On Monday we mentioned that the MTA has started offering free e-books underground as part of its Subway Reads program, but they weren’t the first to make books an integral part of the public transit experience. London’s Books on the Underground was first, but then came a more interesting development in Australia: book ninjas. Books on the Rails is a gonzo experiment started by two Melbourne residents who began releasing free books – actual, paper books – into the wilds of the city’s tram system. About 300 books are currently in circulation in what’s possibly the world’s most open lending library.
One of the best parts of last month's Cullman Center discussion between John Jeremiah Sullivan and Wells Tower was watching JJS carry on the conversation while sipping from a highball glass of whiskey. The essayist's Southern roots and Irish ancestry of course make him no stranger to potent potables, which is why Danny Nowell's "John Jeremiah Sullivan" cocktail is so appropriate.
With the frenzied holiday season underway, there aren't many new releases to look at this week, but there are some newly reissued classics hitting shelves. NYRB Classics has put out Alien Hearts by Guy de Maupassant and Everything Flows by Vasily Grossman. Vintage, meanwhile, has smart looking new editions of a pair of Somerset Maugham books: The Narrow Corner and A Writer's Notebook.
"Hoaxers make it seem like things are as bad as we fear they are, and they often, especially now, play on our fears rather than our wishes." The Rumpus interviewed New Yorker Poetry Editor Kevin Young about the inspiration behind his new book, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News. Pair with Young's Year in Reading entry and our review of Bunk.
If you like leading ladies so blazing they burn a hole in your head, make way to the East Village on Tuesday evening to hear Kate Zambreno and Laurie Weeks read at Dixon Place. Their latest novels, Green Girl and Zipper Mouth, depict intense, edgy women with razor-sharp prose. And befitting both protagonists, there will be an after-party with DJs and projections that will go on till...?
“The more you take, the more you have to give back — the better the work has to be.” The New York Times features Year in Reading alum Rivka Galchen in dialogue with Anna Holmes (“You can’t always prove appropriation, but you usually know it when you see it”) on the distinction between artistic license and cultural theft. Pair with our review of Galchen's Little Labors.