paper trail

Aug 29, 2013 @ 12:30:00 am

In response to widespread opposition over a plan to scrap centuries-old book stacks at the New York Public Library’s flagship 42nd Street branch, NYPL President Anthony Marx has come up with a new proposal, which he unveiled this week to the Wall Street Journal. Instead of getting rid of the stacks to make room for a new circulating library, the revised design will incorporate the stacks “as a prominent feature” into the library. According to the Journal, the new design will also “make a section of the historic stacks accessible to the public for the first time.”

In a review of two memoirs—one by musician-writer Ed Sanders, the other by sci-fi writer Samuel Delany—former Village Voice writer-editor Robert Christgau (a/k/a the Dean of Rock Criticism) praises what he likes about autobiographies (thoughtful writing about sex, for one thing), and reveals that he’s writing a memoir of his own.

When Japanese gangsters aren’t extorting businesses or engaging in other shady activities, some of them are contributing to Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo, the Yakuza’s official magazine. Though it’s a new publication, Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo has a circulation of 27,000, in part because every Yakuza member gets an issue. The magazine debuted not long after a slew of bad publicity for the Yakuza: A number of civilians were recently killed during a protracted turf war with a rival gang, and the organization has suffered from a decline in members and new anti-gang legislation.

Mary McCarthy’s The Group turns fifty this week, and at Flavorwire, Michelle Dean hails it as a “pioneer of the young-ladies-come-to-New-York-and-get-jobs-and-date genre that sustains women’s narratives from Sylvia Plath to Lena Dunham.”

In an essay on Andrea Barrett at the New Republic, Juliet Lapidos poses the question of whether fiction writers, like reporters, can have a beat.

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin, has acquired the archive of the Dominican-American author Julia Alvarez. Alvarez is a poet, essayist, and the author of a number of novels including How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies. The archive, which sold for $400,000, includes manuscripts and drafts of her work, and correspondence with writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Edwidge Danticat, Dana Gioia, and Marilyn Hacker.