Monthly Archives: August 2015

This is Shanghai

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 Like a guidebook, it helps newcomers and visitors discover the city; but, instead of making quickly-outdated lists of restaurants and museums, Alexander Barrett takes you on a tour of the essential facets of existence in Shanghai.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.


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.

Slip of the Tongue

We ask each of our interns to choose a book from our catalog and review it. Hayley chose Katie Haegele’sSlip of the Tongue: Talking About Language.

Slip of the tongue book coverI knew I was going to enjoy Slip of the Tongue from the moment I held the skinny teal book in my hands. The bookish-English-major-nerd within me was immediately taken with Katie Haegele’s collection of essays, which attempt to make sense of the world through our collective and individual use of language. What I hadn’t anticipated was just how captivating I was going to find the author and her book. 

Haegele’s memoir is intelligent without being unapproachable, particularly considering its focus on something as academic as linguistics. This is in part due to her distinctively personal voice. Her short essays, insightful and clearly articulated, are utterly conversational – creating an intimacy with the reader, but with a surprising sense of informality. 

Reading this book truly felt like a conversation you fall into with someone you didn’t previously know so well, but somehow become instant best friends with; staying up all night fervently discussing life, without realizing the sun has left and come back again. 

Underlying the entire work is Haegele’s love of language. It radiates from each page, seeping into every story told—whether articulating the peculiar history of graffiti in Philadelphia or expressing the sharp pang she feels at the glimpse of her father’s coffee mug that reads “Pizzazz,” the single surviving relic of him following his death. I really enjoyed her various observations on language because, despite her reverence for it, she is never precious about it. Haegele isn’t as concerned with preserving language as she is with observing the ways it has transformed. Old ways of communicating aren’t necessarily superior to current forms. She doesn’t mind the formation of so-called ungraceful words like “chocoholic” or the decline of cursive. Language isn’t stagnate, it effortlessly morphs and changes with time. But for Haegele, this malleability makes language all the more important. Words are arbitrary—they’re random sounds we’ve assigned specific meaning to—yet, significantly, they’re formed out of an essential human need to communicate. I love this idea, that language could be haphazardly formed while at the same time shaped for a distinctly human purpose. 

I was particularly drawn to the essay “Another Word for Lonely,” which reflected on a few almost-synonyms of the word nostalgia found in different languages and cultures throughout the world. From a young age, I was fascinated with the past. I set out to find fossils in my backyard or begged my mother to buy me yet another twenty-five cent Victorian glass figurine. I loved these objects, and I would often dream of experiencing an older, grander time. They made me feel closer to a past I deeply longed for—admittedly a fictional, highly romanticized version of the past. But it was real to me, and I often feel that yearning still. 

So when this essay explored different words that varyingly express this nostalgia, I was immediately captivated. There was some comfort found in reading the definitions of saudade, kaiho, hiraeth, and sehnsecht. Sure, the word saudade doesn’t diminish my romanticism and kaiho doesn’t make me feel any less lonely, but having the language to more easily describe that indefinable yet universal “hypochondria of the heart” at least makes me feel a little more understood. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in feeling or striving to describe these nostalgic sentiments. 

And that is what is so great about Slip of the Tongue: it is so very human. In analyzing language Haegele is attempting to understand her own humanity, and she invites the reader into her life to make their own self-discoveries. It is so much more than a book about language; it is a book about life.


Underground is all about the history and future of DIY punk touring in the USA. Daniel Makagon explores the culture of DIY spaces like house shows and community-based music spaces, their impact on underground communities and economies, and why these networks matter. He shows that no matter who you are, organizing, playing, and/or attending a DIY punk show is an opportunity to become a real part of a meaningful movement and to create long-lasting alternatives to the top-down economic and artistic practices of the mainstream music industry. Punk kids playing an illegal show too loudly in someone’s basement might not save the world, but they might just be showing us the way to building something better.

Rampant Media Consumption – July 2015

building a better nest book coverHere’s what we put in our brains last month:


read: Bluets by Maggie Nelson and Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein 

listened to: Julee Cruise


listened to: New Zak Sally stuff

finally watched: Barbershop Punk it has a lot of Ian MacKaye and Henry in it


Read: Sherwood Nation and was super excited to find a new entry in the emerging genre of feminist bicycle science fiction. This one about a drought-stricken Portland! Good stuff.

Joe + I watched two documentaries: What Happened, Miss Simone and also Billy the Kid. And we went to see Minions.


Little Dragon’s latest album (2014) is killin’ it for me

I watched this about 70 times 


Reading: Glory Goes and Gets Some stories by Emily Carter and Building a Better Nest by Evelyn Searle Hess

Learned all about Hobo Spider bites—ouch! 

Got the real dirt on garden tips from Grow PDX on XRay FM 

Pedal Zombies!

In the not-so-distant future, when gasoline is no longer available, humans turn to two-wheeled vehicles to transport goods, seek glory, and defend their remaining communities. In another version of the future, those with the zombie virus are able to escape persecution and feel almost alive again on two wheels. In yet another scenario, bicycles themselves are reanimated and roam the earth. A talented array of writers bring their diverse visions to this volume: sometimes scary, sometimes spooky, sometimes hilarious, always on two wheels…