This Month's Articles
Some of My Best Friends are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America
By Tanner Colby
An Essay by Fred Beauford
Integration: A Personal Journey
That lone black kid in the class on the cover photo of Tanner Colby’s book, Some of My Best Friends are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America, was me for many years, until the age of fourteen, so his book was deeply personal.
The more I read and thought about Tanner’s book, however, the more I realized that the basic content he presented is nothing new to me. Jim Sleeper’s Closet of Strangers and Liberal Racism and almost everything written by firebrand author Tim Wise, have gone over much of the territory Colby is writing about. As a reporter and editor during some of the time period he covers, I had first-hand knowledge of much of what he writes about.
He covers the subject matter well, and I recommend this book, with few reservations.
In the end, for me, what makes Some of My Best Friends are Black intriguing, and come fully alive, was why he asked the question in the first place: “Why don’t I know any black people?”
That question is rarely asked as far as I know, especially in Brooklyn, where he lived when he first asked himself that very question.
Tanner’s story begins as a transplanted southerner living in New York City, in Brooklyn, the place that we from the Bronx love to bash. He points out that he had descended “from poor white trash.” And one day, this new New Yorker, who had long shaken off his four grandparents grim fate as sharecroppers, woke up .....Read More
In One Person, a Novel
By John Irving
Reviewed by Jane M McCabe
What a strange book In One Person is -- I can’t say I was terribly fond of it or found it all that interesting. I was going to say that it’s all about sex, but it’s not all about sex; it’s all about sexual identity, particularly those who, if men, would rather be women. As such, it’s a rather tortured story and not all that sexy. Claustrophobic is the word that comes to mind to describe it.
In One Person is John Irving’s thirteenth novel. In addition to writing the world famous best seller The World According to Garp in 1980, he has, overall, been publishing novels for 32 years. Other notable books are The Hotel New Hampshire (1984), A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989), The Cider House Rules (2000), and A Widow for a Year (2004).
I particularly enjoyed reading A Prayer for Owen Meany, and I just loved the movie version of The Cider House Rules when the character played by Michael Caine says to the orphans, “Good night, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England.” If John Irving isn’t a great American novelist, in the sense that Saul Bellow, John Updike and Phillip Roth are, he still deserves a place among the United States’ literary lions. His method of creating a cast of characters (who usually live in a small town in New England) and writing about them in such a way that draws you into their story is unique.
Mr. Irving is interested in social justice. A Prayer for Owen Meany is about enduring friendship at the time when the Viet Nam War was having its most divisive effect on the people in the United States. The cause addressed in In One Person is acceptance of those whose sexual identity is different than the norm -- homosexuals, transgender people and bisexuals.
The narrator is a bisexual young man, Billy, who grows up in a family of eccentrics in the fictitious town of First Sister, Vermont. His grandfather, Harry, owns a lumber mill but is given to cross-dressing – he loves to play various female roles in the plays at the First Sister Player Theater.
Bill’s mother is the prompter at the theater. Some time passes before Billy finds out that .....Read More
Portfolio: James Carroll
by Kara Fox
Gazing up towards a brilliant blue sky, I wonder … am I seeing the same intense blue that someone else sees? Do we all see a tree in the same way? As you can well imagine, dear reader, I am privileged to view vast portfolios of photography and to be able to surround myself with images of how others see their own personal world.
Because of visionary Michael (and Kim) McCarty, I stumbled upon James Carroll. The McCarty's have created a complete environment for enjoying magnificent art while enjoying the finest cuisine. In 1979, Michael's Restaurant graced Santa Monica, California (they are also located across our vast country in New York City). With the creation of Michael's came a place to dine at the beach in their elegant dining room and romantic outdoor garden patio.
Michael's is home to both food and art. The food is always perfection -- beautiful to look at, delicious to eat, and served with a visible desire to please. Michael's walls are a sight to behold. Walls filled with works by some of today’s greatest contemporary artists: David Hockney, Robert Graham, Frank Stella, Jasper Johns, Kim McCarty, and Jim Dine, among others.
Michael’s is generous in the manner in which they serve their guests and they extend their gracious hospitality to many artists in their intimate upstairs dining room/art gallery. Kim McCarty curates rotating exhibits in this salon, featuring mid-career and emerging artists open for public viewing on weekdays. You never know quite what you’ll see on display, but like the food and the wine, it will be world-class. As guests view wonderful art there is often the opportunity to meet the talented artist, and it was on one of these occasions .....Read More
What was the most read article in the year 2010 (Issues Vol. 3 No 8 - 16)
It's issue Vol. 3 No 14, City of Veils by Zoë Ferraris, reviewed by Jill Noel Shreve
Who wrote the book about The Man Who Invented Basketball?
It's Rob Rains in issue Vol. 3 No 9, James Naismith: The Man Who Invented Basketball, reviewed by Ken Liebeskind
Don't Sing the Blues for the Blue Pencil Yet
A Column by Sarah Vogelsong
Publishing is in transition, but it’s too soon to excise the editors
New York’s book publishing houses will soon be mausoleums and their editors so many mummies wrapped in decaying pages.
Or so say the national news media, who every few months issue dire warnings about the impending demise of the book industry and the death of the editor. The second conjecture has become more common in recent years, likely because publishing has refused to die. (Despite a 2.5% decline in print sales, the industry still reported $27.2 billion in revenues last year.) In the face of this resilience, editors have increasingly come under attack.
In an industry built so much on predicting people’s future tastes, the line between blind hazard and educated guessing can sometimes seem uncomfortably fine. Certainly book publishing is undergoing a period of flux not seen since the 1970s. But are editors really going the way of the independent publishing firm or the linotype machine? Is it, as writer Blake Morrison claims, “a black day for the blue pencil”? Are we really in the last days of the roman empire, or, as with Mark Twain, have reports of editors’ deaths been greatly exaggerated?
Any argument about the declining role of the editor is also an argument about the literary agent’s growing stature. In this line of thinking, editors, besieged by marketing demands, have ceased to edit and become more concerned with profit margins than with prose. As they have shifted toward the business end of publishing, agents have filled the gap, replacing them as the primary relationship of an author’s life.
It sounds reasonable. But how much of it is true?
To answer that question, I spoke with four agents and editors with years of experience in the business. As industry insiders free from heavy corporate constraint, agents are particularly well poised to observe the changing role of editors and....Read More
How Important is The Neworld Review to You?
The Neworld Review, was started in Greenwich Village in 2007 as a tabloid sized newsprint quarterly by novelist Fred Beauford. The thinking behind the publication was the alarming rate that newspapers and magazines across the country were dropping their book review sections, and only predicable genres like romance, murder mysteries, chick lit, ghetto lit, memoirs of movie and sports stars, court room dramas and techno thrillers-- were getting all of the attention in the few pages that remained.
From the beginning, we concentrated our book reviews on mainly overlooked literary fiction, and nonfiction books that dealt with real world problems. We also featured profiles, short fiction, biography, memoir, and literary essays. In addition, we added a Beyond Books section that has included such artistic disciplines as, Visual Arts, Theater, Film and Creative Photography.
Our editorial product was also designed to.....Read More
A WRITER'S WORLD
A Writer's World
Why Writers Suck
by Molly Moynahan
“A certain slightly cruel disregard for the feelings of living people is simply part of the package. I think a writer, if he's any good, is not an entirely benign entity in the world." Michael Cunningham
In my first novel, I had a rich, thoughtless lying boyfriend who tells a young woman who has just lost her sister that he is single when he is actually married. In my second novel, I had a “best friend” who was co-dependent and needy, controlling and possibly in love with the main character. In my third novel, there was a family who lost a beloved son and brother and a murderer who kills a babysitter.
These characters were based on true people and I didn’t waste any sleep wondering whether someone was going to hate me or sue me or accuse me of being a bad person. Writing was punishment enough. If someone wanted to hate me for what I did, so be it.
I think of myself as a vampire who feeds on stories, overheard dialogue and memories. The fact is no one lives the same life. As the third child, my point-of-view on my parents’ marriage, how things happened as the years passed, what memories I claim as “mine” and what a sibling might label stolen, are exactly that, my subjective perspective.
My ex-husband is a journalist and a great guy. However, a woman who was dating a friend of his once described us thus: “She’s really interesting and he’s like watching paint dry.”
Chances are I had told some purloined anecdote .....Read More
The African Gentleman
…and The Plot to Re-establish The New World Order
A Novel by Fred Beauford
My meeting with Agnes Moorhead, now the Director of Communications, didn’t go well as well as I thought it would. I was the one who asked for the meeting. I knew why that idea had popped in my mind. In acting, they ask you to seek the truth of the situation, although the character you are playing might not even have a clue.
So intuitively, I understood that now that I was up here on the 3rd floor, I should take advantage of the people who shaped the image of the company, and try to become one of them.
We actors are more introspective and insightful than we are given credit for.
I was really pumped up to have finally get a sit-down in front of Mrs. Morehead and have an extended conversation. My idea of a promotional film that we could distribute widely had become an obsessive thought ever since it popped into my mind, unexpectedly, just a few weeks ago.
In my mind, my MBA did not fail me, and even my years as an actor had provided dividends and elements I could still use to my advantage. And, after three years as the site’s editor, and sending words, ideas and images out to untold millions, I had a good idea about what would work for this .....Read More
A Year of Writing Dangerously
By Barbara Abercrombie
Reviewed by Rob Daly
In her introduction, Barbara Abercrombie likens her latest book, A Year of Writing Dangerously, to a party. It’s a party that spans a year and where you are invited to stop by every day for reassurance, encouragement and inspiration. With each day’s entry, she tells a story, imparts a lesson, or offers her opinion on the urge and the necessity to write. At the back of the book is a list of 52 weekly writing prompts. For the writer who needs a little push, who desires a silent, supportive companion at their side, this book can be just that.
Limiting yourself to one day’s entry will be the challenge. The love for writing and writers is unequivocal; you’ll want more.
Barbara Abercrombie teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. The author of novels, children’s picture books and writing instruction books, she has in this 400-page volume offered a day-at-a-time pitch to writers to believe in themselves and their work and to persevere or to simply begin.
On day one, she compares driving a scary mountain road to the fears and unknowns that accompany writing. “There’s no way to guarantee a safe, easy journey into words on the page. It’s just you and your memory and experience and imagination. Naked.”
With the exception of.....Read More
By Jean Zimmerman
Reviewed by Andrea Janov
The Orphanmaster is the first novel by non-fiction writer, Jean Zimmerman. Set in 1663-1664, Manhattan Island is still called New Amsterdam, a Dutch settlement that is on the verge of an English invasion. The town’s orphans have been going missing and a fever of hysteria has begun to take over its residents. It is amongst this panic that we meet our heroine and hero, Blandine, an independent tradeswoman and former orphan, and Drummond, an English spy who has landed in New Amsterdam on covert business, and who soon falls in love with Blandine.
As Blandine and Drummond begin investigating the disappearances, the residents look for scapegoats to explain the kidnappings. Blame shifts from one entity to the next, from the Indian spirit of the Witika, to accusing Blandine of being a witch, to the Orphanmaster, a man who has been entrusted with the safety of these orphans.
Though the teaser jacket info lured me in for a great murder mystery, as I finished the novel I felt as though I had been slightly misled. The jacket prepares the reader for a mystery style thriller, yet the novel does not allow for the reader to uncover clues. Though the plot of The Orphanmaster is unique and ....Read More
Restless In The Grave
By Dana Stabenow
Reviewed by Michael Carey
Restless In The Grave. Wow. Dana Stabenow, what took you so long? I suppose it was only a matter of time before a crossover novel featuring two of her most popular heroes, Liam Campbell and Kate Shugak, finally arrived. Despite the presence of two powerhouse investigators, with her eighteen prior books of private investigative experience, Kate takes the lead in this novel. Campbell is on the rise with four books of solving mysteries behind him, but in Restless In The Grave, Liam needs some help.
His mentor, Sergeant Jim Chopin, just so happens to be involved with the headstrong and crafty Shugak, and when Liam is concerned that his wife might be suspect in a murder, Kate Shugak and her sidekick, a husky-wolf mix named Mutt, take the case.
Finn Grant, an aviation businessman and all-around scumbag, died in a plane crash in the dark hours on his way to work. It was chalked up as just an accident, but a loose nut suggests to Liam that the truth is darker in.....Read More