Book Bits: Renata Adler, Billy Collins, ‘Fear Nothing,’ Nick Laird
For those of us who remember the 1960s, The New Yorker gave us a bit of deja vu when it removed the paywall on Renata Adler’s April 1965 “Letter from Selma” for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
“The thirty thousand people who at one point or another took part in this week’s march from the Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Selma, Alabama, to the statehouse in Montgomery were giving highly dramatic expression to a principle that could be articulated only in the vaguest terms,” she begins.” Time and events clarified that principle and Adler’s words remind us of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to walk.
Here are today’s links:
- News: Billy Collins’ Papers Sold To The University Of Texas, by Annalisa Quinn – “Former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins has sold his papers to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. According to The New York Times, his archives include “dozens of notebooks containing observations, notes, doodles, clippings and extensive drafts of poems, published and unpublished.” NPR
- News: ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ Script Done, by Tim Molloy – “J.J. Abrams says the script for “Star Wars Episode VII” is complete, and confirms that he’s talked with “Breaking Bad” actor Jesse Plemons about a role.” The Wrap
- Review: “Fear Nothing,” by Lisa Gardner – “Recovering from a nasty fall down a flight of stairs, Detective D.D. Warren, of Boston Homicide, tangles with a pair of sisters who put her pain in a whole new perspective…If you think Gardner pulled out all the stops in D.D.’s previous cases (Catch Me, 2012, etc.), you ain’t seen nothing yet. Better fasten your seat belt for this roller-coaster ride through family hell.” Kirkus Reviews
- How To: How to Build a Writing Group in Your Community, by Nathaniel Kressen – “Writing for me has been anything but a solitary art form. It takes interacting with other writers to get the juices flowing. As a core member of the Greenpoint Writers Group in Brooklyn, I can experiment and push the boundaries of a story and get feedback in real time. And, perhaps most importantly, I witness the successes and setbacks of others on their journey, just as they witness mine. ” Jane Friedman
- Review: “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” by Robert M. Gates, reviewed by Greg Jaffe – “In his new book, which has nearly 600 pages of text, Gates takes the reader inside the war-room deliberations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and delivers unsentimental assessments of each man’s temperament, intellect and management style. ‘It is difficult to imagine two more different men,’ Gates writes.’ The Denver Post
- News: A weekend of tributes to Wanda Coleman, by David L. Ulin – “If you want to know how much Wanda Coleman meant to the poetry community of Los Angeles, consider this: Her memorial service Sunday (called “the world’s first improvisational memorial” by her husband, Austin Straus) lasted four hours.” The Los Angeles Times
- Interview: Nick Laird (“Go Giants”), with Jonathan Lee – “The award-winning Northern Irish writer on life in New York, poetry as ‘a way of being alone without feeling alone,’ and why ‘all writing is political.'” Guernica
- Lists: The 10 Best Contemporary War Novels, by Adrian Bonenberger – “Unlike in previous wars, where an author like Erich Remarque or Kurt Vonnegut or Joe Haldeman could reasonably claim to speak with universal authority about an experience, Iraq and Afghanistan have been broken into so many divers and fundamentally different compartments that no single book can hope to fully explain what happened – each one of these tackles an element of the war, and each, so far as I can tell from my own experience, represents its element truthfully.” Publishers Weekly
- News: Soon, ebook for visually impaired – “Here comes the first ebook for children with visual impairments which would soon be available at Apple’s iBook store and can be downloaded for free on iPads. The book, titled ‘Reach for the Stars: Touch, Look, Listen, Learn,’ is inspired by a latest Hubble Space Telescope image of the colourful ’30 Doradus Nebula’ – a giant star-forming region.” The Times of India
- Review: “Apple Tree Yard,” by Louise Doughty, reviewed by Amy Scribner – “When you are a rational human being, with free will and agency, is there any such thing as a point of no return? That’s the question Yvonne Carmichael finds herself asking after she’s charged with murder in this dark, intense, wholly engrossing British import.” Bookpage
- Essay: The Common Core Vs. Books: When Teachers Are Unable to Foster a Love of Reading in Students, by Alex Kalamaroff – “The ability of schools and teachers to foster a love for reading in students is under assault in today’s educational climate. We live in a time of high-stakes accountability, where quantifiable metrics, namely standardized test scores, are used to judge students, teachers, and schools. Now, we are faced with the Common Core, new standards in Math and English Language Arts that are sweeping the nation.” The Millions
- News: Poet Kay Ryan injured in bicycle accident – Former U.S. Poet laureate Kay Ryan suffered broken bones and a punctured lung after colliding with a car Monday morning in San Francisco. The San Francisco Chronicle