“I know the words for elk and water. There are other Shawnee nouns as dense as koans with metaphor and meaning, but they remain inscrutable to me.” Poet Laura Da’ authors the most recent Rumpus Saturday essay, a stunning meditation on concessions made to both the body and the body politic. A member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Da’ is the author of Tributaries, a 2016 American Book Award winner. See also: our review of Philip Meyer’s latest novel, The Son.
As Nick Richardson notes for the London Review of Books, Saul Bellow’s son, Adam, has his hands full these days. When he’s not maintaining a site devoted to conservative “literature,” he’s extolling the virtues of conservative fiction writers you “probably have never heard of — and won’t, if the powers that rule the lit-crit, fanfic, and commercial publishing worlds have anything to say about it.”
Isn’t it lovely when books and sports coexist (somewhat) peacefully? In the spirit of the Major League Baseball ALCS playoff between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals, the Twitter accounts of the Toronto and Kansas City public libraries took to the internet to air their grievances. Unfortunately for the folks in Toronto, Kansas City went on to win the game and advance to the World Series with the New York Mets. For more on the intersection of sports and reading, check out the Football Book Club.
Among the books hitting shelves this week are Pulitzer winner and New Yorker staffer Louis Menand’s The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University and memoirist and poet Nick Flynn’s The Ticking is the Bomb. Also new, Melville House is putting out a novella, Union Jack, by Nobel laureate Imre Kertész, and NYRB Classics has published Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy a novel by Olivia Manning based on her time in Eastern Europe during World War II. Rachel Cusk provides an introduction to the edition.
Year in Reading alum Susan Orlean’s next book will be entitled The Library Book. It will be “a love letter to an endangered institution, exploring their history, their people, their meaning and their future as they adapt and redefine themselves in a digital world.” The book will focus in particular on the unsolved 1986 razing of the Los Angeles Central Library.
Masha Gessen has been busy of late. Within months of publishing her investigative look at the charges for Russian punk band, Pussy Riot, Gessen has also co-edited a book entitled Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stories. Over at The Independent, you can check out a review of the two projects, and over at Guernica, you can read an interview in which Gessen discusses both works.