I have a new book out, published last month by a small press located in Greensboro, North Carolina. The book is called Everything is Personal, Notes on Now, a chronicle of how we’ve lived since November 2016. I don’t want to send books into the void, and you don’t want more books to offload from your piles. I thought I’d offer some reasons I might want to review this book if I were in your position. If you are disinclined for any reason, please let me know, and I will entirely understand.
How the book came to be:
It wasn’t my idea originally. Steve Mitchell, co-owner of Scuppernong Books and co-director of the small publishing company Scuppernong Editions, had been reading my posts on Facebook and thought the writing should reach a larger audience—or at least a book-buying audience. He called. We met at a coffee place in NYC that is also a plant store, and in an hour or two we’d hatched a plan. Two men were reading my posts about #MeToo and felt included, somehow, in feminism, the reboot, rather than worried their heads would be next on the chopping block.
Facebook posts as a literary form:
I wrote on Facebook the way I write everywhere—combining memoir, social commentary, fictional narrative, and art criticism—and drawing the reader into what feels like a conversation. My following grew. Readers felt I had invented a new form. Maybe I have. Social media was the incubator for all of the writing in this book, much of which developed into pieces I published elsewhere, primarily in n+1 and Women’s Review of Books.
A critique of feminism, the reboot:
Trump gets in and five minutes later Harvey Weinstein becomes the predator people can nail. At last large numbers of men can identify with the commonplace for women of being held under a boot. It was exciting to see a version of feminism with social power. It has also been something of a mission of mine to examine the category mistakes I see driving #MeToo rectitude and the leveraging of virtue. #MeToo is thrilling when it exposes criminals and acts of violence. It is chilling, however, when the target of a #MeToo campaign—for lack of a better term—has committed no crime or readily identifiable harm and has, rather, caused offense, or rattled some people, or triggered them, or made them feel an emotion they didn’t want to feel. Sometimes the emotion is arousal. I weighed in on whether a call for punishment or decirculation in the name of feminism actually expanded—or crimped—freedom for women. I thought about the benefits of people, ideas, and insitutions remaining in circulation.
About the press: Although Scuppernong Editions is a small press, it is distributed nationally through Ingram, offering bookstores the same discount and right to return books as trade and larger presses.
Some encouraging comments from Emily Nussbaum and James Lasdun:
Laurie Stone’s “Everything Is Personal” is a galvanic account of our era, a trumpet blare aimed at sleepwalkers. In essays and diary entries that are sharply observant, grieving and generous, Stone seeks links between 1968 and now, meditating with wit and complexity on her own intimate and intellectual history, the question of separating the artist from the art, sexual violence, romantic love, friendship, comedy, television and more. She meditates on the life of Valerie Solanas and the trial of Brett Kavanaugh; she wrestles with her frustration with the “good-girl-ism” embedded in modern feminism and celebrates the messy, unquenchable power of desire. A voice unlike any other, she’s a fearless thinker in an age submerged in fear. –Emily Nussbaum
“Laurie Stone’s exhilarating, unclassifiable book brings the stinging wit and ferocious political engagement of the feuilleton tradition of Joseph Roth into the age of the Social Media thread, with its built-in fluidity and openendedness, to brilliant effect. I can’t remember when I last read anything as alive, alert, self-questioning and independent-minded as Everything is Personal, whether in its quick glances at lovers, strangers, houses, movies, skies, or its extended montages on subjects such as Valerie Solanas or the cultural ramifications of #MeToo. It’s a wonderfully generous book too; magnanimous even in its wicked asperity, and above all a celebration of the physical and intellectual pleasures that make life worth living and battles worth fighting.”—James Lasdun, author of The Fall Guy” and It’s Beginning to Hurt.
I have also received glowing blurbs from Meg Wolitzer, Michael Tolkin, Mikhail Iossel, Vivian Gornick, Diane Seuss, Steven Dunn, Phillip Lopate, David Shields, and Joseph Keckler.
Below is a link to an appreciative essay about the book published in the Los Angeles Review of Books:
Please let me know if you would consider writing a review, and you will have the books as soon as Steve can get to the post office.