Posted in books, celebrations, new releases, publishing

Memorial Day in History

Originally known as Decoration Day, the event now called Memorial Day in the US first honored those who died in the American Civil War. It is widely believed to have sprung from the Appalachian tradition of cleaning family gravesites and decorating them with flowers, emblems, and memorabilia on a day set aside when the weather warms up in Spring. These events grew to include gatherings at the cemetery where families would sing, pray, and sometimes even serve a home-cooked picnic dinner among the graves. According to the US Veteran’s Administration, it was not until after World War I that celebrations on Memorial Day were expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. Congress declared the day a national holiday in 1971. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

Quiet time by Selena Morar at Unsplash.com

This Memorial Day may be quieter than in former years. Solitude and reflection on the weighty cost of war are always appropriate. Perhaps we will want to have a quiet picnic with a book, read aloud in the soft space of time spent with a loved one or ancestor who has gone beyond: Communion of the highest order, we think.

There is a deeply meaningful memory set down by David W. Blight about the first Decoration Day, which happened in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865. It was celebrated not by grieving Civil War soldiers’ widows, but by 10,000 free blacks, who affirmed their freedom and sense of belonging within the newly recreated United States; and because they felt it was the right thing to do, re-interred thousands of Union prisoners of war on an old racecourse, a classic symbol of southern wealth and privilege. Not surprisingly, when the annals of history are consulted, little record remains of this first celebration. Read more about this meaningful event and the brave individuals who conducted it here.

 

Freedom, of course, isn’t free. There will probably always be instances of one individual’s or group’s wish to dominate over another, or all the rest of us. Quiet, resilient, strong, and yes, stubborn resistance and dedication such as was shown by black men, women, and children in Charleston on May 1, 1865 may be, in the end, the most steadfast of struggles. By definition, it is also the most difficult to counteract, which makes it one of the best.

Violence is never the answer, as we all know. It’s a good time to remember this, as we honor those who went before, in their struggles for belief and protection of those beliefs. Let’s not give over to mindless celebrations vaunted by “giant corporations, which make guns, bombs, fighter planes, aircraft carriers and an endless assortment of military junk and which await the $100 billion in contracts to be approved soon by Congress and the President,” as Howard Zinn admonishes in his 1976 classic essay. He correctly states, “Let the dead of past wars be honored. Let those who live pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again.”

So pack a basket, and take a book to the cemetery for a solitary meal with those who’ve gone before, and perhaps share a song and lay some flowers. Or we can read of peace, in quiet understanding, in our homes where those of us who consider such things important continue to self-isolate and care for our families. Here are a few ideas, including recent offerings, that in the coming weeks may help pave the way toward a different way of thinking about your brave new world.

 
 
 
 

 

Posted in books, news

Coming March 16: Like Soldiers Everywhere

Like Soldiers Everywhere - Final Cover4-web
Pre-order at $14.99“So what do you think of Israel?”

You just here for the summer?” David said. “What are you doing?”
“One month. I was in a kibbutz for two weeks and I’ve been touring. Next week I’m going home. This is my last stop.”
“So what do you think of Israel?”
“It’s very nice.”
“What do you do at home?”
“I’m at Ohio State. I’m going into my junior year.”
“You’re twenty?”
“Yes. How old are you?”
“I’m twenty too.”
“Twenty-two?”
“No, twenty, too.”
“I see.” It made her laugh. “When do you finish the army?”
“Next year.”
“Then what’ll you do?”
“I don’t know. Work, I guess.”
“At what?”
“I don’t know. With my hands, I guess. Fixing things.”

In this sweet novella by Fred Skolnik set in the 1960s, a young American coed and an American-Israeli soldier meet at a café in Jerusalem, enjoy each others’ company, and fall in love. Upon her return to America, they begin writing letters back and forth. Eventually they meet again. Their story is sweet, simple, and breathtakingly beautiful, but in the background, the unrest in Israel foreshadows and finally demands the ultimate sacrifice. This is a tragic love story set just before the Six-Day War involving two young Americans — and representing, in effect, the tragic end of the Zionist dream itself, perhaps too fragile in its purity and innocence to endure.

Like all of our books, this wonderful novella will be available on March 16, 2020, in both ebook and paperback, wherever books are sold.

Pre-order your copy of Like Soldiers Everywhere in our bookstore, and get the lowest price available, with free shipping

Fred Skolnik is the editor in chief of the 22-volume 2nd edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, winner of the 2007 Dartmouth Medal, and also the author of six novels, three under the pen name, Fred Russell. A collection of his short fiction, Americans & Other Stories, was published by Fomite Press in 2017. He lives in Israel.

Posted in Writing

Submissions sought: Black and Minority Ethnic

people-2442565_1280We are actively seeking fiction and non-fiction written by and about black and minority ethnic persons and issues, including children’s literature, essays,  memoirs, biography, creative non-fiction, poetry, and works that may not fit into any one genre. hijab-3434096_1280

Please send queries and synopsis through our Submittable portal at http://propertiuspress.submittable.com. Priority given to works of this type for the upcoming 2021 publication schedule. train-station-863337_1280

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Illustrations from Pixabay and are provided as examples only. 

Posted in discounts, new releases, news

Pre-orders: Something Like My Name

Something Like My NameYou can now pre-order your print or digital copy of the fantastic new novel by Adam Phillips, Something Like My Name. Pre-orders allow you to receive your copy at a substantial discount and before many online or brick-and-mortar dealers have the book in their stores. Books will begin shipping next week, and if you order now, we waive the shipping charges!

Click or tap here to place your order today!

To read more about this breakthrough debut, we invite you to review the press release for Something Like My Name.

 

Posted in books, new releases, news

New Release: Something Like My Name

Something Like My NameAdam Phillips has written a treasure, wide-ranging yet focused, intricate in thought, simple in language. Something Like My Name takes its title from the James Tate poem, Manna, which describes a moment of ineffable beauty and reassurance. Set in northern Idaho, the concurrent struggle of two young men to figure out their paths in life is filled with dark humor, encounters with odd characters, high times, revisiting old mistakes, and death itself. Raw, edgy, and powerful, it will appeal to readers who enjoyed books like Donald Ray Pollock’s Knockemstiff, Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, and Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn. Told in a series of somewhat rambling, linked episodes similar to Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson, with the incisive, gritty detail and unflinching tension of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, and touches of an almost demented, tragic hilarity that echoes William Kennedy’s Ironweed and Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm. You will find yourself shaken and stirred by the personalities in this story, by who they are and what they become, and the ending, while perhaps foreseen, is nevertheless surprising and satisfying.

Phillips, an Idahoan who has taught at the university level as well as at-risk eighth graders, has some ready familiarity with the absurdities and life challenges illustrated in his story. About the book, he says, “I wanted to demonstrate that this story, the quest to ascribe some type of meaning to yourself and your life, is really the only story that has ever existed, and that each one of us, from the first sentient caveman to the last post-apocalyptic survivor, is possessing and directing a localized version of this same story.  To execute this purpose, throughout the book I’ve placed threads of themes and details and characters from some very old very well-traveled shared stories, having spent several years studying the archetypal hero stories, the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, and the Babylonian and Mesopotamian myths that both Bibles are based on.  Readers familiar with any of these sources will recognize the satanic and angelic forces tugging at the protagonists’ souls, the shrouded curses and augers, the bolts of vengeful wrath and beams of benevolent favor.  I’ve woven these epic shadows into the sometimes decrepit lives of my earnestly seeking but imperfect protagonists in order to represent the ubiquity of the collective quest.”

Something Like My Name will be available in both ebook and print in our Bookstore and all major online and retail outlets, wherever books are sold. It will be released on January 20, 2020.

Posted in anthology, books, news

Light in Winter

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There’s no snow on the ground yet where we are. But the holidays beckon and there’s an excitement in the air that somehow seems as if some sparkling winter weather is imminent. Perhaps it’s because there are things afoot; we have been working on some huge changes — website, marketing, social media — and can hardly wait to share it with you.

We’ve been almost too busy to comment, much less plan, for holiday specials or promotions this year; suffice it to say we will moice-3009009 pasja1000re than make up for this soon. We will soon have big news about what we’re working on: more book  releases, a new poetry anthology, and — perhaps most exciting of all — increased exposure for our writers! So pardon our relative quiet these past few weeks, and we promise things will liven up soon!

Meanwhile, take a look at our bookstore for the lowest prices on all of our books – we’re certain you’ll find something to please everyone on your gift list! Cozy up with a cup of cocoa and a good read, and celebrate the turning of the season with us. We’ll look forward to serving up some really exciting news in the coming weeks… We can hardly wait.

 

 

Posted in books, discounts, new releases, news, veterans

Veterans Day Honors Those Who Served

November 11th is Veterans Day in the US, and is celebrated in other countries worldwide as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. It recognizes the moment when major hostilities ceased, marking the end of the Great War, or World War I.

Today, we honor the service and the life of everyone who served honorably in any branch of the military. For the curious, some handy facts are posted at Defense.gov.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

All of us know a Veteran. Please be sure to let these persons know their service is acknowledged and appreciated today. The Veterans Administration has this list of nationwide deals exclusive to Veterans, including free or reduced prices at restaurants, retail outlets, museums, and services such as haircuts and flu shots: https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/67508/veterans-day-discounts-2019/

More are listed at this website: https://www.offers.com/blog/post/veterans-day-freebies/

In addition, many of your local indie and small-scale retail and service outfits are also offering Veterans deals. Check for deals in an internet search using your locality + the search terms “Veterans deals” and they’ll come up for you!

Today, we are announcing that

EVERY DAY IS VETERANS DAY at Propertius Press!

If you are a Veteran, contact us through the Military and Veteran link at the top of the page, and we will send you a discount code good for 25% off the retail price of any of our books, including ebooks and print, when purchased through the Shopping Cart in our Bookstore.

From our own catalogue, we love the story told in Acropolis, by Howard Winn (Veteran), DSCN0336adjustabout a small group of soldiers who enter university courtesy

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Click to order!

of the GI Bill, as each attempts to settle in to a civilian life. The clash of cultures between privileged and working classes combined with personal struggles with PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and simple real-world adjustment battles amid the creative intellectual world of higher education makes for an engaging read. This book helped us to better understand the everyday challenges returning Veterans can face upon returning home.

 

Finally, in soon to be released…

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Click to pre-order!

Some may not be aware of the actor Marlon Brando’s own work with Veterans, which stems all the way back to his very first movie, The Men, in which he portrays a soldier who has to adapt to the loss of the use of his legs. In preparing for the role, Brando actually lived for several weeks at the Veteran’s Hospital near the filming location. He insisted on being put through the exact same rigors as the paraplegic men in the wards, having great sympathy for what these men experienced. As noted by several friends and biographers, Brando felt the best way he could help them was to make them laugh, maybe forget their troubles for awhile. Here’s an excerpt from the upcoming book, “The Impish Humor of Marlon Brando,” by Aubrey Malone:

…he was looking forward to his cinematic maiden voyage, being an admirer of Kramer’s social dramas. When he first met the director, he was dressed in his standard jeans and torn T-shirt. A number of paraplegics from Birmingham Veterans Hospital were also there. They expected an “actor’s actor,” so were pleasantly surprised at the offbeat man they encountered in his place. They were even more surprised when he expressed an interest in moving into their hospital with them full-time.

In fact, Brando stayed in the institution, which was located in the neighborhood of Van Nuys, in Los Angeles, for several weeks. In what would become typical Method, he wanted the experience of living as one of the injured and told his relations, “You can visit me there, but don’t be surprised if you find me in a wheelchair with a urine bottle.”

He even managed to convince a therapist that he was a paraplegic. As he was being fitted for leg braces, the man in question informed an attendant that he was “paralyzed from the tenth dorsal vertebra down.”

One day near the end of his sojourn, he was eating in a restaurant with the paraplegics when a wild-eyed woman entered. She started talking to them about Jesus, about how they might be able to walk again if they believed enough in him. They weren’t interested in her ramblings but Brando pretended to be. He gazed at her with rapt attention. He said, “I believe in the Lord.”

The woman said, “You should believe, soldier, because I know that with the Lord’s work you can recover.”

With that, Brando started to rise from his wheelchair. “I do believe!” he roared, “I do believe!” He gripped the sides of his wheelchair until his knuckles whitened. “I feel the Lord has come right into this room,” he said, “and into my body. The Lord is in my body. I feel it.” He walked to the bar and started dancing and leaping. The woman shrieked and fled the room to hoots of laughter from the veterans.