Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon founded India’s first feminist publishing house, Kali For Women, in 1984. In 2003, they parted ways to start their own projects: Menon began Women Unlimited; Butalia founded Zubaan Books. Now, in a compressed and edited interview for Mint, Butalia discusses some of the challenges she faces in India’s publishing ecosystem, and also notes, “in my 40 years in publishing, things have never felt as exciting as they are now. It truly seems there are infinite possibilities.”
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.
Despair, debt, frustration, a decade in school rewarded with guaranteed joblessness. If this cocktail of woe sounds good to you, consider getting a Ph.D. in English, History, or any other humanities discipline. At the New York Times, yet another of the recent spate of articles explaining how utterly dismal the prospects of recent humanities Ph.D.s are.
A very thoughtful essay by Millions contributor Patrick at his home base, the Vromans bookstore blog. The nut of the piece is the idea that publishers can and should create stronger brand identities. Patrick points out some publishers that are already doing this, and there’s some great stuff in the comments as well. The piece is a reaction to an equally interesting essay from if:book.
New Yorker darling Tessa Hadley has a new novel out this week, The London Train. Also out is the controversial oral history of ESPN, Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, which reportedly offers up ample doses of insider gossip and bad behavior. And finally, there’s The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media, in which contemporary journalism is explored in a graphic novel format. Here’s a taste.
Read about Hitler’s vacation homes and how they shaped his image via propaganda in an excerpt from Hitler at Home by Despina Stratigakos at The New Republic. We reviewed Ben Urwand’s book The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler, which discusses other propaganda surrounding the Nazi regime.
“You can’t be worrying how you sound. You can’t wonder whether you or your characters are likable or smart or interesting. You have to be inside the scene—the tactile world of tables and chairs and sunlight—attending to your characters, people who exist for you in nonvirtual reality.” Paris Review editor Lorin Stein writes for The New York Times about solitude in the age of the Internet and the future of the book.
Have you ever wondered what a music note might look like? Now you have, so go and check out Resonantia by artists Jeff Louviere and Vanessa Brown, a work which tests the limits of “cymatics—the patterns that sound waves induce in physical objects.” One of Louviere’s projects involved photographing the “shapes” of each of the 12 notes. Spoiler alert: G looks like a devil.