January 6, 2018
Happy New Saturday!
by Melville House
Ok, we made it! We’re all here! It’s happening! The spirit is upon us. 2018 is up, running, and, as of right now, 1.64% over. Alright.
And friends, it is alright, because we, the hard-bloggin’, much-readin’, well-meanin’ folks of MobyLives are officially back in the saddle. We came in hard at mid-week — here’s an update on what we wrote and where we’re at:
- Michael Barron has joined our merry crew. We’ve written about Michael before, because he has long been excellent; but starting next week, he’ll be being excellent here, which has us chuffed. Meantime, check out his recent writing on The Accusation, the recent work of fiction with which North Korean author Bandi, in the translation of Deborah Smith, set the world spinning a little faster.
- Taylor Sperry stood before the immensity of 2018 and spread the good news of the book club Duncan Jones, director of the Warcraft movie and son of dream human David Bowie, is starting in honor of his dad.
- Simon Reichley brought us the story of Cameroonian writer Patrice Nganang, recently released from state custody and in that country and deported to the United States, of which he is also a citizen.
Susan Rella is still fighting the last boss of 2017; those of her friends who’ve already levelled up to 2018 eagerly await her arrival here. Meantime, you are invited to happily peruse her thoughts on the non-wrong-ification (techincal term, there) of the split infinitive.
- Alex Primiani spun the sad and strange story of the conflict brewing between the Richard Avedon Foundation and the authors and publisher of a new biography of the legendary photographer.
- Ryan Harrington has been sending ominous texts from beneath a massive heap of confetti somewhere in North America; we look forward to being reuinited with him on Monday. Meanwhile, remember the time he wrote about the Colonel Sanders romance novel? Man, that was good.
- Nikki Griffiths, of course, is writing from the UK, where it is our understanding the new year doesn’t start until a week into January (that’s correct, right?). We look forward to greeting her next week. For now, let us content ourselves with the memory of her rage at the time Amazon tried to… steal queuing from the British? Not bloody likely, you dastardly cyber-jerks.
- Ian Dreiblatt observed that the president, who is not great, is making efforts to stifle Michael Wolff’s new White House tell-all that seem, well, a little counterproductive.
- Stephanie DeLuca, according to a series of postcards we’ve received over the past several days, is about halfway through the long sleigh ride home from a very extra New Year’s Eve. While we wait, let us revisit her excellent piece on the resignation of Amazon Studios honcho-cum-turd Roy Price.
- Peter Clark found a person with almost the exact same name as him, and warded off body-snatching with a careful investigation into Roy Peter Clark’s crowdsourced instructional writing guides.
As ever, there was some news we just didn’t get to:
- Essence magazine is, after almost twenty years, once again fully black-owned, now that it’s been bought by Liberian-born cosmetics entrepreneur Richelieu Dennis, who told the New York Times’ Sandra E. Garcia he wanted the publication “to serve and empower women of color.”
- The Romanian-born Israeli writer Aharon Appelfeld has died at the age of eighty-five. Appelfeld’s life story was astounding: his experiences during World War II included internment in a concentration camp, surviving with brigands in the forest, and working as a cook in the Soviet army. The language in which he wrote, Modern Hebrew, was so new when he started that he was able to play a major role in shaping its literary conventions. He appears as a character in Operation Shylock by his friend Philip Roth. And he received copious recognition, including the Brenner Prize, the Israel Prize, the National Jewish Book Award, the Prix Médicis, and the Sydney Taylor Book Award.
- The papers of revered frontier novelist and Melville House All-Star Willa Cather are being made available online by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, more than seventy years after her death. Oh digital pioneers!
Jacqueline Woodson, author of Miracle’s Boys and recipient of, among other honors, a National Book Award, four Newbery Honors, and a term as Young People’s Poet Laureate, has been named the US’s sixth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Alright now!
- Just in case you were working through any residual uncertainty, it’s 2018 and Amazon still blows chunks. Just two examples: They hired no lesser comedy stars than Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon to make a parody parade show, and… nobody got the joke. Cool, guys. They also unveiled a new feature that lets users simulate trying on clothes in a “blended reality mirror” (agh), which sucks in every way except for its being uncanny reminiscent of this iconic scene from Clueless.
And finally: it is Saturday, the very first Saturday of a very new year, and you deserve a treat. Usually, we spend these mornings with some excellent cartoonage, but today, in honor of the possibility that things may just get a little better, is something that’s technically not a cartoon — a record of what was going on in America sixty years ago this week. Enjoy it, get some rest, and we’ll see you right back here on Monday for our first full week of blogging, 2018 style.