“It can be difficult to talk about Uzbek without soaring into Orientalist flights. ‘O warbling beauty of the steppe!’ I started to write, like a 19th-century lady traveler.” Our own Lydia Kiesling is in the New York Times writing about studying Uzbek and speaking Turkish.
It started with Mike Daisey, and eventually led to a series of profiles in The New York Times, but ultimately Apple launched a serious audit of their Chinese sub-contractors at the Foxconn Technology plants. Now, thanks to increased awareness, those workers will see 16-25% raises in pay.
At Bookforum, Rebecca Donner talks with former Granta editor John Freeman about his new book of interviews, How to Read a Novelist. Freeman says that he enjoys interviewing writers in their homes because it allows him to observe them more closely: “The writer thinks you’re taking notes about what he’s saying, but you’re really writing, ‘His head looks like a lion’s head.’”
The organizers of this year’s O, Miami Poetry Festival are holding an online poetry contest entitled “That’s So Miami.” To participate, submit a poem that begins or ends with the phrase, “that’s so Miami.” Entries – which can be culled from both Twitter and Instagram – are accepted in English and Spanish (duh), and submissions are posted daily on the organization’s new Tumblr. For a rundown of the festival’s other April events, check out their Facebook page.
Let’s play a game: a “lazy Sunday” version of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Ready? Good. Imagine you’re hanging out with Junot Díaz today. What do you want to do? Select Option A to go barhopping. Select Option B to go comic book shopping. Select Option C to read an excerpt from his new book, This Is How You Lose Her. Or Select Option D to read Leah Hager Cohen’s review of the collection. There is no wrong answer.
A mom sat her six-year-old daughter down in front of some classic books and asked her to guess the story based on the cover. The results are both charming and eerily accurate. I’m glad we at least now know what lies in the liminal space between Lev Grossman and kittens inspired by kittens.
Andrew Ervin interviewed Matt Bell for Tin House. Bell’s forthcoming novel In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and Woods will come out this summer. (Excerpt) It’s a book that was at least partially enhanced by Bell’s sense of “competition … of a useful kind” with his friend Robert Kloss. “I was so blown away [by Alligators of Abraham],” Bell admits, “that I can remember having to resist putting down his first novel to go make mine better.”
New this week is a debut collection of loosely linked stories that’s been getting some attention. Military families are the common theme in Siobhan Fallon’s You Know When the Men Are Gone. Another newly released debut is Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters about a Shakespeare scholar’s three daughters, all named after characters from the Bard’s plays. Also new this week, a tome dedicated to the “hot” condiment of the moment, The Sriracha Cookbook.