Book Releases

The Great Curbside Splendor 2016 Book Preview

Earlier this fall, Curbside Splendor celebrated our fifth anniversary and had an opportunity to reflect on the dozens of books we've published thus far. We're already talking about the next five years, of course, but all of those plans starts here, with our first releases of 2016.

Mirroring the compelling desolation of January, Dark House Press is publishing Damien Angelica Walters' new novel Paper Tigers. Spring brings possibly our most ambitious projects yet—we're putting out a veritable armful of hardcover books, the first being a beautifully-designed, full color history of one of Chicago's most vital rock clubs: The Empty Bottle, chock full of gig posters, interviews, and personal accounts from fans of the Bottle, with a foreword by John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

Fans of Tony Fitzpatrick's Dime Stories will be pleased to learn about our second project with Tony, The Secret Birds, a collection of essays and artwork named after a series of drawings by the same name. And finally, the advent of baseball season will bring about Disco Demolition: The Night Disco Died, from Dave Hoekstra, Steve Dahl, and Paul Natkin, with a foreword by Bob Odenkirk. Where were you on the night of July 12, 1979? Baseball and disco fans alike will remember the fateful double-header at Comiskey Park that changed disco culture forever.

And that's just the start. We're ecstatic to be publishing debut author Toni Nealie's first book, Miles Between Me, a collection of devastatingly beautiful essays about finding a home in love and location. And finally, we're excited to work with well-established writers on their latest projects, including Zoe Zolbrod's memoir The Telling, Chelsea Martin's Mickey, and Barry Gifford's New York, 1960. And you must already know about Kedzie Avenue, our project with comics journalists the Illustrated Press, right? We can't wait to show off what that team has been working on for the past four years. 

Read about the rest of our projects below, and pre-order any or all of them now at our store.  To request a review copy, please e-mail Naomi Huffman at naomi[at]

paper tigers cover.jpg

by Damien Angelica Walters

“[Damien Angelica Walters' “The Floating Girls: A Documentary” is] one of the most powerful stories I have read in recent memory ... Every word became an identifier—a tell—that reinforced and expanded the underlying theme ... This piece is both beautiful in its ethereal qualities, and horrible in its foundation. I had a hard time classifying this story, though. It starts out reading like soft si-fi, or possibly fantasy, but ends up neither. This one should be read in groups, and then discussed. Highly recommended.”
Tangent Online

In this haunting and hypnotizing novel, a young woman loses everything—half of her body, her fiancé, and possibly her unborn child—to a terrible apartment fire. While recovering from the trauma, she discovers a photo album inhabited by a predatory ghost who promises to make her whole again, while slowly consuming her from the inside out.

edited by John E. Dugan, foreword by John Darnielle

"With its plain brick facade and Old Style sign hanging out front, the 20-year-old Empty Bottle looks more like a plain Chicago townie bar than the city's most consistent punk-and-indie-rock club—not to mention the free jazz, skronky pop and other out-there genres it books. Chicago promoter Andy Cirzan calls the 400-capacity club "a kind of communal space for adventurous musicians and their fans."
Rolling Stone, "The Best Clubs in America"

A collection of stories contributed by the community of fans, former bartenders, bouncers, and performers, including Jack White, Interpol, OK Go, and more, retelling the eclectic history of one of Chicago's landmark music venues. The collection will also include full-color photographs and images of old show posters and ephemera.

essays by Toni Nealie

"[Toni Nealie] takes her reader through lush landscapes, gives us glimpses into life in New Zealand, and brings us directly into her home, into her garden. Her writing is evocative and meditative, asking the reader to question the world she lives in, we live in, right alongside her as she questions it." 

In her debut essay collection, New Zealand native Toni Nealie examines journeys, homelands, family, and motherhood. She details humiliating confrontations with airport security, muses on the color brown, and intimately investigates her grandfather’s complicated and criminal past, all while hearkening home—wherever and whatever that is.

a memoir by Zoe Zolbrod

"One of the most stunning memoirs I've ever read. In this perfectly-crafted story, Zolbrod exercises her impeccable command of language to explore a dark subject with beauty, humility and fierce grace. This book burns bright on the list of those that will stay with me for years to come."
—Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance

Zoe Zolbrod remained silent about her early childhood molestation for nearly a decade. When she finally decided to tell, she wasn't sure what to expect, or what to say. Through a kaleidoscopic series of experiences as an adult, mother, and feminist, Zolbrod traces the development of her sexuality and her relationships with men in the shadow of her sexual abuse.

essays and art by Tony Fitzpatrick

"[Fitzpatrick's collages] can win you over with their emotion and erudition, both illuminating the greatness of Chicago, as well as with their physical solidity. They are best seen as highly disciplined exercises in nostalgia; their specificity reveals something new about the time and place they yearn for, as well as the medium they use."
The New York Times

The Secret Birds, named for his series of drawings by the same name, is Tony Fitzpatrick's iconic exhibition of artwork, poetry, and ephemera that examine life, mortality, and the pursuit of a life spent collecting, traveling, creating, and telling stories.

NEW YORK, 1960 (June)
poetry by Barry Gifford

"It's like this: It's late at night, or very early in the morning, and you're walking down an empty street, and everything is utterly still and silent; and then you pass by an apartment building and someone on the third floor has a window open, and you hear some music playing, very softly. The music bounces off the walls of the buildings and you can make out the tune, pure and intimate and playing just for you. And that's what you get with Barry Gifford's poetry. It's direct, tender, wry, and heartbreaking."
—Rob Christopher, Chicagoist

Barry Gifford's newest collection of poetry captures the disarray of a life lived with passion, and in many places. In his signature laconic style, Gifford ponders serendipitous acquaintances, mourns the deaths of old friends and squandered relationships, and writes light and love-filled notes to his daughter and granddaughter. An evocative collection from an enduring voice.

by Dave Hoekstra with Steve Dahl, foreword by Bob Odenkirk, photographs by Paul Natkin

"Dahl arrived in Chicago in 1978, when most local radio was scripted and geriatric. He was different. He was improvised and irreverent. Dahl was also militantly anti-disco. If you were young and shiftless—and viscerally repulsed by Abba—Steve Dahl was a god. And you were drawn to Disco Demolition."

On July 12, 1979, over 70,000 White Sox fans rushed the field at Comiskey Park to destroy disco records in retaliation of the genre’s recent rise to popularity to the detriment of rock music. Featuring over 30 interviews conducted by legendary journalist Dave Hoekstra, with help from Steve Dahl, Disco Demolition examines the night that changed America's disco culture forever.

a novella by Chelsea Martin

"Chelsea Martin's Even Though I Don't Miss You is also funny, and tragic in the way that staring at the Internet until you pass out in a pile of Doritos crumbs is tragic. Her deceptively relaxed prose perfectly captures the Facebook-guzzling void that constitutes modern heartbreak. Fav."
—Lena Dunham

After breaking up with her boyfriend Mickey, a young woman struggles to situate her life and her art, and reach her mysteriously absent mother. Told in a series of vignettes, Mickey explores the often humorous journey to figuring out life (or not) amidst drunken mistakes, Ina Garten fan art, reality TV marathons, bathroom sex, and the dreamed-up titles of imaginary art installations.

by Darryl Holliday, Jamie Hibdon, and E.N. Rodriguez

"Reporter Darryl Holliday and illustrator Erik Rodriguez are Chicago's pioneers of the comic journalism medium."
—CHICAGO magazine

Kedzie Avenue is an expansive look at everyday life on a single street in Chicago from the creative minds of the Illustrated Press. Drawing on a year’s worth of reporting and interviews with a wide range of Chicagoans, the book weaves personal narrative, journalistic reportage, and frame-by-frame illustration into a complex portrait of an American city.