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How We Assembled Indiespensable #7

[Editor's Note: Each new edition of Indiespensable arrives with a note that explains, sometimes in a roundabout way, how its items came to be selected by Powell's staff. Our subscription club's seventh installment ships on December 4. Here, we offer the note as a sneak preview.]

The goal: to spoil you this holiday season with as much excellent and diverse writing as possible, by familiar authors and new discoveries, as well. And to support four great literary periodicals while we're at it.

Indiespensable, Volume 7

On the corner of NW 26th Avenue and Thurman Street stands a tin house — the headquarters of Portland's so-named, award-winning journal. It's just up the hill from the warehouse.

An odd coincidence: Lee Montgomery, author of The Things between Us and the Books Editor at Tin House, grew up down the street from Dave (Powell's Dave, we mean), in Framingham, Massachusetts. She lived in the red house at the corner of Winch and Grove. The two didn't meet, however, until many years later, in Oregon.

But here's where things get truly weird: Joanna Yas, the editor of Open City, grew up about a mile in the other direction. She only met Dave a few years ago, in a slow-moving lunch line at Book Expo America. (Read Kevin Sampsell's interview with Joanna on our blog.)

Heidi Julavits is from Maine, which until 1820 was part of Massachusetts. She visited Powell's for an interview and reading when she published her second novel, The Effect of Living Backwards, in 2003. That same year, Heidi introduced (as co-editor) McSweeney's monthly publication, the Believer.

Until just a few weeks ago, Matt Weiland served as Deputy Editor of the Paris Review. With Sean Wilsey, he edited the recent State by State collection; we at Powell's liked it so much that we turned the book into a 38-minute film.

[Another editor's note (last one, we promise): We've omitted several paragraphs here that describe two very special mystery items in this edition that will enhance our subscribers' reading pleasure. Sorry; this part's a surprise. But there's still time to get Volume #7 for yourself or a friend — it makes a heck of a gift!]

the folks at Powell's

Books mentioned in this post

  1. The Effect of Living Backwards Used Trade Paper $8.00

  2. The Things between Us: A Memoir New Trade Paper $16.99

14 Responses to "How We Assembled Indiespensable #7"

    Joyce Boles November 16th, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    For the price, you should add more books.

    DeniseB November 18th, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Joyce, you cannot be serious! Have you rec'd said package from Powell's? It is like a total "goody-goody-gumdrops" day when that puppy shows up! Either my life is completely lame (which is ENTIRELY possible) or you just have not had the pleasure! You should try it..just a thinks you will be hooked!

    Try Me (Again) November 19th, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Some math: If you were to buy them individually, the journals would cost $44.95. Factor in the "two mystery items" (what are they? what are they?) plus postage, and the package is probably worth at least $60.

    DeniseB November 19th, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    think I talk too much, but aside from that, Try are so right!! How many books can you actually purchase for 40 dollars? Maybe 1.5 BUT will they be 1st editions? signed by the author? numbered? in cool little slide in boxes? Will you get those cute little Powell's cards filled with interesting facts and interviews? And last package - a CD! Am I becoming a Powell's slut? Cuz I am pimping this place out BIG time!

    DeniseB December 3rd, 2008 at 12:56 am

    Yea, it is on it's way!! I think this will be my 4th Powell's package this month. Jeez, I would be in some serious kimchie (kimshey?) if I lived in Portland. I love Powell's...the most awesomeness place in the world!!!!!

    naeby December 10th, 2008 at 7:47 am

    just had to say how much I've enjoyed receiving a package from powells. this month's offerings are just awesome! the journals I would have never picked up myself, and the two mystery gifts - very cool! thanks so much!!

    Jen December 10th, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    I am so impressed with this club. I've gotten two shipments so far and the first one was a serious test of the relationship for my boyfriend and I, we both had eyes two read Crow Road first. This latest shipment was AMAZING! so many goodies and now we're both eying that powell's mug...

    Thanks so much for doing this!

    prufrock December 11th, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    My only regret with indiespensible was I didn't start subscribing until Volume 3. Wish I had those first two volumes. I'll never cancel my subscription now...the only way would be to pry that warm indiespensable box from my cold dead hands.

    DeniseB December 12th, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Hey there prufrock, I agree with you completely!! Just got it, love it, love it!! I have a Powell's coffee mug now. I am gonna be the coolest girl in school!

    Morgan December 20th, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    I absolutely adore getting that box in the mail. And I already loved The Believer, so it was a treat to have that included! Brilliant idea :) if you love Indiespensible, you might check out the McSweeney's book subscription thinger. 10 books for 100 bucks, plus some shippin'. Or something like that?

    Cynthia B. December 31st, 2008 at 10:33 am

    I wish - oh how I wish - that I had started Indiespensable at the beginning!! Loved #7 - I read each one from front to cover and am setting up subscriptions. Thank you for exposing us to these great periodicals! I was completely unaware of their existence. As for the mystery gifts - well, mine's sitting right here steaming away . Can't wait to see what's coming in 2009! I will never end my subscription - EVER!!

    kristinbell January 2nd, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    OMG, I know what you all mean! Getting the indiespensible box in the mail is one of my favorite things in the world now!!! The surprise things this time were soooo fabulous! Really made my day! It is a good deal...and so fun.

    Jimbo April 14th, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I believe there was a typo on the Powell's site. For this Indiespensable number seven, the hot cocoa that comes in the package said "free trade" in the description. I am sure that was meant to be "fair trade" since even the logo on the cocoa was a fair trade logo.

    Heidi April 14th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks for alerting us Jimbo! You're so right. People have been notified and correction is in progress.

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