The Chicago Public School district has issued an ambiguous statement regarding the present and future availability of Marjane Satrapi’s PERSEPOLIS to students. PERSEPOLIS is a coming of age memoir about a girl in her early teens. The book has been read and taught in school districts across the country, without caveat or condition. In addition, Marjane has met with students across the country, including students in Chicago. The fact that Chicago is trying to limit this book’s use in classrooms and curriculums, suggesting teachers need guidance before they can discuss it, smacks of censorship.
A list compiled by Dana, re-constructed as a tale of woe by Jeff:
“How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?!”
Big Nate Flips Out over Your Inner Fish, but here’s the thing—that’s not his lunchbox. It belonged to Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Nate never learned that Warriors Don’t Cry. Instead, warriors Shred and start a Black Revolution on Campus. We Don’t Need Another Hero jotting in his Jotty Journals, you understand? We need a Heritage of Black Excellence in Chicago. On the tenth of December, even The Outsiders will discover A Universe Within and no one will be reduced to Naked Statistics. My Brilliant Friend, The One and Only Ivan—Harlem’s Little Blackbird in the flesh—will make the Night Rounds of My Beloved World, singing a nameless tune. “My Song? It’s a Beginners Goodbye and it’s Of Thee I Sing, Gone Girl.” Who’s gone? When Cherry Blossom Decomposition is thick in the air, Henrietta lacks for nothing. Death Comes to Pemberly in the form of Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Immortal life. Living death.
“Of the three, two have died since I left Oxford and the superstitious thought occurs to me that they were perhaps just waiting for me to arrive and live out my time there in order to give me the chance to know them and, now, to speak about them. In other words—and this is equally superstitious—I may be under an obligation to speak about them. They did not die until after I had ceased to have anything to do with them. Had I continued to figure in their lives (to figure in their daily lives there) and stayed on in Oxford perhaps they would not be dead. This thought is not only superstitious, it is also vain.”
All Souls by Javier Marias, translated by Margaret Jull Costa
I realized last night I hadn’t read any Marias in a while, so I went back to my first encounter. These are the first lines from All Souls, which, in my mind, is the best entry point to his work. Reading something you loved from the first moment is such a curious and wonderful pleasure. It brought a very satisfied smile to my face.
A quick note: if you click the link to content source it will take you to an out of print New Directions edition on our webpage. Click the paperback 03/2013 link on that page and it’ll bring you to a forthcoming edition from Vintage if you’re interested in pre-ordering from us. It’s a gloomy morning in Chicago, and the thought of going over all of this again is just a depressing thought, so click this link for an explanation as to why New Directions no longer has the rights to Marias’ work.
Time to head back down the rabbit hole, friends: the textbook area at the new Seminary store is open and stocked with Winter Quarter textbooks. 5751 S. Woodlawn, as if you didn’t already know that Alice/Neo.
The amazing Dmitry Samarov sketched Jake Austen and Yuval Taylor in action this past Thursday night as they discussed Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip Hop. Not too shabby a way of commemorating such an interesting event.
One of the things that always surprises me about bookstores outside of NYC is how GIANT they are. 57th Street Books was huge and fabulous, and they showed me a great time. Before the reading, the media escort drove us by Obama’s house, and afterward, we had dinner at Avec. Good on ya, Chicago!