Recommended Listening: Poet Rachel Zucker speaks with Erika Meitner about straight-forward poetics and poetry as a tool for social justice.
Not every Craigslist ad is noteworthy, but this property listing, titled “Gorgeous Rural Mountain Acreage” and hailing from Kentucky, is a notable (and sobering) exception. Full-Stop republished the whole thing, which includes warnings that “bears are known to be about” and “beautiful water seeps.”
The Russian Ministry of Culture has come under fire recently after accusations were levied by the Russian Writers’ Union of some 500 books having been removed from libraries by authorities in the Komi republic–and another fifty allegedly incinerated in the process. Most of these were textbooks published with money from the Soros Fund, run by hedge fund billionaire and very vocal Putin critic George Soros. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Culture has denied the accusations, stating that “if any books are declared ‘extremist’ through a court proceeding, they are put into the special list of the ministry of justice and immediately withdrawn from libraries. However, even in this case books are not destroyed, they are just not lent out to readers.”
“Jealousy baffles me. It’s so mysterious and it’s so pervasive. … And yet I’ve never read a study that can parse to me its loneliness, or its longevity, or its grim thrill. For that, we have to go to fiction because the novel is the lab that has studied jealousy in every possible configuration. In fact, I don’t know that it’s an exaggeration to say that if we didn’t have jealousy, we wouldn’t even have literature.” New York Times Book Review editor Parul Sehgal takes listeners to church in her TED Talk, “Ode to Envy.”
“Publishers, writers, and readers alike really need to sit down and take this trend [the rise of self-publishing] seriously, rather than using the poetry.coms and AuthorHouses of the world as straw-men, scapegoats, piñatas, or other bludgeonable what-have-yous in the same tired and ineffectual arguments about how the Internet is ruining the publishing industry.”
Out this week: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan; Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides; Dogs at the Perimeter by Madeleine Thien; A Moonless, Starless Sky by Alexis Okeowo; An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon; Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn; Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (whom we interviewed recently); and We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
“At its core, the New York newspaper strike was a battle over technology. The 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of computerized typesetting systems that would revolutionize the newspaper composing room…Today, new technology is again shaking American newspapers as the Internet drains away more and more advertising revenue. Cities with dailies may soon face a newspaper blackout much darker than what New York experienced a half-century ago. For a brief period, New York was a laboratory that demonstrated what can happen when newspapers vanish,” writes Scott Sherman at Vanity Fair.
Most institutions that become an essential part of a local culture build up a collection of curios over the years. They collect as much evidence as they can of their proximity to major events. At the New York Public Library, for example, you can find a letter opener whose handle is made from the paw of Charles Dickens’s dead cat. (h/t The Paris Review Daily)