“We’re going to prove that I can sell more books than Amazon,” Stephen Colbert announced during his show this week. And he’s going to do it by encouraging his audience to purchase California, the new novel by Millions staffer Edan Lepucki. On his website, Colbert has partnered with beloved Portland-based indie Powell’s Books to offer not just Edan’s novel, but also a downloadable pack [PDF] of stickers proudly proclaiming “I DIDN’T BUY IT ON AMAZON.” (For your part, you can also order the book on Barnes and Noble, Word Brooklyn, or your local bookstore and the stickers will still apply.) (Bonus: You can read the first chapter of the book over here.)
David Meltzer interviewed renowned Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti for the Poetry Foundation. At 93 years of age, Ferlinghetti still contends that “the real popular poets of America” are not the people writing verse for poetry collections, but rather the folk musicians and folksingers. “A lot of folksingers’ poems are greater than the printed poems!” Ferlinghetti explains. Evidently the American Academy of Arts and Letters agrees: Bob Dylan recently became the first rock musician ever inducted into its ranks.
Out this week: Dinner at the Center of the Earth by Nathan Englander; Sourdough by Robin Sloan; Border by Kapka Kassabova; A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré; and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
Earlier this month, Ta-Nahisi Coates published a conversation-changing long form article on race and reparations in The Atlantic (we covered other pundits' responses here). Now, he is blogging a brief bibliography of the sources he consulted while writing that seminal essay. Parts one and two are available now, with two more installments planned for today and tomorrow. Whether or not you agree with Coates, it's a fantastic reading list on race relations in America.
Our own Edan Lepucki interviewed National Book Award finalists George Saunders and Rachel Kushner for the National Book Foundation. Saunders discussed money issues in his writing. "Now I feel like paucity vs. grace is one of the great American issues—we all live with it every day." Kushner explained her writing process. "The sentences are beads on a string; I see each one as essential."
"Millennials are so frequently hyped as the first digital generation that people tend to forget that we were raised first and foremost with books. TV and the Internet may have shaped our identities, but so did old-fashioned, printed stories." Everybody is tired of the word "millennial," but this piece makes some great points about Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad series and how it taught children to understand and appreciate their individuality.
Courtesy of fake-news juggernaut The Onion, a new viral website honest about its purpose: "I think we see the ideal ClickHole reader as a hollow shell who exists purely to click on our content and then share that content with other hollow shells." (Also: the same technique on headlines, applied to books.)