• February 26, 2015

    More from Jenny Diski, whose serialized memoir we can’t get enough of. In this installment, someone asks, about Diski’s complicated adolescence, “Why didn’t you just do what you were told?” Diski doesn’t know how to answer. “Doing what I was told simply didn’t have a place in my story of myself. It was perfectly clear that no one had any idea what to do, so they couldn’t very well tell me. And that to do as I was told would have been to listen to people who were completely out of their depth, without a clue what to do except wait until catastrophe knocked at the door. . . . No one very much did tell me what to do because they didn’t know what they themselves ought to do for the best. . . . It was however also true, as the question suggested, that I was in general contrary-minded and had been for as long as I could remember.”

    Since the financial crisis, the New York Times reports, the number of independent bookstores in the US has risen by 27 percent. Britain has not seen a similar trend: There, the number has fallen by nearly the same amount. In France, where the price of books is regulated, the number of bookstores has neither increased nor decreased.

    Jill Abramson, the former editor of the Times, is shopping around a book that will likely interest all the major publishers and may result in a bidding war. The book is about the future of the news business—and is not, reportedly, to do with any “score-settling” with the paper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., who fired Abramson in May.

    For the Times Magazine, Karl Ove Knausgaard has written about his experience traveling across North America, with typically exhaustive detail: “The toilet was clogged. I flushed again, thinking perhaps that would increase the pressure sufficiently. Instead, the water flowed over the top of the bowl and ran down on both sides, spilling onto the floor. I mopped it up with a towel, put the towel in the tub and looked around for an implement of some kind.”

    The 2015 Howard Zinn Award will go to two writers, Johnetta Elzie and DeRay McKesson, who covered the protests in Ferguson.