Pacific Standards profiles Ken Layne who quietly started the popular quarterly literary magazine, Desert Oracle for a town of 8,000 people. Now it has gained far more readers than that as it highlights works related to the American desert. “The reason that the Oracle works is that it’s always trying to elicit that feeling, the awe and wonder that the desert reveals to you when you listen hard enough. Layne believes it’s not an accident that religious awakenings, UFO sightings, walkabouts, and other revelations occur in the desert. It’s a consequence of solitude, stark beauty, and the tenacious life that only the desert has.”
“We note that there is a great lack of schoolbooks among secondary pupils, due to their weak purchasing power. The books currently in circulation will remain in use, but for purposes of ‘complementary consultation.’” Mozambique’s Education Minister has announced that with the start of the 2017 academic year, its school system will adopt a single book for each subject taught in the country’s secondary schools.
The New York Times gives Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch a well-deserved profile. I’ve mentioned before that his take down of the NCAA’s corruption is astounding, but now’s a good time to mention that his e-book, The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA, is even better. Branch also appeared on Wednesday night’s “Colbert Report” to discuss the book.
You may have heard that Alice Munro couldn’t make it to Sweden to accept this year’s Nobel prize. Instead, she made a video, which you can watch in full on the Nobel Prize committee’s website. (You could also read Ben Dolnick’s beginner’s guide to her work, or else read my essay on the meaning of her win.) (h/t The Paris Review)
E-book pricing wars continue. Sony tries to hit the Kindle where it hurts by offering cheaper e-books. Meanwhile, $0 is becoming an important price point at the Kindle store.Sam Anderson hates Thomas Pynchon.An indie bookstore fan uses our bookstore tour as a jumping-off point for a literary day in Manhattan. You can too.