“He believed it a privilege and a shame that his race and nationality gave him the chance to come and go from lands where a guillotine blade seemed to dangle forever over the local citizens.” Denis Johnson‘s longtime Esquire editor Will Blythe pens a remembrance of the writer for The New York Times. See also: our own Sonya Chung‘s recommendation of Johnson’s celebrated short story collection Jesus’ Son to a friend some years back. “I know it will knock him out,” she wrote. “It does (of course).”
If you’re bored with the typical sexy firefighter holiday calendar, the Rhode Island Library Association can help. The Tattooed Librarians of the Ocean State 2014 calendar features Rhode Island librarians and their ink. “We’re trying to give a voice to the up-and-coming generation of librarians. We’re not your grandmother’s library,” librarian and association president Jenifer Bond said. You can buy your calendar at the site for $12-15.
“If Gwendolyn Brooks wrote fiction, we’d say she was brilliant at world-building–but the world she builds is the real one, the part that didn’t used to make it into the pages of literary magazines.” On the continued relevance of Brooks’s poetry in the context of racial violence in Chicago. Pair with a piece on the power of reading poetry aloud.