paper trail

Lizzie Johnson talks wildfires and infrastructure; Joumana Khatib profiles novelist Rabih Alameddine

Lizzie Johnson. Photo: Scott Strazzante 

At The Nation, Emma Hager interviews Lizzie Johnson, one of the first American reporters to cover fire full-time, and the author of Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive and American Wildfire, an examination of the 2018 Camp “megafire.” Terminology used to describe increasingly destructive fires has changed rapidly, Johnson notes: “There was the Thomas Fire in 2017, which was the biggest in state history, and it held that title for less than a year before the Mendocino Complex Fire toppled it. And then in 2020 we had the ‘gigafire,’ which was the first time we had ever used that term to describe more than a million acres burned. So even the phrases that we use start to become outdated, because these fires are outpacing our ways of describing them.”

Atticus Lish will discuss his new novel The War for Gloria with Michele Filgate over Zoom in an event hosted by Community Bookstore on September 8.

For the New York Times, Joumana Khatib profiles Lebanese American novelist Rabih Alameddine. His latest book, The Wrong End of the Telescope, follows a trans doctor who cares for Syrian refugees. Alameddine tells Khatib: “I always get accused by the Lebanese that I’m writing for a Western audience. I get accused by the West that I’m writing for a Lebanese audience. The truth is, I don’t care about either of them.”

Jennifer Wilson reviews Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You for the New Republic: “If her first novel, Conversations With Friends, and Normal People could be gobbled up in a single sitting, Beautiful World, Where Are You actively resists the politics of easy consumption, perhaps seeking some kind of moral victory in what some might consider artistic defeat.” Still, Wilson writes, Rooney’s third book ultimately “capitulates to genre expectations . . . leaving us with a conventional bourgeois story that wants us to know it considered the alternatives, but decided to go with something a little more, well—marketable.”

The Brooklyn Public Library has an open call for community partners, who will receive up to $10,000 to work with libraries to develop new programs, events, and resources. To sign up for an information session, visit the library’s Incubator program website.

The Library of Congress and NPR have announced a partnership with the National Book Festival. Journalists from NPR with Festival authors for a series of interviews hosted at different podcasts.