Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Tuesday Poem

P.S. Cottier is the editor of Tuesday Poem this week and she has chosen a pithy poem by Lizz Murphy, a poet from Binalong near Canberra.

Penelope says of her choice:

"I love this little poem.  It insinuates itself into the brain and jumps up and down there.

The image of two huge lips on a pogo stick raises problems for the literal minded.  How do they balance?  How do they jump up and down?

These are obviously fashion-conscious lips who like a co-ordinated wardrobe.  I love the way that the slightly old-fashioned expression 'cupid's bow' is given new life through the earlier reference to satin.
  We see the top of red lips and a real red bow; where one ends and the other starts is impossible to say.  Of course, cupid's bow refers to a bow for shooting arrows, but I defy anyone to read the poem and not to think of a bow tied around a present or a pony-tail.

Spin the poem on its side and it even looks a bit like a pogo stick jumping up and down, powered by a rather erratic rider."

JD Salinger stories published after 70 years out of print

JD Salinger
'It's unfair' … JD Salinger in 1952. Photograph: San Diego Historical Society/Getty Images

Three stories written by a young JD Salinger in the 1940s have gone on sale to the public for the first time in 70 years.

Independent publisher Devault-Graves says that Salinger's Three Early Stories is "the first legitimately published book by JD Salinger in some 50 years". The late author of The Catcher in the Rye, notoriously protective of his privacy, published nothing after the release of his story Hapworth 16, 1924 in the New Yorker, in 1965. In 1974, he told the New York Times that the release of two volumes of his uncollected short stories was "an illicit act. It's unfair. Suppose you had a coat you liked and somebody went into your closet and stole it. That's how I feel."

But, after learning of the existence of 21 stories written before the publication of Catcher in 1951 in the 2013 documentary about Salinger, publishers Tom Graves and Darrin Devault began to research rights in the stories.

They found that three - The Young Folks, Go See Eddie and Once a Week Won't Kill You - had never been registered to the author, they told Publishers Weekly. "We knew we had a shot at obtaining the rights," said Graves, "and the game began."

Obituary Note: Bel Kaufman

Shelf Awareness

Bel Kaufman, a former New York City schoolteacher whose classic first novel, Up the Down Staircase, "was hailed as a stunningly accurate portrait of life in an urban school when it was published in 1965" and has sold more than six million copies, died Friday, the New York Times reported. She was 103.

She was born in 1911 in Berlin to Russian parents and grew up in Russia. She was the granddaughter of Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem.

John Campbell of the John Campbell Agency, Kaufman's literary agent, said that "in her centenary years, Bel had very happily made the switch to digital." Open Road Media worked with Kaufman to pull together many of her unpublished short stories, published as a collection with the title La Tigresse, as well as many of her published magazine pieces, which appeared as This and That: Random Thoughts and Recollections. Open Road also has e-book editions of Up the Down Staircase and her other novel, Love, Etc. (See Open Road's video tribute to Kaufman, featuring the author, here.)

Campbell added that Love, Etc., published soon after Up the Down Staircase, was a favorite of hers and she found its sales of 300,000 copies disappointing. Open Road also has e-book editions of Up the Down Staircase and Love, Etc.

Ironically for someone whose first language was Russian, the title of the Russian edition of Kaufman's best-known work is Up the Staircase that Leads Down, Campbell said.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Man Booker longlist: 'flexibility needed' on pub dates

Ion Trewin, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation [pictured], has said "some flexibility" is required in the current year over longlist availability for the Man Booker prize.

Meanwhile Penguin has now agreed to bring forward the publication date of Ali Smith's How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton) to the second half of August (exact publication tbc).

As Jonathan Cape has brought forward publication of Howard Jacobson's J to the 14th August, while Fourth Estate is rushing Joseph O'Neill's The Dog out at the end of this month, this leaves only David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks (Sceptre) and David Nicholls' Us (Hodder) still scheduled for their original publication dates (2nd and 30th September respectively).

Carolyn Mays, Hodder & Stoughton m.d., said of the Mitchell and Nicholls novels: "The problem we have is that the two books not yet published are both books that have been literally a year in the planning. We have to balance the fact of that - the huge commitments to these books not just in the UK but all over the world - with the desire we all have to have them available for sale and all the publicity surrounding the Man Booker. We are talking about what we can do but the practicality of that is difficult - we need to juggle all these things."

Dunedin’s young poets shine

The inaugural Dunedin Secondary Schools Poetry Competition has produced some outstanding work from Dunedin’s young poets. Competition judge Sue Wootton was delighted with the quality of the 51 entries. As well as the 3 winning poems, Sue also highly commended 5 others.

“Wordsworth stated that the poet’s craft is a matter of putting ‘the best words in the best order’. The winning poems all show that quality. To use a musical analogy, each is well-tuned for the particular song it wants to sing” said Sue.
The three winning poems were works that stretched things to a more demanding level, linguistically, poetically and philosophically.

First:                         “Keeping up appearances” by Josephine Devereux (Year 13 Logan Park High School). Intelligent and tightly-written, this poem questions values, destabilises word meanings, and turns on a burning core. 
Second:                     "Gracious" by Molly Crighton (Year 9 Columba College). “Gracious” is a sophisticated sonnet with great control of rhyme and rhythm, and an elegant feel which fits its theme beautifully.
Third:                       “A man’s world” by Jacobi Kohu-Morris (Year 12 Logan Park). This poem’s witty and ironic images deconstruct and de-sanitise a historical moment, opening it up for new interpretations. 

Highly commended:    “Duteous” by Josephine Devereux (Year 13 Logan Park). Succinct, brutal writing to make a brutal point.
                                “Life is fun” by Christen Jellone (Year 9 Taieri College). Great spacing and line breaks which enhance the upbeat energy of the poem’s words.
                                “The obligation” by Josephine Devereux (Year 13 Logan Park). Prose poem which offers an intense but well-controlled glimpse of the true nature of a relationship.
                                “Violin solo” by Ellen Waite (Year 10 Columba College). Beautifully captures the sweet ache of powerful music.
                                “We’ll cross that bridge” by Abigail Nardo (Year 10 Logan Park). A poem that wittily refreshes an old metaphor.

The three winning poems will be featured on billboard posters distributed as part of National Poetry Day celebrations to shops, libraries and all Dunedin intermediate and secondary schools. 
The three winning poets won a $50 book voucher from the University Book Shop. Each winning poet and those highly commended will also read their work as part of Dunedin’s premiere National Poetry Day event. This year the event will be held from 6-7.30 pm on Friday 22 August at the Dunningham Suite, Dunedin Public Library and feature:
·         Vincent O’Sullivan (New Zealand’s Poet Laureate)
·         Helen Rickerby (Wellington poet and publisher)
·         Owen Marshall (esteemed novelist, story-writer and poet)
·         Emma Neale (Dunedin poet and novelist)

Further details available at www.writenow.org.nz

Enid Blyton's Famous Five to get big screen adventure

UK film production company Working Title acquires theatrical rights to whole library of Famous Five series

Famous Five on the cover of Five on a Treasure Island
Famous Five on the cover of Five on a Treasure Island (1942). Photograph: Alamy

Their adventures fighting smugglers, thieves and evil scientists, fuelled on a diet of potted meat sandwiches and lashings of ginger beer, have captivated children for over 70 years.
Now Enid Blyton's beloved Famous Five series is to be made into a film after UK production company Working Title acquired the theatrical rights to the books.

The production company confirmed it had recently snapped up the rights to the whole library of the children's series, spanning more than 20 books, and intends to launch a live action franchise based on the quaint adventures of Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog.

Romance Writers of America Offers Professionalism, Inclusion

Today's Feature Story:

Last week's 2014 Romance Writers of America conference was relentlessly upbeat, emphasizing professionalism and inclusion – and yes, ripped bodices and abs.

The Romance Writers of America conference offered endless opportunities for fans, aspirants, and bestselling authors to interact and self-promote.
More News from PP:

Laurie Kellogg has self-published nine romance novels since February 2012 and says she's making more money and having more fun than ever before in her life.
From the Archives:

Writing for The New Yorker, Adrienne Raphel looks back at the glory days of Harlequin Romances and looks at its acquisition by HarperCollins.

New history of New Zealand Wars out tomorrow provides acompact introduction that readers of all ages can access

28 July 2014

The New Zealand Wars
A Brief History

Matthew Wright

A new history of the New Zealand Wars out tomorrow provides a compact introduction that readers of all ages can access.

The New Zealand Wars: A Brief History shows how these conflicts shaped the way race relations developed in New Zealand, though there was never a simple division in who fought whom.

‘There were professional British soldiers and barely trained settlers,
while Maori fought on both sides depending on prior alliances and disputes,’ says author Matthew Wright.

And although they may seem distant, some of the causes of the conflicts are still manifest in modern New Zealand.

‘The wars finally came to an end not because the issues that drove them were resolved, but because both Maori and Pakeha were looking for different ways to settle their problems.

‘This is a process that continues today,’ Wright notes. ‘Some of the injustices             Matthew Wright
that triggered the wars, and others that were generated by them, have still to be resolved.’

With clear and concise text, colour illustrations and maps, The New Zealand Wars outlines this core history for modern readers.

Release Date: 29 July 2014  |   ISBN: 978-1-877514-68-5  |  RRP $29.99

Paperback, 210 x 160 mm, 88 pages, full colour        

Best-selling New Zealand “eriginal” food memoir heads for a print edition

With the help of some mouth-watering recipes and sage advice from the Duchess of Windsor – “If you don’t take care you may serve an entire meal pinkish mauve, from lobster bisque to sherbet” – Anne Else’s memoir of her food-entwined life rocketed to five stars and the No. 1 spot on Amazon’s food memoirs’ bestseller list within a few weeks of its release as an ebook original and has stayed there for months. Its publisher, Awa Press, was so impressed it decided to release a print edition. 

In The Colour of Food: A memoir of life, love and dinner, due for paperback release in September, Else writes of her life from childhood to marriage, motherhood and now, in her 60s, forging a community of new friends through her food blog Something Else to Eat. Along the way there’s feminism, divorce and remarriage, finding her birth mother, and the heartbreaking loss of her 18-year-old son Patrick and of her husband, poet Harvey McQueen, who died on Christmas Day 2010.

These tales of love, joy and sadness are seasoned with memories of the food that has enriched her life – from “shin meat stew with plump fleshy pieces of kidney” in her childhood, to Harvey’s “venison and sour cherries in a sauce made with cream, Dijon mustard and the cook’s own home-made crab-apple jelly”, and the “salade composée with good blue cheese, a sliced apple or pear and Waikanae friends’ walnuts strewn over my own rocket” that she eats alone. 

Wellington cook and food writer Lois Daish is one of many who have heaped praise on Else’s memoir. “I love this enchanting book,” she says. “Anne Else’s poignant story shines a light on how food is intertwined with the joys and sorrows of everyday life.” 

Sprinkled with recipes from each era of Anne Else’s life, The Colour of Food is a story that lingers long after the final – printed! – page has been turned.

The Colour of Food: A memoir of love, life and dinner will be released on September 6.

Picture books for children – reviews

A bereaved tortoise, a smelly dog and a book on crafts will keep kids busy through the summer months

Catherine Rayner’s malodorous tale of Smelly Louie.
Catherine Rayner’s malodorous tale of Smelly Louie.

Pockety, by Florence Seyvos, illustrated by Claude Ponti (Pushkin Children's Books £7.99), is the right name for a book that could be smuggled into a largeish pocket. It is a treasure – a real find – and one of the most enjoyable children's books I've read in a while. It defies easy categorisation. It is unfamiliar yet reads like a classic. Florence Seyvos is a prizewinning French novelist who does not patronise, short-change or underestimate her readers. She reminds one of how many children's books are marred by a soft focus, a well-intentioned belief that the world must be presented as unflaggingly cheerful. This is the story of a tortoise trying to find independence in a difficult, unpredictable world. When Pockety's companion tortoise, Thumb, dies unexpectedly, she writes letters to herself, as if from her deceased friend, to spur herself on. Claude Ponti's precise black-and-white drawings are a choice accompaniment. This is a tortoise that deserves to win every literary race. (5+; and the book might not be wasted on teenagers either.)
    Baby's Got the Blues by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by Lauren Tobia (Walker Books £11.99), is a diverting attempt to imagine what it is to be a baby: it explains that it is hard to be a wordless infant who cannot get through to his parents about his wet nappy, raging hunger and inability to walk. Tobia manages to convey the baby's desperation in a few strokes of the pen, a down-turned mouth on a potato-shaped head, mournful eyebrows, a pair of grabby hands. And even if love is wheeled out not altogether convincingly as the cure for everything (not sure that it helps with nappy rash), the story earns its feelgood finale and will boost toddlers with tiresome baby siblings as it invites them to swank about their own superior skills. (2+

    International Bestselling Crime Writer Karin Slaughter Talks at Wellington City Library

    International bestselling crime writer Karin Slaughter and Crime Watch blogger Craig Sisterson will meet for the first time, thanks to the New Zealand Book Council, Wellington City Library and Random House NZ. Karin Slaughter is visiting Auckland and Wellington as part of a worldwide tour, and will be interviewed by Sisterson about her life and her latest novel, Coptown, at the Wellington City Library from 6.00pm – 7.30pm on Tuesday 12 August.

    Set in 1970s Atlanta after the Vietnam War, Coptown follows two female police officers who are fighting to prove themselves in both a society and an institution that are wrestling with the changing ideals of the time. Slaughter paints a stark picture far removed from the kitsch 70s stereotype, where sexual harassment, racism and corruption are part of the job, and an accepted way of life.
    Since Slaughter’s hit debut in 2001, Blindsighted, she has become known for her gritty writing style, and generated a loyal base of readers worldwide. Her novels have sold in excess of 30 million copies and have been published in thirty-two different languages.

    Raised in Georgia, Slaughter credits her father with igniting her love of reading and writing, by simply taking her to their local library as a child. As a result, she is passionate about communities having free access to books, and after a meeting with the American Library Association, she was inspired to spearhead an ongoing campaign, savethelibraries.com.

    New Zealander Craig Sisterson is a proactive advocate for great writing. He founded the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel in 2010 to champion the wealth of great crime, thriller and mystery writing in New Zealand, and writes Crime Watch, a blog dedicated to readers and writers of crime: http://kiwicrime.blogspot.co.nz/. Sisterson is well known for asking in-depth, unexpected questions, which has led him to interview many of the best crime novelists writing today.

    Entry is free of charge, and audience members are promised a dynamic and engaging evening with a chance to have their copy of Coptown personally signed by Karin Slaughter.

    Meet Karin Slaughter
    Join crime blogger Craig Sisterson for a compelling interview with Karin Slaughter, the internationally bestselling US crime-writer of Unseen and Criminal, as she tours her latest release, Cop Town.
    Tuesday 12 August, 6.00pm – 7.30pm
    Ground Floor, Wellington City Library, 65 Victoria Street, Wellington

    Books available for purchase and signing courtesy of Whitcoulls.

    A single publisher going it alone won't counter the might of Amazon

    Competition between publishing houses here and in the US means they stand little chance of ending Amazon's dominance

    ebooks harpercollins
    ‘The fact remains that most general readers neither know nor care who publishes their favourite authors.’ Photograph: Alamy

    A couple of weeks ago, HarperCollins rolled out a new website in the US that allows customers to buy ebooks direct from the publisher, and will follow with a new UK site next month. It is, of course, citing it as a community-building exercise (which means brand-building), and a way of ensuring that its authors' books are always available to the public. In truth, HarperCollins is currently locked in a pricing dispute with Amazon, as are several other publishers. Amazon recently started blocking pre-orders and delaying shipments on certain Hachette titles as part of a move to remand a higher cut of the retail price.

    As Amazon currently has some 60% of the global ebook market, it is difficult to argue with. But few publishers have built viable alternative infrastructures for selling ebooks – Hachette's website just directs visitors to Amazon and iBooks, while Penguin's requires the reader to have Adobe Digital Editions installed, a whole other round of trouble.

    Sunday, July 27, 2014

    Kiwi’s love to read and vote for their top books

    Since 1998, Whitcoulls has been asking Kiwi kid’s (and adults as well) to nominate their favourite books and from Monday 28 July 2014 they get the chance to cast their votes again.

    In recent years, the most popular books have been series such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, all of which routinely appear in the top five.
    New Zealand picture books have also fared well, with Lynley Dodd’s iconic Hairy Maclary books and Craig Smith’s award-winning book, The Wonky Donkey, always appearing in the top ten. Eric Carle’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is another enduring favourite and books by Roald Dahl and Dr Seuss are always hugely popular with Kiwis.

    Whitcoulls asks New Zealanders to vote for up to three books and they can do this in one of several different ways:
    1)      Whitcoulls website www.whitcoulls.co.nz.
    2)      At their local Whitcoulls store.
    3)      Via their smart phones/tablets using a unique QR code.

    Everyone that votes will be in with a chance to win one of twenty $100 Whitcoulls Gift Cards.

    Whitcoulls Head Book Buyer Joan Mackenzie, and the ‘face’ behind Whitcoulls influential Joan’s Picks says: “In an era where, it’s often said, books and reading are under threat from new media, and time is an increasingly rare commodity, the really good news is that kids are not only still reading – but reading more than ever! We’re seeing a consistent, growing interest from young readers who are still captivated by the exploits of strong characters, and by the thrill of a really good story – and their willingness to share these enthusiasms with other kids is truly alive and well.”

    Once votes are in, the team at Whitcoulls begins the huge task of collating entries and compiling the nation’s Kids’ Top 50 books. The voting period runs for three weeks from Monday 28 July and closes on Sunday 17 August 2014. The Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 books will be announced on Monday 22 September 2014, just ahead of the school holidays. 

    Malcolm Gladwell: ‘No one thinks of me as a potential terrorist any more’

    The writer, 50, on board games, being pulled over at immigration and why he prefers a selfie

    malcolm gladwell
    Malcolm Gladwell: 'I'm comfortable with silence.' Photograph: Mike McGregor for the Observer
    I have a happy name. Glad. Well. It couldn’t be more cheery and uplifting. This is not a trivial thing; it’s possibly my parents’ greatest contribution to my wellbeing. And Malcolm seems substantial: it’s not a fly-by-night, suspicious name. It’s sturdy, forthright.

    If I’m recognised, I much prefer the selfie. Otherwise you have to recruit a third party, who then has to line it up and can’t work the phone. The whole thing lasts forever. Selfies is “Boom!” You’re done.

    The famous basketball coach John Wooden used to always say: “Be quick but don’t hurry.” Which is perfect writing advice.

    I’m comfortable with silence. My happiest memories as a child were going for walks with my father and saying nothing. I almost never felt closer to him.

    When my hair was long I was pulled over at immigration all the time. This was after 9/11, when America was in a heightened state of paranoia, and they assumed that straggly hair and a desire to bomb the United States went hand in hand. Now I’m too old to be pulled aside: I’ve moved into the innocuousness of middle age, so no one thinks of me as a potential terrorist any more.

    Gladwells don’t have tempers. I can’t remember a time any of us raised our voice. We’re not a high-strung people.

    Nora Ephron’s Quintessential Writing on the Female Experience

    Flavorwire Author Club: Nora Ephron's Quintessential Writing on the Female Experience

    Flavorwire Author Club: Nora Ephron’s Quintessential Writing on the Female Experience

    I think of the Nora Ephron essay “On Maintenance” every time I feel guilty about spending $43 on a charcoal face mask that does wonders with ingrown hairs I am now certain only I noticed. “Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death,” she writes. There are seven more paragraphs dedicated to getting rid of unwanted facial hair. Instantly I felt better about my own foolish womanhood
    . … Read More

    Saturday, July 26, 2014

    ALA Survey: 90% of Libraries Lending E-Books

    Shelf Awareness

    The Digital Inclusion Survey, conducted by the American Library Association to examine national digital trends, has found that 90% of libraries lend e-books, up from 76% in 2012, and nearly 100% percent offer digital readiness programs. The survey collected data from a nationally representative sample of public libraries at the branch/outlet level between September 3 and November 30, 2013.

    Among the Digital Inclusion Survey's findings:

    • 98% of libraries provide free public access to wi-fi, up from 89% in 2012.
    • 98% provide technology training, ranging from internet safety and privacy to coding to using social media.
    • 98% provide assistance completing online government forms.
    • 97% provide online homework help.
    • 95% offer workforce development training programs.
    • 56% offer health and wellness programs regarding developing healthy lifestyles.
    • 50% offer entrepreneurship and small business development programs.
    • Average number of computers provided by libraries is now 20, up from 16 in 2012.

    The survey also found that while most libraries have shown progress since the last national library technology study in 2012, advances are uneven. Fewer than half of rural libraries reported they increased bandwidth speeds in the last 24 months, compared with 64% of urban libraries and 56% of suburban libraries. Fewer than two-thirds of rural libraries reported having access to information technology (IT) staff, and 66% said they would like to increase their broadband capacity, but cost is the leading barrier to doing so.

    BA's Tim Godfray: 'Upbeat-ness' Evident Among U.K. Indies

    "It's been a difficult, challenging, tough trading period this past year, but we believe that we are in a better place today than we were a year ago. I think you would be very surprised to hear the upbeat-ness that is evident with so many of our members, particularly the independent booksellers.

    We are not looking at the end of the printed book. We are not looking at the end of bookshops. There has been a perceived change in that publishers are much more supportive of bookshops; and consumers, too, realize that it is really beneficial to communities to have bookshops on High Streets."

    --Tim Godfray, CEO of the Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland, in an interview with Bookselling This Week
    via Shelf Awareness

    The New York Times Book Review

    'A Spy Among Friends'

    Reviewed by WALTER ISAACSON
    Ben Macintyre's latest nonfiction thriller, "A Spy Among Friends," is about Kim Philby, the high-level British spymaster who turned out to be a Russian mole.

    Also in the Book Review

    The American Embassy in Beirut after the 1983 truck bombing that killed Robert Ames and 62 others.

    Undercover Portraits

    Kai Bird tells the story of Robert Ames, an American operative in the Middle East, while Jack Devine's memoir recounts his time helping rebel fighters battle Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
    Dean Koontz

    Dean Koontz: By the Book

    The author, most recently, of "The City" is a fan of Marilynne Robinson and Cormac McCarthy: "Both offer voluptuous yet highly controlled language and profound moral purpose."
    Amy Rowland

    'The Transcriptionist'

    Reviewed by AMANDA EYRE WARD
    Amy Rowland's solitary heroine is unhinged by a harrowing stream of disembodied words.
    Olivier as Uncle Vanya in 1927, at age 19.


    Reviewed by JOHN SIMON
    A biography of the "strangely hidden" man who, since boyhood, wanted to be "the greatest actor in the world."
    Brando in

    'Brando's Smile'

    Reviewed by WESLEY MORRIS
    A biographer of Marlon Brando delves into the archives and tries to demystify her complex subject.
    Elia Kazan, with both arms raised, as Agate Keller in the Group Theater's production of

    'The Selected Letters of Elia Kazan'

    Elia Kazan's letters underscore his central importance in the maturing of American film and theater at midcentury.


    Reviewed by ALISON McCULLOCH
    Tim Winton's hero, a disgraced and despairing activist in Western Australia, is called to help a childhood friend.

    'Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open'

    Reviewed by BARRY SCHWABSKY
    A biography of the painter who crossed paths with everyone from Kate Moss to the Kray brothers.

    'The Golden Age Shtetl'

    Reviewed by JONATHAN ROSEN
    A history of Jewish life in the villages of Eastern Europe before the period familiar to American Jews.

    'All the Rage'

    By A. L. KENNEDY
    Reviewed by MOLLY YOUNG
    Cruelty and lust predominate in A. L. Kennedy's stories.
    Brando Skyhorse

    'Take This Man: A Memoir'

    Reviewed by RHODA JANZEN
    Brando Skyhorse's turbulent childhood was built on myth.
    The Times Square theater district, circa 1920s.

    'Supreme City'

    Reviewed by BEVERLY GAGE
    In the 1920s, Manhattan was transformed into America's entertainment and communications epicenter.

    'Next Life Might Be Kinder'

    This novel's protagonist cannot surmount his grief over his wife's murder.

    'Liberalism: The Life of an Idea'

    Reviewed by ALAN WOLFE
    A history of liberalism, told through the lives and ideas of a dynamic group of European and American thinkers.
    Ellen Willis, circa 1970.

    'The Essential Ellen Willis'

    Reviewed by CARLENE BAUER
    Ellen Willis, who emerged in the 1960s, asked serious questions about culture and politics.
    Kseniya Melnik

    'Snow in May'

    Reviewed by MOLLY ANTOPOL
    These stories portray women's lives in Magadan, Russia, a town known as an entryway to gulag labor camps.
    Lisa O'Donnell

    'Closed Doors'

    Reviewed by ANDREW ERVIN
    A boy in a remote Scottish town tries to understand the terrible thing that has happened to his mother.

    'Stuff Matters'

    Reviewed by ROSE GEORGE
    Why do paper clips bend? What makes elastic stretchy? A scientist examines the ubiquitous substances we take for granted.