Reading Frenzy ~ An Independent Press Emporium

Your Hidden Skeleton

October 2014

Dear Readers,

This month brought the realization of a longtime daydream of mine: sharing one of my treasured collections with you in the form of an art exhibit! A few years ago, I purchased a 100-year-old autograph book from a rare book dealer called Your Hidden Skeleton. A convergence of the 19th century parlor game, Blotto, and the popular pastime of collecting autographs, these books pre-date the Rorschach Test by several years and involve the very unique element of an individual's own handwriting which lends a layer of meaning and infinite variation to the activity.

The directions were simple -- "Sign your name with full pen of ink, on folded line... Fold paper while ink is still wet... Be careful to dot the i, and to place the period at the end of the name." -- but the results were otherworldly, revealing images that look like alien x-rays replete with wings, faces, antennae, and other appendages. I've acquired a few more since that time. I recently selected 18 of the most compelling examples from their yellowing pages and had high quality archival pigment prints made from them that will last another hundred years! The prints, which are framed editions of one, will be in on display in our gallery through the month of October and are available for purchase. We'll also be exploring inkblot and other accidental art forms, pareidolia, handwriting, and divination in the shop this month.

We've got a busy month ahead of us with several events scheduled for October -- see "Upcoming Events" on the right for more details -- we hope you can join us for one or all of them!

Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate our 20th anniversary last month! 

Your Faithful Proprietress,


for local updates including events and new arrivals

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The Ledger

10 Ways to Celebrate our 20th Anniversary!

September 14, 2014:

Well, we didn't get a key to the city or an official commendation but we've always been a little anti-establishment anyway. All we really want for our platinum anniversary is for our patrons to celebrate this milestone with us! To that end, here's a handy list of 10 ways to celebrate with us and launch us into our 3rd decade!!!

  1. Swing by the shop this month and spend $20!
  2. Become a member of 1000 Friends of Reading Frenzy! Friends receive 10% off all general merchandise, and 25% Reading Frenzy brand items (t-shirts, totes, etc.) for a year.* Now only $20 ($25 value)! *Some restrictions apply (but not many).
  3. Spend $100 or more during the month of September and receive a FREE 1000 Friends of Reading Frenzy membership (see description above)!
  4. Purchase our lovely 4-color silkscreen Not Tonight I'm Reading print designed by Mary Kate McDevitt and printed by Seizure Palace for $20 ($30 value)!
  5. Purchase a 1000 Friends of Reading Frenzy membership and Not Tonight I'm Reading combo and get your discount on the spot -- only $35 for both ($55 value)!
  6. Pre-order a Not Tonight I'm Reading t-shirt or tote for $20 ($22-$24 value). Shipping in late September/early October.
  7. Purchase any issue of Crap Hound or from our selection of Reading Frenzy exclusive items
  8. Purchase one of these limited edition, signed and numbered, 2-color silkscreen prints from our Reading Frenzy print series for $20 ($25 value): Aaron Renier, Nikki McClure, or Kate Bingaman-Burt
  9. Purchase one of these limited edition archival pigment prints by Carson Ellis for $30 ($40 value)!
  10. Purchase an I Want to Kiss This Person print by Miranda July for $20 ($30 value)!
Special offers and discounts all expire 9/30/14, so don't dilly dally!

Rolling in the Ink: New & Notable Titles!


True Portland
  • Annual 2014 True Portland: The Unofficial Guide for Creative People edited by Bridge Lab
  • John Day Fossil Beds by Matt Sundstrom -- LOCAL!
  • The Monkey Puzzle Trees of Portland by Tom Meyers -- LOCAL!
  • PDX 100 by Matt Sundstrom -- LOCAL!
  • Popeye #807: The Magazine for City Boys -- The Portland City Guide
  • The Water Storage Tanks of Portland by Tom Meyers -- -- LOCAL!
  • Wizard Island by Matt Sundstrom -- LOCAL!


The Wonderful Egg
  • Alison and Her Robot by Fred Chao -- LOCAL!
  • The Arrival by Shaun Tan
  • Beware the Haunted Legs by Brian Cook -- LOCAL!
  • Gardening Lab for Kids by Renata Fossen Brown
  • Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd
  • Level Up by Gene Luen and Thien Pham Yang
  • Rookie Yearbook Two edited by Tavi Gevinson
  • Shackleton's Journey by William Grill
  • Stay Solid: A Radical Handbook for Youth edited by Matt Hern
  • The Wonderful Egg by Dahlov Ipcar


Pretty In Ink
  • 100 Crushes by Elisha Lim
  • The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte
  • Beautiful Darkness by Kerascoet and Fabien Vehlmann
  • The Big Feminist But edited by Shannon O'Leary and Joan Reilly 
  • Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner 
  • Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
  • Fight the Power: A Visual History of Protest Among the English-Speaking Peoples by various
  • Lovf by Jesse Reklaw
  • Malcolm Gladwell Foldy by Josh Shalek -- LOCAL!
  • Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography by Andrew Helfer and Randy DuBurke
  • Nick Offerman Foldy by Josh Shalek -- LOCAL!
  • Palestine by Joe Sacco
  • Pregnant Butch by A.K. Summers 
  • Pretty in Ink: Women Cartoonists edited by Trina Robbins
  • The System by Peter Kuper
  • World War 3 Illustrated 1979-2004 edited by Peter Kuper and Seth Tobocman


Citizen Keane
  • 20 Ways to Draw a Cat by Julia Kuo
  • 20 Ways to Draw a Tree by Eloise Renouf
  • 20 Ways to Draw a Tulip by Trina Dalziel
  • Citizen Keane: Big Lies Behind the Big Eyes by Adam Parfrey and Cletus Nelson
  • Collect Raindrops by Nikki McClure
  • Drawn In: Inspiring Sketchbooks edited by Julia Rothman
  • From Here to There: Hand Drawn Maps edited by Kris Harzinski
  • Green Guide for Artists by Karen Michel and Kristin Hampshire
  • Illustration School: Let's Draw Cute Animals by Sachiko Umoto
  • Illustration School: Let's Draw Happy People by Sachiko Umoto
  • Illustration School: Let's Draw Magical Color by Sachiko Umoto
  • Illustration School: Let's Draw Plants & Small Creatures by Sachiko Umoto
  • Map Art Lab by Jill K. Berry and Linden McNeilly
  • Toilets of the World by Morna E. Gregory and Sian James


Dwelling Portably
  • Alive With Vigor: Surviving Your Adventurous Lifestyle by Robert Earle Sutter III
  • Annual 2014 True Portland: The Unofficial Guide for Creative People edited by Bridge Lab
  • The Atheist's Bible edited by Joan Konner
  • The Civil Disobedience edited by James Tracy
  • D.I.Y. Constitutional Amendment Kit by Nathaniel Whitten
  • Dwelling Portably 1980-2012 Box Set: Tips from the People Who Sparked the Tiny House Movement by Bert and Holly Davis
  • Hillbilly Nationalists by Amy Sonnie and James Tracy
  • Mostly True: The Story of Bozo Texino by Bill Daniel
  • Outwitting Squirrels: 101 Cunning Stratagems... by Bill Adler Jr.
  • Poison: Sinister Species with Deadly Consequences by Mark Siddall


Sorrow Arrow
  • Loba by Diane Di Prima
  • Sorrow Arrow by Emily Kendal Frey -- LOCAL!
  • This Planet is Doomed: The Science Fiction Poetry of Sun Ra by Sun Ra
  • Year of No Mistakes by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz


Uppercase #22
  • Found Magazine #9
  • Hi-Fructose #32
  • Incandescent #4: A Color Film Zine -- LOCAL!
  • Incandescent #5: A Color Film Zine -- LOCAL!
  • The Lou Reeder/You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory -- LOCAL!
  • My Day #30 by Nate Orton -- LOCAL!
  • Pitchfork #1 (#2 also in stock!) -- LOCAL!
  • Popeye #807: The Magazine for City Boys -- The Portland City Guide
  • Sugar Needle #38 -- LOCAL!
  • Uppercase: For the Creative and Curious #22
  • Women of Color #4: Home -- LOCAL!
  • Women of Color #5: Interviews -- LOCAL!
  • Women of Color #6: Women Off-Color -- LOCAL!
  • Women of Color #7: Around Portland -- LOCAL!
  • Wrap #10: Into the Wild


Summer Reading

P.I.E. Books: Pretty. Impressive. Entertaining. and More This Week!


  • 100 Illustrated Papers for Writing & Crafting
  • Cats in Yukio-e
  • Hisui Sugiura: A Pioneer of Japanese Graphic Design
  • Makiba: Cute Farm Animals
  • Mushroom Botanical Art
  • Sou Sou Paper Book
  • Sweet & Nostalgic Designs in Japan: Handicrafts, Graphics, Architecture and More
  • Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napoleon's Army and Other Diabolical Insects
  • Yurio Seki's Design & Patterns


Drawing Type
  • Drawing Type: An Introduction to Illustrating Letterforms


  • Maps
  • Welcome to Mamoko


  • Superzelda: The Graphic Life of Zelda Fitzgerald


Bitch #63
  • Bitch #63: The Tough Issue
  • The Lou Reeder/You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory
  • The Mystery & Adventure Series Review #48
  • Poppycock #1: 100% Portland, 100% Nonsense
  • She Shreds #5: The Magazine Dedicated to Women Guitarists
  • Sugar Needle #38
  • Vandals Make Me Puke
  • Women of Color #4-#7: How to Live in the City of Roses and Avoid the Pricks


Yurio Seki's Notebook: Forest
  • Yurio Seki's Notebook: Circle
  • Yurio Seki's Notebook: Forest
  • Yurio Seki's Notebook: Dalarna

Just In: A BUNCH of New Books!

Hot Weather, Hot New Titles!

This Week's Fresh Titles

New Arrivals!

Current Event Image



More Recent Additions:


Currently Showing


Your Hidden Skeleton

Antique Inkblot Exhibit curated by Chloe Eudaly

Arthur Hacket, 1919

A few years ago, your faithful proprietress purchased a 100-year-old autograph book from a rare book dealer called Your Hidden Skeleton. The directions were simple -- "Sign your name with full pen of ink, on folded line. Fold paper while ink is still wet. Be careful to dot the i, and to place the period at the end of the name." -- but the results were otherworldly, revealing images that look like alien x-rays replete with wings, faces, antennae, and other apparitions. For October's show we will give these "skeletons" a new life, plucking the most compelling examples from their yellowing pages, gently enhancing the images, and creating heirloom quality prints that will last another hundred years. In addition to the exhibit, we'll have a handful of the original books on display and inkblot activities. We'll also be exploring inkblot and other accidental art forms, pareidolia, handwriting, and divination in the shop.

Presumably inspired by the 19th century parlor game, Blotto, these novelty autograph books (there's at least one other version called "The Ghosts of My Friends") pre-date the Rorschach Test by at least five years and involve the very unique element of an individual's own handwriting which lends a layer of possible meaning and infinite variation to the game. Read more about the history and cultural impact of the inkblot here.

Exhibit runs through October.


Upcoming Events


Curbside Splendor Reading

Reading & Signing with Dmitry Samarov, Susan Lanier, Brian Costello, and Sara June Woods
Joins us for a Curbside Slendor extravaganza featuring four authors! Curbside Splendor is an independent publisher, based in Chicago that publishes "...fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry that celebrate art, urban life, and extraordinary voices." 
Where To?

Dmitry Samarov's illustrated memoir, Where To? A Hack Memoir, captures encounters with drunken passengers, overbearing cops, unreasonable city bureaucracy, his fellow cabdrivers, a few potholes, and other unexpectedly beautiful moments. Accompanied by dozens of Samarov's original artworks -- composed during traffic jams, waits at the airport, and lulls in his shifts -- the stories in Where To? provide a street-level view of America from the perspective of an immigrant painter driving a cab for money.

Dmitry Samarov was born in Moscow, USSR in 1970. He immigrated to the US with his family in 1978. He got in trouble in 1st grade for doodling on his Lenin Red Star pin and hasn't stopped doodling since. After a false start at Parsons School of Design in New York, he graduated with a BFA in painting and printmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993.

Upon graduation he promptly began driving a cab -- first in Boston, then after a time, in Chicago -- which eventually led to the publication of his illustrated work memoir Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab by University of Chicago Press in 2011. His second book, Where To? A Hack Memoir is forthcoming from Curbside Splendor in September, 2014.
He has exhibited his work in all manner of bars, coffee shops, libraries, and even the odd gallery (when he's really hard up).

He paints and writes in Chicago, Illinois. He no longer drives a cab.

The Game We Play

Susan Lanier's The Game We Play includes ten riveting, emotionally complex stories examining the decisions we make when our choices are few and courage is costly. Topics include a young couple facing disease and commitment with the same sharp fear, a teenager stealing from his girlfriend's mother's purse to help pay for her abortion, and a father making a split-second decision that puts his child's life at risk.

Susan Lanier earned an MFA in creative writing from Columbia College in 2012 and currently lives, writes, and photographs in Chicago, Illinois. Her work has appeared in Annalemma and Hairtrigger, and is forthcoming in collaboration with Yes Press Books.

Losing in Gainesville

Set in mid-1990s Florida, Losing in Gainesville hilariously explores what failure means in a culture where everyone is supposed to win. Razorcake praised Brian Costello's first novel for its language and attention to detail and Bookslut lauded its dialogue and conversational narrator. These strengths are once again on display in Losing in Gainesville. With an ensemble cast of slackers, burn-outs, musicians, and dreamers, who are all losing something -- their youth, their ambitions, their careers, their children, their former identities -- Costello builds a sun-bleached world of people struggling to understand what it means to succeed on their terms.

Brian Costello is a writer, musician, and comedic performer living in Chicago, Illinois. He plays drums in the band Outer Minds, and co-hosts Shame That Tune, a monthly live game show. Losing in Gainesville is his second novel.


Trick or Treat on Mississippi Avenue!

Happy Halloween!

Owls & Bats

Join us for early trick or treating on Mississippi Avenue! We'll have treats for bigs and littles! Costumes required! 


Horn! The Collected Reviews

Reading and Signing by Kevin Thomas


Join us this evening for a reading and signing with Rumpus columnist, Kevin Thomas to celebrate his new book Horn! The Collected Reviews (OR Books, 2014)! Most reviewers take thousands of words to do what Kevin Thomas does in nine exquisitely detailed black-and-white panels. Using his captivating illustrations and no more than a handful of words, week by week Thomas decrypts some of the most intriguing books of our day for readers of The Rumpus: now eighty-five of his favorites are collected in one volume.

Fiction and non-fiction, cutting-edge and popular books; the one quality these works have in common is that they've attracted Thomas' remarkably perceptive gaze and pen. This is a paean to reading by a thoroughly unjaded, committed amateur of the art, seriously appreciative of each book's unique attributes. The works he selects are ones he admires: and he excels at conveying the excitement and respect they inspire in him. What a list he's compiled: Jonathan Lethem, Jim Shepard, Rachel Kushner, Renata Adler, Georges Perec, David Graeber, Julian Assange, George Saunders, Hilton Als, Oliver Sacks, Cheryl Strayed, Dennis Cooper and Jennifer Egan are just a few of the authors whose work is here brilliantly distilled.

Visual haikus closer to meditative poetry than traditional criticism, Thomas' unforgettable, evocative drawings often manage to encapsulate the essence of a book far better than a 2,000 word essay in our leading journals. Take a look for yourself.

Kevin Thomas was born in Southern California and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Classically trained in music, he is self-taught in comics. His comic strip Horn! Reviews appears fortnightly on The Rumpus. His work has appeared in Barrelhouse magazine and on He lives and reads in western Washington.

Try your hand at a nine panel book review and toot your own Horn here!


Coloring Is Fun!

Painting Exhibit by Alicia Justus

More info coming soon...


The Wax Bullet War -- A Veteran's Day Reading

Reading & Signing with Sean Davis & Friends

Join us for a special Veteran's Day reading with The Wax Bullet War author, Sean Davis and friends.

This is a story for the mothers, fathers, family, and friends of war veterans. This is a collection of one soldier's memories, for those of us who support the troops but not necessarily the war or the reasons behind it; for those of us who have no idea what soldiers actually go through on a daily basis in Iraq; for those of us who have loved ones who have gone through it.

In the first 155 days of 2012, there were 154 suicides among U.S. military troops. What is post-traumatic stress disorder? How does a society help those who return from war with completely different personalities? Follow Sean Davis' life as he discovers the oddities of a pop-up America in a hostile desert wasteland; loses his best friend in a violent ambush; returns, critically wounded, to confinement in a place that's not his home; and deals with the fallout of PTSD and the horror of what he experienced in that war zone.

Davis transcends politics without ignoring them to bring to light a story of the effects of war on a single soldier. It's not a manual for fixing the military, foreign policy, or the ravaging effects of PTSD; rather, it's a guidebook that nudges us along, points out the details, and tells us about things we never knew existed. It's a beautiful, harrowing, powerful ride through the reality of veteran life in the 21st century.

The Wax Bullet War


Sara or the Existence of Fire

Book Release Party with Sara Woods

More info coming soon...


John Porcellino, MariNaomi, and Yumi Sakugawa!

Hollywood Theater (4122 NE Sandy Blvd.)

Join us for a triple header at The Hollywood Theater with MariNaomi, Yumi Sakugawa and John Porcellino! More info coming soon...





Handmade & Affordable Art Show

More info coming soon...




Art During Wartime

Syrian Refugee Art

More info coming soon...

Events in October 2014

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