As of last week, Laredo, Texas, a city of 250,000 people has no bookstore. A sign of the coming apocalypse or a great business opportunity? You decide.
Over at Threepenny Review, Jess Row expounds on "blandness" in the work of Haruki Murakami, and particularly in his 2.8 lb. tome 1Q84—a book tabbed by Charles Baxter in last year’s Year in Reading as the best he’d read all year. Row contemplates the way Murakami’s characters and sentences “almost never lose this placid, observant neutrality,” or “continuous monotone.”
At the Book Bench, slides of Roland Barthes’ diaries from 1977 in their original, hand-written form: “His brilliance, which indelibly influenced literary theory, semiotics, social theory, and post-structuralism, can make him seem as distant as he is renowned. Yet the diary entries... reveal Barthes to be extraordinarily sensitive and relatable.” (via The Rumpus)
Do you want to start a small press? Take advice from Spencer Madsen of Sorry House. In his article "I Made the Mistake of Starting a Small Press and So Can You" at The Toast, Madsen recommends making the book look "better than a breakfast burrito" and listening to 2 Chainz to get started. Pair with: Our article on how Curbside Splendor became a small press to watch.