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This book – by Nathacha Appanah, translated from the French by Geoffrey Strachan – is reviewed by me in today’s Star Tribune, and comes to us from Graywolf Press.
There’s a lot to love about this story.
Photo: Friends of Stony Stratford Library via Facebook
…Which brings us to the Friends of Stony Stratford Library (UK) who organised their ‘Wot No Books’ campaign and harnessed the power of social networking to get the word out. Following the spread of news via Facebook and Twitter, the library’s entire collection of 16,000 books has all been loaned out – at one point forcing librarians to stamp 380 books per hour. The reason for this extraordinary action was to demonstrate the void that would be left behind if the library was closed down, as is planned by the Milton Keynes Council…
Today’s mail brought a review copy of The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise. (Verso, March 2011)
A long-suffering employee in a big corporation has summoned up the courage to ask for a raise. But as he runs through the coming encounter in his mind, his neuroses come to the surface: What’s the best day to see the boss? What if he doesn’t offer you a seat when you go into his office? And should you ask that tricky question about his daughter’s illness?
The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise is a hilarious account of an employee losing his identity––and possibly his sanity––as he tries to put on the most acceptable face for the corporate world, with its rigid hierarchies and hostility to ideas and innovation. If he follows a certain course of action, so this logic goes, he will succeed––but, in accepting these conditions, are his attempts to challenge his world of work doomed from the outset?
When I am dead and my son comes to empty my house, he will find a small suitcase on top of my wardrobe crammed with the erasers I that I have amassed throughout my life. On every trip I have made, whether on the island or abroad, I have never been able to restrain myself, I have always bought erasers of different colors and sizes. My son will be baffled, he will perceive it as an old man’s whim. Perhaps I should explain to him that it has been my particular way of frustrating time’s attrition, postponing death and sustaining the illusion that one can always erase everything and make a fresh start.
- From THE LAST BROTHER, by Nathacha Appanah
In the summer of 1955, Frederick Baldwin, a college student at Columbia University, set out on a pilgrimage of sorts, hoping to meet Pablo Picasso. Baldwin traveled first to Le Havre(presumably by boat), then headed south, down to Vallauris and Cannes, until he eventually reached Picasso’s home on the Riviera, known as Villa la Californie. It took a little craftiness and moxie, but the young American gained entrance into Picasso’s studio. And there he was, the great painter himself, wearing shorts, sandals and not much else.
More than five decades later, Baldwin has produced an elegant e-book (available for free right here) that uses photographs and text to preserve the memory of this defining moment.
This is where self-publishing comes into its own – a project that might or might not have been accepted by one of the big houses, but was instead directed entirely by the author, a project not for profit but purely for the sake of sharing an experience. (via open culture)