By now, you've surely heard about the terrible turn of events at (perennial Best winner) Longfellow Books this weekend -- during Blizzard Nemo, pipes froze and burst on the floor above the much-loved independent bookshop, causing the in-store sprinklers to go off, damaging at least one-third (probably closer to 40 percent) of the business's inventory.
In this week's paper, I write about Jason C. Anthony's new book, Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day, and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine (University of Nebraska Press). It had a well-attended reading last week at Longfellow Books (which is where the book title links to), and got a great review in the New York Times Book Review on Sunday.
I've been on a Stephen King kick recently, trying -- at the very least -- to absorb some of the Master of Horror's productivity (eight novels in seven years? really?), if not his ability to create best-selling suspense. So I was excited to read that he has a new book coming out this fall, and it will tackle history. Specifically, it tells the story of a time-traveling teacher who gets tangled up in the JFK assassination.
"There were so many opportunites to go to sea -- fishing, whaling, coastal carriage, long-haul trade to India, China, the West Indies, and Europe, not to mention naval service -- that a Westport boy would have had to search for a reason to reject the call."
Bath author Geoffrey Wolff, a former Washington Post books editor, Princeton and UC Irvine professor, and American Academy of Arts and Letters award winner, will be in town on Wednesday to read from his new book, The Hard Way Around: The Passages of Joshua Slocum (Knopf).
This made me laugh. "Five 'favorite books' that are a warning sign on dating profiles" -- including anything by Ayn Rand or The Notebook ("This is either the kind of dipshit guy who puts Nicholas Sparks on his
profile to seem sensitive, or the kind of dipshit girl who falls for it."). My personal list would include On the Road (too many associations with faux-bohemian Boston University boys) and anything by John Updike or Philip Roth (too much old-man-sexist stuff).
Not dead, just on vacation(s). So glad you missed us!
Anyway, amidst the scores of dull and irrelevant press releases that I sorted through upon my return, one stood out: an announcement about Papernick the Book Peddler, who will make appearances in Portland on First Friday (September 3) as well as at the Farmers' Markets on Saturday, September 4 and Wednesday, September 6.
Something about The World makes my heart beat faster than usual. A combination of terror and excited curiosity, I think. When it docks in Portland in October 2012, I might be more interested in seeing the inside of the ship than its residents are in exploring Portland (yes, that's right, RESIDENTS -- people who LIVE on the ship, who OWN apartments ON THE SHIP).
The curator of the Peaks Island Umbrella Cover Museum, which won an Editor's Pick Best award in 2002 and is the only institution of its kind in the world, is releasing a book early next month. Uncovered and Exposed! A Guide to the World's Only Umbrella Cover Museum, is an inside look at the quirky establishment, which opened its doors in 1996.
The latest McSweeney's is a literary tour-de-force, a 320-page newspaper (including two magazines) called the San Francisco Panorama, with stories and reporting by everyone from William T. Vollman to James Franco.
"We think that the best chance for newspapers' survival is to do what the internet can't: namely, use and explore the large-paper format as thoroughly as possible," an online explainer reads.
Portland resident Phillip Hoose won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature last night, for Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). The book tells the story of Colvin, a near-forgotten civil-rights heroine; Colvin was in the audience with Hoose at the awards ceremony in NY, and was "shaken with emotion as she joined Hoose on the stage," according to an AP report.
Portland author Phillip Hoose has been nominated for a National Book Award for Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). The book, which tells the story of a young civil-rights heroine, is nominated in the Young People's Literature category, where it's up against just four others (more than 250 were submitted for consideration).
Got a book in the mail: Wicked Maine Limericks, it's called. Published last month by Maine Line Press, the slim volume contains about 50 pages of limericks (five lines, AABBA form, a la "There once was a man from Nantucket," etc.) written by and about Maine and its people.
According to the "Curator's Note" written by UMaine professor and Bangor resident Henry Garfield, the project was conceived when August Pomerleau, acting interim director of the Pine Tree Foundation for the Preservation of Fine Poetry, asked Garfield to generate, select, and edit new limericks from new poets in an effort "to save the rapidly dissappearing Maine Limerick from extinction."
So, apparently recovering from bird flu makes me an insomniac. Awesome!! Around 3 a.m., I pulled out my Selected Poems of Anne Sexton (hey, if you're going to be miserable, might as well go all the way, right?) After reading some uterus/madness/Freudian shit for a while, I decided to (re?) read the intro by editors Diane Wood Middlebrook and Diana Hume George.
Maine's latest literary success story, Lew Robinson (Alex Irvine reviewed Robinson's Water Dogs for the Phoenix last week, right after the New York Times did so), is publishing a serialized story, "The Choral and Harpist Arts Society," at FiveChapters.com, a Web site that publishes stories in five parts -- one on every day of the week.
Self-described "crap speller" David Wolman sets out in a
literary-historical-travelogue across the English-speaking world to discover
who, exactly, made the rules that have tormented him since primary school, and