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In a speech to the Mills College class of 1983, Ursula K. Le Guin set out to talk “like a woman.” She said, “It’s going to sound terrible” --- because instead of deluging the graduates with golden promises of success, she spoke to them of children, failure and dark places. So I decided, in remembering Le Guin, to “sound terrible,” too: to talk like a woman, despite the warning voices in my head that it’s too personal, too egotistical, not intellectual enough. Panegyrists, those voices assure me, should be world-historical, big-picture, profound. But I’m simply trying to get at what she meant to me.
I first discovered Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series while volunteering at the local library in the seventh grade. I overheard a patron come up to the librarian with a copy of Q IS FOR QUARRY and asked her if she had the unreleased R yet. The idea that there was a series of books that was released in alphabetical order delighted my OCD. I went over to the mystery shelf, picked up an omnibus of A through C, and devoured it in two weeks.
"I decided to devote my life to telling the story because I felt that having survived I owe something to the dead. And anyone who does not remember betrays them again.” Elie Wiesel --- the man who gave voice to the voiceless, urged us toward understanding, reminded us to remember, fought for justice, inspired us to act bravely, and astonished and taught us with his unforgettable, poignant and absolutely indispensable works of literature --- died on July 2, 2016 in New York at the age of 87.
In a deeply felt blow to the American contemporary canon, one of the champion authors of 20th-century Southern literature has passed away. Pat Conroy, author of the seminal THE PRINCE OF TIDES and THE GREAT SANTINI, was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Early Saturday morning, his Facebook page notified us that he “left this world Friday, March 4, 2016...surrounded by his family and friends in his Beaufort home overlooking the marshes he so loved.”
Professor Robert J. Norrell has held the Bernadotte Schmitt Chair of Excellence since 1998. He writes mainly about American race relations, including his most recent biography, ALEX HALEY: And the Books That Changed the Nation, which focuses on the rise to national celebrity and great literary influence of Haley. In this piece written exclusively for, Professor Norrell discusses the roots of autobiographical storytelling in African American culture --- it was one of the very first genres embraced --- and the earlier works that he believes had the greatest impact on Haley’s writing and his struggle to tell his own story.
This is exciting news for mystery fans, along with fans of the prolific writer Max Allan Collins. The five early Quarry novels by Collins will be re-released with gorgeous Robert McGinnis pulp covers between now and March by Hard Case Crime.
Shane White is the Challis Professor of History and an Australian Professorial Fellow in the History Department at the University of Sydney specializing in African American history. He has authored or co-authored five books and collaborated in the construction of the website Digital Harlem. In his latest book, PRINCE OF DARKNESS: The Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street's First Black Millionaire, the eminent historian reveals the larger-than-life story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, an African American man who wheeled and dealed in the lily white business world and defied every convention of his time. Here, White talks about the shocking headline that initially drew him to Hamilton’s story, and how Hamilton defied the odds to become one of the most successful African American men of his time.
There are certain moments in my adventures in the publishing business that stand out --- ones that I will remember for a long time. Amongst many evenings of author meetings and book discussions, one dinner in July 2012 is certainly among the most memorable.
With all due respect to professors of U.S. history, if you want to give yourself a crash course in some of the significant moments in 19th- and 20th-century America, one of the best and most entertaining ways to start would be to build a syllabus from the works of E. L. Doctorow. The celebrated author of such historical novels as RAGTIME, WORLD’S FAIR and my personal favorite, BILLY BATHGATE, died of lung cancer this past Tuesday. He was 84.
Anthony M. Amore is no stranger to the world of art crime: Not only is he the head of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, he also serves as trustee of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art. Art theft is a captivating subject because it combines the high world of art with the grittier crime world...and, let’s face it, everyone loves a good heist (except, perhaps, its victim). In THE ART OF THE CON, Amore shares his considerable knowledge to tell the stories of some of history’s most notorious yet untold cons. Here, he talks about his favorite art theft book --- besides his own, of course. Hint: It’s not what you think!