“After two years of careful reading, moving backwards through time, Robert McCrum has concluded his selection of the 100 greatest nonfiction books. Take a quick look at five centuries of great writing.” — The Guardian
Includes: Former President of the United States, Barack Obama, Betty Friedan, Edward Said, George Orwell, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Michael Herr, Naomi Klein, Oliver Sacks, Susan Sontag, Virginia Woolf, and many more.
From Flavorwire: “The press whirlwind for Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad which is being touted as his masterpiece, continues unabated. And the author is remarkably self-aware and smart about both the topical nature of his book in a moment of civil rights protest like we haven’t seen decade in an interview with New York Magazine‘s Boris Kachka. It’s fascinating to watch a writer having a big moment reflect on that moment with (at least what appears to be) genuine equanimity and understanding.
Whitehead talked about the racial politics of the moment, writing a “big serious novel,” and maturing as a person and writer.” [Read More]
Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie writes a phrase of “Be-Bop” music on the blackboard in New York, May 1, 1947. (AP Photo)
It’s a little known fact that bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie actually ran for president of the United States back in 1964:
“What began as one of Dizzy’s famous practical jokes, and a way to raise money for CORE (Congress for Racial Equality) and other civil rights organizations became something more, a way for Dizzy’s fans to imagine an alternative to the “millionaire’s-only” club represented by Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater.”
In an historical first, the President of the United States sits down to interview an American woman writer about her life and work
From The New York Review of Books:
The President: Well, as you know—I’ve told you this—I love your books. Some listeners may not have read your work before, which is good, because hopefully they’ll go out and buy your books after this conversation.
I first picked up Gilead, one of your most wonderful books, here in Iowa. Because I was campaigning at the time, and there’s a lot of downtime when you’re driving between towns and when you get home late from campaigning. And you and I, therefore, have an Iowa connection, because Gilead is actually set here in Iowa.
And I’ve told you this—one of my favorite characters in fiction is a pastor in Gilead, Iowa, named John Ames, who is gracious and courtly and a little bit confused about how to reconcile his faith with all the various travails that his family goes through. And I was just—I just fell in love with the character, fell in love with the book, and then you and I had a chance to meet when you got a fancy award at the White House. And then we had dinner and our conversations continued ever since.
So anyway, that’s enough context. You just have completed a series of essays that are not fiction, and I had a chance to read one of them about fear and the role that fear may be playing in our politics and our democracy and our culture.* And you looked at it through the prism of Christianity and sort of the Protestant traditions that helped shape us, so I thought maybe that would be a good place to start. (more…)