Posted by: Sally Ingraham | November 9, 2009

We Are The Next Queen of Friction

The last two times that I have blissfully visited the post office with absolutely no expectations of getting anything more exciting than a Netflix, (as opposed to the many times when I check the mail hoping with all my might that there will be something interesting in the box) there has been that lovely yellow slip that indicates a parcel too large for the box glowing goldenly among the bills and Rite Aid leaflets.

And the last two times I have found that buttery yellow slip, the postmaster has been on his lunch break. WHY do I even BOTHER to check the mail between 1 and 2 o’clock?!

Obviously, via sending my boyfriend to check the mail later in the day or by just waiting around for the postmaster, I have eventually gotten my packages. And look what they were:

Limited editions!

I found both of these wonders through Nonsuch Book. Frances’ obsession with book design and book cover artwork is constantly feeding my own growing interest, and although I am trying to limit my book buying, some books are limited – I had to get these while I could.

Pietari PostiWe Are the Friction came to my attention in mid-October, but it took me 6 days to decide that I wanted it badly enough to take the plunge into British pounds and overseas shipping rates. The final cost wasn’t as high as I had feared, and of course a package with English postal stamps and address more than made up for it!

The second book published by Sing Statistics, a “collaborative concern of Jez Burrows and Lizzy Stewart“, We Are the Friction is a collection of short stories and illustrations by pairings of 12 international writers and artists, new and emerging.

Each pair “produced new work inspired by the work of their partner: stories from illustrations, and illustrations from stories. The result is an erratic, eclectic collection of work that takes in space travel, Japanese deities, monster husbandry, and the Marx Brothers.

24 short stories, 24 illustrations. 1000 copies. I received number 652 – my first hand numbered, limited edition copy of anything. I am thrilled, and as I’ve made my way through the book, I am no less impressed. The stories are entertaining and quirky, and the illustrations are beautiful. Check out the full collection at Sing Statistics on Flickr, as well as other photos of the production, press, and exhibition. There are prints available, and I am very tempted to get at least one for myself…but haven’t decided which yet. Anyway, super cool idea and a lovely book. I’ll be keeping an eye on them, hoping for future projects. 🙂

652 of 1000 - $0.00

As for the other book, The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire is being published FOR FREE by Concord Free Press, “an experiment in publishing and community“. After reading about it at Nonsuch Book, it took me about 6 seconds to decide that I wanted it!

I rushed to the website and put in my request. A few weeks later, the book showed up – and it is SO pretty! The kicker is that I have to give it up – I can’t keep it! You see, the idea behind Concord Free Press is generosity based publishing. “By taking a copy, you agree to give money to a local charity, someone who needs it, or a stranger on the street.” “When you’re done, pass this novel on to someone else (for free, of course), so that they can give. It adds up.

Gregory Maguire is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve read most of his books. The fact that he got involved in something amazing like this has only increased my admiration, and I’m really, really looking forward to reading this book. I’m not so much looking forward to giving it away, but I am embracing the idea of inspiring generosity in others, (and I’m welcoming the chance to, erm…work on my own possession issues. Guess I’ll have to buy their T-shirt to compensate for my loss!)

Of the 2,500 copies of this book mine is number 1, 218 according to the red stamp in the back. Now I just need to make my donation, read it, put my name at the top of the list in the space provided, and pass it on to someone who will be eager to donate, read, and pass it along in turn. I hope that The Next Queen of Heaven #1,218 will go on an amazing journey, and that Concord Free Press will be more than just an experiment. I hope and expect it to be a resounding success. Bring on the publishing revolution!

Thanks to Frances for the tips, and best wishes to small, independent, experimental publishers everywhere. 🙂

We are the Next Queen of Friction


  1. Lovely covers on those books!

  2. Beautiful books! I’m very intrigued by We are the Friction, as well. I really love the Jon Klassen and Frank Chimero images, especially the ship in ice floes one.

  3. Jill – I keep picking them up to look at them again, and can’t help sighing with pleasure. 🙂

    Emily – That image is wonderful. The story that accompanies it is also good, but elusive.

  4. Thanks for the link love. Have both of these waiting for me too. Can’t wait to see what you think. I want to do a whole post about Concord Free Press thing. Just love the concept. And love Gregory Maguire all the more for lending his fame and talent to the effort. Happy reading! Great images!

  5. Thanks Frances – I am at the same time looking forward to what YOU think about the books. 🙂 I’ll post a bit more about We Are the Friction when I finish it. 🙂

  6. Both of these books look great – at least you get to keep one of them! I don’t think I could bear to part with both!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: