The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
- Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the Federal Reserve under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, says he is planning a book that will span his eight years helming the Fed, with a special focus on the Great Recession. “I want people to understand what we knew, when we knew it, how we made decisions and how we dealt with the enormous economic uncertainty,” he told The Associated Press. The news service writes that “under his leadership, the Fed invoked all its conventional tools to salvage the economy. Once those were exhausted, Bernanke turned to extraordinary steps never before tried by the Fed. Besides cutting a key short-term interest rate to a record low near zero, Bernanke launched a bond buying program that drove the Fed’s balance sheet above $4 trillion to try to accelerate growth and shrink high unemployment.” Bernanke’s memoir does not yet have a publisher.
- Bark author Lorrie Moore talks to The Millions about her new collection of stories, and what she said to a boyfriend who thought she based a character on him: “First of all, the character is a woman. … Second of all, darling, the character has a job.”
- The man behind the infamous @GSElevator twitter account, which purports to document things said in the elevators at Goldman Sachs, has been outed by The New York Times as John Lefevre, described by the paper as “a 34-year-old former bond executive who lives in Texas.” Lefevre has never worked for Goldman Sachs. Lefevre has a book deal with Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and the imprint said he had not misrepresented himself to them. “He’s been pretty straight with us the entire time, so this is not a surprise,” Lefevre’s editor, Matthew Benjamin, told the Times. He added, “We always expected his identity to be revealed at some point.” Goldman Sachs has put out a statement saying, “We are pleased to report that the official ban on talking in elevators will be lifted effective immediately.”
- The Associated Press reports that musician Neil Young has a deal for a second memoir that will be “a book focusing on his passion for cars, while also featuring stories about his life in music.” The book is set to be published this fall by Blue Rider Press.
- Joshua Rothman reflects on “academic writing” in an essay for The New Yorker‘s Page-Turner blog: “It’s supposed to be dry but also clever; faceless but also persuasive; clear but also completist. Its deepest ambiguity has to do with audience. Academic prose is, ideally, impersonal, written by one disinterested mind for other equally disinterested minds. But, because it’s intended for a very small audience of hyper-knowledgable, mutually acquainted specialists, it’s actually among the most personal writing there is. If journalists sound friendly, that’s because they’re writing for strangers. With academics, it’s the reverse.”
- Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie condemns Nigeria’s harsh anti-gay laws in an op-ed: “Even if this was not a country of abysmal electricity supply where university graduates are barely literate and people die of easily-treatable causes and Boko Haram commits casual mass murders, this law would still be unjust. We cannot be a just society unless we are able to accommodate benign difference, accept benign difference, live and let live. We may not understand homosexuality, we may find it personally abhorrent but our response cannot be to criminalize it.”
- In The Telegraph, Charles Moore argues that Hilary Mantel is a “national treasure.” He writes: “She has none of those infuriating qualities — cosy TV charm, mental flabbiness, self-conscious Englishness, easy moralising, unmemorable good looks, smiling-through-tears, an inordinate love of animals — which compose our grim modern concept of ‘national treasure’. Yet a national treasure is what she has become.”
- Afua Richardson gorgeously illustrates Langston Hughes’ poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” for NPR.
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