Moscow-based journalist Masha Gessen has signed on with Riverhead to write the first book about the Tsarnaev brothers, the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing. According to the press release, the book will “explain who the brothers were, where they came from, what shaped them, and how they came to do what they appear to have done. From their displaced beginnings, as descendants of ethnic Chechens deported to Central Asia in the Stalin era, it will follow the brothers from strife-ridden Kyrgyzstan to war-torn Dagestan, and then, as new émigrés, to the looking-glass, utterly disorienting peace and order of Cambridge, Mass.” There’s no word yet on a title or when the book is expected to come out.
The Atlantic is launching a new line of e-books that will be made up of “original long-form pieces between 10,000 and 30,000 words, and curated archival collections that span the magazine’s 155-year history and feature some of the best-loved voices in American letters.”
Meanwhile, Routledge is launching a new critical studies journal devoted to the finer things in life. Porn Studies, which will debut in 2014, is described as ““the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal” about “cultural products and services designated as pornographic.” It will be edited by two British academics.
When is a book more than a book? When it’s also a human shield: The New Yorker’s Page Turner blog reports on an art exhibition in Brooklyn that showcases the writing and ephemera (like book shields) produced by radical activists associated with Occupy Wall Street and the movement to keep Cooper Union from charging tuition.
From 1976 to 2001, Peter Payack of Cambridge ran an underground service called “Phone-a-Poem.” It worked like this: people who called Payack’s number would have their calls picked up by an answering machine that would play a recording of a poet reading their work. Over the years, poets like Allen Ginsberg, Donald Hall, and Denise Levertov contributed to the project, and now all the recordings will be archived at Harvard.
Steven Soderbergh is currently writing a crime mystery set in Amsterdam on Twitter.