Recommended reading: Year in Reading alum Leslie Jamison writes about the pleasures and “democratic awe” of Whitman‘s Specimen Days. Pair with our own Michael Bourne‘s “Embracing the Other I Am: or, How Walt Whitman Saved My Life.”
Fresh on the heels of his gargantuan New York Times Magazine profile, as well as the announcement that he’s led Jon Huntsman Jr. in the South Carolina polls, political prankster Stephen Colbert has decided to run for “president of the United States of South Carolina.” This, of course, is not the first time he’s pulled this stunt, but it is the first time he’s done it with this much funding. All of this raises the question of whether this is political satire or “School House Rock on Steroids.” But don’t get too excited. Apparently folks from the Palmetto State will not actually be able to vote for him.
“A few weeks ago, I texted my writing group, ‘All I really want is to be just famous enough to have my own celebrity book club.’ I was kind of kidding. But I kind of wasn’t. Because, like portion-packaged organic snacks delivered to your door, isn’t book club ownership one step closer to having it all?” Laura Briskman on the faux intimacy of celebrity book clubs, as more and more celebrities start their own post Oprah.
Broke New York writers – by which we mean, New York writers – take note: the city’s Department of Housing is allotting a small number of $1,022 two-bedroom apartments to working artists through a convenient online application. (If that’s too rich for your blood, though, we’ve also noted previously that Write a House is giving away free houses to writers in Detroit.)
“The most interesting writers we know, all asking and answering the same question: why can’t we stop watching cat videos?” Coffee House Press one-ups all boring Kickstarter campaigns with Catstarter, a campaign to fund a book on cat videos and “how we decide what is good or bad art, or art at all.”
Recommended Reading: Nathan Scott McNamara writes for The Atlantic on why we need indie publishers. “Eighty percent of U.S. books are produced by the Big Five publishers, but with each passing year—and with a stable small number of annual releases—independent presses are earning more of the literary conversation, gaining frequent articles and reviews in The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, and more.” You could also read Rebecca J. Novelli’s thoughts on Roberto Calasso’s The Art of the Publisher.