The Daily Bruin is a running a stunning multimedia series about “the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Malawi, a country that outlaws homosexuality and in which UCLA has a strong research presence.” Two recent UCLA graduates – Sonali Kohli and Blaine Ohigashi – spent 24 days interviewing LGBT Malawians, activists and researchers “about the healthcare and human rights challenges the community faces.” As with the 40 Towns project I’ve mentioned previously, the result of Kohli and Ohigashi’s reportage is a testament to the quality of student journalism.
"So much has been written about New York City as a city of histories—rich and public, deep and private. Commerce and bodies ebb and flow. For every New Yorker, there is a ghost city under the tangible one; this second, invisible layer contains the tangled web of memory and geography. I certainly have my fair share of associative ghosts; we all do. But New York City is also a city of forgetting, for better and for worse, and often against our best wishes." Anna Wiener on the coping strategies of New Yorkers.
"Writing an autobiography was therapeutic and traumatic at times, but unlike the novel it continues its therapies and trauma long after I’ve written it." Laura van den Berg interviews Porochista Khakpour about the differences between novels and memoirs, structure, and Khakpour's upcoming memoir, Sick. (Sick is one of our most anticipated June releases).
“During various periods of my life I have succumbed to the siren call of sleeping pills. It is hard to resist their promise: one tablet, and your night will be purged. Your brain may be in overdrive, its receptors working away, hungrily awaiting more images and information, but like a computer it is forced into another mode. Yet the little white disks with a dent down the middle are no panacea; whenever I take one of these thought guillotines I feel trapped in a grey zone, seesawing between mid and shallow slumber, mind and body dulled but not of their own accord.” A lifelong insomniac recounts her long struggle with the illness.
What is it like to work for a major book publisher? In an excerpt from the new reprint of her My Misspent Youth, Meghan Daum discusses the myth of the glamorous editorial job, one in which no time is wasted reading self-help books and unauthorized biographies of cable stars. As she explains it, “We’re secretaries fully versed in Derrida, receptionists who have read Proust in French.” Also check out our own Hannah Gersen's review of Daum’s latest essay collection The Unspeakable.
Is Alejandro Zambra the new great Latin American writer? James Wood thinks he is. In the latest New Yorker, he describes how Zambra’s new story collection alerted him to the writer’s oeuvre, going on to analyze all three of the writer’s novels in English. You could also read our 2011 interview with Zambra.
My mom pointed out this article in the Washington Post about a bookstore in Baltimore that primarily gives away books rather than selling them. It's called the Book Thing:"That's the whole thing with the Book Thing," Wattenberg says. "All I am is a middleman. The people have books.... They give them to me, they're happy to have a place to see them go somewhere, and the people that get the books are happy to get the books."Also, file under conspicuous consumption: Anyone looking for an extravagant gift for the film buff in their life should look no further.Spotted on the el: The Travels of Marco Polo... sure the red line doesn't go all the way to China, but we can dream.