It’s a celebration of firsts on Oct. 30, when a Logan Square publishing house will present the novel Normal Avenue by Chicago author Alex Bonner. Normal Avenue is Bonner’s first novel and the first novel published by local publishing house Back to Print (B2P).
In advance of the book release event, which will be held 7 pm Oct. 3o at Cole’s Bar (2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.), Logan Squarist talked to Bonner and B2P co-founder Eliz Tieri about how grassroots tactics and word of mouth helped make the novel a reality.
Normal Avenue: The Story
Quoting from its official Kickstarter page, Normal Avenue is set “against a backdrop of mystery and violence, teenage love and ancient scars.”
Protagonist Billy Gilardi is given the length of a full school year at Ravenswood Academy—his new spooky boarding school—to save his neighborhood on the titular Normal Avenue. It’s a neighborhood that, thanks to certain divided factions, is now up for grabs between certain men, women and other supernatural entities with the worst intentions, and the kids trying desperately to save it.
“[Normal Avenue] has a lot of things to do with high school; I constantly sit around thinking about my generation, the generation just after me, and the one just before it, and so a lot of these things are never really talked about in a lot of media outlets, not in a lot of literature I see—and if they are, they’re expressed in these very PG sort of ways,” Bonner says. “[Connecting with] a small publishing house, you can kind of get to the heart of things and sort of try things that other people are not trying, and try weirder things like telling a whole book of ghost stories about a strange high school full of witches.”
Back To Print: The Mission
Back To Print (B2P) is an independent publishing house of storytellers broadening the world of bookmaking with an offline community of creatives where stories can be crafted, published and told.
Eliz Tieri, one part of the B2P team, says that in funding a B2P Kickstarter, people are “going to pay for not just the printing costs of the book, and the marketing costs of the party and the book, but also it’s going to keep Back To Print going… And so you’re funding not just this project, but all of our projects and our philosophy towards art and storytelling. It’s all about the story…Alex’s book is amazing, and we love it, so we’re going to find a way to make it—by hook or by crook…I’m really excited for Normal Avenue to be our premiere novel release.”
Novel Release Party: The Details
Back To Print presents Normal Avenue, a novel by Alex Bonner, Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7 pm at Cole’s Bar (2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.). Equal parts costume contest and social gathering, the organizers look to tap into the Halloween spirit and get us all in the mood for scary stories. Also featured is music by Stoop Goodnoise. Oh, and there’s no cover either.