Book News Roundup: Stacey Levine, William Shakespeare, and James Baldwin

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 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.”