paper trail

Remembering Eric Carle; Rosa Brooks on being a volunteer cop

Rosa Brooks

Eric Carle, the picture-book author with more than seventy titles to his name, has died at the age of ninety-one. According to the New York Times, Carle sold more than 170 million copies of his books. In a 1995 interview, he talked about how he turns small ideas into full-fledged works: “You think about it, you forget about it, you obsess about it. I get depressed a lot, and that seems to precipitate things. My wife sees my mood darken and says, ‘Uh-oh, you’re ready to do a book.’” In the same article, Carle observes how he has stayed true to his childhood self: “I had a lot of feelings, philosophical thoughts—at the age of 6! The only way I got older and wiser was that I got better trained. But that brain and soul were at their peak.” For more on Carle’s life and legacy, see this remembrance on the Carle Museum website.

For the New Republic, Patrick Blanchfield reviews Rosa Brooks’s Tangled Up in Blue, an account of the author’s experiences as a volunteer cop in Washington, DC following her work as a scholar of social anthropology and in Obama’s Defense Department. The book is also “a deeply personal family memoir”: Brooks is the daughter of socialist activist and author Barbara Ehrenreich, and at points in Tangled Up in Blue wonders, “How do you rebel against a rebel?” Blanchfield asks whether Brooks’s book “will give readers a new perspective on the violence of policing—or is this just the story of how cops, and by extension her readers, can make peace with it?”

NPR checks in with Black-owned bookstores one year after the murder of George Floyd and the widespread protests against police violence created a sudden mainstream interest in antiracist literature. As the site reports, by late June, the New York Times best-seller list was largely filled by books about race and a movement to support Black bookstores created sudden, overwhelming demand. Store owners report that sales are down from the peak of last summer, but are still strong. Derrick Young, a co-owner of Mahogany Books in Washington DC, told NPR: “It is really good to see that people are sticking around and trying to do the reading necessary to really open up their minds."

For the June edition of A Public Space’s virtual book club series, poet Elisa Gabbert will lead a reading of W. G. Sebald’s The Emigrants. APS will hold an online discussion with Gabbert about the novel on June 22.

At 6pm EDT next Tuesday, Michelle Orange will discuss her new book Pure Flame, an “inquiry into the meaning of maternal legacy,” with Leslie Jamison at a virtual event hosted by Politics and Prose Bookstore. The same night, you can join Bookforum at 7pm for our issue release panel, “Truth or Dare.”