In Brief: June 30, 2022 – Publishers Weekly

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This month, authors celebrate new releases with music and family; an English footballer makes his U.S. debut; and women in politics come together for a bilingual reading.

A Musical Evening

Debut author Jyoti Rajan Gopal (r.) celebrated the publication of her picture book American Desi illustrated by Supriya Kelkar (Little, Brown), with an event at Books of Wonder in Manhattan on June 22. Musician Sujata Subramanian kicked off the event with a performance of an American Desi-inspired fusion piece, which was followed by a conversation between Gopal and fellow educator Taifa Harris (l.). The event wrapped up with a read-aloud of the book by Gopal’s daughter Vedika.

We Are the Champions

English professional footballer Marcus Rashford (l.) made his U.S. debut as an author for his book You Are a Champion (Feiwel and Friends), cowritten with Carl Anka, during a virtual event hosted by Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston on June 20. Rashford was in conversation with author Dhonielle Clayton (r.) and a portion of ticket proceeds went to support athletic programming at Family Point Resources and Houston reVision, an organization dedicated to providing high-quality mentoring, case management, and community support and educational programming to youth at every point of the school to prison pipeline.

A Story Told More Ways Than One

Author Lesléa Newman (l.), , released her latest picture book, Alicia and the Hurricane/Alicia y el huracán (Lee & Low), with an event at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Mass., on June 11. The bilingual picture book, illustrated by Elizabeth Erazo Baez, follows a girl and her family facing life after a hurricane. The event included a bilingual reading of the book with former mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto (r.).

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2022 NBA free agency rumors: Live updates as Kevin Durant demands trade; James Harden declines $47.3M option – CBS Sports

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The 2021-22 season and NBA Draft are both in the books, and now all eyes are on the start of free agency. The speculation and rumors that surround free agency are what make this time of the year truly entertaining. This summer may not have some of the biggest names available on the free-agent market, but it’s still going to be a hectic offseason. Hours before free agency officially kicked off, Kevin Durant requested a trade away from the Brooklyn Nets. One of the NBA’s biggest superstars is now set to change teams this summer, and KD’s trade request will undoubtedly impact how teams handle their offseason business.

NBA free agency will start Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, when teams can start negotiating deals with players. However, contracts won’t actually be official until the moratorium period is lifted on July 6. The NBA has reportedly told teams that the salary cap for next season is projected to be set at $123.6 million, up $11.6 million from last year’s $112 million cap figure. Zach LaVine, Jalen Brunson and Deandre Ayton are among the top unrestricted free agents available this offseason. For a complete list, check out James Herbert’s breakdown of the 50 top available players

Not many gaudy deals should be expected this summer because as it stands right now, only five teams are projected to have significant cap space to work with. The Detroit PistonsIndiana PacersOrlando MagicPortland Trail BlazersSan Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks are all projected to have the most cap space available. Follow below for all the updates, rumors and key information as we inch closer to the start of NBA free agency.

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2022 NBA free agency rumors: Live updates as Bradley Beal, James Harden decline options, eye new deals – CBS Sports

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The 2021-22 season and NBA Draft are both in the books, and now all eyes are on the start of free agency. The speculation and rumors that surround free agency are what make this time of the year truly entertaining, as fans try to envision players on their favorite teams, and the top players around the league get courted by any team with cap space. This summer may not have some of the biggest names available as we’ve seen in the past, but that doesn’t mean things won’t get truly chaotic. 

NBA free agency will start Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, when teams can start negotiating deals with players. However, contracts won’t actually be official until the moratorium period is lifted on July 6. The NBA has reportedly told teams that the salary cap for next season is projected to be set at $123.6 million, up $11.6 million from last year’s $112 million cap figure. Zach LaVine, Jalen Brunson and Deandre Ayton are among the top unrestricted free agents available this offseason. For a complete list, check out James Herbert’s breakdown of the 45 top available players

Not many gaudy deals should be expected this summer because as it stands right now, only five teams are projected to have significant cap space to work with. The Detroit PistonsIndiana PacersOrlando MagicPortland Trail BlazersSan Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks are all projected to have the most cap space available, with the Magic and Pistons set to have the most at over $27 million apiece.   

Follow below for all the updates, rumors and key information as we inch closer to the start of NBA free agency.

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Candace Bushnell, Hanya Yanagihara and More on Their Favorite New York City Novels – The New York Times

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These writers, who have themselves set fiction in the city, weigh in on novels by others who have done the same.

Last week, T published a list of the 25 most significant New York City novels from the last 100 years, which we compiled based on a discussion (with some friendly debate) by five panelists: the writers Michael Cunningham, Mark Harris, Katie Kitamura and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and the bookseller Miriam Chotiner-Gardner. Given that reading preferences are so subjective, however, and that New York City looms large in the actual and literary lives of many, we wanted to bring others into the conversation, too. Here are some of the titles that authors who have themselves written fiction set in New York — Eileen Myles, Candace Bushnell and T’s editor in chief, Hanya Yanagihara, among them — would nominate for a list of their own.

“The Bonfire of the Vanities” by Tom Wolfe, 1987: The central New York novel of the 1980s, capturing the zeitgeist of that moment unlike anything else: glamorous, brash, over the top. A vibrant, multilevel satire with an all-encompassing scope. One of the great portrayals of the city as seen from an insider — only Edith Wharton tops Wolfe here.

“The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand, 1943: This remains one of the 20th century’s most compelling page-turners, regardless of where you stand on its author — it’s not particularly well written, but it’s a monumental piece of fiction. It’s an ode to individualism, but it’s really a borderline trashy soap opera (Rand was originally writing it for the movies) set amid the towering skyscrapers (symbols of freedom!) in 1930s New York, and there isn’t a single sympathetic character in it. At 19, I found it was a galvanizing novel of ideas about art, business and technology.

“Look At Me” by Jennifer Egan, 2001: Half of this novel takes place in Illinois, but the chapters that unravel in a pre-9/11 Manhattan obsessed with celebrity, internet entrepreneurs and the fashion world are the key fictional record of that moment — seen through the eyes of a famous model whose face is disfigured in a car accident; after plastic surgery, no one recognizes her.

As a kid, I loved gritty coming-of-age stories set in New York, like Paule Marshall’s “Brown Girl, Brownstones(1959), Henry Roth’s “Call It Sleep” (1934) and Alice Childress’s “A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich(1973). As an adult, I am often drawn to bittersweet New York stories, novels where a person burns out on the city — where, to borrow Joan Didion’s words, a person learns that “it is distinctly possible to stay too long at the Fair.” Two favorites: Richard Yates’s quiet feminist masterpiece, “The Easter Parade(1976), a tale of two sisters, one who marries an abuser, the other who clings to her lonely freedom — and Patricia Highsmith’s “The Price of Salt” (1952), about a young Manhattan salesclerk who becomes infatuated with an older married woman … New York City is the perfect backdrop for that turning point when one’s choices suddenly, brutally, matter.

“Bright Lights, Big City” by Jay McInerney, 1984: It’s the ultimate New York fantasy: Come to New York, struggle a bit, write a novel about it and become a famous writer yourself, back when being the next F. Scott Fitzgerald was something people still aspired to. That aside, “Bright Lights, Big City” gives the ultimate lived experience of a particular moment in New York, capturing the ambitions and yearnings that make New Yorkers unique.

“When No One Is Watching” (2020) by Alyssa Cole poses tough questions that New York transplants like myself should be asking ourselves when we move into communities we didn’t grow up in. But besides commenting on social issues like gentrification, it’s also an exciting mystery that builds into a thrilling, no-holds-barred horror story.

“Rosemary’s Baby” (1967) by Ira Levin has all of my favorite things in a horror read: spooky ambience, weirdly intrusive neighbors, relationship drama and a whole lot of gaslighting. What I love most, though, is what this novel has to say about the lengths an artist might go to in order to make it in New York City. It’s spot on and terrifying.

I read “Severance” (2018) by Ling Ma in the early months of the pandemic, back when simply going outside for a walk was a calculated risk. It felt very on the nose in terms of what was happening in New York City — at times almost too much — but Ling Ma conveys what it means to continue on in the face of apocalyptic loss so beautifully that I found “Severance” profoundly comforting, too.

“Nevada” by Imogen Binnie, 2013: It’s called “Nevada,” but it’s set in New York City. And with this novel, Imogen Binnie did for a certain late aughts Brooklyn-based trans writing scene what Langston Hughes did for writers during the Harlem Renaissance, or what Gertrude Stein did for the writers of 1920s Paris. That is, Binnie made much of the writing that came after her possible. “Nevada” fell out of print for a few years, but this month, a new edition was issued by MCD x FSG.

Illustration by Isabella Cotier

The two books I most often think of when I walk around Manhattan are F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” (1925) (uptown) and Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener” (1853) (downtown). “Gatsby” is set on Long Island, but the characters go into the city frequently and, each time they do, Fitzgerald captures something more about its magic. Bartleby’s subtitle is “A Story of Wall Street.” There are many wonderful books about Gotham, from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1958) by Truman Capote to “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (1987) to the stories of John O’Hara but, to me, Gatsby and Bartleby lie beneath them all. [Ed. note: “Bartleby, the Scrivener” is technically a short story and was published well before 1921, but this write-up was too delightful not to include.]

“Another Country” by James Baldwin, 1962: Early in the novel, Rufus Scott asks Leona, whom he’s just met, “This your first time in New York?” Perhaps it’s not our first time here, but Baldwin’s writing makes the experience of the city immediate and new: “The train came in, filling the great scar of the tracks. They all got on, sitting in the lighted car which was far from empty, which would be choked with people before they got very far uptown, and stood or sat in the isolation cell into which they transformed every inch of space they held.” The New York that Baldwin gives us, wrapped in racial and erotic conflict, is kinetic, nonstop, isolating, gorgeous and, finally, cruel.

“Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh, 1964: The city inhabited by 11-year-old Harriet M. Welsch is in many ways quite different from ours. We certainly feel a pang upon casually learning that “there is a very nice picture playing over on 86th Street. … But if you do not like that one … then there are three other movie houses there and you can take your pick.” But what’s really striking is the freedom of the novel’s nonconforming protagonist. It’s not just the freedom of a child — it’s the freedom of this New York child, pre-play date era, and it comes with a recognition of the disparity in the ways people live in the city.

I’m not including some of the titles that the jury chose for their long list and that I would, too — “Invisible Man” (1952), “Another Country” (1962) and “Desperate Characters” (1970) — because I think they make the case better than I could. But here are some other titles that would be on my list, as well:

“There Is Confusion” by Jessie Redmon Fauset, 1924: Fauset was a contemporary of the better known Nella Larsen, and I wish more people read her. This book revolves around three friends’ coming-of-age and, along with the pleasure of the characters themselves — all well drawn and distinctive — there’s the additional pleasure of Fauset’s keen understanding of social nuances, as well as class dynamics.

“The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger, 1951: If you’re my age (47) or a little older, this may well have been your first literary exposure to Manhattan — and not just any Manhattan but a specific version of the city: one that’s produced generations of disaffected teenagers ready to set flame to the old society.

“Last Exit to Brooklyn” by Hubert Selby Jr., 1964: A relentless novel comprising six linked stories, all set in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. “Last Exit”’s characters are all — because of what they do or who they are — outcasts from society. Selby isn’t necessarily sympathetic to them, nor does he endow them with much dignity, but his recognition of these lives still feels radical today, and the book has an undeniable momentum. I found it instructive to read it alongside one of its descendants, Gloria Naylor’s “Bailey’s Cafe” (1992).

“Portnoy’s Complaint” by Philip Roth, 1969: Not strictly set in New York, but impossible without it.

“The Lost Language of Cranes” by David Leavitt, 1986: My father bought this book at the Strand while on a business trip and gave it to me after he’d read it. I was entranced by it: It seemed like a glimpse into not just a city but adulthood itself. It’s a novel about so many specificities — being gay in the ’80s, becoming an adult, a gentrifying Manhattan — and is confidently, elegantly executed, with set pieces I still remember.

“American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis, 1991: The ultimate ’80s New York City novel, it seethes with a cokey, nervy energy. Ellis isn’t given enough credit for how experimental and daring this book is — it has a language and velocity all its own. A singular, era-defining work.

“Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer” by Steven Millhauser, 1996: A wondrous and marvelous (in both senses) fantasy about American ambition and commerce that’s both a response to the stubbornly immortal rags-to-riches narrative and a subversion of it. Millhauser’s fans (I’ve been one for years) will find all his signature tropes and motifs (automatons, waxworks, magicians), as well as the dread that informs all his writing, the sense that above our country’s glittering offerings, a darkness hovers, waiting to descend.

“The Farewell Symphony” by Edmund White, 1997: The third in White’s semi-autobiographical series of novels follows its narrator from the 1960s through the ’90s, as AIDS consumes the city — and a generation of gay men. (Its devastating metaphor for those years is Joseph Haydn’s 1772 Symphony No. 45 in F sharp minor, called the “Farewell” Symphony because each musician exits the stage during the final adagio, leaving just two violinists.) The book is deeply moving, but it’s also gossipy and frothy, with a lot of thinly veiled cameos. And no one writes more sexily, or more fearlessly, about sex than Ed White.

“The Russian Debutante’s Handbook” by Gary Shteyngart, 2002: A laugh-out-loud satire about the American immigrant experience; I remember giggling helplessly while reading the banya scene. It’s very hard to be funny on the page, but Shteyngart makes it seem effortless.

“Specimen Days” by Michael Cunningham, 2005: A gorgeous, generous, inventive three-part novel about Walt Whitman, the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire and, in my favorite section, a lizardlike alien who’s nanny to a young human charge. I treasure my memory of this book so much that I’ve never reread it, but my latest novel is in part a tribute to it.

Illustration by Isabella Cotier

“The Last of Her Kind” by Sigrid Nunez, 2005: This story of two young women — one rich, one not — who meet at Barnard College in the ’60s is not only an unsparing look at a tumultuous, paradigm-changing decade but an uncomfortably wise portrait of female friendship, and how class and money define our relationships.

“The Reluctant Fundamentalist” by Mohsin Hamid, 2007: The first great Sept. 11 novel — Hamid delivers a sophisticated, twisty, shrewd and chilling narrative about national loyalty, citizenship and the promise of America that unfolds like a thriller.

Y.A.:

“The Long Secret” by Louise Fitzhugh, 1965: I’ve never understood why it took someone so long to make a TV series based on Fitzhugh’s trio of books about one of the greatest girl characters in modern literature: Harriet the Spy. This is the second installment and concerns Beth Ellen, Harriet’s timid school friend, who’s from an old-money New York family. To this day, it remains the sharpest, funniest satire about the Hamptons (well, Water Mill) I’ve read, and deeply wise about money, privilege, class and race. (Harriet is the co-star here, and more obnoxious and clueless than ever.) Bonus points to Fitzhugh for Beth Ellen’s mother, a deliciously self-absorbed monster.

“The Chosen” by Chaim Potok, 1967: The fact that this book about two Jewish boys grappling with their religious identities and self-determination in postwar Brooklyn became a must-read for kids everywhere from New York to Honolulu is proof that the universal is found in the specific. And how else would I have learned about gematria?

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith, 1943: It’s hard to explain what it meant to me, a girl who grew up on a Brooklyn street in an industrial park and looked out her window onto a treeless block full of broken glass and burned-out cars, to meet Francie, who at once made me feel not alone in my want for more, but also proud. That I was from a place so special, that someone wrote a book about it. That someone made the things of my everyday life feel so beautiful with words.

“Bodega Dreams” by Ernesto Quiñonez, 2000: It’s just a deliciously savory book that is alive with the laws, bylaws and codes of growing up in Spanish Harlem. Chino is a good kid who one day is asked a favor by Willie Bodega, the local macher. It gets the big things right — themes of empowerment and the moral complexity of neighborhood heroes — but also the little things, like the racial pecking order among public school teachers and the way nicknames are earned.

“Christodora” (2016) looks at the residents of a building off Tompkins Square Park over the course of several decades. It was written by Tim Murphy, who for years covered the H.I.V. and AIDS crisis for various New York publications, and is told through the eyes of the ACT UP activist Hector, whose trauma and post-trauma are reminders of the real and raw impact the crisis had on the city. But the other characters, too, made this an iconic read for me — Mateo, the adopted son of two tenants, takes a walk on the dark side of growing up as a New York kid; at the same time, his parents — privileged artists — struggle with a changing city. In fact, the changing city is at the heart of the story, which stretches from 1981 to 2021, at which point it’s barely recognizable.

“The Assistant” by Bernard Malamud, 1957: I can’t imagine anyone writing a book like this today — a post-Holocaust story about a poor Jewish grocer in Brooklyn who dreams of the simplest version of a better life, and about his Italian American grifter assistant who struggles to be a good person but is constantly set back by envy, greed and lust. It shows a world of small joys and immigrants and bad luck and trust and faith and the stuff of real life. Plus, it’s got some of the best New York dialogue.

“Motherless Brooklyn” (1999) wears its genre the way it does its setting: loosely and comfortably, a natural fit. I return to Jonathan Lethem’s brilliant novel for the same reasons I return to New York City: the overwhelming density; to feel lost without actually being lost; to feel alone without being alone. To be a detective, wandering around noticing things, and noticing things about the way you notice things — wheels within wheels.

Illustration by Isabella Cotier

“Go Tell It on the Mountain” by James Baldwin, 1952: Baldwin’s John Grimes is one of New York City’s great characters. The novel takes place in Harlem on his 14th birthday, in 1935, and follows him and his family through the day, broadening to include the histories and travails of their profoundly religious lives (his father, Gabriel, is a lay preacher at the Temple of the Fire Baptized church) set against young John’s more secular forays into the city, to places like Central Park and the cinema. Threaded with powerful biblical language and parallels, the novel weaves together the Grimes’s complex and brutal past in the South and the systemic racism that continues to shape their psyches and lives as a Black family in New York.

“The Furies” by Janet Hobhouse, 1992: Hobhouse’s aptly titled last novel, posthumously published, is barely fiction, drawn as it was from her own experiences. She provides an unsparing account of her character Helen Lowell’s agonizingly enmeshed relationship with her complicated mother, Bett, of growing up precariously in New York City and, in the book’s second half (titled “Men”), of her powerfully willed adult life separate from Bett. Helen’s older lover is a thinly veiled Philip Roth, who wrote of the book: “That at the end of her brief life, Janet Hobhouse could transform her suffering into a confession so precise and evocative and singularly unself-pitying, so strangely full of verve, strikes me as a considerable moral as well as literary achievement.”

“Open City” by Teju Cole, 2011: Cole’s remarkable and unforgettable novel and its flâneur protagonist, Julius, a Nigerian immigrant, illuminate aspects of New York rarely before depicted in fiction. Julius walks the streets of a too-often hidden city, at times revealing its brutal, even genocidal histories, and giving voice to the urban experience of a Black man, whether invisible among white operagoers or unwillingly engaged in conversation in a taxi cab or at the post office. This book, about belonging and not belonging in a supposedly cosmopolitan world, reveals itself to be richer with every reading.

“A Time to Be Born” by Dawn Powell, 1942: A quintessential New York novel, “A Time to Be Born” remains uncannily current 80 years after its publication. Julian Evans, a newspaper tycoon, may be the first New York mogul in fiction who practices yoga and eats only “nonfattening, health-giving” foods. These are only some of his habits that annoy his wife, Amanda, a novelist who’s risen to prominence thanks, in part, to the hyperbolic reviews published in Julian’s papers. But she is also a cunning strategist and a cynical politician. (It’s unclear whether Amanda is based on Clare Boothe Luce — according to a 1956 entry in Powell’s journal, not even the author herself was sure.) Into this power-society labyrinth walks Vicky Haven, a childhood friend of Amanda’s, freshly arrived from Ohio, hoping to make it in the big city.

“The Company She Keeps” by Mary McCarthy, 1942: “The Company She Keeps” consists of six different scenes from Margaret Sargent’s life. Something about this formal structure mimics the effect of living in New York over an extended period of time — the view of our past is fragmented, defined by our itineraries through the city and the people we meet and leave behind along the way. We become a small crowd and often lose ourselves in it. The second part of the novel states that, at 20, Margaret “had come to New York and had her first article accepted by a liberal weekly.” But her feeling of “uniqueness and identity” had been “slowly rubbed away by four years of being inside of the world that looked magic from Portland, Ore.” (It’s no coincidence that this novel, so concerned with identity, should end on a psychoanalyst’s couch.) This is very much a book of its time, not only because it engages with a specific intellectual scene and its hypocrisies but also because it’s a roman à clef portraying some of the most prominent figures from that scene.

“A Rage in Harlem” by Chester Himes, 1957: This is the first of nine books Himes would write featuring two New York Police Department detectives named, amazingly, Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson: “It was said in Harlem that Coffin Ed’s pistol would kill a rock and that Grave Digger’s would bury it.” An uncredited blurb in my copy claims that Himes did for Harlem what Raymond Chandler did for Los Angeles. I love both these writers but have no idea what this comparison ultimately means. Himes is a master who doesn’t need to be explained through any other writer — his dazzling prose, sidesplitting wit and moral complexity are all his own. And parallels to other cities are futile. The velocity with which trouble mounts in this novel — with its counterfeiters, con men and gangs of cross-dressing junkies — can only be achieved in New York. Still, frenzied as it is, the book also takes its time to draw, in great detail, a loving but never romanticizing map of Harlem.

“No Lease On Life” by Lynne Tillman, 1998: It’s a funny, desperate account of living in the East Village of the ’90s with people who throw trash cans around all night, and a running tab of very funny jokes jammed in, vaudeville style.

“Cain’s Book” by Alexander Trocchi, 1960: A heroin-inflected account of both living a bohemian life in the ’50s in West Village bars and cafes and piloting a scow on the Hudson written in beautiful, disintegrating prose.

“Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things” by Gilbert Sorrentino, 1971: An amazing novel centered on the intimate circle of poets living in the West Village in the ’50s and ’60s.

“Rubyfruit Jungle” by Rita Mae Brown, 1973: The quintessential dyke coming-of-age novel, set amid the rough and glamorous terrain of Stonewall-era New York.

Illustration by Isabella Cotier

“Junky” by William S. Burroughs, 1953: In great prose, Burroughs describes the entirely transactional existence downtown, and in Times Square, of a New York junkie.

“Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons” by Marilyn Hacker, 1986: Hacker’s novel in sonnets about a love affair between two female poets.

“Dear Cyborgs” by Eugene Lim, 2017: A fantastic novel that holds a remarkable account of the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park.

“The New Rhythum and Other Pieces” by Ronald Firbank, 1962: This is an improbable fragment of a novel by an English exquisite (1886-1926), published posthumously. It’s about New York by someone who never visited New York but wrote rapturously about the beds of strawberries behind Fifth Avenue mansions and about “the mauve mystery of Horatio Street.” When an ancient Roman bust is purchased by a Manhattanite, an admirer exclaims, “What perfect film faces folks had in the year dot.”

“Enemies, a Love Story” by Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1966: It’s about a Holocaust survivor who has three wives, all living in New York. Extremely funny, bleak and sexy.

Back in the 1950s, it was all about “The Recognitions” (1955) by William Gaddis — to grow up and be able to write something as unleashed as that. Others wrote New York novels, lots of them, but nothing quite as good. Then came the fairy tale “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1958) and the novels of Dawn Powell (I remember Gore Vidal telling me about them). Then Harold Brodkey — no matter what he wrote, it came from the tortured mind of a genius from the Midwest by way of Harvard who had an agonized and agonizing relationship with the city and its tastemakers, an impression reinforced by our friendship. Along the way, let’s see: David Markson, Gilbert Sorrentino (two more friendships born of mutual respect, admiration and support). Then there’s the amazing Hortense Calisher and her monumental “Sunday Jews” (2002). I’ve left out many others, mostly intentionally, but, for another example of a mind from the intellectual, moral and aesthetic melting pot of Melville’s New York, published under the loving eyes of The New Yorker and Michael di Capua at Farrar, Straus & Giroux — my old friend Larry Woiwode.

“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, 1952: Ellison was proud and prickly, but he could be any way he wanted, because he’d written “Invisible Man,” which, in the days before Toni Morrison and the Americanization of magic realism, was treated as the one work of fiction in African American literature that did not need to be interpreted as sociology. It’s is a coming-of-age story in the form of a memoir. However, the violence or the threat of violence throughout sets it apart from the interior life and intimacies of the traditional education and formation novel. Once “Invisible Man” moves into Harlem, the book takes on the surreal qualities for which it is famous, especially in the grand funeral of banners and horns, and then the terrifying riot of shattered glass and kerosene odor Ellison depicts.

The author’s perfectionism counted for everything — in the meticulousness of the novel’s conception, the confidence of its structural devices and especially in the lavishness of its rhetorical displays. A summary of the book does not really give a sense of its constant alertness, its insistent attention to the smallest detail in a scene. Moreover, Ellison succeeds in getting the reader to wear the invisible man’s mask, to look through the eyeholes he provides. Sinister forces want people in Harlem to be guilty of their own deaths. In the end, the invisible man has fallen into a manhole, where he takes up residence to wait out the chaos, to learn to live with his head in the lion’s mouth.

“Dancer From the Dance” by Andrew Holleran, 1978: Set largely in New York in the early 1970s, “Dancer From the Dance” is a hymn to gay liberation in the city, and to male beauty. Cruising is an honorable quest, no matter how sordid the baths or open the subway station. Magic can happen — see the dark-eyed, grave young man who might stay beyond morning. Beautiful, enigmatic Malone has such a face; he’s a Midwesterner who has made, or is trying to make, his peace with being gay, his “constraint.” It is hard for him to be faithful to one man or to hang on to what he says he wants, and when he meets Sutherland, a veteran of every conceivable high who challenges Malone to be real, not to fool himself, he has already lost one true love.

We watch Malone in his travels from door to door to door, and New York City gay nightlife is rendered in shimmering prose. The novel is saturated with the homoerotic, too mesmerized by the cohorts of the brave to be sorry. Holleran was part of a new wave in American literature that said the gay character didn’t have to die at the end of the book anymore. To bring up the subject of same-sex love no longer meant that a dream hunk had to pay for the vision by getting murdered. No one knew when it was published that Holleran’s was to be a portrait of a gone world, a vanished city: “We lived only to dance.” The best fiction turns into a work of history as time goes by.

“Sleepless Nights” by Elizabeth Hardwick, 1979: New York City is the best place for Elizabeth, the first-person narrator of Hardwick’s “Sleepless Nights” (1979), as she concludes early on in the book. We know that she is a reader of profound intensity, and that she is alone but was once part of a we. Hardwick’s husband, the poet Robert Lowell, had treated their marriage and divorce at length in his work. “Sleepless Nights” has telling omissions. The novel is a meditation on a life, and has the feel of lyric poetry in that the “I” is perhaps meant to stand for the general significance of the solitary self.

Hardwick’s “I” is a woman, and the experiences of others that she is drawn to wonder about tend to be those of women. Her social range is broad: a rich girl is a Stalinist with a boyfriend who won’t shape up; here is the sad arithmetic of a drawn-out love triangle, and here are the cleaning women she has watched go about their work. Hardwick remembers from her youth the women alone in their rooming houses. Or she encounters on the street older women at the mercy of their decay. Joan Didion noted that Hardwick’s method was like that of the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss in her hunt for the revealing detail. But Hardwick’s freedom of speculation about the people she meets comes from her ability to achieve parity with whomever she is thinking about or talking to. She never talks down; she’s never bamboozled. It is a great historical pageant that New Yorkers are a part of, they who live in this place where people come to get away from somewhere else. In Hardwick’s work, the city is a drama of those who don’t fit elsewhere, a cast of souls calling out for memorial.

“Latin Moon In Manhattan” by Jaime Manrique, 1992: A droll picaresque like no other. Manrique’s fabulous cast of characters includes artists, hustlers and a cat — living la vida loca in the lowdown Times Square of the ’90s.

“Rat Bohemia” by Sarah Schulman, 1995: A tough little gem of a book, set during the height of the AIDS crisis in New York. Schulman’s memorable protagonist is named Rita Mae Weems. Yep, she’s a rat exterminator, and yep, the novel is deeply, darkly funny. (Someone borrowed my first edition and never returned it.)

“Fixer Chao” by Han Ong, 2001: A brilliant take on class, race, sex, feng shui and the gullible cultural elite. More mordant humor. Where else but in New York?

It may be in novels by the great Jewish fiction writers of the mid-20th century that New York City comes through strongest. In “Call It Sleep” (1934), Henry Roth finds a dark sublime in the city’s brutal energy. When Roth’s child hero looks up at the Statue of Liberty, he notices that “shadow flattened the torch she bore to a black cross against flawless light — the blackened hilt of a broken sword.” In neighborhoods like Brownsville and the Lower East Side, boys climb to their tenements’ tin-covered roofs to fly kites, which other boys aim slingshots at, and when pigeons wheel in the air, the birds seem suspended “like a poised and never-raveling smoke.” The language is a high-modernist juxtaposition of street urchin pidgin, Yiddish English and finely observed free indirect discourse — New York’s voice is plural.

By the time Saul Bellow publishes “The Victim” in 1947, the Jewish novel’s geography in New York extends well beyond the ghettos. Bellow’s hero, Asa Leventhal, works at a magazine in Lower Manhattan, where his boss is a WASP; lives in Irving Place, where his building’s super is Puerto Rican; and has to trek out to Staten Island to check on his sister-in-law, who is Italian American. “It’s a very Jewish city,” an anti-Semite in the book declares, upset that New York no longer seems to be made exclusively for the likes of him. As Leventhal is stalked by that anti-Semite, who is convinced that Leventhal caused him to lose his job and his wife, Leventhal is tempted to see himself through the cracked mirror of the anti-Semite’s mind-set and has to wrestle his way free of the temptation.

Responses have been edited and condensed.

Categories: books

Close-Up on: Svetlana Chmakova – Publishers Weekly

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Svetlana Chmakova, author and illustrator of the Berrybrook Middle School series and The Weirn Books, Vol. 1: Be Wary of the Silent Woods, among other graphic novels and manga books, needs little introduction. Her fifth Berrybrook title, Enemies (JY/Yen Press, Sept.), returns to the world of the “art club kids,” with more humor, middle school friendship, and more than a few awkward moments. Chmakova chatted with PW about writing and illustrating for young readers, and the ever-evolving world of graphic novels and manga.

What are some continued sources of inspiration for your work?

My childhood and the many unanswered questions about human behavior and life in general that I had back then—and still have now, a lot of the time. Also, a lot of coffee, sleepless nights staring at my screen, and my many, many, many varied and random interests.

What can you share about the latest volume in the Berrybrook Middle School series, Enemies?

I am really proud of this book and so happy I got the chance to write it. The art club kids always had a special place in my heart, and Felicity especially, I felt, had an interesting story, with her younger sister being in a rival club and being extremely capable and accomplished AND bratty about it (I mean, how does THAT play at home? Family dinners must get really awkward…). The pressure, both real and imagined, to succeed in ‘All the Things,’ as well as how different people respond to that pressure are among the bigger themes in Enemies. There is also the usual humor, high-pitched middle school friendship drama, and surprise plot turns (at least I hope they are surprising plot turns… You’ll be the judge…). I can’t wait for Berrybrook fans to read this one.

From your perspective, how have graphic novels and manga changed and evolved over the last 10 years?

It seems to me that it feels more accessible to fresh new voices now. I see a lot more kids of very diverse backgrounds loving them and trying to make their own. Other than that, the big thing that did evolve, I feel, has been the public and professional perception of and attitude toward comics in general. There seems to finally be a better understanding of the medium and its uniquely shaped power to resonate, educate, and deliver a world-altering experience when done right. I see a lot more resources in the publishing industry being allocated to help support getting graphic novels produced—they are a LOT of work… You are basically writing/designing/drawing an entire movie with the hands of just one or two people—and more support and recognition from stores, libraries, industry publications. Overall, it feels like the medium is finally on its way to being understood. I am so excited to see what the next decade will bring; what new voices will be given a chance to speak and connect to a larger audience within this more welcoming and understanding structure; what new treasures will have the resources to finish production and get on the shelf for readers to discover!

What is it about graphic novels that are so appealing to young readers?

I think it’s the same reason we all watch TV/movies, have art on our walls, send photographs, and have video calls with family—so we can see the faces and the emotion as they are saying the words; see the view out their window; feast our eyes on the rich tapestry of visuals this incredible world and other people’s imaginations have to offer. It’s an amazing experience to read an in-depth detailed description about how beautiful a wedding saree is, or how delicately colored and majestic a sunset in the mountains, but getting to see it provides a whole other dimension. Visuals can be very powerful and effective conduits for information, and I think kids understand that intuitively, especially since they are still hungrily building their internal information banks. A picture is often worth a thousand words, as the saying goes.

From the Berrybrook books to the Weirn series, you so clearly capture the emotional lives of middle grade readers. Do you revisit your own childhood in order to do this successfully?

Reluctantly, but yes. I did not have a good time in my middle school years. But for what it’s worth, I think I learned a lot more about people than I would’ve if I did have an easy time, and now that helps me when I write, because I am not the only kid ever who struggled to connect with my peers.

What are you working on now?

I am starting to write the second volume of The Weirn Books!!! I am so, so excited to dive back into that world. I am thinking I should put a dragon in this one. Should I put a dragon in this one?… I really want to. Maybe I will.

Are there any dream projects you would love to create in the future?

I just want to write and draw stories for Nightschool and The Weirn Books until I’m 100-plus years old and can’t hold a pencil anymore. That’s my dream, to just do that!

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Akwaeke Emezi’s Dip into Romance is a Cathartic Beach Read – Oprah Mag

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“Beach read” as a book descriptor feels ubiquitous these days, especially as warm summer months descend upon us, practically begging for trips to far-flung tropics (though many of us remain glued to our work laptops). Akwaeke Emezi’s latest novel appears to be a natural fit for such a category: a fun, flirty romance set on an unnamed tropical island. And yet, You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty transcends the shallow tide pools of a typical entry in the genre and dives into deeper, perhaps more treacherous, waters. Emezi takes us on the literal and emotional journey of Feyi Adekola, a woman still reeling from the tragic death of her husband, Jonah. In the vein of Helen Hoang’s The Heart Principle from last year, this novel reminds us that messy grief and complex love can be two sides of the same coin.

“Messy” and “complex” are actually apt descriptions of You Made a Trick of Death with Your Elegance , which follows Feyi—a bisexual Black woman through New York—as she joins Nasir, a platonic-ish new male friend (they’ve kissed and flirted) on a lavish vacation to his father’s mansion on a tropical oasis. In the aftermath of losing her husband five years before, Feyi has moved back to Brooklyn to live with the girl best friend (a fellow Black queer woman named Joy who brings a surplus of levity to the novel), has dyed her braids every color of the rainbow, and owns an art studio that allows her the freedom to create pieces forged from her trauma. Now Feyi plans to embark on what could be billed her first “hot girl summer” since her tragic loss. She’s not looking for anything serious, just to dip her toes back into the pool associated with intimacy she’s avoided in her sadness. Feyi has crafted a completely new life for herself, but romantic closeness of any kind remains missing.

“She couldn’t remember the last time someone had been content to just kiss her desperately and then lie in bed breathing each other’s air. No—that was a lie. Jonah was the last time…. She didn’t want to talk about how it felt to try to learn how to be safe with someone who wasn’t the particular dead love of her life. ”

Windows like this into Feyi’s naked inner turmoil are constant; the intertwining of her guilt, lust, sadness, and love splashed onto the page in a gut-twisting reflection of our own, as the reader. For many of us, the summer of 2022 feels like emerging from a period of deep grief and isolation on a mission to remember how to feel alive again. This is where Emezi’s writing truly shines: its ability to grip complex emotions and situations and shape them like warm putty into something the reader can, if not relate to, at least understand and empathize with.

This is most true of the perhaps polarizing romance at the heart of You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty. When Feyi and Nasir arrive on the island, they’re warmly welcomed by his father, Alim Blake, the celebrity chef 19 years Feyi’s senior. She is immediately struck by her attraction to him, which she tries and fails to bury within her. Though a debut romance writer, Emezi clearly understands the importance of a slow burn as Feyi plus Alim circle each other, trying not to get caught in the other’s dangerous riptide. It’s an unconventional romance, but one that Emezi portrays with excruciating care. Amir and Feyi bond over their many similarities: the loss of a partner, their bisexuality, their love of art. Emezi gives us time to warm up to this attraction and see it with regard to what it is: messy, complicated, and—for better or worse—brutally real.

After their own first kiss, Alim boldly asks Feyi what it meant to her. Before she may respond, he emphasizes his need for honesty: “And please, I only ask one thing—don’t lie to me. I will hold anything you tell me with care, just let it be the truth. ” This is perhaps the striking difference between You Made a Fool of Death together with your Beauty and many other modern romances: There is no miscommunication for the sake of plot here. Feyi and Alim carefully hold each decision, each kiss, in their hands with careful inspection. Emezi allows our trust in these characters to grow alongside their trust in each other, making the romance feel that much more sweet—and that much more fragile. And fragile it is, since the complications of real life stand in their way. There’s Alim’s disapproving children, Feyi’s life back in Brooklyn, plus their past tragedies threatening to drown the spark they’ve ignited.

Despite the heaviness at the novel’s core, it is nevertheless an ideal beach read. The lush tropical setting of Alim’s home reads like something out of an HGTV dream home series, complete with infinity pools, a sunrise backyard hike, and two kitchens worthy of a celebrity chef. Emezi’s descriptions of Alim’s cooking throughout the novel will leave your mouth watering—and that’s not even including mention of a certain steamy scene involving the fingerful of gastronomical mango foam. There’s also Pleasure, Feyi’s best friend, who pops in from time to time via text or FaceTime with hilarious quips and the occasional genuine advice. “You’re never ready for shit, Feyi, ” Joy muses. “Just jump within the deep end already and figure out if you remember how to swim. ”

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Emezi walks a delicate tightrope between summer romance and reflective literary fiction, but it’s 1 they navigate with impeccable balance. It’s tender plus unafraid to burrow into the darker parts of love, the places we seldom wish to revisit, especially after trauma and loss. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty asks us to sit in the mess, the sadness, the tumultuous waves of real life, and examine what has been forged by this reckoning. Can love and joy blossom where grief has already planted its deep-set roots?

Whether you’re turning its pages with the ocean in front of you or not, You Made a Trick of Death with Your Elegance captures the summer sentiment of embracing every moment for what it is. Like Feyi, our very existences hinge on life-changing seconds, both world-opening and world-shattering. It’s up to you whether you’ll dive into the deep end or remain on the shore.

Kirby Beaton is a writer, strategist, and book reviewer at BuzzFeed. She also talks all things books within her newsletter, Booked It for You .

This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the exact same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

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‘Handmaid’s Tale’ is a post-Roe v. Wade bestseller, Jenny Han’s YA dominates summer sales – USA TODAY

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It’s been nearly 40 years since Margaret Atwood published her seminal novel  “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Anchor, 336 pp. ). But less than a week  after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade , eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, the novel is back on  USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list   at  No . 128.

The dystopian feminist novel centers on handmaid Offred, who lives in a  totalitarian theocratic state known as the Republic of Gilead, where handmaids are forced to birth children for the ruling class. The novel makes  frequent appearances on banned books lists.  

A specially commissioned, unburnable edition of the novel was recently auctioned for $130, 000  by Sotheby’s, with the proceeds donated to PEN America, which advocates for free expression worldwide.

The  1985 novel  reached as high as No . 4 in 2017 when the streaming series based on the novel premiered on Hulu . ” The Testaments, ” the author’s follow-up to “The Handmaid’s Tale, ”  debuted at No . 2  on the bestsellers list in 2019.  

Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Testaments’: Sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ well worth the wait

Sales spike for ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ 

Jenny Han’s young adult novel “The Summer time I Turned Pretty” (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 304 pp. ) got a sales boost   after its adapted series premiered June 17 on Amazon Prime,   but a week later it is dominating the list.    

This is not the first time the author’s young adult novels have been turned into a series ;   Han previously saw a sales spike in 2018 when ” To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before ” was turned into a string by Netflix.  

“The Summer I Turned Pretty” nabbed the top spot on the list,   followed by “It’s Not Summer Without You”  at No . 3,   “We’ll Always Have Summer” at No . 4  and “The Complete Summer We Turned Pretty Trilogy” at No . 33.

The trilogy follows Belly, a young woman who spends her summers at a beach house with family friends, including brothers Jeremiah plus Conrad, who  for Belly  fall somewhere between good friends  and crushes. This summer is one where everything changes with regard to Belly, including her relationships with Jeremiah, Conrad and herself.  

More Jenny Han: ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ author’s favorite book as a young adult will surprise you

New thriller a top debut for Riley Sager

Author Riley Sager has his highest debut on the best sellers list this week with his latest novel  “The House Across the Lake” (Dutton 368 pp. ) at No . 14. Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film “Rear Window” serves as inspiration for the thriller.

The story follows recently widowed actress  Casey Fletcher who, in an attempt to escape some bad press, retreats to her family’s Vermont lake house with a pair of binoculars. But she soon discovers the couple across the lake isn’t as glamorous as they first appear.

Of the novel, an USA TODAY review notes , “If you thought you knew Sager’s typical double-twists, and the tropes and trips of the suspense and thriller genre, there’s a tonal shift three-quarter of the way in that will either feel brilliant – or infuriating. Either reaction leads to a page-turning climax. ”

‘The House Across the Lake’: Riley Sager thriller keeps readers guessing

Contributing: Barbara VanDenburgh, USA TODAY; Associated Press

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Albany’s Elisa Albert’s “Human Blues” deals with infertility, celebrity – Times Union

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When Albany author Elisa Albert discovered the no-nonsense, funny, acerbic voice of her character, singer-songwriter Aviva Rossner, she let Aviva take charge of the story. 

Albert’s latest book “Human Blues” (Simon and Schuster) follows Aviva just as her fourth album is about to be released.  She is a critically acclaimed artist with a strong following, married to a wonderful man, but she’s still struggling to find contentment because of infertility.

 “Her voice really got to me.  It started out as a little voice and just took over,” Albert said.  “I love her sharpness in contrast with her vulnerability.  You can’t have one without the other.  Her depth of feeling, her grace and her rage are all tied up together.  She’s unfiltered, which most likely explains why she has so many rabid fans as a singer.  We don’t encounter people like that very often.”

Albert said Aviva was so intense and so vivid, she decided not to write from her personal point of view.  “I wrote in first-person for my last book, and I wanted to tell this story in a different style.  It was also a necessary distancing tool to not be in Aviva’s head.  She is filled full with life and energy.  She’s inspiring and also exhausting.”

Aviva’s struggle to maintain her authenticity as an artist is one of the many themes in the novel.  “Amy Winehouse, the British pop singer, is kind of a patron saint for Aviva. Amy also had a strong intensity as a singer and a wild way of living her life. Aviva admires how Amy maintained her honesty as a singer and a performer.  Like Amy Winehouse, Aviva wants to be true to herself and not capitulate to everything that’s expected of her and lose her essential self.  You can’t tell a girl like Amy Winehouse what to do, and Aviva strives to be the same way.”

Albert grew up in Los Angeles and saw firsthand how many of her friends and associates got caught up in trying to be famous to attain money and power. In “Human Blues,” Albert explores how celebrity outweighs creativity.  “Our cultural obsession with fame in this country is really insane. Why do we obsess over it so much?  I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to deal with anything like real fame.  I see it as a curse, a hellish existence. You can become a prisoner of fame, and as a writer I only get a tiny taste of it, but that’s enough. Aviva wants fame and doesn’t want fame. It’s one of the ways she’s conflicted.”

Aviva has so much: Her loving husband, Sam, the successful recording career, passionate fans and even a supporting mentor in her rabbi.  What she doesn’t have is a baby. Even though she has tried various treatments to become pregnant, nothing has worked.  “We live in a culture, especially for women, where your worth is very much tied to fertility.  A woman who is not a mother in this society is harangued from every direction.  Even after you’ve had a child people keep asking when you’re going to have another, and if you have no children people wonder what’s wrong with you.”

Despite being happily married, who teaches inner-city kids at Albany High School, Aviva still has self-destructive tendencies.  “I think Sam is an incredible port in the storm for Aviva.  He’s a solid, decent, righteous, lovable and loving guy. …  He’s the backdrop to some of her excess in how much she likes to flirt, how she loves to push the boundaries, and how she tries to constantly live on the edge.”

Aviva loves Sam, and he loves her, but Aviva wonders why that isn’t enough. Albert says, “What is enough?  How many blessings do we get in our lives?  Why is it the things that elude is, like getting pregnant for Aviva, have such a way of  causing so much despair, and the joys in our life that have come our way, we often take for granted? She even has a wise elder in her life, the rabbi, a trusted mentor.  Aviva is a lucky lady in so many ways.”

“Human Blues” is Aviva’s personal exploration.  “She’s going through a hero’s journey to figure out what we all struggle with when we ask ourselves what we feel and why we feel that.  Many of us never explore our own desires.  We do what’s been expected, and we fall in line, but people like Aviva and Amy Winehouse want to live more genuine lives,” Albert said.

“They will have a constant struggle against a culture that will want to normalize them.”

Dove & Hudson book launch, signing

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 5

Where: Dove & Hudson Used Books, 296 Hudson Ave., Albany

Conversation with author Julia May Jones

When: 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 20

Where: Northshire Bookstore, 424 Broadway, Saratoga Springs

Categories: books

Amazon bows to UAE pressure to restrict LGBTQ+ search results – The Guardian

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Amazon bows to UAE pressure to restrict LGBTQ+ search results

Tech giant imposes restrictions on goods such as books and rainbow-coloured flags after threats of penalties

Amazon has bowed to pressure from the United Arab Emirates and restricted search results for LGBTQ+-related products such as books and rainbow-coloured flags on its website in the country.

The company decided to restrict the searches after being threatened with penalties by the UAE government, according to the New York Times which first reported the story.

The news comes as Pride month, designed to celebrate LGBTQ+ people around the world every year, comes to an end.

Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE, one of 69 countries in the world that have laws that criminalise being gay.

“As a company, we remain committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we believe that the rights of LGBTQ+ people must be protected,” an Amazon spokesperson told the BBC.

However, they added: “With Amazon stores around the world, we must also comply with the local laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.”

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

Earlier this month, authorities in Saudi Arabia seized rainbow-coloured toys and children’s clothing, which they claimed encourage homosexuality, according to state TV Al Ekhbariya. It said commerce ministry officials removed a range of items from shops in the capital, Riyadh, including hats, skirts, T-shirts, hair clips and pencil cases.

Saudi Arabia has also banned films that depict, or even refer to, sexual minorities. In April, the kingdom said it had asked Disney to cut “LGBTQ references” from the Marvel film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but Disney refused.

Disney’s latest animation, Lightyear, which features a same-sex kiss, has also been banned in Saudi Arabia and more than a dozen other countries.

Categories: books

Bangladesh FM asks to seek apology for false allegations against govt – Business Standard

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Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen has asked that those who made false allegations against the government over the Padma Bridge project must apologise and pay compensation.

“Under the courageous leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the historic Padma Bridge has been built with our funds and resources and now represents a nation on the road to self-reliance and prosperity,” said Momen while speaking as the chief guest at High Commission, London’s gala celebration titled “Padma Bridge: Milestone of a Decade of Growth and Prosperity” held on Monday in east London, the heart of British-Bangladeshi community.

Highlighting the significant economic growth that achieved in the past decade, the Foreign Minister added, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s timely and innovative initiatives made Bangladesh a self-sufficient country in staple crop production, which increased four-fold from 11 to 44 lakh tonne, and her business-friendly government boosted export earnings from $7-$8 million to $48 million. Apart from this, our economy gained a strong foothold during the pandemic as expatriate Bangladeshi, including from the UK and Ireland, remitted $25 billion to their homeland.”

Momen in his speech expressed solidarity with the flood victims in Sylhet and other areas of Bangladesh and spoke in detail about the relief and rescue operations the government has been implementing since the recurrence of the natural disasters.

The Foreign Minister also said that he had discussed the latest flood situation as well as relief and rescue operations with the high-level government authorities and relevant ministries to ensure that the flood victims received adequate support.

Additionally, he had spoken with the Education Ministry about supplying textbooks to those districts where the school children lost their books to the flooding and gave assurances that they would be provided with new books.

Speaking on some problems facing expatriate Bangladeshis, the Minister added that he has suggested the ministries concerned to form a special tribunal to solve the disputes and cases relating to their land and property; and to ease further the security checks at the airports in Bangladesh, and issue passports in the shortest possible time.

High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem in her welcome remarks, said, “Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave us an independent nation in 1971. After 51 years, his visionary daughter Prime Minister gave the historic Padma Bridge, which is a glorious symbol of Bangladesh’s self-reliance and self-respect and a milestone in the development and prosperity of Bangladesh towards Bangabandhu’s ‘Sonar Bangla’.”

The High Commissioner lauded the contributions of Bangladeshis living in the UK and Ireland to Bangladesh’s economy, including the Padma Bridge, by sending record remittances back home.

Expressing her deep solidarity with the flood-affected people in Bangladesh, including in Sylhet division, the envoy added, “Bangladesh High Commission has set up a helpline to provide the necessary information and emergency assistance to the expatriate Bangladeshis whose family members and relatives are affected by the flooding.”

“If anyone needs assistance for sending and distributing relief materials to the flood-affected areas, they can also communicate the High Commission through the helpline details which are available on the High Commission’s Facebook page,” she said.

Speaking on the occasion, Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman, who is a British-Bangladeshi citizen, congratulated and her government for building the Padma Bridge, which significantly improved the country’s communication infrastructure.

 

Commenting on natural disasters across the world, including the current floods in Bangladesh, the Mayor cited the statement of Sheikh Hasina delivered at the COP26 in November 2021 holding developed countries responsible for some of the climate-related incidents in Bangladesh.

He suggested Bangladesh government to continue its campaign so developed countries take responsibility for climate-related losses and damage.

A prominent British-Bangladeshi community member Jalal Uddin also spoke at the event, attended by more than 400 enthusiastic expatriate Bangladeshis who came from different cities and towns of the UK and Ireland to celebrate the inauguration of Padma Bridge.

–IANS

sumi/khz/

 

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Categories: books