There is a controversy brewing right now in Britain about readability and excellence in literature. Apparently, being “readable” is no longer a compliment.
“If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves.” April 30th is Independent Bookstore Day. Celebrate early with a revisit to this 2012 essay by Ann Patchett on the resilience of the indie bookstore. Here’s an interview with Janet Geddis, founder of Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA, on deciding to become a bookseller.
“I lost the first good novel I ever wrote to a computer disaster. It happened at a crucial time in my life. I was working nights, living in a mouse-infested tenement in Giuliani-era Harlem and still figuring out if I could even do this thing — become a writer for real.” Mat Johnson on NPR’s All Tech Considered blog about the ultimate authorial nightmare, and how he recovered from it. Pair with our review of Johnson’s latest novel, Loving Day.
The New York Times is reporting that the poet John Ashbery has died. A major figure in American letters, Ashbery won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in a single year for his book Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. The full Times obituary has more.
After visiting more than 2,000 of America’s independent bookstores, Kate Brittain found herself thinking their demise might not be so inevitable. The cards, she writes, remain stacked against them, but they nonetheless offer a few things that may well keep them in demand. Pair with: our tribute to e-book pioneer Michael Hartt.
“For a woman to be a flâneuse, first and foremost, she’s got to be a walker – someone who gets to know the city by wandering its streets, investigating its dark corners, peering behind façades, penetrating into secret courtyards. Virginia Woolf called it ‘street haunting’ in an essay by that name: sailing out into a winter evening, surrounded by the ‘champagne brightness of the air and the sociability of the streets,’ we leave the things that define us at home, and become ‘part of that vast republican army of anonymous trampers.’” On the female flâneur. Also check out this Millions essay about the flâneur in modern fiction.