Thursday, April 26, 2007

For newspapers, books aren't -- apparently -- local

The new wave in newspaper journalism is what's called "hyper-local" coverage. The hope is that newspapers will keep readers by concentrating on what's happening in neighborhoods and towns and cities rather than paying attention to national and international affairs.

Okay. I don't agree with that, but newspaper managers and editors seem to. So, given the popularity of hyper-local, wouldn't editors want coverage of local book scenes? You'd think so, but in my town the Missoulian does very little coverage of the local book scene, which is robust and has long helped define the community, and instead uses lots of wire copy about the national scene. Local authors are often ignored. Along those same lines, we learn that the Atlanta Journal Constitution has just eliminated the position of books editor. The paper is likely to fill its book page with wire copy instead.

While in Missoula, we seem to have given up any hope that our paper will change, there's a rebellion against what's happening in Atlanta. You can join the fight.

Read about it here:

Journal Constitution closes book on editor

And sign a petition here:


Saturday, April 21, 2007

House of Good Hope, New England Tour, 2007

1. On the plane ride from Minneapolis to Hartford a woman sang a Christmas carol to me in Polish

2. Warning: at the Maple Ave. Giant Grinder shop in Hartford, Conn. what looks like a single piece of lasagna is actually a half piece.

3. On a rainy afternoon in Hartford's troubled Frog Hollow neighborhood, a man backed his yellow Nissan X-Terra into my rented PT Cruiser. Later, our problems resolved, he gave me a bottle of Poland Springs water and called me a "nice Irish man."

4. A wild turkey with an attitude ruffled himself up and beak-pecked at the basement window in my friends' Glastonbury house as we watched. No damage to the window.

5. The fierce Nor' Easter that hit Connecticut so flooded the Connecticut River that the riverside park disappeared beneath water, the only sign of it the occasional lampost along a sidewalk.

6. Rain kept falling, and my friend Mary used a carpet cleaner to suck water that had seeped through an unsettled door into the carpet in her home office.

7. Why we can't always trust bureaucratic documents: my cousin Peter Urbanik found one about his Catholic grandfather that called him "Hebrew."

8. My friend, Eric Shorter, who is featured in "House of Good Hope" as a man dreaming of building his own house with a jacuzzi, now owns a house with a jacuzzi. On the tub edge rest these large words carved from wood or shaped from metal: "Dream" and "Believe."

9. Joshua Hall Jr., the beautiful infant son of Joshua Hall (also featured in the book) gets to listen to XM Classical music while waiting for sleep to come.

10. When the bookstore RJ Julia offered me my choice of one book for having read in their store, I chose Jhumpa Lahiri's "Interpreter of Maladies."

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Quilt Love

If you'd like to know more about the quilt that covers "House of Good Hope," you can link to the home page of quilt artist Ed Johnetta Miller at her online gallery.

. If you'd like to learn more about African-American quilting in general, I'd recommend my fellow blogspotter:


Kyra Hicks keeps a wonderful blog, informative and dynamic. Enjoy!