In Karen Russell‘s Swamplandia!, there is an enchanting place known as the abandoned Library Boat. “It held a cargo of books,” Ava Bigtree explains, “In the thirties and forties, Harrel M. Crow, a fisherman and bibliophile, had piloted the schooner around our part of the swamp delivering books to the scattered islanders. Then Harrel M. Crow died and I guess that was it for the door-to-door service. But his Library Boat, miraculously, had survived on the rocky island, unscavenged, undestroyed by hurricanes. It was an open secret, utilized by all our neighbors.” Now something similar has moored in England’s canals. And, across the Atlantic, one New Yorker is keeping his own open secret.
When restauranteur Elaine Kaufman was alive, she gave writers a refuge at her favorite spot, Table 4. Even though the restaurant and Kaufman are long gone, her memory and devotion to writers live on with the Table 4 Writers Foundation. The foundation gives out $2,500 grants to writers at a gala at the New York Athletic Club on March 27. The 2013 winners include, "Bound" by Karen Yin, "Gotham Mexico" by Danny Thiemann, "Kim of Noho" by Kurt Pitzer, "Parkside" by Jennie Yabroff, and "Rent Control" by Matthew Perron. Additionally, several of Elaine's regulars will be honored, including Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, Stuart Woods, Chazz Palminteri, and Richard Dreyfuss.
Ferris Jabr writes for The New Yorker on the "profound relationship between walking, thinking, and writing," and cites books such as Ulysses and Mrs. Dalloway as evidence this "curious link between mind and feet" is a serious literary force. After you've finished reading Jabr's piece, be sure to check out Michelle Huneven's essay "On Walking and Reading at the Same Time," and then perhaps go for a little stroll with a good book.
Throughout the 80s and 90s journalists turned hip hop into a literary movement. Pitchfork dives into that time and explores their legacy and impact on journalism and other literary forms. "Eager to extend the outer boundaries of their creativity, many of these writers would go on to ink novels, memoirs, short stories, scripts, and poetry, much of which stayed true to the language and attitude of hip-hop, as though their words were drafted to the sound of a boom-bap beat. It all added up to a low-key literary movement that writer and activist Kevin Powell has dubbed, 'The Word Movement.'" Includes a great reading list at the end.
Polish filmmaker Piotr Dumala spent three years working on his half-hour-long expressionistic adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and the result is a “destructive animation” that’s at once unnerving and beautiful. However in case you’re more pressed for time, you can also get your animated Russian literature fix by checking out Natalia Berezovaya and Svetlana Petrova’s two-minute-long animation for Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.