At the Southern Review of Books, Justin Evans reflects on Breece D’J Pancake‘s celebrated collection of short stories from 1984, published five years after his death. “The stories of Breece D’J Pancake, by their own merit, are remarkably tied to the rural home of their author,” Evans writes. “Unfortunately, they are also tied to the author’s absence. Honestly, it’s tempting to romanticize this collection of fiction. I still have a copy of the 2002 edition that I stayed up all night reading sometime around 6 years ago. There was something about the scale of history and place against the scale of the individual, about the mix of gravity and triviality in grief that I found energizing at a time when most of my day went to physical labor.”
“I HAVE A FLOWER. OHO. SUDDENLY WE’RE NOT SO SKEPTICAL, ARE WE?” I know it’s 2016 and he’s been dead for almost two hundred years now, but these otherwise inexplicable texts from Samuel Coleridge (by way of Mallory Ortberg at The Toast) are hilarious and totally believable. Some earlier hits include texts from Charles Bukowski and Cormac McCarthy.
It’s official: Borders has announced it will begin liquidating its 399 bookstores this week. Store closures could begin as early as this Friday and will continue through September, according to the Times.
“Books: As with food and clothing, they’re a commodity that elicits status anxiety for many people, particularly the insecure. And wherever there is status anxiety, there are potential minefields. We need to tread with the lightness of meringue.” Henry Alford explains the etiquette of books for The New York Times.
At Open Letters, Rohan Maitzen writes about her awakening to the chasm between an academic appreciation for books and “a more personal, affective, and engaged vision of criticism. It has been surprising and exciting to me to realize how blinkered I was about non-academic book culture, and chastening to realize how little use my own specialized reading has been as preparation to join in.”
A San Francisco prisoner wanted to read werewolf erotica so badly that he took it to state court. The case has brought up problems with prison censorship and calls to mind Avi Steinberg’s memoir, Running the Books: Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian (here’s our review.)