Five Things We Learned from What the Hell Is St. Louis Thinking?

Categories: Books

Henry Goldkamp holds the anonymous, typed messaged that questioned the diversity of his What the Hell is St. Louis Thinking? project.
The first line of the first entry of What the Hell Is St. Louis Thinking? tells you almost everything you need to know about the story behind the book:

"Typewriters evoke a world of the immediate, a world in which our actions have immediate consequences, a world in which a thought becomes an incarnate word."

Who wrote that line? Nobody knows, not even the book's creator Henry Goldkamp. Yet it ably reflects Goldkamp's fascinations with typewriters and spontaneous poetry, interests he honed while hanging around the Grove and banging out verses for bar patrons on his 1957 Smith Corona. In August 2013 he set out to distribute dozens of typewriter stations across St. Louis, and bystanders were asked to anonymously write something -- anything -- and add it to the growing collection. The end result, as Goldkamp himself writes in the book's introduction, is akin to St. Louis "having a discussion with itself."

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St. Louis Sci-Fi Author Ann Leckie Makes Science Fiction History With Debut Novel

Categories: Books

Shrewsbury resident Ann Leckie holds up her Hugo Award for Best Novel at the World Science Fiction Convention in London on August 17.
Ann Leckie is living every first-time novelist's fantasy. Sort of.

Sure, her sci-fi epic Ancillary Justice destroyed the 2014 award circuit -- that was true before she traveled to London last weekend to attend the Hugo Awards ceremony. Ancillary Justice won that one, too, making the Leckie's novel the first to ever win the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke awards in a single year. Not even sci-fi master and Missouri native Robert Heinlein pulled off that feat.

The only problem is pressure. Leckie's next book, Ancillary Sword, is a direct sequel to her award-showered debut. And she still has to write the third and final book in the Imperial Radch trilogy.

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St. Louisan Gina Sheridan Gets a Book Deal for Her Librarian Tell-All

Categories: Books

Gina Sheridan stands next to the free library she helped established in an Old North St. Louis park.

Gina Sheridan did not expect that a woman who drinks chocolate milk from a sock would be the inspiration for a book. Nor did she think keeping a journal of crazy conversations and goings-on in public libraries would amount to anything but her own amusement. But here we are.

In her recently released book I Work at a Public Library, Sheridan and other librarians around the country share stories that sprawl from horrifying to hilarious to heart warming. The book, released last month, shows librarians as trustworthy gatekeepers of all knowledge, basically as Google personified. They are called on to answer questions about taxes and cars and cats and email and jobs and books and relationships. They're asked to open cans of oysters, create a website and plunge a toilet.

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The Rough & Tumble: STL Filmmakers Trade Scripts for Speech Bubbles in New Comic Book

Categories: Books, Nerdgasm

Jim Ousley
The 1980s produced fantastically fun movies. Take Sixteen Candles, The Goonies or The Breakfast Club -- each one is considered a classic of the era.

But for Jim Ousley and Oscar Madrid -- the RFT MasterMind Award-winning duo behind buddy cop mockumentary Hooch & Daddy-O -- nothing can match watching Sylvester Stallone use scissors to slice his pizza in 1986's Cobra.

"When we were kids we loved that scene, we were like, 'Aw, that's so cool!'" says Ousley. As filmmakers, he and Madrid spent more than a decade tapping the same blend of goofy seriousness they found in '80s action flicks. Their newest project, a crowd-funded comic book, is no different.

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STL Team Debuts Blaze Brothers at Comic-Con International; Read Special-Edition Issue Now

Categories: Books, Nerdgasm

Courtesy of Matthew Scott Krentz

When we launched the annual Riverfront Times MasterMind Awards in 2008, we set out to seed a few innovative projects that would help shape St. Louis creatively and culturally. And even though all of our award winners have been talented and successful, we had no idea that one of the first MasterMind recipients would go on to conquer film and comic books on such a noteworthy scale.

But that's exactly what 2008 MasterMind winner Matthew Scott Krentz has been doing. With his writing and production partner, Vernon Whitlock III, Krentz has his fingerprints all over Hollywood. From the critically acclaimed, award-winning film Streetballers to scripts for major studios, the team already has made its mark on the film industry.

But Comic-Con International? That's a whole new level of success.

See also:
- Wizard World Inc.: A roving comic con looks to corner the geek market
- Slideshow: Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con 2014

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The Best Fan Freak-Outs From Chris Colfer's Book Signing in St. Louis

Categories: Books, Twitter

@chriscolfer | Twitter
Smile, St. Louis -- you're on Chris Colfer's candid camera.

With the gorgeous weather St. Louis has been having, it certainly feels like life is a song here in the Gateway City. Recent visits by Glee cast members simply add the grace note.

St. Louis had its first taste of Glee when Alex Newell served up a saucy headlining set during this year's PrideFest downtown. But Newell, who plays Wade/Unique on the hit FOX television series, was just the beginning of the city's obsession with the show.

On July 15 hundreds of adoring Gleeks filled the St. Louis County Library headquarters, where Chris Colfer signed his new book The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning and answered questions about his life on Glee. The author and actor, who plays Kurt on the series, name-checked vocalist Adam Lambert and political figure Hillary Clinton before signing books for more than 800 fans.

And that's when all hell broke loose. The good kind of hell. The hell that's full of squeals and hugs and selfies.

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Half Price Books Opening in Chesterfield Is Rare Good News for Book Lovers

Categories: Books

Brewbooks via Flickr
Half Price Books is opening in Chesterfield.
The Archive is gone. So is A-1 Book Exchange. The Book House was thrown out of its gorgeous, historic location and is valiantly making do in an originally decrepit space. Even Left Bank Books had to close its downtown location.

It's been a rough seven months for St. Louis' readers of non-ebooks.

So Daily RFT took it as a wonderful sign from the literary gods that Half Price Books, the discount-book and -music seller, has opened a store -- a real, live, bricks-and-mortar store -- in Chesterfield.

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Publisher of Tea Party Coloring Book Thinks Propaganda Should Be Part of MO Classrooms

Categories: Books

Really Big Coloring Books
If you ask Wayne Bell, it's never too early to expose your kids to the Tea Party, Ted Cruz or the 9/11 attacks.

Bell's company, Clayton-based Really Big Coloring Books Inc., has pumped out a diverse selection of politicized coloring books for the past five years, and he thinks it's high time schools and human rights groups get in on the propaganda action.

"Our products are very accurate and very pure. We want to be included in the daily lives of children across America," says Bell, who tells Daily RFT he's petitioning the Missouri Department of Education to include his books as standard texts in official school curricula.

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Amazon Names St. Louis the 11th Most Well-Read City in America

Categories: Books

Hey, kids books are good, too. Keep reading, St. Louis!
Way to go, bookworms. Your fervent page-flipping and e-book ingesting has put St. Louis high on's list of the most well-read cities in America.

St. Louis comes in at No. 11 on the list, between No. 12 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and No. 10 Columbia, South Carolina. Alexandria, Virginia, tops the list of bookish cities for the third year in a row.

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Left Bank Books Closing Downtown Location (UPDATE)

Categories: Bidness, Books

Google Street View

The lovely downtown location of Left Bank Books is closing.

In an e-mail message to its listserve this morning, owner Kris Kleindienst confirms that while they are departing downtown, the flagship location in the Central West End will soldier on. She adds there are no current plans for layoffs.

The last day open will be May 31st. We've left a message with Kleindienst and will update when we hear back. Click through for her message to customers in its entirety.

Update: Daily RFT just spoke with Kleindienst, who did her best to console us.

"It's OK. It's going to be OK," she said. "It's kind of a relief actually to be a decision we're acting on, as opposed to something we're agonizing through."

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