• November 14, 2016

    At The Guardian, women authors including Siri Hustvedt and Joyce Carol Oates reflect on how much Hillary Clinton’s gender affected the outcome of the 2016 election.

    The New Yorker has collected essays from sixteen writers—including Toni Morrison, Atul Gawande, Mary Karr, and Larry Wilmore—on the reasons for and the effects of Trump’s win on the country.

    On a BBC panel, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of Americana, offered this response to R. Emmett Tyrrell, the editor-in-chief of American Spectator, after he stated that Trump was not racist throughout his campaign: “I am sorry, but if you are a white man, you don’t get to define what racism is.”

    Ishmael Reed. Photo: Lia Chang.

    Ishmael Reed. Photo: Lia Chang.

    Ishmael Reed—whose novels include Mumbo Jumbo and The Freelance Pallbearers—has written an incendiary response to the presidential election titled “White Nationalism’s Last Stand.” He begins by taking issue with the notion that many Trump supporters feel that they’ve been “forgotten” or “left behind.” “Left behind? They belong to unions that have excluded blacks for decades. His FBI, NYPD, Secret Service fans, and thousands of police whose unions endorsed Trump–left behind?”

    John Oliver returned to Last Week Tonight and dedicated the entire show to Trump’s election: “It is going to be easy for things to start feeling normal,” Oliver said, “so keep reminding yourself: This is not normal.”

    Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire who bankrupted Gawker by supporting Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against the company, will join Trump’s transition team. Thiel will assist in “vetting presidential appointments and selecting which of Trump’s campaign promises will become the policies of America’s 45th president.”

    The Trump transition team has been accused of plagiarism after using information and exact wording written by the Center for Presidential Transition on its own website without credit. James Grimmelmann, a Cornell University law professor, said that it was unlikely that the copy and pasting would lead to any legal challenges: “When someone is using something in service to the nation, we give them a bit more leeway.”

    When the news gets too grim, you can always turn to fiction podcasts. The Times recommends eleven standout shows, including The Truth, Limetown, and The Message.

  • November 11, 2016

    John Heilemann and Mark Halperin

    John Heilemann and Mark Halperin

    At the Washington Post, Karen Heller speculates about who will write the inevitable 2016 election books. Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, authors of 2008’s Game Change and 2012’s Double Down, are expected to write a follow-up about this year’s contest, and there will be many more accounts of one of the most bizarre and consequential elections in US history. As Peter Osnos of PublicAffairs books notes: “There’s going to be a cascade. An awful lot of people want to weigh in.” Next week, Bernie Sanders’s Our Revolution will be published, along with Megyn Kelly’s Settle For More (Kelly has already taken to Twitter to dispute an early New York Times review of the book). Beyond that, books from Barack and Michelle Obama, as well as from Trump insiders such as Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, are likely to be published in the coming year.

    Candace Smith reflects on covering Trump’s campaign as a black journalist. “Conversations with over 100 Trump supporters, all white, revealed a darker truth,” Smith writes. “They may like me as a person, but were concerned more holistically what black and brown people were doing to this country and worried about a changing nation that no longer looked like them.”

    Hamilton Nolan writes that the only thing that will fix the media is diversity, and not just of race and gender. “The Times’s approach to diversity is to hire a black person who went to Columbia Journalism School and a woman who went to Princeton and someone who grew up in rural West Virginia who went to Harvard. This is not what diversity means.”

    Journalists worry that the traditional modes of press access to the president will be severely limited by Donald Trump. Spokesperson Hope Hicks released a statement saying the team “fully expect to operate a traditional pool,” but did not include any details of their plan. The press pool has already been barred from traveling with the president-elect and his staff has yet to respond to inquiries from the AP and elsewhere.

    The New York Daily News is offering buyouts to journalists, and will follow with layoffs if needed, as the paper looks to cut $6 millon from the budget.

    The 2016 Goldsmiths prize was awarded to Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones, a 223-page novel comprised of a single sentence.  

    At The Intercept, Sam Biddle pleads with Facebook to stop misinformation from being so easily circulated on the site: “A less-toxic Facebook is doable. A less-toxic Facebook is crucial. A less-toxic Facebook is the absolute least you should demand from the people it’s made rich, because, with no great exaggeration, the ability to deliberately confuse tens of millions of American voters in exchange for banner ad revenues is a crisis.”

  • November 10, 2016

    Authors weigh in on Trump’s win: Philip Pullman asks, “Is there something wrong with democracy?” George R. R. Martin published a post entitled “President Pussygrabber,” concluding, “Winter is coming. I told you so.” At The Guardian, Marilynne Robinson reflects on what can be learned from this election. “From the very beginning, this election season has been a stress test. It has revealed weaknesses, actual and potential, in the American political system,” she writes. “Voters have now ensured these can no longer be ignored.” Margaret Atwood is bracing for a real-life Handmaid’s Tale.

    Margaret Atwood

    Margaret Atwood

    Who is to blame for Trump’s election? As Alex Pareene writes, pretty much everyone. Glenn Greenwald points to “the institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population—all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction.” Max Read blames the social media echo chamber. Thomas Frank calls out the “chronic complacency that has been rotting American liberalism for years.” At The Stranger, Ijeoma Oluo writes that it wasn’t third party votes or Clinton’s unlikeability that caused her to lose: “We have elected violent white supremacist patriarchy into office because the vast majority of white American voters chose to elect violent white supremacist patriarchy into office.” Margaret Sullivan highlights the magical thinking that blinded the media to the possibility of electing Trump. “It would be too horrible. So, therefore,” Sullivan writes, “it couldn’t happen.”

    Mexico’s Vanguardia newspaper announced Trump’s win with one word: “Upsss!” (Oops!), while BuzzFeed’s Bim Adewunmi asks “What Is America So Afraid Of?” Her answer: “Every damn thing.” At Columbia Journalism Review, Kyle Pope writes that “a new era needs to begin, a period in which reporting takes precedent over opinion, when journalists are willing to seek out and understand people with whom they may have profound personal and philosophical differences.”

    The New York Times offers a list of books “for those trying to understand the political, economic, regional and social shifts that drove one of the most stunning political upsets in the nation’s history on Tuesday.” The list includes George Packer’s The Unwinding, Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land, and Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal, among others. It’s a good time to revisit Public Book’s more extensive syllabus on understanding Trump’s rise.

    Madeleine Thien’s novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing has won the Giller Prize, Canada’s most renowned book award.

    A new book by Joan Didion will be published by Penguin Random House next March. South and West: From a Notebook will be comprised of Didion’s writings from a road trip across the country with her husband.

  • November 9, 2016

    This morning, following last night’s presidential-election upset, Poynter has assembled a selection newspaper front pages announcing Trump’s win.

    whitelash_cnnNew York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg details the many ways that journalists and pollsters misread Donald Trump’s election chances. Rutenberg writes that on Tuesday night, as the media scrambled to adjust to the fact that all of their predicted outcomes were off-base, “it was clear that something was fundamentally broken in journalism, which has been unable to keep up with the anti-establishment mood that is turning the world upside down.”

    At the New Republic, Ryu Spaeth writes that the election of Trump is a repudiation of everything President Obama stood for, particularly racial progress: “Obama is fond of quoting Martin Luther King Jr.’s line, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ Clearly nothing could be further from the truth.” At the New Yorker, David Remnick, Amy Davidson, and Evan Osnos weigh in on Trump’s victory. Remnick writes: “Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted.”

    The n+1 website has posted an eloquent and important essay by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio about what it was like to be an undocumented immigrant watching last night’s election coverage.

    The Huffington Post has decided to no longer use an editor’s note calling Trump a “serial liar,” “racist,” and “misogynist,” which they’ve appended to recent stories about Trump. In a memo to HuffPo staff obtained by Politico, Washington Bureau chief Ryan Grim wrote, “The thinking is that . . . he’s now president and we’re going to start with a clean slate.”

  • November 8, 2016

    Game of Thrones mastermind George R. R. Martin has endorsed Hillary Clinton in a series of blog posts, writing that “there has never been a presidential candidate more unfit to lead this nation” than Donald Trump.

    Elissa Schappell, the author of the story collection Blueprints for Building Better Girls and the co-founder of Tin House, has published an interview with an imaginary Hillary hater. And, inverting the technique used in David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, she provides us only with the questions, urging the reader to imagine the enraged answers.

    Mira Jacob, the author of the novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, and Emily Raboteau, the author of Searching for Zion, write about raising children of color in the age of Trump.

    At the Times, Simon Critchley writes about the “brexistential dread” he’s experienced following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and throughout the long US election cycle: “The Brexistentialist dread that we are feeling is not an accident. The world is a chaotic, violent place that seems out of joint, confusing and fake. Our blind, simple-minded faith in the power of social media and the allegedly liberating force of the internet has produced a news cycle that cycles ever more bewilderingly out of control.”     

    Amanda Petrusich, the author of Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records, names the song that she thinks will best “soothe your election anxiety”: the Five Stairsteps’ “O-o-h Child.” When the song came out in 1970, “Americans were, much as they are now, trying to make sense of the desperate affairs of the day.”

    Michelle Tea

    Michelle Tea

    Sara Jaffe talks to Michelle Tea about her new book Black Wave and the difficulties of writing a novel that combines fiction and memoir. “I feel a lot of anxiety around that. Like, am I doing okay? Are these people real? Would this happen?” Tea said. “I didn’t realize until I did it a little bit more that you don’t necessarily need to ask yourself that question, that you can kind of play God and just go with, ‘It’s real because I’m saying it’s real.’’’

    Critic and novelist Tom LeClair writes at the Daily Beast that “the National Book Award has gone to hell.” LeClair details the problems with the award that he observed as a judge in 2005, including a lack of books from independent presses and judges with conflicting loyalties. Now, “in attempting to reach what the National Book Foundation calls ‘new communities’ of book buyers and to please its corporate sponsors,” LeClair writes, “the National Book Award for fiction . . . has turned toward commercialist and artisanal creations.” (He does, it turns out, have a few positive things to say about this year’s finalists, especially The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead.) The National Book Awards will be announced on November 15.

  • November 7, 2016

    A jury decided last Friday that Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the Rolling Stone reporter who wrote “A Rape on Campus,” defamed University of Virginia administrator Nicole Eramo with the article. Eramo is seeking $7.5 million in damages, which will be decided in arguments next week. Erik Wemple notes that there was already plenty of evidence against Erdely, from interviews she gave after the story was published to the Columbia Journalism School report on what went wrong. “The bias here,” Wemple writes, “was a reporter seeking the most explosive story possible and blowing through all the warning signs that it wasn’t true.

    ”The 2016 Kirkus Prize winners have been announced. C.E Morgan’s The Sport of Kings won for fiction, while nonfiction went to Susan Faludi’s In the Darkroom.

    y9rhhq32BuzzFeed books editor Isaac Fitzgerald has sold a young adult novel to Bloomsbury based on his essay, “Confessions Of A Former Former Fat Kid.” Fitzgerald will also be writing a picture book for children, which will tell “the story of a girl whose salty grandfather inspires voyages of imagination.”

    PEN America has issued a new report on the 2015 disappearances of five Hong Kong booksellers, all of whom were known for selling politically-sensitive books about mainland Chinese political figures. According to the analysis, the cross-border kidnappings have resulted in the closure of many bookstores and publishing houses, and reflect “a dangerous escalation of China’s tactics to silence dissidents even beyond its borders.”

    The Wall Street Journal refuses to endorse a presidential candidate. The editorial notes that the paper “hasn’t endorsed a presidential candidate since 1928, and if we didn’t endorse Ronald Reagan we aren’t about to revive the practice for Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump.”

    Politico explains why, regardless of election results, you shouldn’t expect a Trump TV any time soon.

    The Onion is ready for campaigning to be over. Managing editor Ben Berkley said that this year in particular has been more difficult to satirize than previous elections. “It’s hard to turn up the volume when the speaker is already blown out and everyone’s ears are already bleeding,” Berkley said.

  • November 4, 2016

    Aisha K. Finch

    Aisha K. Finch

    Aisha K. Finch’s book, Rethinking Slave Rebellion in Cuba, has won the New York Public Library’s first Harriet Tubman Prize, which will be awarded next month at the Schomburg Center in Harlem.

    A newly-discovered poem by Anne Frank will be up for auction later this month. Auctioneers expect that the twelve-line poem will sell for up to $55,000 due to the scarcity of handwritten work by Frank.

    The Times talks to Bronx residents affected by the closing of Barnes & Noble, the last general interest bookstore in the borough. For some, the store served as an after-school destination for their kids, for others it was study space. One resident noted that even as developers have started eyeing waterfront properties for new construction, the general view of the Bronx hasn’t changed: “There is a preconceived concept that folks that live in the Bronx, they’re not interested in reading,” Bronx resident Claudette Mobley told the paper. “We are just as interested in knowledge and reading as anybody else. We just don’t have the access to the things that the rest of New Yorkers do.”

    The Wall Street Journal surveys the book deals that are likely to come from both the current election cycle and the end of President Obama’s second term. Although possible books are in the works from various members of the administration—including Joe Biden, Janet Napolitano, and Eric Holder—“all eyes are on the president and first lady.”

    The New York Times will open its paywall for the upcoming presidential election, starting on November 7 and ending on November 9.

    Bloomberg Businessweek takes a long look at Tronc owner Michael Ferro, who is something of an enigma when it comes to media conglomerate owners. “He’s not as despised as Sam Zell, the real estate magnate and ex-owner of Tribune, and certainly not as respected as Jeff Bezos, the Amazon.com founder and Washington Post owner,” Felix Gillette and Gerry Smith write. “The consensus seems to be that Ferro is ridiculous—a model-train-loving, celebrity-obsessed, self-described technologist who’s semi-fluent in Silicon Valley disrupter-speak.”

  • November 3, 2016

    Nick Denton

    Nick Denton

    Nick Denton confirmed yesterday that the court case that bankrupted Gawker Media has been settled—wrestler Hulk Hogan will receive $31 million. Additionally, in what Denton calls “the most unpalatable part of the deal,” three articles—about Hogan; a dispute over the invention of email; and the founders of dating app Tinder—will be deleted. Although the defendants were confident that the court’s original award of $140 million would be lowered significantly in the appeals process, Denton writes that the legal battle was too costly to continue, both financially and professionally. “The other protagonists — including Hulk Hogan and A.J. Daulerio, the author of the Gawker story about him — had much more at stake. That motivated a settlement that allows us all to move on, and focus on activities more productive than endless litigation. Life is short, for most of us.”

    The Wall Street Journal will release a new, consolidated version of the paper November 14. Besides reducing arts and culture coverage, the Journal will also combine the Business & Tech section with Money & Investing, and debut a new Life & Arts section.

    A recently-noticed change to pricing at Amazon’s physical bookstores has some speculating that higher prices may soon come to books on the website, at least for those who aren’t Prime members. Geekwire reports that Amazon’s Seattle bookstore sells books for the discounted price to Prime members, while charging list price to customers who haven’t joined the service.

    At the New York Times, Jim Rutenberg wonders if interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile’s recent resignation from CNN over information found in leaked emails will end the practice of hiring political operatives on network news shows. Rutenberg asks if it’s possible for political aides-turned-television personalities—like George Stephanopoulos and Corey Lewandowski—to separate their party loyalties from their journalistic ethics. “Even if CNN could stipulate those kinds of obligations in its contracts,” he writes, “there would be no way for it to know if the wolf it has invited into its henhouse was going to abide by them.”

    OR Books will publish a collection of Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches next January. Hillary Clinton: The Goldman Sachs Speeches will be comprised of the leaked transcripts of the Democratic candidate’s paid appearances, which OR Books co-publisher said are being printed without permission under the fair use doctrine. 

    Tonight at the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, Eimear McBride reads from her new book, The Lesser Bohemians.

  • November 2, 2016

    Gannett has abandoned its bid to buy Tronc after the company was unable to secure outside financing for the purchase. The decision was made after Gannett’s quarterly earnings were announced, which showed “print advertising plummeting” and “raised concerns that the newspaper industry might be facing steeper challenges than previously thought.”

    The New York Times’s Radhika Jones has been named editorial director of the books section. Pamela Paul, the recently-appointed editor of the Times Book Review said that Jones “is not only a highly skilled editor and writer—she is a true book person.”

    Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark

    Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark

    British journalists Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy have signed with Bloomsbury to write a book on Osama bin Laden, using first-person accounts from family members and Al Qaeda associates. The Exile: The Explosive Inside Story of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Flight will be published next May.

    The manuscripts and letters of Alexander Hamilton will be up for auction at Sotheby’s next January. The archive, which also includes a lock of the Founding Father’s hair, has been held by the Hamilton family for the last two centuries, and is expected to sell for over $2 million.

    Radio and television host Charlamagne Tha God will be writing a self-help book with Touchstone. Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It will be published next Spring.

    Dwight Garner reviews performance artist Marina Abramovic’s new memoir, Walk Through Walls. “I knew I was going to dislike Ms. Abramovic’s memoir on Page 10,” he writes.

    The Los Angeles Times reports on a panel last week featuring Eileen Myles and Transparent creator Jill Soloway. The discussion was about queer representation in literature and on TV, but the LA Times was more taken by the women’s announcement that they are no longer dating. Soloway told the audience that the media attention to the relationship—Myles was mentioned in a New Yorker profile of Soloway, and called “the poet muse of Transparent” in the New York Times—made it complicated: “[Just] as we could see our relationship. . . coming out . . . it was also coming to an end.”

    Tonight at Albertine, Jelani Cobb, Pap Ndiaye, Benjamin Stora, and Ta-Nehisi Coates open the Albertine Festival by asking: “When Will France Have its Barack Obama?”

  • November 1, 2016

    Peter Thiel spoke to the National Press Club in Washington, DC, about his role in Gawker Media’s bankruptcy. Thiel blamed Gawker for their editorial choices, calling the website a “singularly sociopathic bully.” He also noted that Hulk Hogan would not have been able to pursue his case against Gawker without Thiel’s financial backing: “If you’re a single-digit millionaire like Hulk Hogan, you have no effective access to our legal system. It costs too much.”

    Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP chapter president who resigned after it was revealed that she had been lying about her race, has released the title and cover of her upcoming memoir. In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World will be released next March.

    Marlon James. Photo: Jeffrey Skemp

    Marlon James. Photo: Jeffrey Skemp

    Marlon James, author of the 2015 Man Booker-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, opens his Minneapolis loft to the New York Times Style section. James points to his TV-less living room as his favorite in the apartment, “filled with art, books, photographs, records and plants.” James says the clutter is intentional, and that sparsely decorated rooms make him uncomfortable: “It’s like going into a house with no books. I find it profoundly upsetting.”

    Rupi Kaur, the poet whose self-published collection milk and honey sold over a million copies, has signed a two-book deal with Andrews McMeel Publishing. Her currently untitled poetry book will be available next fall.

    Vanity Fair reports that the anticipated bidding war over Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has yet to materialize. Although the network has reportedly offered $20 million to Kelly, other TV news networks aren’t interested in spending that kind of cash. “I don’t believe anyone is pursuing her other than Fox at this point,” an unnamed ABC employee said.

    The Boston Globe will be partnering with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation to hire a ten-month classical music critic for the paper. Zoë Madonna, winner of the 2014 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism, will be taking over the position.

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