Growing up in California, our own Michael Bourne didn’t have a full sense of his own privilege until 1981, when a chance encounter with a group of teenagers dressed up as skeletons woke him up to the realities of segregation in America. In a long essay for Orange Coast Review, he goes over the meaning of that incident, complete with meditations on Marin County, his abandoned early novel and his family’s history in Danville, Virginia. Pair with: Michael’s piece for The Millions on Tess Taylor’s The Forage House.
“Dmitri Nabokov, the son of Vladimir Nabokov, who tended to the legacy of his father with the posthumous publication of a volume of personal letters, an unpublished novella and an unfinished novel that his father had demanded be burned, died on Wednesday in Vevey, Switzerland. He was 77.” At MetaFilter, the son daughter of the lawyer for Nabokov’s literary estate remembers Dmitri, who was also a family friend. Dmitri once made a very brief appearance here at The Millions, leaving a comment (which we were able to authenticate as being from Dmitri) on Kevin Frazier’s compelling defense of The Original of Laura.
Sarah Howe’s debut poetry collection, Loop of Jade, has been awarded the T. S. Eliot prize. “Howe’s work – the first debut poetry collection to win the British prize since it was inaugurated in 1993 – triumphed over a particularly strong shortlist, which featured some of poetry’s biggest names, including Don Paterson, Claudia Rankine, Sean O’Brien and Les Murray.” If poetry isn’t for you, try our own Nick Ripatrazone’s ten poems for people who hate poetry.
Now that NPR has begun fact checking his work, it’s come to light that David Sedaris is a liar. Or, he sort of embellishes. His work is ‘realish.’ So basically, he tells stories. On NPR. Which is feeling pretty sensitive abut the line between truth and truthiness after the Mike Daisey upset.
In celebration of Jewish Book Month, Ruchama King Feuerman—featured at Bloom in January—will go on tour to read & discuss her novel In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist. The tour kicks off today at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Book & Arts Fair in Houston; check NYRB’s event page for more upcoming appearances.
All week I’ve been enjoying posts by Jeremy Blachman at the Powell’s blog about life after the publication of his debut novel, Anonymous Lawyer. I particularly enjoyed hearing about his experience at BEA.In other blogging authors news. Critically acclaimed crime novelist George Pelecanos paid a vist to Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and left three posts. His new book is The Night Gardener.BarnesandNoble.com now accepts PayPal, so sell stuff on eBay and use the proceeds to buy books!Can’t remember if it’s forbidding, foreboding, or formidable? Check out Common Errors in English Usage, also available in book form.
Litquake, the West Coast’s largest literary festival, now offers downloadable bi-monthly podcasts via their website and iTunes. On the site presently are episodes with Geoff Dyer, Carolyn Burke, Adam Johnson, Joshua Cohen, and Molly Ringwald, and the group plans to livestream and post events from their upcoming festival (Oct. 5-13) as well.
Anjuli Raza Kolb reviews Rachel Poliquin’s The Breathless Zoo, which “tracks the history of whole animal and animal specimen preservation, particularly taxidermy, which refers to the stretching and mounting of the skins of vertebrates, from the seventeenth-century European explorers to the present, with a heavy focus on Victorian practitioners and collectors.” No word on whether or not Poliquin remarks on this curious Danish Facebook group of terrible taxidermy. (Bonus: Caitlin Horrocks’s new story on FiveChapters, “The Lion of Gripsholm – Part Four: IV. The Taxidermist.”)