UPDATED WITH WINNER -- Little Punk on the Prairie: Win A Copy of 'Ghost Dances' by Josh Garrett-Davis

'Ghost Dances' by Josh Garrett-Davis giveaway


And the lucky recipient as chosen by the gods of randomness is: WERUS! A Teacher, cleaner, consoler from Portland, OR, [who] is reading '1493, A Clash of Kings, King Solomon's Mines, With Liberty and Justice For Some, The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes'.

PM me your address so I can send you your prize. Enjoy the book, and definitely come back and let us know what you think. Everyone else, go out and buy that shit!

Are you a veteran bemoaner of the lack of originality exhibited by publishing's Big Six? Looking to give your complain box a rest and read something wholly unique? Then have I got the book for you: Josh Garrett-Davis' historical punk rock plains memoir, Ghost Dances: Proving Up on the Great Plains.

Full disclosure: I used to be in a band that played/shared a drummer with Josh's band (although, I had no idea he was an Ivy-Leager, so shame on me), but that's not why I'm promoting his book. In fact, when he first offered to send me a copy, I was well wary. You want to help your friends out, but you don't want to promote crap out of obligation, either. You also want to avoid the awkwardness a less than stellar review might bring.

Luckily, Ghost Dances is great. Josh's book is interesting, insightful, and superbly researched. (A perfect example would be the chapter in which Josh juxtaposes the battle over Sue The Dinosaur's bones and his parents' own custody battle over his younger self.)  It is also a tough book to encapsulate, so I'll let Josh do the honors:

I spent most of my twenties living in New York City, trying to figure out what I wanted to do, playing bass in a punk band, and writing acoustic folk-punk songs about the American West (there's still a MySpace page out there somewhere). I kept wanting to make sense of where and how I grew up: South Dakota, only child, divorced parents, left-wing dad, summers with lesbian mom in Portland, Oregon, etc. By writing some journalism about the Great Plains, reading history books and novels, and going back to visit, I gradually began to assemble a personal mythology of the Plains region as it is and as I wanted it to be. (I was quite taken with the ways the indie band Calexico had re-imagined the Southwest borderlands in a similar way.) The more I delved into the Plains, the more I realized I had to tell my own story as well, to show why all these pieces might fit together. So that's how I wound up with a book that's part memoir, part journalism, part history, and part essay—which I hope all adds up to a strange but interesting picture of an important and huge swath of the North American continent and the people who live(d) there. Among those people were me and my weird family.

Has your interest been sufficiently piqued? Sound off in the comments for a chance to win a copy. I'll pick one person at random to be the lucky recipient of a nice, shiny hardback. Winner announced Monday, September 17th.

Part Number:
Joshua Chaplinsky

News by Joshua Chaplinsky

Joshua Chaplinsky is the Managing Editor of LitReactor. He is the author of The Paradox Twins (CLASH Books), the story collection Whispers in the Ear of A Dreaming Ape, and the parody Kanye West—Reanimator. His short fiction has been published by Vice, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Thuglit, Severed Press, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, Broken River Books, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @jaceycockrobin. More info at joshuachaplinsky.com and unravelingtheparadox.com.

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Robert Helfst's picture
Robert Helfst from Indianapolis, IN is reading The Tiger's Wife September 10, 2012 - 10:55am

A punk memoir with journalistic roots that explores the American West!? Count me in!

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words September 10, 2012 - 10:56am

swap my ninny. this sounds like a swirling dose of so much that I love.

Gina Boyce Sandoval's picture
Gina Boyce Sandoval September 10, 2012 - 11:00am

looks awesome, can't wait to read it!

Ismael Santos's picture
Ismael Santos from Miami, FL is reading American Psycho, Essential Harlan Ellison, The Stand, Countdown to Lockdown September 10, 2012 - 11:05am

This sounds great(count me in, too)

Werus's picture
Werus from Portland, OR is reading Secret Acension September 10, 2012 - 2:15pm

Reading Black Hills by Dan Simmons now. Perfect follow-up?

Kelby Losack's picture
Kelby Losack from Texas is reading Muerte Con Carne; The Summer Job; Bizarro Bizarro September 10, 2012 - 3:00pm

Punk rock histomemessayism is exactly what I've been looking for as of late. This sounds like the perfect buffalo burger to please my appetite. 

Jeremiah Murphy's picture
Jeremiah Murphy from Idaho is reading A Little Life September 10, 2012 - 4:00pm

As someone who was raised in the west and grew up playing in several punk bands just like all my brothers, this sounds like the perfect read.

Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy's picture
Pretty Spry for... September 10, 2012 - 4:59pm

Me want.

Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading Black Spire by Delilah Dawson September 10, 2012 - 5:55pm

As a teenager in Minneapolis I grew up in a pretty vibrant rock scene, and I can tell you punk is alive and well in the midwest. I myself have no musical talent but ingratiated myself into the scene and had the pleasure of accompanying friends to gigs all over the windswept plains. Some of the craziest shows I've seen have been in places like Fargo, Madison, St. Cloud and Sioux Falls. 

Excited to read this book, either way!

Lady Hazmat's picture
Lady Hazmat is reading Various Titles September 10, 2012 - 6:49pm

I want this for my husband! Also myself, but  mostly my husband. Would be a kick-ass anniversary gift. 

Boone Spaulding's picture
Boone Spaulding from Coldwater, Michigan, U.S.A. is reading Solarcide Presents: Nova Parade September 10, 2012 - 7:44pm

Love it. Uncle Tupelo considered Great Plains?

Staci Criswell's picture
Staci Criswell from Sonora, CA is reading 2011 The Best American Short Stories September 10, 2012 - 8:07pm

Sounds awesome!

cshultz81's picture
cshultz81 from Oklahoma is reading Best Horror of the Year Volume 8 September 10, 2012 - 9:28pm

Sound off. Coming from / currently living Oklahoma, yet also living in Chicago, Austin and soon-to-be NYC, I understand perfectly well where this author is coming from.

David Ireland's picture
David Ireland from London is reading Confessions of an English Opium-Eater September 11, 2012 - 1:35am

Sounds great!

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig September 11, 2012 - 10:48am

Oh yes...a voice of my generation writing about punk rock? I grew up in a rural area and punk was my main escape. This sounds like it will tickle my fancy until I pee a little.

Casey L. Peek's picture
Casey L. Peek September 11, 2012 - 1:14pm

Fantastic!  I just finished reading Patti Smith's Just Kids so I'd love to read about punk rock from a  younger writer.  Smith's book was a great way to read about the developings of punk in NY and so I'd love to read about the more rural punk experience too--not to mention the mention of Sue the Dinosaur in anything makes me happy!

onmytangent's picture
onmytangent from Charlotte, NC September 12, 2012 - 1:57pm

Sounds like it'd be a great read. Interested to check it out! 

Scott Pierce Rachesky's picture
Scott Pierce Ra... September 15, 2012 - 1:48pm

great cover, great premise, and folk lore? Me gusta

rmatthewsimmons's picture
rmatthewsimmons from Salt Lake City, UT is reading I just put down 'A Game of Thrones' after 6 chapters....Couldn't do it. September 15, 2012 - 4:00pm

Having lived through the '80's punk scene out here in Utah, I was rather disappointed at the portrayal of 'our' lives in the film SLC Punk. There is an edge out here, still, albeit whatever rock it's hidden under I have yet to find. This book looks like a really fresh view of life out here in the Mid-West-West.


Jeremy Huerta-Miller's picture
Jeremy Huerta-Miller from Santa Rosa, CA is reading The Last Policeman September 16, 2012 - 9:29am

All of this sounds good. ALL. OF.  THIS!

sgwoods's picture
sgwoods September 16, 2012 - 11:06am

Sounds intriguing for sure. Would love to take a look.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading a lot more during the quarantine October 14, 2012 - 4:51pm

Well, it's been over a month and WERUS has yet to respond, so first person WHO ORIGINALLY PARTICIPATED to reply to this post gets the book.

Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy's picture
Pretty Spry for... October 17, 2012 - 9:16am


rmatthewsimmons's picture
rmatthewsimmons from Salt Lake City, UT is reading I just put down 'A Game of Thrones' after 6 chapters....Couldn't do it. October 17, 2012 - 9:19am

Replying with my reply.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading a lot more during the quarantine October 17, 2012 - 9:24am

Okay, Bret it is. PM me your address.