Toni Morrison wrote an obituary for James Baldwin in The New York Times, published December 20, 1987 and online for you to read. “Jimmy, there is too much to think about you, and too much to feel. The difficulty is your life refuses summation - it always did - and invites contemplation instead. Like many of us left here I thought I knew you. Now I discover that in your company it is myself I know.” Justin Campbell reflects on Baldwin, race, and fatherhood.
"The literary type of burlesque also peels off layers ... They are bolder and more coarsely humorous pieces that go beyond silly copies, like turbo-charged parodies. Jane Austen’s burlesques were full-on irreverent, turning a thing on its head, forcing us to peek underneath to see its naked absurdities." On the proto-feminist snark of a young Jane Austen.
More than ever, we need literature that gives Westerners a compelling entrée into—a way of better understanding—the lives of war-and-terrorism fraught regions. Over at Bloom, T.L. Khleif, recent recipient of a Rona Jaffe award, writes about Jamil Ahmad’s The Wandering Falcon, a collection that immerses readers in the tribal areas of Pakistan prior to the rise of the Taliban. Among other notable honors, Ahmad joins the pantheon of late-blooming male authors who would not have ever published were it not for the stubborn encouragement of their wives.
Recommended reading: "I am seventeen years old, and getting drunk is still a novelty. It has only recently occurred to me that my mother won’t think to check my breath if I’m coming straight home from work." An amazing reminisce of summer employment from The Rumpus. Pair with: The New Yorker on why summer makes us lazy, and an ice-cold beer.
Michael Chabon is really into prog rock. And I just picked up a couple of great Emerson Lake & Palmer LPs. So now I've got a soundtrack for reading Telegraph Avenue, which I'm especially stoked on after our own Michael Bourne's review of the novel, devoted as I am to the "brilliant little brushstrokes of language."