Chelsea Clinton’s Rejected Book Proposal

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Crime Fiction: ‘Never Kill a Cop’, Cover Art by Darrell Greene, 1959

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Sept 1959 Pocket first printing

 


Creeping Censorship in Hong Kong: How China Controls Sale of Sensitive Books

Exhibitors arrange books at a booth at the annual Book Fair in Hong Kong Tuesday, July 18, 2006. Over 10,000 titles and showcased by 430 exhibitors, the Hong Kong Book Fair will open from July 19 to July 24. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Exhibitors arrange books at a booth at the annual Book Fair in Hong Kong Tuesday, July 18, 2006. Over 10,000 titles and showcased by 430 exhibitors, the Hong Kong Book Fair will open from July 19 to July 24. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

 

“Things have been changing dramatically in the last two years. Since Xi Jinping came to power, what was tolerated before is not tolerated any longer, in China or Hong Kong.”

 writes: The shop assistant is abrupt when the question comes.51fqsa-ubiL._SL250_

“We are not going to sell that one. Sorry,” he says, when asked for a copy of one of Hong Kong’s most eagerly searched-for books.

[Order Zhao Ziyang book “Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang” from Amazon.com]

And how about Zhao Ziyang’s bestselling Prisoner of the State – an explosive account of what happened behind the scenes during the pro-democracy protest of 1989 in Beijing?

“It might come back,” he says vaguely.

On the surface, there seems to be no censorship in Hong Kong. Unlike the mainland, the web is free, a wide range of newspapers is available, TV news covers demonstrations and protests, and nobody needs to apply for permission to print books.

Zhao Ziyang’s memoir, Prisoner of the State, about the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP

Zhao Ziyang’s memoir about the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP

“The pressure is on to stop Hong Kong people and mainlanders from reading unapproved books. When sales became harder, we started shipping books to individual customers in China. Nothing reached them. We tried through a courier in Shenzhen, but they stopped accepting books.”

“In 40 years, I know of only one book that has ever been stopped from distribution,” says Wong Sheung Wai, director of Greenfield Bookstore, a shop and distribution company, “and that was the Chinese translation of a guide to suicide.

“The real problem, though, is that our local government does not defend our autonomy. Rather, they lecture Hong Kong on how to behave to please the central authorities.”

“Taiwan translated it, but the Hong Kong authorities did not allow for it to be published and distributed here,” he says.

But mounting pressure from China to have greater control over what the Hong Kong public, and the Chinese tourists flocking there, read is creeping into this former British colony.

image - businessweek.com

“Even the three big chains are commercial interests, so they do try to sell what clients want. At times certain books disliked by the Chinese authorities will still be available, but hidden behind a counter, or piled up with the spine turned to the walls.”

Through a complex web of self-censorship, soft censorship and mainland economic control, bookshops and media outlets in the territory have been changing their tone or giving less coverage to topics that China deems sensitive.

[Read the full text here, at The Guardian]

A slow but steady “mainlandisation” of Hong Kong, a key factor in bringing tens of thousands of protesters to the streets during last year’s umbrella movement, has been changing the face of the publishing and book distribution industry, with fewer shops willing, or able, to sell books forbidden in China.

Rising property prices in the city mean few bookshops can afford ground-floor premises - except those backed by China’s official Liaison Office. Photograph: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Rising property prices in the city mean few bookshops can afford ground-floor premises – except those backed by China’s official Liaison Office. Photograph: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Booming real estate costs add to that problem.

“Readers’ numbers are going down everywhere, and nobody can afford a ground-floor bookshop unless they are backed by people with very deep pockets,” says one publishing industry insider.

“If you ask me what is the biggest problem that Hong Kong faces right now, it is the Liaison Office, and their growing involvement in Hong Kong’s affairs.”

— Alex Chow, one of the student leaders at last year’s protests

The three main local bookshop chains, with a total of 51 outlets, are controlled by the Liaison Office, Beijing’s official representation in Hong Kong, which, she adds, makes sure they only pay a nominal rent for their operations. Read the rest of this entry »


Martin Ford: Attention White-collar Workers: #Robots Are Coming for Your Jobs

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Interview: Martin Ford, Author Of ‘Rise Of The Robots’ 

From the self-checkout aisle of the grocery store to the sports section of the newspaper, robots and computer software are increasingly taking the place of humans in the workforce. Silicon Valley executive Martin Ford says that robots, once thought of as a threat to only manufacturing jobs, are poised to replace humans as teachers, journalists, lawyers and others in the service sector.

“As we look forward from this point, we need to keep in mind that this technology is going to continue to accelerate. So I think there’s every reason to believe it’s going to become the primary driver of inequality in the future, and things are likely to get even more extreme than they are now.”

“There’s already a hardware store [in California] that has a customer service robot that, for example, is capable of leading customers to the proper place on the shelves in order to find an item,” Ford tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies.

Robot-smokes

In his new book, Rise of the Robots, Ford considers the social and economic disruption that is likely to result when educated rise-of-robotsworkers can no longer find employment.

[Check out Martin Ford’s book “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future” at Amazon.com]

“As we look forward from this point, we need to keep in mind that this technology is going to continue to accelerate,” Ford says. “So I think there’s every reason to believe it’s going to become the primary driver of inequality in the future, and things are likely to get even more extreme than they are now.”

Any jobs that are truly repetitive or rote — doing the same thing again and again — in advanced economies like the United States or Germany, those jobs are long gone. They’ve already been replaced by robots years and years ago.

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So what we’ve seen in manufacturing is that the jobs that are actually left for people to do tend to be the ones that require more flexibility or require visual perception and dexterity. Very often these jobs kind of fill in the gaps between machines.

[Read the full text here, at NPR]

For example, feeding parts into the next part of the production process or very often they’re at the end of the process — perhaps loading and unloading trucks and moving raw materials and finished products around, those types of things. Read the rest of this entry »


Crime Fiction: ‘Murder is Served’, by Frances & Richard Lockridge, Cover Art by Eddie Chan, Avon Paperback, 1951

Eddie-Chan1951 Avon paperback. Cover art by Eddie Chan


‘Being Shocked is Part of Democratic Debate. Being Shot is Not': Charlie Hebdo Receives Award, Standing Ovation at PEN Gala

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Josh Feldman writes: The staff of Charlie Hebdo was honored tonight at the PEN American Center gala, following much controversy, and they received a standing ovation as they affirmed their commitment to free speech and free expression.

“I perfectly understand that a believer can be shocked by a satirical cartoon about Mohammed, Jesus, Moses or even the Pope. But growing up to be a citizen, is to learn that some ideas, some words, some images, can be shocking.”

There was a recent controversy when a group of authors refused to participate in the gala because of their opposition to what they perceive as the French publication’s “intolerance.”

France Newspaper Attack

[Also see – VIDEO – Salman Rushdie: ‘The Moment You Limit Free Speech It’s Not Free Speech’]

[More – REPEAL THEM NOW: Hate-Speech Codes Won’t Protect Europe From Violence]

[More – Jihadists Target Western Principles of Free Speech and Religious Pluralism’]

Salman Rushdie and a whole host of other writers stood up for Charlie Hebdo, defending them from that charge of intolerance and insisting the free speech principle is of paramount importance. Read the rest of this entry »


Adieu la Liberté d’Expression: Western Writers Abandon their Support for Free Speech

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Sorry, Charlie Hebdo

Je suis Charlie. French for “I am Charlie,” the phrase became a global expression of solidarity and resolve after Islamist gunmen murdered 12 people at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

 “The terrorists who attacked cartoonists in Paris and in Texas hoped that murder would intimidate them—and others—into silence. As such theirs was not merely an attack on a publication; it was an attack on the foundations of liberal democracy.”

In a terrifying copycat attack Sunday in Garland, Texas, two men with assault rifles attempted to gun down people attending an event satirizing Muhammad with cartoons. A single police officer managed to shoot and kill both gunmen before they got inside the event. With some 200 people in the building, the potential for another politicized mass murder was great.

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“Trumpeting the list of petition signers was no less than Glenn Greenwald, last seen lionizing Edward Snowden’s right to go public with information stolen from the National Security Agency’s efforts to track the people who committed the Paris murders and tried to do it again in Texas this week.”

On Monday authorities said one of the gunman, Elton Simpson of Phoenix, had been under surveillance for years because of interest he’d shown in joining jihadist groups overseas. He was found guilty of making false statements to the FBI, but a federal judge ruled there wasn’t enough evidence that Mr. Simpson’s activities were “sufficiently ‘related’ to international terrorism.”

SORRY-CHARLIE

Against this backdrop we have the extraordinary—almost comical—irony of some of America’s bien pensant intellectuals boycotting a ceremony Tuesday by the PEN American Center to confer its annual courage award for freedom of expression on Charlie Hebdo. PEN is an association of writers, and six prominent novelists—Peter Carey,Michael Ondaatje,Francine Prose,Teju Cole,Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi—have been trying to repeal the award for Charlie Hebdo.

Against this backdrop we have the extraordinary—almost comical—irony of some of America’s bien pensant intellectuals boycotting a ceremony Tuesday by the PEN American Center to confer its annual courage award for freedom of expression on Charlie Hebdo.

Ms. Kusher said she was uncomfortable with the “forced secular view” and “cultural intolerance” represented by Charlie Hebdo, whose signature attacks were on organized religion. Read the rest of this entry »


Pulp Fiction: ‘I Let Him Hang’

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I Let Him Hang  Source: pulpcovers


PEN Dissenters ‘Presume to Lecture Murder Victims on Not Provoking their Murderers’

LOWRY-NYPost

Rich Lowry writes: If there is any group of people on the planet who should feel solidarity with the slain editors of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, it is writers.

Appropriately enough, the writers group PEN America is giving its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award to the French publication now synonymous with martyrdom to free speech.

[Read the full text here, at New York Post]

Yet the award has become controversial, attacked by a group of writers who Peter-Carey-anti-Hebdopresume to lecture murder victims on not provoking their murderers.

“If the publication’s equal-opportunity offenders had been assaulted by right-wing extremists for their savage mockery of anti-immigrant politicians, or opponents of gay marriage or Catholicism, surely the dissenting writers would be all for recognizing Charlie Hebdo.”

These dissenters are an unabashed fifth column undermining PEN America’s devotion to free expression so as to carve out a safe space for Islam from the barbed speech inherent to a free society.

[Also see –HALL OF SHAME: Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo]

They oppose the killing of the Charlie Hebdo journalists — thanks, guys — but otherwise agree with the jihadis that the publication was out-of-bounds.

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“This is a version of Garry Trudeau’s argument that Charlie Hebdo was ‘punching downward’ against the defenseless, when satire should punch up against the powerful. This is a bizarre notion of power. The weapon of choice of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists was the pen; the weapon of choice of their assailants was the firearm.”

“A hideous crime was committed,” novelist Peter Carey generously concedes, “but was it a freedom-of-speech issue for PEN America to be self-righteous about?” Read the rest of this entry »


Is PEN a Free Speech Organization?

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[Read more here – HALL OF SHAME: Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo]


HALL OF SHAME: Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo

Kushner-anti-freedom-of-speech

Novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi have withdrawn from the gala

Jennifer Schuessler writes: The decision by PEN American Center to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has prompted six writers to withdraw as literary hosts at the group’s annual gala on May 5, adding a new twist to the continuing debate over the publication’s status as a martyr for free speech.

“In an email to PEN’s leadership on Friday, Ms. Kushner said she was withdrawing out of discomfort with what she called the magazine’s ‘cultural intolerance’ and promotion of ‘a kind of forced secular view’…”

The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi have withdrawn from the gala, at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. Gerard Biard, Charlie Hebdo’s editor in chief, and Jean-Baptiste Thoret, a Charlie Hebdo staff member who arrived late for work on Jan. 7 and missed the attack by Islamic extremists that killed 12 people, are scheduled to accept the award.

“By attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech.”

— Disgraced, formerly relevant, pro-censorship cartoonist Garry Trudeau

In an email to PEN’s leadership on Friday, Ms. Kushner said she was withdrawing out of discomfort with what she called the magazine’s “cultural intolerance” and promotion of “a kind of forced secular view,” opinions echoed by other writers who pulled out.

Peter-Carey-anti-Hebdo

“A hideous crime was committed, but was it a freedom-of-speech issue for PEN America to be self-righteous about? All this is complicated by PEN’s seeming blindness to the cultural arrogance of the French nation, which does not recognize its moral obligation to a large and disempowered segment of their population.”

— Pro-censorship Francophone author Peter Carey

Mr. Carey, in an email interview yesterday, said the award stepped beyond the group’s traditional role of protecting freedom of expression against government oppression.

[Read the full text here, at the New York Times]

“A hideous crime was committed, but was it a freedom-of-speech issue for PEN America to be self-righteous about?” he wrote.

“We all knew this was in some ways a controversial choice. But I didn’t feel this issue was certain to generate these particular concerns from these particular authors.”

— Andrew Solomon, the president of PEN

He added, “All this is complicated by PEN’s seeming blindness to the cultural arrogance of the French nation, which does not recognize its moral obligation to a large and disempowered segment of their population.”

Andrew Solomon, the president of PEN, said on Sunday that the six writers were the only ones that he knew of among the dinner’s several dozen literary hosts who had reconsidered their participation in the gala, which occurs during the group’s annual World Voices Festival, a weeklong event that brings dozens of writers from around the globe to New York City.

PEN-Teju-Cole-pro-censorship

Mr. Solomon said he knew the award to Charlie Hebdo might be controversial, but added he was surprised less by the criticism itself than by the vehemence of some of it, as well by the timing — less than two weeks before the gala, a major fund-raiser that draws a star-studded crowd of more than 800 writers, publishers and supporters.

“There is courage in refusing the very idea of forbidden statements, an urgent brilliance in saying what you have been told not to say in order to make it sayable.”

— Andrew Solomon and Suzanne Nossel, in a letter sent to the PEN board

“We all knew this was in some ways a controversial choice,” he said. “But I didn’t feel this issue was certain to generate these particular concerns from these particular authors.”

Salman Rushdie 1

“If PEN as a free speech organization can’t defend and celebrate people who have been murdered for drawing pictures, then frankly the organization is not worth the name. What I would say to both Peter and Michael and the others is, I hope nobody ever comes after them.”

— Salman Rushdie, former PEN president who lived in hiding for years after a fatwa in response to his novel The Satanic Verses

The withdrawals reflect the debate over Charlie Hebdo that erupted immediately after the attack, with some questioning whether casting the victims as free-speech heroes ignored what some saw as the magazine’s particular glee in beating up on France’s vulnerable Muslim minority. Read the rest of this entry »


Bring Back the Serialized Novel

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Hillary Kelly writesIn 1847, an English cleaning woman was extremely excited to learn that the boy lodging in her employer’s house was “the son of the man that put together Dombey” — that is, the son of Charles Dickens. The woman could neither read nor write, but she lived above a snuff shop where, on the first Monday of every month, a community of friends would gather to read aloud the latest installment of “Dombey and Son, which had begun serialization on Oct. 1, 1846. By that time, the monthly installments of Dickens’s novels — which started with The Pickwick Papers in 1836 — were such a staple of British culture that an illiterate woman with no access to the actual book knew the author’s work intimately.

“…the publishing industry is in the doldrums, yet the novel shows few signs of digging into its past and resurrecting the techniques that drove fans wild and juiced sales figures. The novel is now decidedly a single object, a mass entity packaged and moved as a whole.”

More than 150 years later, the publishing industry is in the doldrums, yet the novel shows few signs of digging into its past and resurrecting the techniques that drove fans wild and juiced sales figures. The novel is now decidedly a single object, a mass entity packaged and moved as a whole. That’s not, of course, a bad thing, but it does create a barrier to entry that the publishing world can’t seem to overcome. Meanwhile, consumers gladly gobble up other media in segments — whether it’s a “Walking Dead” episode, a series of Karl Ove Knausgaard ’s travelogues or a public-radio show (it’s called “Serial” for a reason, people) — so there’s reason to believe they would do the same with fiction. What the novel needs again is tension. And the best source for that tension is serialization.

“Since the loss of compelling plot is one of the things that readers most often complain of in the modern novel. it might be a salutary discipline for novelists to have to go back to Dickens, or even James, to learn how it’s done.”

— Critic Adam Kirsch

“The Pickwick Papers” wasn’t the original serialized novel — the format had existed for at least a century prior — but it was the work that truly popularized the form. The first installment had a print order of 1,000 copies; by the time the final entry was published, circulation had reached 40,000. Buoyed by the success of “Pickwick,” Dickens serialized his work for the rest of his career, and scores of other notable Victorian novelists joined the publishing craze. William Makepeace Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories all emerged as serials.

[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]

Old and new magazines, such as Blackwood’s and Household Words, competed for established and emerging voices. The constant influx of unresolved plots and elliptical section breaks stoked a fervor for fiction in Victorian England. It wasn’t until book production became cheap and easy, and new mediums such as radio arose to fill leisure time, that serialization slowly shriveled away.

“In many ways, the novel is already designed to be delivered in serial form: Chapters and section breaks bring full stops to the narrative, while flashbacks and shifts in perspective and narration create time and space for momentum to build.”

Why can’t the same techniques that once galvanized readers be revived? Today, when a novel is released, it relies on a series of tried (but not always true) advertising methods. The book is accompanied by a simplified synopsis targeting a specific audience, inflated with blurbs from “influencers” and dropped onto reviewers’ desks with the hope that enough serious critics will praise it that it will wriggle onto a prize list. Even greatness doesn’t always guarantee success. As the Telegraph noted in its look at “Why great novels don’t get noticed now ,” Samantha Harvey’s “Dear Thief” received universally glowing reviews — and sold only 1,000 copies in six months. Publishing houses have a brief window to push a work into the public’s consciousness. If the pilot doesn’t light, the novel doesn’t move. But with a constant stream of exposure over a period of six or 12 or 18 months, a novel would stand a far better chance of piquing the public’s interest. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Style Inspiration: Tom Wolfe

Tom-W

via Twitter @impossiblecool –  UNIONMADE

 


Pulp Fiction: Rene Brantonne Cover for L’Invisible by Jean de la Hire

L'Invisble

The French sci-fi novel L’Invisible was written by Jean de La Hire, aka Espié Adolphem, for Éditions Jaeger et Hauteville’s Fantastic series in 1953. The set-up is ingenious here—basically, H.G. Wells’ famous novel The Invisible Man was a disguised factual account, and this book reveals the truth about the man Wells fictionalized. He develops an invisibility potion, uses it to make a fortune, and later faces a choice between continuing on his path or giving it up for love. The cool cover art is by René Brantonne.

via Pulp International


‘Dog Eat Dog’, by Mary Collins. 1949

Dog-eat-Dog

July 1949 Scribner hardcover

March 1951 Bantam reissue, first printing


Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’: Unpublished Passages Give Fresh Insight

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Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ has sold 14 million copies since its publication in 1962. Now, a never-before-seen passage cut from an early draft is shedding surprising light on the author’s political philosophy.

editor-commen-deskJennifer Maloney writes what I believe might be the most-read item in this week’s Wall Street Journal. Where to begin? When I think of the popular library material that influenced me and every one of my wrinkle-triologyclassmates in elementary school, I’d include the original “Little House on the Prairie” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, dog-eared collections of Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts”, “The Outsiders“, by S.E. Hinton, and Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time“. Easily one of the most-loved, most-read books of the second half of the 20th century.

[Order the “A Wrinkle in Time” Trilogy from Amazon.com]

Fresh on the heels of the announcement of the publication of an unseen novel by ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Author Harper Lee, now we learn that an unknown three-page passage in the 1962 book “A Wrinkle in Time” has surfaced, sure to stir new interest among the author’s many fans and admirers.

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“…the book wasn’t a simple allegory of communism. Instead, it’s about the risk of any country—including a democracy—placing too much value on security. The tension between safety and personal freedom is an idea that resonates in today’s politics…”

Jennifer Maloney writes: Madeleine L’Engle, the author of “A Wrinkle in Time,” resisted labels. Her books weren’t for children, she said. They were for people. Devoted to religious study, she bristled when called a Christian writer. And though some of her books had political themes, she wasn’t known to write overtly about politics. That is, until her granddaughter, Charlotte Jones Voiklis, came across an unknown three-page passage that was cut before publication.

AR-AJ428_Wrinkl

The passage, which Ms. Voiklis shared with The Wall Street Journal so it could be published for the first time, sheds new light on one of the most beloved and best-selling young-adult books in American literature. Published in 1962, “A Wrinkle in Time” has sold 14 million copies and inspired a TV-movie adaptation, a graphic novel, and an opera.

“‘Security is a most seductive thing,’ he tells his daughter. ‘I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the greatest evil there is.'”

Meg Murry, the novel’s strong-willed misfit heroine, has been a role model for generations of children, especially girls. Now, Jennifer Lee, the co-writer and co-director of the Oscar-winning animated film, “Frozen,” is writing a film adaptation for Disney.

Madeleine-LEngle

A witches’ brew of science fiction and fantasy, Christian theology and a hint of politics, “A Wrinkle in Time” has long been considered influenced by the Cold War. It explores the dangers of conformity, and presents evil as a world whose inhabitants’ thoughts and actions are controlled by a sinister, disembodied brain.

[Read the full text of Jennifer Maloney‘s article here, at the WSJ]

Many readers, then and now, have understood the book’s dark planet Camazotz—a regimented place in which mothers in unison call their children in for dinner—to represent the Soviet Union. But the passage discovered by L’Engle’s granddaughter presents a more nuanced worldview.

Madeleine L'Engle in her office at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, 1977Photo: Crosswicks, Ltd.

Madeleine L’Engle in her office at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in NYC, 1977 Photo: Crosswicks, Ltd.

In it, Meg has just made a narrow escape from Camazotz. As Meg’s father massages her limbs, which are frozen from a jarring trip through space and time, she asks: “But Father, how did the Black Thing—how did it capture Camazotz?” Her father proceeds to lay out the political philosophy behind the book in much starker terms than are apparent in the final version.

“As an 11-year-old, I read ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and spent many a daydream and sleepless night imagining what it would be like to break free from the limitations of time.”

— Jennifer Lee, the co-writer and co-director of the Oscar-winning animated film, “Frozen

He says that yes, totalitarianism can lead to this kind of evil. (The author calls out examples by name, including Hitler, Mussolini and Khrushchev.) But it can also happen in a democracy that places too much value on security, Mr. Murry says. “Security is a most seductive thing,” he tells his daughter. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the greatest evil there is.”

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Ms. Voiklis said she wanted readers to know the book wasn’t a simple allegory of communism. Instead, it’s about the risk of any country—including a democracy—placing too much value on security. The tension between safety and personal freedom is an idea that resonates in today’s politics.

“It’s normal to be afraid,” said Ms. Voiklis, who manages her late grandmother’s estate full-time in New York. “But you can’t let the fear control your decisions. Otherwise, you risk becoming like Camazotz.”438

Ms. Voiklis found the excerpt a few years ago, as she was doing research for the release of the book’s 50th-anniversary edition. It was part of the earliest surviving typewritten manuscript, which for years was stored in L’Engle’s home and later moved to storage.

A Wrinkle in Time” is a cultural touchstone. The Newbery Medal-winner was the first of five books in L’Engle’s so-called Time Quintet. On “Lost,” the television series whose cult following dissected its frequent literary references, the bookworm Sawyer reads a copy of “A Wrinkle in Time.”

The novel inspired author Rebecca Stead to write her own Newbery Medal-winning book, “When You Reach Me,” whose protagonist, Miranda, reads “A Wrinkle in Time.” L’Engle’s works have also sparked the interest of scholars in the U.S. and abroad. In 2012, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published an oral history titled “Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices,” by literary historian and biographer Leonard S. Marcus. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Death and Taxes’

Death-Taxes

‘Death and Taxes’ by David Dodge, Cover Art by Rudolph Belarski


Enough Is Enough: Abolish the IRS

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Robert W. Merry reviews Grover Norquist’s new book 

Robert W. Merry writes: Among the more enjoyable spectacles of Washington in recent years has been watching Grover Norquist eluding once again a contingent of media foxhounds in full bray, yelping and jumping at the bottom of a tree in which, they are convinced, they have finally trapped the prominent anti-tax guru. One such episode took place in November 2012, shortly after President Obama’s reelection—and at a time when official Washington faced a choice between a grand fiscal compromise and the austere budget cuts that would kick in automatically under what was known as “sequestration.”

Congress would never allow sequestration to take effect, according to the media wisdom of the day, and hence Republicans would have to accept tax increases as part of the alternative fiscal bargain. That would mean the GOP would have to repudiate the famous Tax Pledge devised by Norquist and signed by nearly every congressional Republican. That, in turn, would destroy the force and power of that nettlesome Tax Pledge—and IRS-bookdislodge Norquist from his prominent place as Horatio at the bridge of tax policy.

[Order Grover Norquist’s book “End the IRS Before It Ends Us: How to Restore a Low Tax, High Growth, Wealthy America“, Center Street, 352 pp., $20.25 at Amazon.com]

This particular episode took place around the luncheon table of the Center for the National Interest (publisher of this website and its allied magazine), and the media hounds went after Norquist with the glee of those who know they are about to witness a political comeuppance of serious magnitude. Through it all, the imperturbable Norquist confidently and quietly held his ground—never ruffled, never riled, never lacking in magnanimity, seemingly sure of his aces. “This isn’t my first rodeo,” he said, and laid out a lucid political explanation for why his Pledge would hold, even in the face of such tectonic pressures.

[Read the full text of Robert W. Merry‘s review here at The National Interest]

The next day, the Los Angeles Times offered an analysis entitled, “Grover Norquist the has-been.” It proclaimed that “even he can’t ignore the signs that his hold is slipping.” The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, after quoting Norquist’s insistence that congressional Republicans would adhere to their anti-tax heritage, even in the face of the looming sequestration decision, wrote with a smirk, “Also, the dog ate Norquist’s homework.” He added that Norquist’s confidence on the matter suggested he “had been on a long trip in a remote location.” The New York Times, in a front-page feature, suggested Norquist “finds himself in a tricky spot.”

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What happened next? The sequestration deadline came and went, no grand fiscal compromise emerged, the austere spending cuts went into effect, and Norquist’s famous Pledge remained intact, as did the political standing and influence of Norquist himself. Dana Milbank never got around to revealing to his readers his own remote location whenIRS_logothe dog was eating his prediction of Norquist’s political demise. Truly, Norquist is a Washington figure to be reckoned with.

Now he bundles up his anti-tax sentiments and political assessments into a sprightly volume entitled: End the IRS Before It Ends Us: How to Restore a Low Tax, High Growth, Wealthy America. It’s a book of many parts: primer on America’s tax history and growth in government; polemical expose of liberal legerdemain on the issue; policy recommendations for smaller government, strong economic growth and a streamlined tax system; and paean to the energy and efficiency of unfettered capitalism. He even provides an amusing narrative of the earnest efforts of his adversaries to obliterate his famous Pledge, all to no avail.

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The reason they can’t obliterate it, writes Norquist, is that the American people are on to the ominous consequences of inexorable governmental expansion and fiscal incontinence. Currently, U.S. governmental spending—federal, state and local—amounts to 34 percent of the national economy, while taxes consume about 30 percent of annual IRS-symbolGDP. And what’s going to happen to tax rates and the governmental share of GDP, he asks, when it comes time to pay down the $17 trillion in federal debt (nearly $8 trillion of it added on Obama’s watch) or the $123 trillion in “unfunded liabilities” accumulated through years of irresponsible government spending?

All this has generated civic angers that in turn spawned the Tea Party phenomenon of the early Obama years—the country’s first mass movement focused primarily on governmental spending. During the week of April 15, 2009, Americans gathered across the country in more than 600—perhaps as many as a thousand—anti-spending rallies with up to a million participants. As Norquist puts it, “A wall of opposition to government spending rose up.” At the next election, Republicans campaigning against government spending and Obama’s stimulus legislation captured the House by gaining sixty-three seats in that chamber; they also picked up a net gain of six Senate seats.

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Two years later, though, the Tea Party movement seemed to have petered out. Republicans failed to oust Obama from the White House or to capture the four Senate seats needed for control of that chamber. What happened?

According to Norquist, the answer is simple. “The Tea Party didn’t fall down the stairs. It was pushed.” Read the rest of this entry »


Hillsdale College Celebrates Winston Churchill Day: 8-Volume Biography, Free Download

Winston-Churchill

Hillsdale College will celebrate Churchill Day on April 9th, the anniversary of Sir Winston S. Churchill being named an honorary U.S. citizen in 1963.

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[Free Kindle Download]

As part of the Churchill Day celebrations, Hillsdale College and RosettaBooks will offer free Kindle downloads of the official biography from April 9-11. The College will also observe the anniversary with the announcement of the Winston Churchill Endowed Scholarship and the launch of the new Churchill Project Blog.

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About the Sir Winston Churchill Project

Hillsdale College has undertaken to republish, complete, maintain in publication, and market the official biography of Sir Winston S. Churchill. Preserving the detailed and accurate account of the life and writings of Churchill is critical not only to the study of statesmanship in general, but also to the study of the principles and prudence required in foreign policy. Learn more …

Churchill In Croydon

Hillsdale College

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Japan is Paying to Have Japanese-Language Nonfiction Books Translated into English

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Government opens another front in public relations battle with China, South Korea

TOKYO— Peter Landers writes: Japan’s government is paying to have Japanese-language nonfiction books translated into English, with the first works to be produced under the program arriving in American libraries this month.

“Japan is among the top nations in the world in terms of books published, but unfortunately, they’re just published in Japanese. If they were known around the world, there are a lot of books that people would find really interesting.”

The move is one of several nontraditional public-relations steps by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, which is trying to enhance Japan’s profile among U.S. opinion leaders and the general public as it engages in a public relations battle with China and South Korea.

“Some efforts have been overtly political. South Korea has created a website in seven languages to make its case that two islets claimed by both Tokyo and Seoul rightly belong to South Korea, and last year sponsored an exhibit in France on forced prostitution by the Japanese military during World War II.”

Japan’s foreign ministry has boosted its public diplomacy budget. Measures include spending $5 million to fund a professorship in Japanese politics and foreign policy at Columbia University. Another program, begun last year, sends Japanese people from various walks of life to places like Lawrence, Kan., and Lexington, Ky., to talk about life in Japan.

The books translated into English with Japanese government funds will carry the imprint “Japan Library” and be published by the government itself—a different approach from that of some other nations that subsidize private translations. Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND: Kevin D. Williamson on Harry Reid

NR-Reid

Good piece : In honor of ‘s retirement, ‘s cover piece from June

Via 


Howell Dodd: True Fact Crime, 1953

Trufactcrimetruefact2True Fact Crime, June 1953; cover art by Howell Dodd.

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Is Russian Literature Dead?

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Is Russian literature dead?


Pulp Cover: ‘Youth Against Obscenity’

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Pulp Covers


Edgar Rice Burroughs ‘Tarzan of the Apes’

TARZAN


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