen to Alan Rifkin talk about his new book BURDENS BY WATER on The How The Why podcast — which is produced by an excellent nonprofit in Orange, Calif., called the 1888 Center. We recently had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Staniec, 1888's founder and executive director, and are especially excited about collaborating with in the near future. We'll keep you posted.
And, third(ly), if you haven't seen Tim Grobaty on C-SPAN's BOOK TV yet, you really should. He does a great bit on his book I'M DYIN' HERE and on what it was like to work in a newsroom when "newspapermen" were the gateway to pretty much all our information. Here's a picture of Tim in the newsroom in 1984; that should give you a clue.
We had a helluva time this weekend at the LA Times Festival of Books. It was truly exhausting being "on" all the time — but we loved meeting so many readers and writers... and writers and writers and writers. (THERE WERE SO MANY WRITERS!) We even got a bunch of pitches — including some genuinely interesting ones — and were thrilled to double the size of our mailing list by giving away our "totes adorbs" totes. (Jesus, did I really just write that? Kill me now.)
• Chatting with Johnny from Akashic Books — the Brooklyn-based publisher whose company EXPLODED after publishing Go the F**k to Sleep. Can we please have that happen to us now? Please?
• A visit by Manchester, England-based Ryan Doyle of the design duo DR.ME, which designed the cover for Burden by Water.
• Watching Kramer chat up festival-goers in front our booth. (And, yes, we did set it up so our logo would be in the shot. What?)
• Checking out one of our (many) favorite bands, I See Hawks in LA, which played on the stage right behind us.
• Hearing that some folks had shown up at the Jane Austin Society booth (next door to ours) wondering if the author was going to be signing books. Um. Yeah. She's been dead for 200 years, but it's great to hear you're such a big fan.
Anyway, for those who came out, THANK YOU! And for those who bought books, THANK YOU x 100. :-)
You guys, you guys, you guys. THE LA TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS!
We are so jazzed to be (wo)manning our first booth — Lucky Number 931! — at So Cal's largest book festival this weekend at the USC campus. The event is as awesome as it is huge. And if you're into books — or, come to think of it, music or cooking or photography or film or celebrity sightings — you should really try to come by. (Don't forget the Metro's Blue, Red and Expo lines all make stops at USC.)
We will be debuting our "vintage-looking" canvas tote bags, and giving them out to everyone who buys a book, signs up for our mailing list or just flutters their eyes right at us. How easy are we? Very.
Authors Tim Grobaty, Alan Rifkin and Wendy Thomas Russell will be signing their books from 12-4 on Saturday; Grobaty and Russell will return for another round of signings Sunday 12-4. Rifkin can't make it on Day 2, though, so be sure to stop by Saturday to visit with him.
Oh! And we'll be posting updates on social media throughout the weekend, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter if you're so inclined. Hashtag: #bookfest.
Visit latimes.com/festivalofbooks for tons more information.
Hope to see you there!
Joe Donnelly has written a wonderful review of Alan Rifkin's Burdens by Water for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Donnelly riffs eloquently about the days when personal nonfiction was in high demand, when journalists were flown all over the country in search of capital-t Truth, and people like Alan Rifkin were paid not just to report on what was going on in the world but to write what was going on in their heads.
The point is, journalism was once allowed and even encouraged to tackle Chekhovian concerns, to give purpose to factual storytelling beyond the mere transfer of information. Rifkin comes from that time, and he did it better than most. This collection is a testament to that. In lesser hands, of course, these pieces would collapse under their own ambitions, but Rifkin’s mastery of narrative architecture and the crystallizing line never let contemplations run away or the prose grow too ponderous. For instance, the “Pool Man” characters mine the “gorgeous crypts” — rectangular, kidney-shaped, or “reedy Xanadus” — of their tenuous middle-class lives for signs that their California dream survives.
Check out the entire review here.
Not everyone knows the music of singer/songwriter/producer/poet Dave Alvin. But those who do think he's great. And not "great" like the day you had yesterday, but, like, Jesus great.
Case in point: Our friend Harry. When we told Harry that Alvin had plugged Brown Paper Press and its authors at the launch for Alan Rifkin's Burdens by Water and Tim Grobaty's I'm Dyin' Here, he didn't mince words.
"That is like the finger of God coming down and touching you," he said.
Under these circumstances, we thought it appropriate to include the entirety of Alvin's message — which was hand-delivered to the launch party by fellow musician and songwriter Stanley Wycoff (whose music we also love. Check out Two Sisters to hear an example of his amazing collaborative work.)
Dave Alvin is out on tour with his brother Phil Alvin (both founding members of the Blasters) promoting their new album Lost Time. I like to think that's the only reason he wasn't there, imparting his Greatness upon us in person.
Here's his message.
"Congratulations to Alan Rifkin and Tim Grobaty on the publication of their new books. Mr. Grobaty is one of my favorite music journalists, with a smart, perceptive and often humorous view of the complex workings of the music world. Mr. Rifkin is a great rock and roll writer. Not that he writes about rock and roll, but he writes like a true rock and roller: Sharp, brave, curious, a touch sarcastic and more than a little wild. His words can make you think, shout, dance and maybe even cry. I also want to commend Brown Paper Press for having the taste and wisdom to give a forum to two distinctive voices of Southeast LA County. Best of luck to everyone."
We humbly thank you, Dave, and hope you have a (Jesus) great tour.
We've had a heck of an exciting week here at the plant.
First, we got some great press from the Long Beach Post and the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Very grateful to have such strong local coverage here in the LBC. Speaking of which: A feature in the Long Beach Business Journal's "Women in Business" section is forthcoming, as well. Because we're women, see. In business. Look for that one March 1.
Then we had a great turnout at Fingerprints Saturday night at the launch for Tim Grobaty's I'm Dyin' Here and Alan Rifkin's Burdens by Water. The authors read passages from their books — making us laugh, cry and think in equal measure. Okay, we really didn't cry. At all. But there was wine. And who needs to cry when there's wine? There also was music — local musician 8 Good Fingers (not his real name, but his real amount of fingers) played for a while. (Really well, too, considering the number of fingers). And Dave Alvin (founding member of the Blaster's who is now on tour with Phil Alvin) sent a super-nice note of support — calling Rifkin "sharp, brave, curious, a touch sarcastic and more than a little wild" — which Rand (the owner of Fingerprints) read aloud.
Following that, on Monday, book critic David Kipen plugged Brown Paper Press and our new releases on an episode of KPCC's Take Two. It was a two-minute bit (the radio equivalent of years), during which Kipen called us "wonderfully quixotic" (We are choosing to take that as a compliment) and even ventured to guess that presses like ours might someday make Manhattan publishing houses hang their heads in shame. (Not gonna hold our breaths on that one, but we sure appreciated the sentiment.) Click here to listen. (Our bit starts at 1:32:35.)
By the way, are the parentheticals in this post driving you crazy yet? (Too bad.)
Which brings us to today — the official publication date for Burdens by Water and I'm Dyin' Here. You can read the excellent Q&As with Rifkin and Grobaty on Deborah Kalb's book blog (click here and here). We'll try to pop back in and give you an update at week's end, but to follow developments in real time, be sure to follow us on Twitter or Facebook. (Oh, and one last parenthetical: Do check out Tim's column about his book in yesterday's PT. Goddamn hilarious.)
As always, thanks for the support. We know it's cliche, but it's true: We couldn't do this without you.