Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo, the largest Yakuza faction, has decided to start its own magazine focused on “haiku poetry, articles on the innocent pursuit of angling and entreaties to its readers to perform good works” among other things. Related: recently photographer Christopher Jue journeyed with People Who Eat Darkness author Richard Lloyd Parry into the four-story headquarters of the Kudō-kai.
Recommended listening: Radio Open Source has been broadcasting Anton Chekhov‘s short stories, with voices including Chekhov translator and biographer Rosamund Bartlett, author Andre Dubus of House of Sand and Fog, and numerous other writers, actors, and scholars. “Chekhov makes you want to be a better person. He makes you want to live a better life.” (Unpersuaded? Consider our essays on why reading Chekhov, unlike booze or smokes, will make you a better person in 2014.)
A really great, thoughtful post about independent book stores in New York from The Written Nerd. A must read if you are a bookseller or if you care about the state of independent bookstores. Read the whole thing and then see my comment on the post for my thoughts.As an antidote to all the “best of” lists, check out the post at Book World about the twelve books she wishes she hadn’t read this year.Least likely to be the next Oprah Book Club Pick: Kitty Kelley is writing an unauthorized bio of Oprah Winfrey.An esoteric obsession: Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie
“The only way to get something new out of language, to try and get to what feels like the nearest simulacrum of truth, is to bend and shape that language, to break it’s form and strain against it, to coax it into a shape, to play with it. To revel in the disorderly.” Madeleine Watts writes about Eimear McBride‘s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (which our own Hannah Gersen recently reviewed), the limits of language and the necessity of a “Girl Canon” for The Believer‘s blog.
On the topic of reading classics: Alberto Manguel at the New York Review of Books considers the dialogue across history that books afford. “The relationship between a reader and a book… eliminates the barriers of time and space, like ‘conversations with the dead.'”
Booksellers across the country have loaded up dollies with towers of boxes and carted them to the front of the store. Amazon has broken into its super-secret, double-locked, chain-link fence. Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol is here. Understandably, other publishers have ceded this Tuesday almost entirely to the Dan Brown hype machine, but those looking for something (very) different can today find Joyce Carol Oates doing the zombie thing (not really) and the latest from Tao Lin.