Thursday, December 30, 2021


Dismay as UK’s first specialist Black bookshop forced to close

New Beacon Books in north London announces it will close and move online only after more than 55 years

Wednesday, December 29, 2021


Austin Public Library condemns Texas book bans, censorship.

‘Freedom to read is a right that must be protected in our schools and public libraries, and we must not give in to the vocal few that want to speak for the many…’

Friday, December 24, 2021


‘I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package,’ she once wrote. ‘I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.’

                                           -Joan Didion

Monday, December 20, 2021

Christopher Hitchens Was Fearless. Graydon Carter his old editor at ‘Vanity Fair’ thinks about him in ‘The Atlantic’:

Thursday, December 16, 2021


from the cover story in the new ‘Atlantic’:

‘When a local newspaper vanishes, research shows, it tends to correspond with lower voter turnout, increased polarization, and a general erosion of civic engagementMisinformation proliferates. City budgets balloon, along with corruption and dysfunction. The consequences can influence national politics as well; an analysis by Politico found that Donald Trump performed best during the 2016 election in places with limited access to local news.’

Tuesday, December 14, 2021


AS I HELD THE SIGN YESTERDAY on Chambers Street a car pulled up with the side window down and a 50-something guy from the islands said ‘I completely agree with that. If they can’t do that, they can’t do anything’.


The author discusses “Lu, Reshaping,” her story from the latest issue of ‘The New Yorker’:

Saturday, December 11, 2021

 The first Nobel peace prize for journalists since 1935 shouldn’t obscure the fact that record numbers are in prison, facing intimidation or murder. A piece by Joel Simon in ‘The Guardian’:

Friday, December 10, 2021


FROM MY EXPERIENCE of holding the sign again and setting the alarm to get up and moving around with purpose to get ready to go in the morning, making sure I have my mask and my gloves and my phone and my subway card, it’s great to go out. The staying home bit got old. Depressing in its seclusion and routine. Today a guy I have seen frequently while I’m downtown on the sidewalk with my sign as he walked by flashed me a peace sign and said Happy Friday! For almost two years I wasn’t sure what day it was.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

The ‘1619’ Project and the Demands of Public History

The ambitious ‘Times’ endeavor, now in book form, reveals 
the difficulties that greet a journalistic project when it aspires 
to shift a founding narrative of the past. In ‘The New Yorker’:

Tuesday, December 7, 2021


Malcolm X’s former prison cell becomes first of 1,000 planned ‘freedom libraries’

The first of the planned amenities for US prisoners opens in the Massachusetts jail where the campaigner was incarcerated in the 1940s:

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Writing with Fire, a new documentary film about women journalists in India. The filmmakers discuss it here, on PBS:

Tuesday, November 30, 2021


A COUPLE MORNINGS AGO WHILE I HELD THE SIGN, a Black woman looking stylish and cool in gray boots and gray jeans and a gray puffy coat and a gray winter beanie came by and pulled her mask with rhinestones on it down and said ‘Fight the Power, Baby!’

Friday, November 12, 2021

In Angela Merkel: Portraits 1991—2021, a new book arriving from Taschen this winter, photographer Herlinde Koelbl gathers three decades’ worth of portraits of the German chancellor, tracing the extraordinary arc of her political career:

Monday, November 8, 2021

Nikole Hannah-Jones, Creator of the 1619 ProjectKeeps Her Eyes on the Prize

‘I am still, in many ways, this girl from nowhere who had to prove myself in every space I’ve ever been in,’ she says. ‘And I always feel like I have to fight and defend myself, even when I’m at a point when I don’t have anything else to prove.’ This is in the new ‘Vanity Fair’:

Saturday, November 6, 2021



‘For months now, there has been building pressure from right-wing groups like No Left Turn in Education who have been setting up adults to go after books and even displays in public and school libraries.’ (from the piece below that was in ‘Harper’s Bazaar’):

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

SO SINCE THE PANDEMIC STARTED I hadn’t been on Chambers Street with the sign at 8:00 like I used to be. Today, the mayoral election over, seemed like a time to go back. I was half-hesitant. It was a different world now. I was 74. Who needs an old guy with his same old sign. But I went and everybody on the wide sidewalk had a mask on. But I saw those faces I used to see. They saw me. My eyes almost watered. Some said they’d looked for me every day. People who’d never seen me nodded at the sign’s message or gave a strong thumbs-up. One woman said, That’s absolutely the truth! She pulled her mask down a bit so I’d hear. One woman said, Amen.

Glory Edim — whose next anthology, On Girlhood, is out now — picks the books that shaped her:

Thursday, October 28, 2021


The Department of Justice states, ‘The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence and crime is wedded to reading failure. Over 70% of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth-grade level.’

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

I WAS JUST IN THREE LIVES BOOKSTORE. The owner says the new Sally Rooney could turn out to be their biggest-selling novel ever.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021


               Tyehimba Jess, American poet.

Poetry is changing. New style. New voices of color. Here’s an article about some of the new poets from CNN:

Monday, October 11, 2021


                                     (I took this photo last week on Union Square in NYC)

I loved going to the library. It was the first time I ever saw Black newspapers and magazines like JET, Ebony, the Baltimore Afro-American, or the Chicago Defender. And I’ll never forget my librarian.’
           ― John Robert Lewis, March: Book One

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday, October 3, 2021


‘Even before he started elementary school, his mother had taught him how to read.’

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Tracy K. Smith was Poet Laureate of the country. A book of her collected and new poems comes out next week. It’s called Such Color. Here she talks with TIME magazine:

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

First paycheck I get, I thought, I'm going to get myself a room near the downtown L.A. Public Library.’

― Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye

Monday, September 20, 2021

I had told myself and others and you that I’d probably get back to holding my sign this week. It had been since the pandemic started that I’d felt fulfilled like holding the sign fulfilled me. I set the alarm a little earlier last night. I put the sign out and the big bag I carry it in like I always did. But I woke up at 4-something this morning and couldn’t sleep and thought about today and decided there so much shakiness going on in the schools to get it right with vaccines and masks that me on the sidewalk with my sign would be just another thing. I’ll wait.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


I SHOULD because school is back in session this week be holding my sign but with the difficulty for everyone starting up again I thought I’d wait a bit. Maybe next week.


Books on Race Filled Best-Seller Lists Last Year. Publishers Took Notice.

Titles that the houses signed in 2020 are now entering the world, with authors, agents and editors anxious to see how they do. Here’s a ‘New York Times’ piece about it:

Thursday, September 9, 2021

‘There is no reason why a nation as rich as ours should be blighted by poverty, disease, and illiteracy.’

—Coretta Scott King        


Monday, September 6, 2021

THE UN ESTIMATES THAT, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, about 1.5 billion children were out of school during the pandemic, with at least a third unable to access remote learning.

Now, as much of the developing world faces a combination of interrelated crises including extreme poverty, Covid-19, climate breakdown and intercommunal violence, there are growing fears for a ‘lost generation of learners’. (from ‘The Guardian’ article below):

Sunday, September 5, 2021



I bought three books

the other day

at the store I

go to

the store my daughter used to

go in almost every day when

she lived in that neighborhood.

I had them send a fourth book

to a friend.

No I don’t need a card to 

go with it

you don’t need to

even put my name.

One of your bookmarks

will be enough.

The person

will know.


Friday, September 3, 2021


Yesterday after the storm of the night before it was beautifully clear and I took my afternoon walk to Union Square maybe 10 minutes from where I live. It’s where I saw the young man on the left with two stacks of books each bound with some straps. He was there to see if someone might want to buy any of them. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021


Bleak House Books an independent English-language bookstore in Hong Kong is closing next month. Here is a piece explaining why:

Tuesday, August 31, 2021


‘What if there was a disease in Alexandria, she thought, and everybody died but me? 
I’d go live at the library, she told herself. The notion was cheering. She saw herself reading by candlelight, shadows flickering on the ceiling above the labyrinth of shelves. She could take a suitcase from home–peanut butter and crackers, a blanket, a change of clothes–and pull together two of the big armchairs in the Reading Room to sleep on…’
           ― Donna Tartt, The Little Friend

Monday, August 30, 2021

There are a few libraries and bookstores around the world where you can stay the night. Here are eight of them:

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


I saw this on an architecture/design site. It’s a new very small library in Seattle. A community space. With books about social activism. You’ll like it: