May 12, 2018
Wonder of wonders, Saturday of Saturdays
by Melville House
Here’s the quick of it: it’s been a hell of a week.
Before we go into all of it—and there is, oh children, plenty to go into—one big thing that’s going on is that we’re giving away three free e-books. Through Tuesday, when you buy a print copy of Seth Hettena’s entirely urgent Trump / Russia: A Definitive History, we’ll send you three e-books: Trump / Russia, The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture, and What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America. We call it the What You Need to Know Now Kit. All you need to do is email your proof of purchase to us at [email protected]. We’ll send along the e-books within twenty-four hours. More info right here.
But that’s not all we’ve been up to. It’s been a week among weeks, and we’ve had the bloggage to prove it:
- Peter Clark had some suggestions for books Andrew Gillum, mayor of Tallahassee, might want to send an up-and-coming young rapper named Kanye West. No single person should possess aptitude in such quantity.
- Tom Clayton found the sweaty old gym sock you’ve been using as a bookmark, and was not amused.
- Stephanie DeLuca noted that “Single Women Fiction,” a genre that exists on Amazon, is, in fact, uuuuütter bullshit.
- Ian Dreiblatt was out with the flu. We expect him back next week.
- Nikki Griffiths covered a current uproar over the Mr. Men and Little Miss books, which, as 2018 would’ve seen coming from the series titles alone, have been described as sexist. In other news, this was always unforgivable.
- Ryan Harrington brought us the latest science on the true nature of “poet voice,” and found, in the process, a use for his (largely outgrown, acquaintances report) Ohio accent. Also, spitting image Alabama lawyer coupon mayonniase syrup pajamas caught naturally — now that’s poetry.
Alex Primiani sauntered in and bet big on Maria Konnikova, the New Yorker writer who has postponed the book she was writing on high-stakes poker because she’s gotten a little busy kicking ass at high-stakes poker. (The book’s still coming, though. No bluff.)
- Susan Rella chilled our hearts to their very cockles with the story of Faleena Hopkins, the litigious romance author who claims the exclusive right to use the word “cocky” in her book titles — and has threatened to sue other authors who try it. Some people!
- Simon Reichley sounded the trumpets for a forthcoming release by Canada’s Biblioasis, who are returning to their roots (in more ways than one) with a hand-bound chapbook by Jorge Carrión called Against Amazon. Just guessing here, but it sounds… fantastic.
- Taylor Sperry brought news of a decision by Maine’s Quill Books and Beverage to stop stocking books by a number of authors accused of sexual misconduct, including Junot Díaz and Sherman Alexie.
- Michael Barron wrote about how Ian McEwan’s kid, even with Ian McEwan’s help, got a C+ on a paper about Ian McEwan.
We were also extremely happy to publish:
- A lucid explanation by Habeas Data author Cyrus Farivar of the differences between wiretaps and pen registers — currently in headlines thanks to noted buffoon Michael Cohen. “There’s a world of difference between these legal tools and what’s required for police to obtain them. Let’s take them one at a time.” Yes, let’s indeed!
- An excellent reflection by Seth Hettena, award-winning Associated Press journalist and author of Trump / Russia: A Definitive History, on how he came to write the book that’s got everyone talking. “People were marching in the streets; I started digging through documents.” This is how the pros do it, people.
There were, inevitably, a few stories we just didn’t get to:
- Dominoes continue to fall in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against author Junot Díaz. Díaz has announced that will not be participating, as scheduled, in this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival, and he is stepping down as chair of the Pulitzer Prize board while a review of his conduct there takes place. (Díaz won the 2008 fiction Pultizer for his debut novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.) He is also being investigated by MIT, where he teaches creative writing.
- In France, a controversial manifesto, “Against the New Antisemitism,” has been published in Le Parisisen, calling for certain passages of the Qur’an to be “struck to obsolescence” — an uncertain phrase that many are interpreting as a call for direct censorship of the holy book. Signatories include former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
In Trier, the hometown of Karl “Marky” Marx, a major exhibition has opened in honor of the communist thinker’s 200th birthday. It includes a controversial statue of Marx given by the government of China. György “Pyörgy” Lukács reportedly said, “Hmph, good for Grandpa.”
- A sweet one: Retiring Boise State literature professor Stan Steiner was bummed at first when the university library informed him they would be unable to accept a donation of the 40,000 kids’ books he’s collected over the years. But then he had an idea that made him a lot happier: sell the books and donate the proceeds to organizations doing work around kids’ literacy. “Just knowing that the books are going into teachers’ hands and parents’ hands and kids’ hands that will actively use them is maybe the best thing in the end,” he said, like a true sweetheart. Reportedly, Steiner’s students refer to him as “The Bookman.”
- Legendary publisher Peter Mayer—whose accomplishments included nineteen years as CEO of Penguin and co-founding Overlook Press—has died at eighty-two. Mayer was responsible for republishing Henry Roth’s then-forgotten, now-legendary Call It Sleep, and bringing out a slew of epochal titles including Bel Kaufman’s Up the Down Staircase, Thomas A. Harris’s I’m OK — You’re OK, and Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.
We published two books this week:
And, finally, it is Saturday morning: cartoon time across the land. And if you’ve had just about all of this week you could take, perhaps you’ll find some catharsis in the warped, wild stylings of Lupo the Butcher, a guy who just can’t seem to keep his cool:
And with that, dear friends, till Monday. As ever, stay loose, be well, get free e-books, and you’ll catch us right back where you left us. Oh, what the hell, let’s look at one more painting first: