paper trail

Jan 19, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

Tamara Chalabi

Tonight at the Barnes and Noble on the Upper East side of Manhattan, Tamara Chalabi discusses her new memoir Late for Tea in the Deer Palace, a chronicle of growing up in Iraq as the daughter of the controversial Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi. Just don’t ask Tamara about her father’s role in cheerleading the US into war, a subject she devotes precious little ink to in her story, as Bookforum reviewer Aram Roston found: “it's perhaps too much to ask for honest insights from Tamara Chalabi into her father."

Harper’s literary editor Ben Metcalf was a key figure in the magazine’s recent efforts to unionize its staff. Now, in a strange twist, the publication’s owner, the longtime liberal John “Rick” McArthur, is trying to lay Metcalf off. The union is calling it “retaliation.”

The new edition of FSG’s blog Work in Progress is out, and includes biographers Justin Spring and Wendy Moffat’s video for the “It Gets Better” campaign, which is designed to assure bullied LGBT teens that life will improve as they become openly gay adults. Moffat’s subject, E. M. Forster (who once wrote "How annoyed I am with Society for wasting my time by making homosexuality criminal"), witnessed, according to Moffat, “huge changes in the lives of gay men,” and found a partner whom he stayed with for more than fifty years. Spring’s subject, Samuel Steward, is perhaps more inspirational to teens, as he was a professor turned super-cool tattoo artist, Kinsey sex researcher, author and artist, who, by mid-life, Spring says, “ran a fantastic tattoo parlor in Chicago and had an incredible sex life.”

You can read Lolita, and savor the great novel’s heady mix of sumptuous prose and treacherous morality, or you can do as Natalie Portman did, and just carry it as a chic, runway-ready clutch. Here’s how its done. But please don’t do it.

How Smartphones make us look dumb.