As we noted here recently about the rise and fall of Motown, the real issue was money — who earned it, who kept it, who never saw it. Now Barrett Strong, who co-wrote and sang the Detroit label’s first hit in 1959, “Money (That’s What I Want),” tells The New York Times that he never saw a penny of royalties for a song that became a classic and generated millions of dollars for the label. Strong’s story is the story of Motown boiled down to its bitter, ironic essence.
Out this week: The Barefoot Queen by Ildefonso Falcones; A Stranger in My Own Country by Hans Fallada; Teresa, My Love by Julia Kristeva; an omnibus edition of John le Carré’s first three novels; Ticket to Childhood by Nguyen Nhat Anh; and a new volume of letters by Mark Twain. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
Students at the University of California Santa Barbara, Rutgers, Oberlin, and others have been requesting “trigger warning” labels on literature from The Great Gatsby to Huck Finn. In The Guardian, University College London Professor John Mullan snipes, “You might as well put a label on English literature saying: warning – bad stuff happens here.”
Is readability a myth? In an article for The Atlantic Noah Berlatsky argues that there are no “easy” or “difficult” books, or rather that these are relative terms – a book that gives one person fits may be light reading for someone else. His argument pairs interestingly with our own Emily Colette Wilkinson‘s “Difficult Books” series.
Recommended reading: Alex Beam on the distinction between books and “books.”