paper trail

Revisiting John Lewis’s National Book Award speech; Sloane Crosley sells novel

Rep. John Lewis in 2006. Photo: US Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and many others are paying tribute to John Lewis, the Civil Rights leader and Georgia congressman who died on Friday. On Twitter, political correspondent Alex Burns calls attention to a passage from David Halberstam’s The Children, in which one subject interviewed states that Lewis’s words “might have well been carved in granite.” “That young man is pure of heart.” Here is a video in which a deeply moved Lewis accepts the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2016 for the graphic memoir March. “This is unreal. This is unbelievable. As some of you know, I grew up in rural Alabama, very very poor, very few books in our home. And I remember in 1956, when I was sixteen years old, some of my brothers and sisters and cousins going down to the public library and trying to get library cards, and we were told that the library was for whites only. . . . And to come here, and to receive this award . . . it’s too much. Thank you. . . . I love books.”

Film executive Jeff Kwatinetz is planning to produce a film based on the new unauthorized biography of Matt Drudge, Matthew Lysiak’s The Drudge Revolution, which will be released on July 28.

As Barnes & Noble stores reopen, many of them with new designs, the company “looks ahead.” CEO James Daunt believes “that bookstores are fairly well constructed to operate in a coronavirus environment, since many, especially B&N outlets, are relatively large and can accommodate social distancing.”

Book deals: Hanover Square Press has bought Daily Beast editor-at-large Goldie Taylor’s memoir for a reported mid-six figures. According to the publisher, the book will recall Taylor’s youth in St. Louis after her father was murdered. The memoir will be released in the winter of 2022. Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s MCD imprint has purchased Sloane Crosley’s “twisted comedy cum mystery” Cult, which will be published in early 2022.

The LA Times called author Susan Orlean this weekend to ask her about her popular, free-associative, “really drunk” Tweets, in which she announced that she was “sick and tired of everything,” wondered about her “drunk comfort animal” (her cat), and remembered, out of the blue: “I@had no idea I made yogurt today. Wow.” “It was all real,” Orlean told the LAT. “I wish I were that good at crafting a fake drunken rant. This was what really happened: I came home and wanted my cat and I wanted candy and everyone was watching a movie and ignoring me. It was all completely authentic.”

Poet and critic Geoffrey O’Brien—author of Sonata for Jukebox and Stolen Glimpses, among other books—has written an essay about Preston Sturges’s 1941 comedy The Lady Eve, starring Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck, which was just reissued by the Criterion Collection. O’Brien writes of the movie’s dialogue: “Sturges’s special pleasure in the nuances of every variety of linguistic fakery, homiletic banality, maudlin baloney, oily politesse, and officious pronouncement was offset beautifully by his flair for the deflating vernacular of the American street corner.”

In a virtual event that will take place tonight at 7:30pm EST, Douglas A. Martin, author of numerous books of poetry and fiction, will discuss his book Branwell: A Novel of the Brontë Brother, with Darcey Steinke.