June 5, 2017

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

In the New York Times Book Review’s By the Book column, basketball legend and author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—whose new book is Coach Wooden and Me—names the best book he ever received as a gift (Geoff Dyer’s But Beautiful: A Book about Jazz) and his favorite literary hero (Walter Mosley’s P.I. Easy Rawlins).

Reporting on this year’s Book Expo America convention, Publishers Weekly names this fall’s “big books” (new fiction by Jeffrey Eugenides, Leni Zumas, and Jennifer Egan), and gives a recap of the convention’s main event, Hillary Clinton’s discussion with Wild author Cheryl Strayed. Clinton called her latest book of personal essays, which will be published by Simon & Schuster this September, “a really unvarnished view of what I think happened [in the election].” “Someone else could run for president tomorrow, or in four years, and they won’t have the same experience,” Clinton said. To which Strayed replied: “Somebody else please run for president tomorrow.” PW also reports on the BEA panel Book Reviews: The Diversity of Race, Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation, and took note of “a different feel” (smaller, but still relevant) at this year’s convention.

“People say, if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. We should be so lucky. President Trump has a hammer, but all he’ll use it for is to smash things that others have built, as the world looks on in wonder and in fear.” Environmental activist and author Bill McKibben—the author of Oil and Honey and Earth—offers a clear and eloquent rebuttal of Trump’s decision to “obliterate” the Paris climate accord. “It’s not stupid and reckless in the normal way. Instead, it amounts to a thorough repudiation of two of the civilizing forces on our planet: diplomacy and science. It undercuts our civilization’s chances of surviving global warming, but it also undercuts our civilization itself, since that civilization rests in large measure on those two forces.”

Novelist Ian McEwan says he’s still in denial about Brexit. “My faction lives in daily bafflement. How has this happened in a mature parliamentary democracy, this rejection of common sense and good governance? How can it be that in a one-off vote just over a third of the electorate has determined the fate of the nation for the next half century? That shameless lies were told in the Brexit cause?”

Robert Caro is reportedly nearing the end of his research on Lyndon Baines Johnson. He has so far published four volumes of the proposed five-book biography of LBJ, and is currently working on the fifth. A question remains: What will become of Caro’s voluminous archives of research? In a recent interview, “the author estimated that less than 5 percent of the material in his research files has made it into the finished books.”

J. Ryan Stradal has written a deeply felt personal essay about the time he spent with author Denis Johnson.  

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