• October 26, 2016

    Paul Beatty

    Paul Beatty

    Paul Beatty became the first American to win the Man Booker Prize yesterday. His novel, The Sellout, was chosen unanimously by the judges, who lauded the book for its “inventive comic approach to the thorny issues of racial identity and injustice.”

    Philip Roth’s book collection will be arriving tomorrow at the Newark Public Library, the setting of his novella Goodbye, Columbus. Nearly four thousand books will be sent to the library from Roth’s home in Connecticut, where the collection “has more or less taken over the premises.” Roth says his decision to donate his books comes from his advanced age and lack of heirs. “I’m glad that my books are all going to be together.” Roth said. “I don’t know why. I’m not going to be together, but let them be together.”

    Bernard-Henri Lévy’s The Genius of Judaism, will be published in translation by Random House. The book will be available next January.

    Earlier this week, a video deposition from “Jackie,” the main subject of the discredited Rolling Stone story, “A Rape on Campus,” was played for jurors in the trial between University of Virginia administrator Nicole Eramo and journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdley. In the video testimony, “Jackie” said she felt pushed by the reporter to be quoted in the story, and that when she and a friend expressed their concerns about the way Eramo was portrayed, Erdely replied, “There’s no pulling the plug at this point—the article is moving forward.” In her deposition, “Jackie” said that although she has trouble remembering the details of her attack, she stands by what she told the magazine: “I believed it to be true at the time.”

    A. G. Sulzberger, the newly-appointed deputy publisher of the New York Times, talks to Poynter about the changing pace of journalism, impending layoffs, and the Times’s competitors. Although the Washington Post has been gaining on the Gray Lady after ample investment from owner Jeff Bezos, Sulzberger says they’re still nowhere near the same level: “When journalists come to the newsroom from other news organizations—including The Post—they’re always amazed by the resources and manpower we put behind their journalism.”

    Politico reports that Aaron Black, a former Occupy Wall Street organizer and liberal activist, coordinated with Breitbart during the Republican primaries as he disrupted candidates’ events. Black, who was known for dressing as Robot Rubio, allegedly alerted the Trump-supporting news site to which events he would be attending so they could coordinate coverage. Hadas Gold writes that Breitbart’s “willingness to work with a progressive activist perhaps goes to show how far they were willing to go to take down candidates” who weren’t Trump.

  • October 25, 2016

    In their November issue, Wired asks guest editor President Obama for his ten essential books. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History all make the cut. The magazine estimates that reading all ten books will take only eighty-nine hours.

    On the second anniversary of its shut down, the literary blog HTMLGIANT, which was in its previous incarnation a staunch supporter of independent-press writers and books, has returned. The site announced a column providing “anonymous advice on revenge, beauty, and life,” along with an essay on trash and aesthetics, and a glimpse of the home screens of various writers’ cell phones.

    Garnette Cadogan

    Garnette Cadogan

    Literary Hub announced the addition of four new staff members: Garnette Cadogan, Stephanie Anderson, Tommy Pico, and Stephen Sparks will join the website as contributing editors.

    The New York Times will pay over $30 million for The Wirecutter, an online consumer guide that makes money when readers purchase recommended products through online retailers. It may seem like a strange move for the paper, but Poynter explains that “rather than building its affiliate linking business from scratch, the New York Times decided to buy one.”

    A new collection of Shakespeare’s works from Oxford University Press will be the first edition of the playwright’s works to list Christopher Marlowe as a co-author on Henry VI, parts one, two, and three.

    Jonathan Goldsmith, better known as Dos Equis’s “most interesting man in the world,” has signed a book deal with Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House. “More than a memoir,” the still-untitled book will be published next May and consist of “stories about Goldsmith’s truly fascinating life both in and out of Hollywood: getting shot by John Wayne, competing with Dustin Hoffman, drinking with Tennessee Williams, and sailing the high seas with Fernando Lamas, and romancing many lovely ladies.”

    Gannett, the largest newspaper company in the US, announced layoffs of two percent of its staff in a memo yesterday. Politico speculates that the move may be in anticipation of the acquisition of Tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing, but note that “execs will say the two are unrelated.”

    BuzzFeed reports that Donald Trump supporters have found a new word to shout at journalists: Lügenpresse. Translated as “lying press,” it was first used in Germany in the mid-1800s and later became a Nazi phrase used to attack the media. Reporter Rosie Gray first heard the phrase at a Trump rally last weekend in Ohio, when a man started yelling it at the press. Another attendee “started shouting it too, then . . . made a self-deprecating remark about not pronouncing it right.”

    Tonight at the Strand Bookstore, Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson reads from her new book Carry This Book. Lena Dunham will join for a Q&A.

  • October 24, 2016

    The New Yorker has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president: “It will be especially gratifying to have a woman as commander-in-chief after such a sickeningly sexist and racist campaign, one that exposed so starkly how far our society has to go.”

    Donald Trump has gained his first endorsement from a major newspaper: the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The paper writes that Clinton will “cuddle up to the ways and perks of Washington like she would to a cozy old blanket. Mr. Trump instead brings a corporate sensibility and a steadfast determination to an ossified Beltway culture.” The paper was purchased late last year by Sheldon Adelson, a “casino magnate and GOP mega-donor” who has been complimented by Trump in the past.

    Lucia Perillo

    Lucia Perillo

    Poet Lucia Perillo, author of Dangerous Life and Spectrum of Possible Deaths, among others, has died. She was 58.

    After the majority of Fusion’s editorial employees signed union cards, management has been attempting to discourage organizing at the company. Employees report that meetings outlining the drawbacks of unionizing—including changes to benefits, less communication, and capped salaries—have been held at offices in New York, Miami, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Caitlin Cruz, an associate features editor, told the Wall Street Journal, “If a place tells you ‘don’t organize,’ there’s probably a reason you should.”

    Facebook has decided to allow more offensive and graphic content, as long as it’s newsworthy. The decision comes after the social media site was criticized for removing a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph from the Vietnam war, as well as the video of Philando Castile’s death after he was shot by police. “In the weeks ahead,” writes Facebook VP Joel Kaplan, “we’re going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest—even if they might otherwise violate our standards.” The fight over censorship has also been an issue for employees concerned about Donald Trump’s posts on the site, which some argue violate the company’s hate speech policies. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that censoring the candidate would be inappropriate.

  • October 21, 2016

    After Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos told a panel that he’s doesn’t think paywalls and subscriptions are the best way for publications to make a profit, the paper announced it will remove its paywall for Election Day. The paper will also be hosting an “invite-only, cocktail laden watch party” at their DC offices.

    BuzzFeed reports that political Facebook pages, both left- and right-wing, that publish the most inaccurate information received the most shares, likes, and comments on the social media site. “The best way to attract and grow an audience for political content on the world’s biggest social network,” BuzzFeed found, “is to eschew factual reporting and instead play to partisan biases using false or misleading information that simply tells people what they want to hear.”

    The Los Angeles Review of Books examines Trump: The Art of the Deal to try to figure out why the Republican candidate so often makes outlandish, false statements. Pointing to Trump’s friendship with Roy Cohn, a New York lawyer who, according to Jon Wiener, “was the personification of evil,” Wiener writes that Cohn “taught young Donald Trump two simple precepts: Always hit back. Never apologize.” It seems like Trump might be wavering on one of those precepts: New York Times editor Dean Baquet says the newspaper hasn’t heard anything more about the libel lawsuit threatened by the candidate’s lawyers since their retraction demand last week.

    Custom House, part of the William Morrow imprint, will be posthumously publishing a book by Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. No Room For Small Dreams will be available April of next year.

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s campaign for the British makeup brand Boots No7 launches today. The novelist told Vogue UK that she hopes the advertisements will change how the beauty industry communicates with women: “I think much of beauty advertising relies on a false premise—that women need to be treated in an infantile way, given a ‘fantasy’ to aspire to… Real women are already inspired by other real women, so perhaps beauty advertising needs to get on board.”

  • October 20, 2016

    Claudia Rankine

    Claudia Rankine

    At The Guardian, Claudia Rankine explains her plans for her MacArthur “Genius” grant money—she’s going to create a Racial Imaginary Institute. Part art space, part think tank, the Institute will study whiteness, because, Rankine says, “it’s never been the object of inquiry to understand its paranoia, its violence, its rage.” She was motivated when she was unable to find any “books that address the ways in which white contemporary artists deal with whiteness, interrogate it, analyze it.” Rankine went to multiple bookshops, but employees were unable to help, telling her, “I don’t know what you mean.”

    St. Martin’s Press is launching a new imprint focused on politics and current affairs. The currently untitled imprint will be headed by Adam Bellow, formerly of Broadside Books.

    Editorial staff at Jacobin have unanimously chosen to unionize with NewsGuild of New York. Associate editor Micah Uetrict said the decision came not out of dire working conditions, but out of the politics of the magazine: “The values we’re putting forward, that workers deserve a say in their working conditions and a formal structure to pursue such things, is of a piece with the larger politics of the magazine.”

    In light of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize win, Simon & Schuster is moving up the release date for their new book on Dylan’s songs. Lyrics, 1961-2012, will be available on November 1.

    Citing blurred lines between publication categories in the digital landscape, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced yesterday that both print and online magazines will be eligible for the 2017 journalism prizes.

    Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, son of New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., has been named deputy publisher of the publication. Sulzberger has held positions throughout the newsroom, including at the national and metro desks, and was a reporter at local newspapers throughout the US. According to the Times article reporting the hire, Sulzberger “was one of three candidates, all cousins.”

    The New York Times writes that Chris Wallace’s debate hosting gig could be “a welcome source of pride” for Fox News after “the most traumatic period in its two decade history.” But even though his performance is getting positive reviews, that pride may not last long: Gabriel Sherman will be partnering with Spotlight director Tom McCarthy and producer Jason Blum to create a TV mini-series about former Fox News president Roger Ailes. Ailes had most recently been assisting Donald Trump in his presidential campaign, but according to Sherman, the two have hit a rough patch: “Ailes learned that Trump couldn’t focus . . . and that advising him was a waste of time.”

    At the Hollywood Reporter, Michael Wolff calls out the media for tolerating and profiting from the Republican candidate’s predatory behavior for so long: “Thirty years of enabling him and encouraging him. And through more than 18 months of campaigning for president, it really seemed like he was going to get away with being who he was.”

    Tonight at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, Jonathan Safran Foer and Rabih Alameddine talk about their new books, Here I Am and The Angel of History.

  • October 19, 2016

    The New York Daily News has named Arthur Browne as editor in chief. Browne formerly served as the editorial page editor, leading his team to a Pulitzer in 2007. Jim Rich, the previous EIC, had been in the position for just over a year, and the paper has yet to explain the masthead shuffle to employees. According to a source at Politico, “People very close to [Rich] at the paper are shocked by the news this morning.”

    After both Donald and Melania Trump denied any involvement with Natasha Stoynoff, the People reporter who wrote about being sexually assaulted by Trump while on the job in 2005, the magazine has published the accounts of six friends and colleagues corroborating her story. Five Apprentice employees told the Daily Beast that Gary Busey assaulted a crew member while he was on the show in 2011. Donald Trump reportedly “knew about the incident, laughed it off, and kept Busey on his TV series.”

    For the debate tonight, Fox News’s Chris Wallace won’t be following in Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz’s footsteps—he plans to intervene as little as possible. “Basically you’re there as a timekeeper, but you’re not a participant,” Wallace said. “You’re there just to make sure that they engage in the most interesting and fairest way possible.”

    Channel 4 News and Al-Jazeera are facing criticism after live streaming an Iraqi military operation on Facebook. The video showed Iraqi and Kurdish troops as they began an attack on Mosul, an ISIS-controlled city. “Watched more than 500,000 times by lunchtime on Tuesday, the Channel 4 News feed prompted a mixed response with several users questioning the appropriateness of ‘liking’ and pasting emojis on scenes of potential devastation.”

    Emily Witt

    Emily Witt

    At the LA Review of Books, Emily Witt talks about her new book, Future Sex. Witt addresses her sometimes detached tone in her essays, how she took inspiration from Gay Talese, and why she had to leave New York to write. In San Francisco, Witt says, the “culture of openness to self-inquiry” was more pervasive: “I felt like I was meeting somebody on every street corner who was telling me about their lifestyle experiments, whereas in New York people were kind of resting in their cynicism.”

    Tonight in New York, Albert Mobilio’s Double Take reading series continues at Apexart, featuring Sunil Yapa and Tiphanie Yanique talking about orphans, Christopher Stackhouse and Rebecca Wolff discussing porn, and Robert Polito and Deborah Landau meditating on Los Angeles. At the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, Thomas Beard talks to Charles Musser about his new book, Politicking and Emergent Media: US Presidential Elections of the 1890s.


  • October 18, 2016

    A North Dakota judge has thrown out the riot charges against Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman. The decision, Goodman said, “is a complete vindication of my right as a journalist to cover the attack on the protesters, and of the public’s right to know what is happening with the Dakota Access pipeline.”

    The first of two defamation trials against Rolling Stone for their 2014 article about rape at the University of Virginia began yesterday. In a ruling last week, a judge decided that both the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s report on the story’s mistakes and an interview with Nicole Eramo, the campus administrator who dismissed the rape claims detailed in the article, will be admissible as evidence in the trial. Editor Jann Wenner says that the retracted article and the subsequent lawsuits haven’t damaged the company, financially or otherwise: “Our journalistic reputation is shining.” The magazine seems to be staying away from any possibly litigious articles at the moment: Beejoli Shah’s “Why Derrick Rose’s Rape Trial May Wreck NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s Legacy” was removed from the website on Friday, two days after it was posted, after adding two corrections at the behest of an NBA representative. Meanwhile, an upcoming article by Shah about the NBA has been killed.

    The Swedish Academy has yet to make contact with Bob Dylan after awarding him the 2016 Nobel prize in literature, leading some to wonder: Will he attend the ceremonies? Permanent secretary Sara Danius told The Guardian that she has contacted the musician’s “closest collaborator,” and that she’s not concerned: “I think he will show up. . . . It will be a big party in any case and the honour belongs to him.”

    Aisha K. Finch

    Aisha K. Finch

    The New York Public Library announced the finalists for the first Harriet Tubman Prize. Given jointly by the Lapidus and Schomburg Centers, the prize recognizes nonfiction books investigating slavery and will be awarded in December. Finalists include Patrick Rael’s Eighty-Eight Years: The Long Death of Slavery in the United States, 1777-1875, Aisha K. Finch’s Rethinking Slave Rebellion in Cuba: La Escalera and the Insurgencies of 1841-1844, and Calvin Schermerhorn’s The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860.

    Disney’s chief executive Bob Iger has signed on to write a book with Random House. The untitled work will focus on leadership and the “strategies he has developed in his eleven years as CEO of Disney, the world’s largest media company.”

    Tablet asks, “What will become of Jared Kushner” after his father-in-law’s presidential campaign is over? The answer might have something to do with the rumored Trump television network, which Kushner recently discussed with the head of a media-focused investment bank.

    Even with Peter Thiel’s donation of $1.25 million, Trump can’t match the nearly $8 million donated by tech leaders to Clinton’s campaign. Journalists are also donating more to Clinton than to Trump. Even though many media companies bar journalists from donating to political  campaigns, during the 2016 campaign they’ve donated nearly $400,000 to Clinton, and around $14,000 to Trump.

    Tonight at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, Angela Flournoy talks to Brit Bennett about her new book, The Mothers.

  • October 17, 2016

    Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman will be returning to North Dakota, this time to turn herself in after a warrant was issued for her arrest. Goodman was one of the few reporters in the country to cover the Standing Rock protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline, where she found instances of construction workers and security guards assaulting protesters with pepper spray, dogs, and their own hands. Prosecutor Ladd Erickson charged her with a riot misdemeanor, saying that Goodman was there as an activist and not a journalist. At The Nation, Lizzy Ratner writes that this is unprecedented and dangerous for working journalists: “By the same distorted logic, every muckraking news gatherer from Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair on through I.F. Stone, and, yes, today’s Matt Taibbi . . .  was not a journalist but an activist flirting with arrest.”

    Mi-Ai Parrish, president of the Arizona Republic, responded to the death threats received by the paper after its historic endorsement of Hillary Clinton. The paper has been inundated with calls and letters, some referring to reporter Don Bolles, who was killed by a car bomb decades earlier—even their door-to-door subscription sales people have been harassed. “We made our choice soberly. We knew it would be unpopular with many people,” writes Parrish. “We knew that, although we had clearly stated our objections to Trump, it would be a big deal for a conservative editorial board in a conservative state to break ranks from the party.”

    Margaret Atwood. Photo: George Whiteside

    Margaret Atwood. Photo: George Whiteside

    Margaret Atwood talks to The Guardian about one of the possible reasons Trump appeals to so many people:  “He brings out the temper-tantrum-throwing wilful brat in all of us. ‘Why can’t I do what I want? Why can’t I have what I want? Those other people are stopping me. Those other people have a bigger lollipop that I do, I’m going to take their lollipop away from them.’ But on the other hand, he couples that with the most amazing whining.”

    The New York Times take a look at Andrew Kaczynski’s recent transition from BuzzFeed to CNN, which was precipitated by a Google chat last summer with Tim Miller, the former communications director for Jeb Bush’s campaign. “Mr. Miller said CNN could use someone like Mr. Kaczynski, especially given how difficult it was to fact-check the loose-lipped Republican nominee. ‘LOL,’ Mr. Kaczynski replied.”

    Univision chairman Haim Saban talks to Bloomberg about the Clintons, Power Rangers, and his company’s acquisition of Gawker Media. Saban thinks that despite the rocky start, the purchase was a wise choice based on their target audiences: “Hipsters and Hispanics, two of the fastest-growing demographics in the U.S.”

    Peter Thiel will be donating $1.25 million to Donald Trump’s campaign. Although Thiel had spoken in favor of the candidate at the Republican National Convention, his silence after the Access Hollywood tape was released had caused speculation as to whether he was still supporting the candidate.

  • October 14, 2016

    The Internet is still reeling from Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize win yesterday. At The Telegraph, Tim Stanley says that “a culture that gives Bob Dylan a literature prize is a culture that nominates Donald Trump for president.” Luc Sante writes that this kind of outrage is nothing new when it comes to the Nobel Prize. At the New Republic, Alex Shepard admits that Dylan, whom he said could never win, is “a worthy Nobel Laureate.” Jodi Picoult wondered whether Dylan’s win made her eligible for a Grammy, while Salman Rushdie called the songwriter a “great choice.” Prolific tweeter Joyce Carol Oates called Dylan’s prize well-deserved: “Many of us are (almost literally!) haunted by Dylan music of the 1960s.” New York Times pop-music critic Jon Pareles asks, “What took them so long?” and literary critic Dwight Garner writes that Dylan’s Nobel “acknowledges what we’ve long sensed to be true: that Mr. Dylan is among the most authentic voices America has produced, a maker of images as audacious and resonant as anything in Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson.” At the New Yorker, writers weigh in on their favorite Dylan lyrics, and David Remnick calls for everyone to stop bickering: “Let’s not torture ourselves with any gyrations about genre and the holy notion of literature.”

    Within the Wikileaks trove of leaked Hillary Clinton emails, Quartz has tracked down the library books that Clinton requested while secretary of state—a list including Who Stole the American Dream? And The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service—while Gizmodo found an ongoing battle over email subject lines.

    Albert Samaha

    Albert Samaha

    PublicAffairs has bought the rights to BuzzFeed reporter Albert Samaha’s book. Never Ran, Never Will follows a youth football team in Brownsville, Brooklyn and examines the issues of gentrification in urban America.

    Actress Reese Witherspoon will write her first book, “inspired by the cultures of the American South.” The untitled project will be released by Touchstone in 2018.

    After Donald Trump threatened to sue the Times for libel over their most recent article alleging that the candidate has sexually assaulted women, the paper’s legal team has responded with a resounding no: “Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.” Poynter explains further why a Trump would never win a libel suit against the Times. The Columbia Journalism Review talks to The Guardian’s Lucia Graves, one of the first to report on Trump’s sexual misconduct, about why these stories are just now getting significant attention: “Because a man said it. Because Trump came out in leaked video and said, in so many words, that sexual assault is something that he does regularly.”

  • October 13, 2016

    Bob Dylan. Photo: Jean-Luc Ourlin

    Bob Dylan. Photo: Jean-Luc Ourlin

    This morning, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Dylan—who was such a longshot that a New Republic article on the prize’s betting odds was titled “Who Will Win the 2016 Nobel Prize In Literature? Not Bob Dylan, that’s for sure”—became the first American to receive the award since Toni Morrison, who won in 1993.

    Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has won the monthly Sidney Award for his reporting on Donald Trump’s missteps. He has been awarded “$500, a bottle of union-made wine, and a certificate.”

    The founding of Logic, a new magazine about technology and culture, was announced yesterday. Creators Jim Fingal, Christa Hartsock, Ben Tarnoff, and Moira Weigel write that they’re trying to fill a void in contemporary coverage of technology, publishing writing that doesn’t view tech as either “brilliant or banal, heroic or heinous.” The first print issue arrives in 2017.

    Wired talks to President Obama, who guest edited their November issue, about the myths and realities of artificial intelligence. “In science fiction, what you hear about is generalized AI,” Obama explained. “Computers start getting smarter than we are and eventually conclude that we’re not all that useful, and then either they’re drugging us to keep us fat and happy or we’re in the Matrix. My impression, based on talking to my top science advisers, is that we’re still a reasonably long way away from that.” MIT Professor Joi Ito also weighs in: “This may upset some of my students at MIT, but one of my concerns is that it’s been a predominately male gang of kids, mostly white, who are building the core computer science around AI, and they’re more comfortable talking to computers than to human beings. A lot of them feel that if they could just make that science-fiction, generalized AI, we wouldn’t have to worry about all the messy stuff like politics and society.”

    Storytelling group The Moth has announced plans for a second collection. All These Wonders arrives next March and will include stories by Louis C. K. and Tig Notaro, among others.

    At The Stranger, long-time editor and columnist Dan Savage rails against the banality of anniversary issues in the paper’s twenty-fifth anniversary issue. “I don’t think readers care what was in the paper 10 years ago or 20 years ago,” Savage writes. “We’re lucky if readers care what’s in the paper this week.”

    Tonight at McNally Jackson in New York, Emily Witt talks to Christian Lorentzen about her new book, Future Sex.