The President gave his final State of the Union address on Tuesday night. McSweeney’s shares with us some talking points that have been cut from SOTU addresses over the years.
Olsson’s, a small chain that was an old standby among Washington D.C. independent bookstores, is likely to file for bankruptcy. It was the stores’ ample music sections and gentrification that contributed most to its downfall. “‘The book business is getting a little soft. It’s not selling as much as it used to,’ Olsson said. ‘Our music sales went from 50 percent of our business to maybe 15. We lost a lot of revenue, and at the same time rents went up and real estate taxes went up. I don’t know what we would have done differently. It’s a killer.'”The linguistic capabilities of modern world leaders. Well done, Pope, well done.For those whose fantasies involve real estate: Private Islands for SaleAnd a pair of audio items:Nam Le’s The Boat is getting rave reviews. Here he visits The Leonard Lopate Show.Garth covered the PEN World Voices Tribute to Robert Walser. Interested readers can now listen to the entire event.
Historian Robert A. Caro, author of The Power Broker, has spent 35 years researching and writing about the life and presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. Last Tuesday, devoted fans were thrilled to learn that the fourth book in his LBJ saga is due out in May. It will be entitled The Passage of Power, and it will focus on the years between 1958 and 1964.
Mexican-American novelist Sandra Cisneros was awarded the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature, judged by a panel that consisted of authors Alexander Chee, Edwidge Danticat, and Valeria Luiselli. Since the publication of her groundbreaking novel, The House on Mango Street, Cisneros has influenced generations of writers – as noted in our recent conversation between Ada Limón and Erika Sánchez.
In 2013, Mo Yan became China’s first resident Nobel Laureate in Literature, which prompted a huge swell of interest in his books in the West. In the Times, Janet Maslin reviews Frog, his latest novel to get an English translation. Sample quote: “Mo Yan, whose real name is Guan Moye, says everything he needs to about the Cultural Revolution with a scene in which Tadpole and other schoolboys eat coal and claim to find it delicious.” You could also read Alan Levinovitz on modern Chinese literature.