“Like moss, my family grew on a mountain. In the utmost northwest of Spain, they set down roots so thick that only despair could rip them out.” Lorena Piñeiro writes at Midnight Breakfast about her family and penance. Pair with a piece on the business of nonfiction.
Michael Diamond (aka Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) have signed on to write a Beastie Boys memoir for Spiegel & Grau. The book is scheduled to publish in 2015. However if you need your Beastie fix now, you can head on over to Brooklyn’s Palmetto Playground tomorrow for its renaming ceremony. Its new name? Why, Adam Yauch (MCA) Park, of course.
“Steinem welcomed them all—the rich, the celebrities, the climbers for the cause. She was a radical but, consciously, never an outsider. She enjoyed the world where she plied her trade as an entrepreneur of social change, and, with her mouth spray at hand, she had long since mastered the subterfuges of talking truth to power. You could call it consciousness-raising—on a wider canvas.” The New Yorker profiles Gloria Steinem in anticipation of her latest release, My Life on the Road.
“What made The Great Gatsby so great? Does everyone think he’s that great? Why?” Just in time for the back-to-school rush: essay questions from a teacher who didn’t finish any of the required reading (a.k.a. McSweeney’s).
In his column in the Chicago Tribune today, Eric Zorn describes a particularly ugly incident that occurred at a library not far from where I live. Somebody set fire to a number of books at the John Merlo branch of the Chicago Public Library. Making matters worse, it appears as though the arsonist targeted the gay and lesbian books section of the library, which itself is located in a neighborhood with a large gay population. From Zorn’s column: Staffers detected the fire quickly and used an extinguisher to put it out before anyone was hurt. The library remained open, and if you visit there today, the only reminders of the incident are gaps on several shelves where destroyed books used to sit.But the location makes it a bigger event. For both symbolic and safety reasons, the idea of arson in the stacks, no matter how relatively unsuccessful, is chilling. Public libraries are not only embodiments of liberty but, with all that paper, prospective tinderboxes.More chilling still to many is that the unknown arsonist chose to set the fire in the heart of the Chicago area’s largest unified collection of gay and lesbian-oriented books.Zorn explores the topic further at his blog explaining why he decided to devote his column to what was, admittedly, a very minor fire, wondering “Do we not, in some ways, magnify the power of a hate crime when we publicize it?”I’m glad he decided to write the column. Coming on the heels of a book-banning attempt in a nearby school district, it’s been a rough couple of months for books in the Chicago area.Update: It turns out it wasn’t a hate crime. As Eric Zorn explains, they caught the culprit, a 21-year-old homeless woman who set the fire because “she was angry at library staff for being rude to her.”
Sharpen your pencils freelance book reviewers: The Wall Street Journal plans to buck the trend of disappearing book review sections by launching a weekly pull-out. Robert Messenger will edit. The New York Observer takes note of the storylines in play: Rupert Murdoch once again bucking conventional wisdom, The WSJ trying to go head to head with The New York Times in yet another high-profile venue.
Superagent Andrew (“The Jackal”) Wylie disses the e-book and modern publishing’s “wild weekend in Las Vegas approach” to book acquisition in the Wall Street Journal Magazine. But the best part is an online slide show depicting Wylie’s journey from a wild-eyed hippie cabbie in 1971 to the uberwasp wheeler-dealer that he is today.
“[Ludmilla] Petrushevskaya doesn’t write about isolated acts of depravity; she writes about universal ones,” says Michael Robbins in his review of There Once Lived a Girl. “What’s scary about her narratives is their implication that only the thinnest film, which might rip at any time, separates us from the chaos and breakdown they describe.” Our own Janet Potter also reviewed Petrushevskaya’s work this week, and she focused on the romantic hopes of its characters. “What’s remarkable,” Potter writes, “is not the love they find, but the fact that they’re looking for it.”