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Zinester's Guide to Portland: A Low/No Budget Guide to the Rose City

Zinester's Guide to Portland: A Low/No Budget Guide to the Rose City imageBilled as a "low/no budget guide to visiting and living in Portland, Oregon, the Zinester's Guide to Portland breaks down the PDX grid by neighborhood with descriptions of good restaurants, thrift stores, bars, bridges, places to loiter, etc. (lots of etc.). The newly overhauled and illustrated fifth edition gets shoulder-deep into the history and local lore, providing a well-rounded argument as to why (fill in the blank) deserves your time. It also demystifies the TriMet public transportation system, bike events and culture, outdoorsy stuff, the public libraries—basically anything you need to know as the new kid in town. (Of which there seems to be tons; the Zinester's Guide has been on Powell's Books' top 20 since 2006.) To the wrong eyes the book's title might imply a guide to Portland zine culture, and indeed it originated in 2001 as a hand-stapled zine. But as editor Shawn Granton says in the introduction, the Zinester's Guide is not just for zinesters, that "It's always been about sharing the interesting and unique things that make Stumptown great, and also helping people get by that aren't swimming in scads of money." For those of us that can't so much as dog-paddle most days, this is community at its mightiest.

Can You Pass Out Our Poster Catalogs?

Can You Pass Out Our Poster Catalogs? imageFor many years we've been trying to create a catalog that simultaneously meets the needs of the book industry while also serving as a helpful guide to people who love our books or are at least interested in what we've been up to over the previous year. But stop worrying. We have given up on that ridiculous goal and have now begun producing one catalog for the book industry and one for people that do not breathe Dewey Decimal. Can you leave our catalogs at record stores and coffeeshops or punk hangouts in your town or on a tour? Send us an address and how many!

Good Trouble

Good Trouble image

The history of Microcosm Publishing, from its origins as a record label and zine distro in Joe Biel's bedroom closet in Cleveland to a thriving, sustainable publisher of life-changing books. The book comes out to mark Microcosm's 20th anniversary and all the shit and splendor that's gone into making us who we are. Good Trouble is a tale of screwing up, trying again, and always finding a way do it better. It's a book for anyone who has ever failed big and dreamed bigger. It's about developing a toolkit for turning your difficulties into superpowers, building the world that you envision, and inspiring others to do the same. This is the story of how, over 20 years, one person turned a litany of continuing mistakes and seemingly wrong turns into a happy, fulfilled life and a thriving publishing business that defies all odds. With a foreword by Sander Hicks, founder of Soft Skull Press, and an introduction by Joyce Brabner, co-author with Harvey Pekar of Our Cancer Year.

 

Railroad Semantics Box Set

Railroad Semantics Box Set image

Devoted to train-hopping, graffiti, and railroad culture, Aaron Dactyl's Railroad Semantics zines describe the sights, sounds, successes, and defeats of exploring the western U.S. by freight train. 

The first four Railroad Semantics zines were made into books, and are all together in this box set. You'll find epic, hidden works of art, read up on rail lore and riding tips, meet rail workers and fellow adventurers, and experience the perils and glories of life in rail yards, train cars, small towns, and encampments.

Urban Revolutions: A Woman's Guide to Two-Wheeled Transportation

Urban Revolutions: A Woman's Guide to Two-Wheeled Transportation image

Urban Revolutions is a different kind of cycling book. Author Emilie Bahr draws on her experience as an everyday cyclist and a transportation planner in New Orleans to demystify urban bicycling in this visually-compelling and fun-to-read field guide. 

What does it mean for a city to be bike-friendly? What makes bicycling a women's issue? What does it take to feel safe on a bike? How do you bike to work in the summer and still look professional? What is the most fun you can possibly have on two wheels without being athletic? Bahr answers all these questions and more in her friendly and thoughtful essays and detailed practical tips.

Xerography Debt #38

Xerography Debt #38 image

"We don’t just blindly provide 'good' reviews—we’re here to support a community and foster its members. If your zine is reviewed,you earned that ink. Keep up the good work!" opens this issue of the review zine with perzine tendencies. Since 1999, Davida Gypsy Breier's gluten-free recipe for Xerography Debt might be best summarized as an obsession for all involved, none of which are likely to be as wealthy as the preserved zine king depicted on the cover. Billy da Bling Bunny Roberts recently said "It's the glue that holds the zine community together." Maintaining three issues per year, the 38th issue of Xerography Debt is still the same ol' charming personality, allowing a hand-picked cast of contributors to wax philosophical about the zines they love. In an age of blogs and tweets, Xerography Debt is a beautiful, earnest anachronism, a publication that seems to come from a different era, but is firmly entrenched in the now. And they want to review your zines in future issues: Davida Gypsy Breier / PO Box 347 / Glen Arm, MD 21057

 

2016 Slingshot Organizers are IN.

2016 Slingshot Organizers are IN. image

Can you believe it's almost 2016? Time to get ready. The good news is that Slingshot has released their classic, radical organizers and resource guides and we currently have them in every color! Large ones lay flat, small ones fit in your pocket. We ALSO have the Just Seeds beautifully illustrated 2016 planners in stock. Get ready! Next year's going to be a big one!

in stock. Get ready! Next year's going to be a big one!

Mama Tried: Traditional Italian Cooking for the Screwed, Crude, Vegan, and Tattooed

Mama Tried: Traditional Italian Cooking for the Screwed, Crude, Vegan, and Tattooed image

Cecilia Granata grew up cooking with her family in Italy. As a vegan, she learned to adapt her favorite recipes to be animal-free while retaining the flavor and feeling of true Italian home cooking. She shares her commitment to ethical and artful eating in this alphabetically-arranged volume with over 100 recipes, ranging from traditional favorites from across Italy to homemade liqueurs to aphrodisiacs—all "senza sofferenza"—without suffering. The recipes are lushly illustrated with Granata's food-inspired tattoo art.

Railroad Semantics #4

Railroad Semantics #4 image

In Railroad Semantics, seasoned train-hopper Aaron takes you along on an epic train journey through desolate stretches of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. He identifies the groups of fellow travelers that are poseurs, drinks under overpasses, and suffers a major injury alone in the desert. There are plenty of photos of sweeping vistas, and railroad graffiti, and a selection of rail-related articles. This issue is thick as usual, and packed with information about tramp life.

 

Our Bodies, Our Bikes

Our Bodies, Our Bikes image

An homage to the classic Our Bodies, Our Selves, this encyclopedic, crowd-sourced compilation of essays, resources, information, and advice about the intersection of gender and bicycling covers a lot of ground—bold meditations on body parts, stories about recovery from illness and injury, biking to the birth center, and loud and proud declarations of physical and emotional freedom.

Cycletherapy

Cycletherapy image

Can you pedal your way through everything life throws at you?

Taking on the bicycle as a means of making sense of life and death, contributors write about their experiences on a bicycle, enjoying the little things about everyday life, dealing with the most difficult, and overcoming loss, trauma, and fear. Contributions range from the lyrical to the profane, the deeply personal to the keenly analytical. Includes essays, art, and a short story.

This is the first issue of the annual Journal of Bicycle Feminism is a compendium of smart, well-curated writing about topics in bicycling from a feminist perspective. It's the grown-up, moved-out, bigger, bolder, and better version of what used to be Taking the Lane zine. The next issue (2016) will be about money and class.

This is Shanghai

This is Shanghai image

This is Shanghai is a firsthand account of expat life in China's (and the world's) largest city! Like a guidebook, it helps newcomers and visitors discover the city; but, instead of making quickly-outdated lists of restaurants and museums, Alexander Barrett takes you on a tour of the essential facets of existence in Shanghai. Follow him through the sometimes incredibly old, sometimes futuristic, and often just plain strange sights, sounds, and experiences he's come across in the first year of exploring the city. With its light, humorous style and sharp eye for those key details that explain the sprawling reality of a huge metropolis, this book is perfect for anyone who wants a friendly guide to Shanghai or just a window onto another, fascinating world.

 

In The News

Punkscription

Punkscription imageSubscribe to all of Microcosm's music books, as they come out. Scene histories, punk memoirs, journalism and cultural commentary about DIY music, in-depth looks at record labels... you'll get 'em all.

Good Life BFF

Good Life BFF imageYour sustainable living toolkit! Subscribe to all of our most popular books, as they come out: Cookbooks, DIY project books, books about healthy relationships, bicycling, fermenting, building, mending, growing, and generally living the life you want in every way.
 

Microcosm In Your Town!

Microcosm In Your Town! imageWe're coming through your town soon! If you’re planning an event and you’d like the Microcosm gang to participate (by tabling, presenting, showing films, etc) please let us know!!

Calling for submissions for the Scene History series!

Are you stoked about the history of your town? Do you find out interesting nuggets by talking to those who came before you or by scouting out details on Wikipedia? Do you want a reason to hunt out some people you respect for them to fill in the gaps?

Well, the Scene History series is an opportunity to do just that. Like our Simple History Series, we will publish two paperbacks each year of the Scene History Series that tell the story of a particular city's scene.

Suggested length is 15,000-30,000 words. Get as creative as you find gratifying. Learn about your favorite places and how things developed.

Check out the existing Scene Histories here!

Submit or ask questions to joe at microcosmpublishing daht com

BFF Book Subscription

BFF Book Subscription image

Be our Best Friend Forever (BFF)! For 6 months you'll receive every new title we publish. The subscription is sliding scale price $10-30/month, and you can either pay in one sum upfront here or pay-as-you-go here. Thanks for your support!  Google+

 

Blogifesto!

Dumpster Diving for Zines: An interview with Jesse Reklaw

applicant zine cover jesse reklaw author photo LOVF book cover the artist at work

One of our oldest, cutest, funniest books is Applicant. Originally a zine that made the transition to bookdom after it sold gazillions of copies to guffawing survivors of the academic industrial complex. Creator Jesse Reklaw found a pile of old applications in the trash behind a major university, complete with photos of the applicants. He paired these photos with choice, typed comments made by the evaluating committee. And ohhh it was painful. The only other thing I’ve seen quite like it is the sadly now-defunct “Nice Guys of OK Cupid” blog. But in this case, we relate to the derided applicants and are angry at the smug, faceless judges that once, long ago determined their fates.

Reklaw, who has a new book coming out soon, answered some questions over email many years after the fact.

1. Applicant is one of our earliest books, and it still holds up painfully, hilariously well. Did any of the applicants pictured ever contact you? Do you get guilty emails from interviewers wanting to confess their application commentary sins?
Man, I wish I’d get guilty, confessional emails! How do I arrange that? I have earnestly tried not to connect with anyone pictured in Applicant; because I am afraid of getting sued. In fact, I recycled all the original files and deleted the names of the people from my computer (maybe also because I know I am a born stalker, and I did not want the temptation around). I do know a woman who got her Ph.D. in neuroscience from one of the future professors pictured in that book; she said he was a good guy. But still.

2. You’ve done a bunch of different kinds of books… mostly comics. Do you have a favorite genre or type or style or topic?
Yes, comics is my main thing. Applicant was kind of a fluke for me, inspired by my interest in zine culture. I actually made the whole thing in the summer of 1998, after I dropped out of grad school. In some ways I think of Applicant as my Meta Masters Thesis: my critique of grad school culture and what was for me a better alternative (dumpster diving). I have always preferred personal, raw, independent voices in publishing. So regarding comics, I’ve read a lot of autobio, graphic novel memoirs, and diary comics. Lynda Barry and John Porcellino are two of my heroes. I also like well-crafted comics fiction, usually on the oddball side.

3. What have you read or seen recently that inspired you the most?
I realized a couple years ago that I have failed to read very much fiction by women, so this year I’m trying to correct that. I’ve been quite inspired by Virginia Woolf. I try to keep up with comics (“graphic novels”) too. Three recent favorites that come to mind are Beautiful Darkness by Kerascoët, By This Shall You Know Him by Jesse Jacobs, and Arsène Schrauwen by Olivier Schrauwen.

4. What are you working on right now that you’re most excited about?
I just finished making a travel diary / sketchbook / graphic novel called LOVF, that will be released from Fantagraphics Books in July this year. This book evolved from a notebook I had with me during a manic phase, and it’s dripping with intricate, intense, and confusing drawings. After I got better (?), I added a narrative so it kind of tells the story of my “vision quest” as a homeless crazy man. I’m excited and terrified to go on tour to promote this book.


Find Applicant here!