October 21, 2017
Ain’t no Saturday like a Saturday Saturday ’cuz a Saturday Saturday don’t Saturday
by Melville House
Well, here we are once again. Saturday. Ngày thứ bảy. Šeštadienis. uMgqibelo. E shtunë. By God, it’s beautiful.
And it’s a good time check back in on the long week we’re putting behind us. Here were the highlights on MobyLights:
- Chad Felix had some thoughts about New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent courting of Amazon. He expressed them succinctly. The company-cum-Death-Star is seeking a location for its new corporate headquarters. (De Blasio, weirdly, later said some stuff that made very clear why this would absolutely suck.)
- Nikki Griffiths, for some reason, seemed to think it might not be ideal that they keep giving the Man Booker Award to American writers — though pretty much everyone agrees that George Saunders is a prince.
- Ryan Harrington has been away from his desk for some time; please let us know if you see him.
- Alex Primiani found some Kiwi librarians being cute, and helped spread the word. As for the worldwide New Zealand diaspora: the struggle continues.
- Simon Reichley read through this year’s freshly-released VIDA Count, monitoring the inclusion of women’s voices across literary media. The short version: We’ve come a short way, and have a long way to go.
Susan Rella had some thoughts about the shuttering of Weinstein Books. The short version: Eh.
- Taylor Sperry looked at some of the pluses and minuses of a Google doc in which women in media have logged and shared their experiences with shitty men in media.
- Peter Clark observed that Amazon fucking sucks — and in particular their new practice of allowing third parties to claim buy buttons on their book pages truly madly deeply sucks.
- Stephanie DeLuca kept up her recent reporting on romance writing by checking out a recent survey of racial diversity in romance publishing. The short version: It’s not great.
- Ian Dreiblatt checked back in on imprisoned Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai, on the second anniversary of his apparent abduction by agents of the People’s Republic of China.
We were also pleased to publish:
- Some reflections by Martin MacInnes, author of Infinite Ground, on what drove him to write the novel. “Presence and absence, inside and outside, clearly weren’t just distinct categories, and could be mixed up. There was potential, surely. I could write about signs, forensic traces existing equally with dreams and hallucinations, describe a place where speech is as much an ambient discharge of microorganisms as it is a deployment of symbolic codes.” So… where do we sign?
As ever, there were a couple stories we just didn’t get to this week:
- Reiko Redmonde, manager of Berkeley’s Maoist indie Revolution Books, spoke this week to the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association about a campaign of right-wing intimidation, harassment, and violence that’s been directed against the store’s staff and customers. Should any of her bookselling colleagues face similar bullshit, Redmonde told them, “We are there. We’ve got your back. We’ll go to your bookstore and stand in front of it. And everyone else in your town should do the same.”
We have long known of Dolly Parton’s status as a Humanity All-Star™. This week, she defended her title by sending boatloads of books to kids impacted by the recent hurricanes. Imitate Dolly Parton all you want, world — but there is no substitute.
- Who knew life in New Zealand’s libraries was so eventful? But it has been — recently, librarians in Auckland, the nation’s capital, have solved the mystery of why so many of their books were disappearing from shelves. The city’s homeless, it turns out, are dedicated readers, but without a home address, most of them have unable to obtain library cards. Librarians, as they’re wont to do, found a solution — they implemented a system whereby anyone can leave a book overnight, to be picked up and finished in the morning.
- The much-loved literary journal A Public Space has announced that it’s starting its own publishing imprint, APS Books. Their inaugural title will be Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage by the masterful and too-long-neglected Bette Howland. It’s a promising start, and plans have been announced for books from the likes of Sally Potter and Dorothea Tanning, as well as one that collects authors’ responses to Italo Calvino.
- Guiness World Records is suing Scholastic over the publisher’s planned 2018 world record book. Scholastic has publishing world record books for years—at dramatically lower prices than the annual Guinness book—but Guinness claims the cover they’ve planned for this year could only have been copied from their own book. Here are the two covers in question, in case you’d like to judge for yourself (NB You are awesome, but your judgment in this matter does not carry the force of law):
We published one book this week:
And finally: It’s Saturday morning — if you don’t get a cartoon of us, what was it all for? And we’re not messing around this week. As the wolfbane blooms and the dead awaken, it’s time for this little classic:
Keep working on your costume, get some rest, and we’ll see you right back here Monday morning.