Living the Book Life
Book Lists, Reviews, and Recommendations by Juliana Aldous Vol. 2 #4
Protect the Creative Economy Coalition
This week an alliance of author, publisher, and copyright industry advocacy groups launched The Creative Economy Coalition. In a press release, they stated their first priority is “combatting a series of unconstitutional state bills that would artificially depress the value of literary works and the contracts that govern intellectual property licenses.” Those on board include the American Booksellers Association, The Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers to name a few.
We really hosed the creative folks starting with the music business and then the news and publishing. I will always and forever blame the Zuckerbergian billionaire philosophy of “move fast and break things” along with the flawed thinking expressed in books like Free: The Future Radical Price by Chris Anderson for the state of things today.
The New York Times reports how textbook publishers are responding to DeSantis’s Stop W.O.K.E. Act as they work their way through Florida’s new textbook process. They use a very eye-opening look at how Rosa Parks is described in three versions of text from a textbook by Studies Weekly as well as other examples. It is a lesson in real-time of how we can lose the stories that matter in history if we are not vigilant. Note that Studies Weekly has since withdrawn from the state’s review.
One group fighting back in Florida is the Florida Freedom to Read Project.
Folio and SEISMIC
This past weekend I trekked on over to Seattle to visit a good friend and to stop in at Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum where there were several events related to the AWP Conference happening including a Happy Hour celebration with Seattle City of Literature with readings to celebrate the publication of their essay collection SEISMIC. If you go to their website you can download a copy. There were readings by editor Kristen Millares Young and three former Seattle Civic Poets, including Anastacia Reneé, Claudia Castro Luna, and Jourdan Imani Keith. The building was packed! So excited to see people out and about celebrating writing and literature.
RIP John Jakes
We lost author John Jakes this week as reported in The New York Times. Jakes wrote over 60 novels and is probably best known by those of us who lived through the 1970s and 1980s as the author of The Kent Family Chronicles and The North and South Civil War trilogy. I’ll always remember shifting and shelving those big fat paperbacks at Waldenbooks back in the late 80s.
Check out a sexy young Patrick Swayze in John Jake’s North and South and Andrew Stevens in Jake’s The Bastard back when this passed for prestige programming.
Year of Wonder …make it two or three
I’ve been slowly making my way through Year of Wonder: Classical Music to Enjoy Day by Day by Clemency Burton-Hill. This is my second year—and I’m proud that I finally finished the months of February and January. I highly recommend this if you want to dip your toes into classical music.
Okay, I’m a hypocrite. Remember at the beginning of this newsletter when I wrote about how we “hosed the creative folks” with our mishandling of intellectual property? That is the same me that also looks up every classical piece in Year of Wonder on Youtube to instantly play it. I both love access to all the content and feel bad that artists are making less. What a world!
Looking for more creativity in your life, check out the Substack Science of Creativity by Annie Murphy Paul. I love this recent post about pausing to observe your surroundings like a child.
Pride and Puzzlement Completed!
The temperatures here on the Kitsap Peninsula have hovered between freezing and the 40s in the past few weeks and it was good to have an excuse to stay indoors. I had already forced our middle child to watch a Jane Austen movie marathon—so I decided to follow that up and break out Pride and Puzzlement: A Jane Austen Puzzle. Book puzzles are the best. The Borrowed Kitchen Bakery here in Kingston sells both bread and books and I was delighted to find a selection of more book puzzles to complete.
We completed our long read of Middlemarch by George Eliot. I highly recommend not starting with this 19th-century tome until you’ve had some Austen, Dickens, Hugo, or Tolstoy under your belt. But then, do read it. I’m putting together some links about Middlemarch which I’ll publish later.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Literature and the New Culture Wars by Deborah Appleman
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell
Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum Events I’m Attending
Drinks, Drugs & Debauchery: A History of Seattle’s Prohibition with Brad Holden
I hope to see you there! Check out all upcoming Folio events.
If you love books and conversation consider becoming a member of Folio or supporting Folio through a donation. All books linked above also lead to Folio’s Bookshop.org site and purchasing a book will also support Folio.
What is this?
Right now, this is my sandbox to play around in, an outlet for writing about books, and whatever interests me at the moment.