The deadline for DIAGRAM‘s essay contest is October 31, but mostly I just wanted an excuse to link to previous winner Cheyenne Nimes‘ “SECTION 404 OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT AND THE SANTA CRUZ RIVER SAND SHARK, SUBTITLED ‘THIS TROUBLESOME REGULATORY CONSTRAINT’.“
In general, fact-checking isn’t the most glamorous part of a journalist’s career, which is why Michael Erard was surprised to find that a recent fact-checking session for an Al Jazeera article turned out to be among the most interesting conversations of his life. Why? His sources were linguists, and their job was to explain to him the workings of brand-new sign languages.
Read our own Kaila Philo’s essay on Toni Morrison’s new book The Origin of Others and then pair it with Nell Irvin Painter’s reflection on ‘Toni Morrison’s Radical Vision of Otherness.’ “Morrison’s history of Othering represents an intervention in history on several fronts. Although the theme of desegregating the literary canon reappears in The Origin of Others, times have changed since Playing in the Dark. Surely thanks to the more multicultural, multiracial canon that Morrison helped foster, no respectable version of American literature today omits writers of color.”
Sean Manning (of Talking Covers) hosted a discussion with Jonathan Lethem last week at LA’s Last Bookstore. You can check out video and audio of the event over here, and the post also features an exclusive glimpse at the cover art for Lethem’s forthcoming novel Dissident Gardens. (Bonus: a look at Dissident Gardens in our Great 2013 Book Preview.)
“By the time Mr. Bass bought the building for $8.2 million in 1997, the Strand had become the largest used-book store in the world.” Fred Bass, the owner of the Strand, has died at the age of 89. Bass — who bought used books with panicked fervor, opened up satellite kiosks, and created the fabled literary quiz for prospective employees — turned his father’s used bookstores into a New York City literary landmark.