I see novel-writing as an opportunity to ask dozens of questions. The question of self-“realization” is going to be among them, but I like to think a novel is a chance to throw dice that ask combinations of even broader questions. “What is the experience of being alone versus being ‘beside’ somebody else?” And smaller ones: “What is the best way to describe that one sensation?” And situational questions, too: “What would this character do if she were trapped in a well and mocked by local teenagers?”
The Sherman Alexie media blitz continues, with this great New York Times profile of the author. (Any piece that says Alexie could pass for "the world’s warmest don" is a winner.) Alexie's memoir You Don't Have to Say You Love Me is available for sale today. We'll have much more to say about it on this site — [winks at reader] — very soon.
Literary Hub took a brief tour of James Baldwin's FBI file. Their fear, distrust, and hatred of Baldwin is a testament to the power of writing. He was more powerful than the FBI, in the end.
Did you know that there's a podcast where LeVar Burton reads a short piece of fiction to you? How have you not already subscribed to this one?
Adrea Piazza reports on an interesting new independent bookselling model at the New Yorker:
The C.S.A. model is simple: consumers commit a certain amount of money to a farm up front in exchange for a portion of the future harvest. Farmers use the resources to support themselves during the slower months. Over the past few decades, C.S.A.s have grown in popularity across the United States. Many farms on the Blue Hill peninsula have adopted such programs, and Haskell watched a local brewery, Strong Brewing Company, get its operation off the ground with a community-supported beer program. “The idea of purchasing a season’s or a year’s worth of books seemed like an interesting way to structure thinking about a customer’s relationship to the store,” Haskell said recently. At Blue Hill Books, C.S.B. members can purchase a “share” for a thousand dollars—or partial shares for two hundred or five hundred dollars—and draw on that credit to buy books throughout the year. “It’s not a donation; it’s not an investment,” Sichterman explained. It’s more of a “gift certificate for yourself.”