We're all familiar with cooperative art galleries. The artists pay their dues and assume the gallery's administrative roles; in return, they are rewarded with a space to show their work. Enter the co-op book, An Ear to the Ground,
for which "grassroots publisher" Scott C. Davis assembled a cast of more than 200 volunteer writers and artists (and publicists and the like). The book comprises 75 essays by as many writers; each is accompanied by a portrait and profile of the author, and a bit in which the author divulges such secrets as favorite books, belief systems, and cravings. The writers weren't paid for their work; nor did they pay for its publication, as they would with a vanity press. The writing is uneven, though there are some interesting essays, including a piece by Doris Colmes on escaping the Third Reich, a "food diary" by M. Cassandra Cossitt, and a coming-of-age tale by Israeli Arab Hanna Eady. Most interesting is Davis's afterword, in which he rallies for reforms in the publishing business. He'd like to see more books published on recycled paper; he pushes for an end to the current returns policy (which is causing great strain to publishers large and small); and he issues a reminder to writers that all the money spent sending manuscripts out could be used to start or support a small press (where you could just publish your work yourself).
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Seventy-eight brief essays on the theme of "local truth" written by "emerging writers" plus three guests, including Vaclav Havel, are packed here into one volume. This innovative book was cooperatively published with the help of volunteers and donated writing and artwork; a call for publishing reforms appears in the afterword, written by editor Davis (The World of Patience Gromes: Making and Unmaking a Black Community, Univ. Pr. of Kentucky, 1988). Considerable ground is covered, from cross- and multiculturalism, marginalized writers, and literary genres (e.g., travel writing, poetry, tall tale) to a heartening remedy to the trend in ever-merging corporate megapublishers. With place, proper-name, subject, and even favorite-book indexes; a genre guide for teachers; author portraits; and biographical information, this is a reference librarian's dream. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.?Janice E. Braun, Mills Coll., Oakland, Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.