• October 10, 2016

    Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Arash Sadeghi

    Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Arash Sadeghi

    Iranian writer Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee is being summoned to serve six years in jail for writing a story about stoning. Her unpublished work was found in a 2014 search of her home, which she shared with her husband, Arash Sadeghi, a student activist who is currently serving a nineteen-year jail term. Amnesty International’s Philip Luther told The Guardian that Ebrahimi Iraee “is effectively being punished for using her imagination.”

    The Washington Post details what happened after journalist David Fahrenthold got a call from a source pointing him to the Trump tape. Fahrenthold managed to authenticate the footage in just five hours: He was tipped off at 11am on Friday and the story was published on the Post‘s website by 4 that afternoon. NBC News was scooped despite having had a four-day head start, as the network was waiting for lawyers’ approval before publishing a story about the tape.  

    David Hajdu, an author and The Nation’s music editor, has signed with Norton to write a novel. The Song Was He: The Story of an Unsung Star will be published in 2019.

    Russell Brand will be writing “a guide to addiction,” to be published by Bluebird in the UK and Henry Holt in the US. The currently untitled book hits shelves late next year, and will compile the lessons Brand has learned during his struggles with a variety of vices.

    In celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Fox News network, 21st Century Fox’s tribute video neglected to mention Roger Ailes, the man who made the channel what it is today. In the video, the Murdoch family talks about the history of the network, referring to hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, along with many other executives. As Erik Wemple points out, “they all took orders from a guy named Ailes.”

    Charles Harder, the lawyer who represented Hulk Hogan in his suit against Gawker Media, has continued to threaten Gizmodo Media and their parent company Univision with legal action. The letters, which are being published for the first time, were sent in late August after Univision bought several Gawker Media sites. The requests range from demanding the removal of two-year-old articles based on publically available documents to threatening “to sue Univision for ‘negligent hiring practices’ for its continued employment of [executive editor John] Cook.”

  • October 7, 2016

    Heather Ann Thompson

    Heather Ann Thompson

    Finalists for the National Book Award were announced yesterday. Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land, and Heather Ann Thompson’s Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy are among the shortlisted books. The winner will be announced next month.

    Greg Jackson, whose short story collection Prodigals earned him a spot on the US National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” list, talks to The Guardian about the critical reception of his stories, his stylistic influences, and the newfound pressure to write a novel. “It’s such a slog to write one,” Jackson said. “You just feel like you’re on an interminable vacation with family members.”

    Historian David McCullough has announced plans for a book on the history of settlers in the Northwest Territory. Simon & Schuster will publish The Pioneers in 2019.

    As Florida braces for Hurricane Matthew, Edwidge Danticat writes about the devastation already wrought by the storm in Haiti. Images of the aftermath show flooded roads and roofless houses, and the collapse of a bridge that connected the two halves of the country is further hindering rescue efforts. “We will continue thinking about and trying to reach our friends and loved ones in Haiti, and eventually will find ways to help and support them,” writes Danticat, “even as we, under somewhat more favorable conditions, do our best to shelter ourselves.”

    Nikole Hannah-Jones, a staff writer at the New York Times known for her investigative pieces on racial inequality in American schools, told an audience at Columbia University that, “based on her research, reporting, and personal experience,” she’s not optimistic about improving racial equality in the US: “But what I do know is we cannot continue to go as we are.”

    Employees of Fusion have announced plans to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East—the same union that represents employees of Gawker Media, a company now owned by Fusion’s parent company, Univision. BuzzFeed reports that the majority of online staff have signed union cards. In a letter explaining the decision, organizers said, “Fusion has produced an impressive body of work about how the right to organize is critical for American workers. It’s time we practice what we preach.”

    At the New Republic, Alex Shephard takes an in-depth look at the Nobel Prize for Literature betting pool, which unsurprisingly is driven more by money than actual chances of winning.  Shephard points out that the writers with best odds on the betting website Ladbrokes—”pasta fetishist Haruki Murakami” and “bad tweeter Joyce Carol Oates,” among others—are favorites not because they have a real chance of winning, but because people simply like to bet on them: “Let’s dispel with this fiction that the betting odds for the Nobel Prize in Literature actually mean anything. They don’t.”

    Tonight at CUNY, Tim Lawrence discusses his new book about post-disco club culture, Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83.

  • October 6, 2016

    Endorsements for Hillary Clinton continue to roll in, the most recent coming from The Atlantic and Vanity Fair. The American Presidency Project’s tally of newspaper endorsements shows that the majority of newspapers have endorsed Clinton—Independent candidate Gary Johnson has three endorsements more than Trump, who has zero. But will this slew of historic endorsements change voters’ minds? At the New York Times, Jim Rutenberg doesn’t think so: “For all the pan-ideological dismay in America’s editorial boardrooms, a huge portion of the country just doesn’t see it the same way at all.”

    The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s conservative news website, has laid off three quarters of its editorial staff, according to the Huffington Post. The remaining personnel now work from home after the website closed their Manhattan office last June. According to an anonymous source, “The few people who are still left are looking for an exit because they know The Blaze is over.”

    Nell Zink

    Nell Zink

    In an interview with The Millions, Nell Zink explains the inspiration for her most recent novel, Nicotine. “I just try to come up with figures in a situation that irritates me in a way,” Zink said. In December 2014, she found herself in the middle of one such situation: A work lunch with too-frequent smoke breaks: “He had to keep jumping up to go outside to smoke and he was missing everything. He was really addicted to cigarettes. I had this image of cigarettes and the interesting way they change people.”

    At the New Yorker, Jia Tolentino explores the unlikely similarities between Ferrante and Kim Kardashian West, who was robbed at gunpoint in her Paris hotel room last weekend. “Both Ferrante and Kardashian West were targeted because they are famous, and the celebrity of each woman is connected to the ways in which she has navigated the predicament of womanhood,” Tolentino writes. “And while their methods are diametrically opposed, both have made it their life’s work to express a specifically feminine point of view.”

    Independent bookstores are using the Internet to beat online retailers like Amazon at their own game. The New York Times highlights shops across the US, from Traverse City and Lexington to LA and Brooklyn, that are using social media followings and free shipping to lure customers away from retail giants.

    Sarah Jessica Parker talks to the New York Times Style Magazine about her new publishing imprint, SJP for Hogarth. Inspired by her father’s work as a journalist and her mother’s life as a voracious reader, Parker plans to continue the legacy of Virginia and Leonard Woolf at the imprint they founded from their home: “They were publishing work by their friends, they were telling exactly the stories they wanted to tell. I love most the idea of community here, and that the history of the imprint is personal. There was nothing mercenary about it.” Ta-Nehisi Coates also talks to the magazine about his upcoming Black Panther comic books, which he found similar to writing poetry: “You need to get things across but you don’t have much space.”

  • October 5, 2016

    Poynter talks to David Fahrenthold, the Washington Post reporter whose articles on Donald Trump’s mishandling of charitable funds resulted in his foundation’s suspension and investigation by the New York attorney general. Fahrenthold credits social media with helping him find some of Trump’s misdeeds: “There was the $10,000 4-foot portrait. I only found out about it because somebody had seen I was writing about it on Twitter.”

    Adam Kirsch writes about the revelation that Elena Ferrante is likely the translator Anita Raja, arguing that it makes a good case for cultural appropriation in literature: “It turns out that in telling the story of poor Neapolitan girls like Lina and Elena, Ms. Raja was claiming the right to imagine the lives of people quite unlike herself,” Kirsch writes. “In doing so, she was able to write books in which millions of people found themselves reflected.” At The Cut, Noreen Malone writes that knowing Elena Ferrante’s identity doesn’t change anything about the experience of reading her books: “The Bible didn’t come directly from God, and Shakespeare maybe had some help.”

    After Univision declined to include Gawker.com in their purchase of Gawker Media, debtors are now trying to figure out how to liquidate the defunct website and navigate the complex claims on the site’s assets.

    Nicholas Sparks, who has written twenty books in twenty years, talked to the Wall Street Journal about the twentieth anniversary of The Notebook, as well as his new novel. Two by Two came out yesterday and features Sparks’s first ever gay characters. “I try to vary everything in these novels, whether it’s structure or length of point of view, but also characters,” he said.

    Nicholson Baker

    Nicholson Baker

    Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids author Nicholson Baker talks to the Paris Review about pencil sharpeners, the problems of the American public school system, and technology as a memory aid. Along with copious written notes, Baker made audio recordings of his work days to get the details of student conversation just right. “There’s a moment where one of the kids, Artie, says, ‘I’ll tell you what’s not acceptable, what if I whipped down my pants and took a shit on your grave?’ I scribbled it down, as if I was a reporter in 1937, but I knew even as I wrote it that I hadn’t gotten it quite right. That’s when I realized that I had to rely on technology, to some extent, to capture the exact wording of little sudden outbursts.”

  • October 4, 2016

    Arundhati Roy

    Arundhati Roy

    Arundhati Roy has sold her second novel to Penguin Random House—almost two decades after the publication of her first novel, The God of Small Things. In the time between her two works of fiction, Roy has written numerous books of nonfiction and essays, including Capitalism: A Ghost Story and Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. Her new novel,The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, hits shelves next June.

    David Gutowski, the mastermind behind the excellent music-and-literature blog Largehearted Boy, has been hospitalized with a serious illness, and his friends have started an online fundraiser to help him through this medical crisis.  

    The fallout continues from Claudio Gatti’s article suggesting that translator Anita Raja is the author behind Elena Ferrante’s pseudonymous novels. At the New Republic, Malcolm Harris writes that Gatti’s piece was a misuse of investigative reporting techniques: “A good investigative journalist could probably prove without a shadow of a doubt that their neighbor was having an affair … but uncovering [the story] would not be correct applications of his training, even if the rest of us wanted to read the gossip.” The New Yorker also feels that Gatti’s snooping talents were misused: “If only someone had gotten him interested in Trump’s tax returns during the primaries, just think where we might be today.” The LA Times has chosen to report on Ferrante’s doxing without naming her. On Facebook, translator Susan Bernofsky writes: “please don’t post / repost that article outing Ferrante. I’d like to continue to respect her privacy by not knowing who she is. Please don’t force me to know.” Bernofsky has also mocked up t-shirts that say “Don’t tell me who Ferrante is.” Ferrante’s publisher Sandro Ferri said the author was being treated like a member of the Neapolitan mafia. The Guardian has a roundup of quotes from Ferrante highlighting her need for privacy. Deborah Orr points out the callousness of Gatti’s reveal: “Ferrante needed the support of many more people to protect her creative self. Gatti thinks he knows better than the people who know and care for the individual that Ferrante inhabits.” Many are angry with the New York Review of Books for posting Gatti’s article and Stig Abell says that the TLS would have refused to publish the piece. The Columbia Journalism Review spoke to Gatti about his decision to investigate Ferrante’s identity: “In the last year and a half, every time somebody met me [in New York], and found out I was an investigative journalist . . . they asked me only one question: who is Elena Ferrante? I really felt this is ridiculous. It can’t be that complicated to find out, so I decided to look into it.”

    Meanwhile, Ferrante’s Neapolitan series will be turned into a play in London next winter.

    Bronwen Dickey, the author of the new book Pit Bull, talks to The Rumpus about the racism that drove the anti-pitbull movement. When Dickey asked people about their feelings on the dog breed for her book, the answers she received were often filled with underlying racism. “So many people would say … ‘Those people want them to be macho,’ ‘those people get them and just abandon them,’ ‘those people get them because they want to intimidate other people,’” said Dickey.The tendency to justify things like bans that are not based in science sometimes causes people to scramble for this other rhetoric that’s really ugly and unfortunate.”

    At the Paris Review Daily, Evan Kindley and Joanna Neborsky discuss their new books about questionnaires. Kindley’s volume traces the history of the form, while Neborsky’s is an illustrated edition of the “Proust questionnaire.” The two authors ask each other questions from Proust’s famous list of queries, which, it turns out, actually had very little to do with the author: As Kindley notes, Proust didn’t create or promote the quiz (though he did fill one out as a teenager).  

  • October 3, 2016

    Anita Raja

    Anita Raja

    In an article published yesterday in the New York Review of Books Daily blog (and simultaneously in publications in Italian, German, and French), the investigative reporter Claudio Gatti states that “after a months-long investigation,” he has uncovered information that strongly suggests the true identity of the mysterious Italian writer Elena Ferrante. “Far from the daughter of a Neapolitan seamstress described in Frantumaglia,” Gatti writes, “new revelations from real estate and financial records point to Anita Raja, a Rome-based translator whose German-born mother fled the Holocaust and later married a Neapolitan magistrate.” This is not the first time a writer has advanced the theory: Last year in Public Books, Rebecca Falkoff explained why she had come to believe rumors that Raja is the real Ferrante, citing the similarities between Ferrante’s work and Raja’s translations of the fiction of the German writer Christa Wolf. But Gatti’s article seems to be a tipping point, setting off what The Guardian calls a “literary storm.” Gatti’s revelations have been met with vehement criticism. Publicist Kimberly Burns tweeted: “Shameful. If Elena Ferrante doesn’t write another book, it is because of the attention-hungry egos of Claudio Gatti & @nybooks editors.” Author JoJo Moyles says: “Maybe Elena Ferrante has very good reasons to write under a pseudonym. It’s not our ‘right’ to know her.” And Alex Shepard writes at the New Republic: “The NYRB’s argument for doxing Elena Ferrante is not very good.” Author and Tin House editor Elissa Schappel writes on Facebook: “Shame on the New York Review of Books and Claudio Gatti for outing Elena Ferrante…. This idea that we are in some way entitled to konw Ferrante’s identity because we have bought her books is asinine.” But Gatti says he was just doing his job: “The biggest mystery outside Italy about Italy is who is Elena Ferrante,” Gatti told the New York Times. “I’m supposed to provide answers, that’s what I do for a living.”

    Novelist Jess Row has written an eloquent and insightful article about, among other things, Lionel Shriver and the critical response to her new novel, The Mandibles, and her recent speech in Bisbane: “Where is Shriver’s curiosity, and where is her compassion, when it comes to the perspectives of people who associate symbolic acts, like wearing sombreros, with deeper historical traumas? Is that not, too, part of fiction’s purpose? Part of what she accurately describes as ‘the astonishing reality of other people’?”

    In the past, author and activist Angela Davis has not endorsed political candidates, choosing instead to focus on the need for a new political party. “Endorsing? I don’t endorse,” she said earlier this year. “I’ve actually never voted for one of the . . . two major parties in a presidential election before Barack Obama…. I still think that we need a new party, a party that is grounded in labor, a party that can speak to all of the issues around racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, what is happening in the world.” But even though she says she has “serious problems” with Hillary Clinton, Davis has, this year, decided to voice her support of the Democratic candidate: “I am not so narcissistic to say I cannot bring myself to vote for her. #BlackMatters2016

    At Poynter, Rick Edmonds looks at the ethics of editors removing stories that are potentially damaging or embarrassing to their subjects, writing that most newsrooms don’t have a policy for how to handle requests from individuals to take down artcles from papers’ archives. Kelly McBride, co-editor of The New Ethics of Journalism and Edmonds’s colleague at Poynter, told him: “I don’t think we should just be saying reflexively, ‘we stand by our reporting.’ . . . This may be an occasion to examine standards of reporting and question the one-source police report. Some of those are pretty damning. Even if you have a legal right to cover, morally do you?”

    New York Times reporter Susanne Craig writes about the day she received pages from Donald Trump’s 1995 tax return in her office mailbox, a package that led to one of the paper’s most talked-about recent stories. Craig tells of the astonishment and excitement she felt when she saw the Trump Tower’s return address on the envelope, and details the eight-day process that she and her colleagues used to vet the documents. The breakthrough was when the accountant who had prepared Trump’s tax return, Jack Mitnick, agreed to meet with a Times reporter. Mitnick cleared up one of the tax return’s most baffling details: Trump’s loss for the year, $915,729,293, had two typewritten digits that didn’t line up with the other numbers, making the document appear to be have been altered. But the accountant explained that the tax-preparation software he used did not allow for such a long number, so he had to enter the “91” with a manual typewriter. The Washington Post reports that the Times could face legal ramifications for publishing the returns, and notes that at a panel discussion at Harvard last month, executive editor Dean Baquet told the audience he would risk jail time to make Trump’s taxes public.

  • September 30, 2016

    George R. R. Martin is releasing digitally-enhanced editions of his A Song of Ice and Fire series. A Game of Thrones: Enhanced Edition was released by Apple’s iBooks yesterday on the twentieth anniversary of its publication, and includes “interactive character maps … detailed annotations, character journeys and timelines, family trees and and audio clips.” The rest of the series will be released over the next few months, and while the first enhanced edition includes an excerpt of the final book in the series, The Winds of Winter, Martin has yet to set a release date.

    Brit Bennett. Photo by Emma Trim

    Brit Bennett. Photo by Emma Trim

    The National Book Foundation announced it’s “5 under 35” list of emerging authors. Honorees include Brit Bennett, whose book The Mothers was nominated by Jacqueline Woodson, and Yaa Gyasi, whose novel Homegoing was nominated by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The winners will meet in New York for a ceremony in November.

    Rookie talks to New York Times Magazine staff writer Jenna Wortham. Wortham’s first job at the Times was as a tech business blogger. ”I wasn’t that interested in telecom, and infrastructure and earning sheets were a mystery to me. . . . The learning curve was steep, but it also turned out to be some the most fun years of my career.” Now, Wortham writes for the magazine and says that while most of her pieces are assigned, her criticism often comes from conversations. “I had a lot of support from great editors who would interrupt me mid-convo or mid-Gchat and say, ‘Hey, that’s a piece. Write it down.’”

    PEN America has announced the newest additions to its board of trustees, including BuzzFeed culture editor Saeed Jones and A Little Life author Hanya Yanagihara.

    After endorsing Hillary Clinton in an op-ed, The Arizona Republic has seen cancelled subscriptions and death threats. Editorial page director Phil Boas said the endorsement shouldn’t have been a surprise to regular readers—even though it was the first time the paper has chosen a Democrat—because they have published numerous negative articles about Trump in the past year: “The things he has done … making fun of disabled people and rolling back press freedoms. You know a guy who would do that and crush our freedoms in one area will do it in others as well.”

  • September 29, 2016

    The parents of Trayvon Martin have signed a book deal with Random House’s One World imprint. Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin will be published in January. The book was acquired by Chris Jackson, the editor in chief of One World. “Everyone who’s been reading the manuscript is in tears by the second chapter,” Jackson told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s not just about the mournful story about losing a child, but it’s also how that moment ignited this global movement.”

    For the first time in over a century of publishing, The Arizona Republic is backing a Democrat for president. The paper endorsed Hillary Clinton, writing, “When the president of the United States speaks, the world expects substance. Not a blistering tweet.”

    In the New York Times Magazine, Wil S. Hylton profiles Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who made headlines first for prosecuting the officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death, and later for dropping the cases against the remaining officers after the first four trials ended in acquittal or a hung jury. Mosby recounts the childhood loss of a cousin to gun violence, growing up in a family of police officers, and losing faith in the justice system after Gray’s death. Although the public supported Mosby’s investition and resulting trials, she felt resistance not only from the police, but from prosecutors in her own office. “I’m trying to reform the system from within,” Mosby said. “Ninety-­five percent of the elected prosecutors in this country are white. Seventy-­nine percent are white men. As a woman of color, I represent 1 percent of all elected prosecutors in the country.”

    Rabih Alameddine

    Rabih Alameddine

    How does The Angel of History author Rabih Alameddine deal with writer’s block? Posting pictures of art to Twitter. His twenty-five thousand followers can watch Alameddine’s feed to see how his current works are progressing: “If I post a whole series of Matisse, then I’ve reached a dead end. If I do Monet, I’m going nowhere.”

    George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, and J. K. Rowling top the Hollywood Reporter’s list of 2016’s most influential writers. Emma Donoghue, Jeffrey Toobin, and Margaret Atwood earn mentions as well.

    After Google used an online collection of eleven thousand free and unpublished books to teach its artificial intelligence network Google Brain “to generate fluent, natural-sounding sentences,” authors were not impressed to learn that a machine was becoming more literate by reading their books. Author Rebecca Forster asked: “Is this any different than someone using one of my books to start a fire?”

  • September 28, 2016

    Viet Thanh Nguyen. Photo by BeBe Jacobs

    Viet Thanh Nguyen. Photo by BeBe Jacobs

    Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer, maps the current fight over cultural appropriation and outlines the myriad ways—acknowledging history, accepting criticism, taking responsibility—that writers can advance the argument over who gets to write about what. “If all of this seems too difficult, then you understand why people would rather fight over things like food, and why building walls may seem easier than building bridges.”

    The New Yorker’s David Remnick has written a paean to BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith. Calling the site “an entity that is hard to define,” Remnick admires Smith’s ability to combine “mind-vacation” listicles and quizzes with enterprising investigative journalism. “The truth is, I have no idea what BuzzFeed is going to be in a couple of years . . . but it is fascinating to witness Ben Smith & Co. trying to figure it all out. Dull is the last thing it’s going to be.”

    Jill Soloway’s adaptation of Chris Kraus’s novel I Love Dick has been picked up by Amazon for a full season. The show will be available on Amazon Prime in 2017.

    At Gizmodo, Matt Novak details his struggles to obtain information on Guy Sims Fitch, a fictional writer invented by the United States Information Agency for propaganda purposes. Fitch’s articles were written by a number of unidentified employees of the now-defunct agency “to promote American economic interests abroad” during the Cold War, and have been found in archived newspapers worldwide. Novak filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CIA for documents regarding the invented journalist, but was denied by the CIA over privacy concerns. The organization has asked Novak to provide the verified identities of every USIA employee who wrote under Fitch’s name, as well as proof of consent for their information to be made public. The CIA has also requested death certificates for any of the Fitch writers who may have died in the meantime. “The short version? They’re toying with me,” Novak writes.

    Truman Capote’s ashes were sold last weekend for $43,750 to an anonymous buyer. The cremains had been given a starting price of $2,000. Other items sold in the auction included the clothes Capote died in ($6,400) and “two lots of his prescription pill bottles” ($9,280).

    Tonight in Harlem, the Schomburg Center hosts a conversation between Negroland author Margo Jefferson and Kia Corthron, playwright, writer for The Wire, and author of The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter.

  • September 27, 2016

    Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas launched his digital media project EmergingUS on Medium yesterday, aimed at a growing demographic that Vargas identifies as wanting “to see the women of Black Lives Matter next to The Bamboo Ceiling next to White people talking about diversity and inclusivity next to mixed-race people.” Vargas had originally partnered with the Los Angeles Times, but struggled to find a new host for the documentary series after the deal fell through. He hopes the project will change how digital media reports on “issues of identity, race, and immigration.”

    Dan Slater. Photo: Sophie Herbert

    Dan Slater. Photo: Sophie Herbert

    After Dan Slater’s Wolf Boys was added to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s list of banned books the very same week it was published, The Guardian takes a look at the Texas prison system’s approved reading materials. Books like Bob Dole’s World War II: An Illustrated History of Crisis and Courage; Friday Night Lights; and Jon Stewart’s America don’t make the cut, but Mein Kampf and David Duke’s Jewish Supremacism are allowed.

    The Huffington Post details the threats that Donald Trump poses to free speech and reiterates the need for banned book week. “By electing someone so cavalier about the nation’s most cherished foundational rights, we could risk what’s taken 200 years to build.”

    Charles Seife investigates the Food and Drug Administration’s widespread use of close-hold embargoes with reporters. Not only do these agreements require news outlets to hold off on publishing an article until a specified date, but they also ban the writer from interviewing non-FDA approved sources. The result, writes Siefe, is that “the watchdogs are being turned into lapdogs.”

    Presidential historian and biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin interviews President Obama for Vanity Fair’s November issue. The two first met in 2007, when then-Senator Obama called Goodwin to praise one of her books: “Hello, this is Barack Obama. I’ve just read Team of Rivals and we have to talk about Lincoln.” Besides the legacies of Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Reagan, and nearly every other twentieth-century president, the pair discuss Obama’s legacy as his final term comes to an end, and whether he’ll “feel melancholy or nostalgic” at the next inauguration.

    Tonight at Greenlight Books in Brooklyn, Rivka Galchen talks to Ruth Franklin about her new book, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life.