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The Life and Career of Jim Murray
Part crusader, part comedian, Jim Murray was a once-in-a-generation literary talent who just happened to ply his trade on newsprint, right near the box scores and race results. During his lifetime, Murray rose through the ranks of journalism, from hard-bitten 1940s crime reporter, to national Hollywood correspondent, to the top sports columnist in the United States. In Last King of the Sports Page: The Life and Career of Jim Murray, Ted Geltner chronicles Jim Murray’s experiences with twentieth-century American sports, culture, and journalism.
The founder of the Feminist Press and one of the first proponents of women’s studies presents a living history of the growth of feminism, especially in academia. Howe began her career teaching at major universities around the U.S. She went on to chair the Modern Language Association and bring women to the forefront in that organization. Next she founded the Feminist Press, which has been publishing feminist writing for more than four decades, and helped organize an international women’s studies network. From her summers in Mississippi where she created a freedom school in the dangerous days of the civil rights movement to her friendships with iconic writers like Marilyn French, Tillie Olsen, and Grace Paley, Howe documents a lifetime of activism.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1970s and 1980s, roughly half of Furman’s high school basketball teammates lived in the largely Anglo, and increasingly Jewish, San Fernando Valley, while the other half were African Americans bused in from the inner city. Los Angeles was embroiled in efforts to desegregate its public school district, one of the largest and most segregated in the country. Tensions came to a head as the state implemented its forced busing plan, a radical desegregation program that was hotly contested among Los Angeles residents—particularly among Valley residents—and at all levels of the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. In My Los Angeles in Black and (Almost) White, the high school’s basketball team serves as the entry point for a trenchant exploration of the judicial, legislative, and neighborhood battles over school desegregation that gripped the city in the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education and that continue to plague our "post-racial" nation.
Of Books and Bookstores
Jean-Luc Nancy's On the Commerce of Thinking concerns the particular communication of thoughts that takes place by means of the business of writing, producing, and selling books. His reflection is born out of his relation to the bookstore, in the first place his neighborhood one, but beyond that any such perfumery, rotisserie, patisserie,as he calls them, dispensaries of scents and flavors through which something like a fragrance or bouquet of the book is divined, presumed, sensed.On the Commerce of Thinking is thus not only something of a semiology of the specific cultural practice that begins with the unique character of the writer's voice and culminates in a customer crossing the bookstore threshold, package under arm, on the way home to a comfortable chair, but also an understated yet persuasive plea in favor of an endangered species. In evoking the peddler who, in times past, plied the streets with books and pamphlets literally hanging off him, Nancy emphasizes the sensuality of this commerce and reminds us that this form of consumerism is like no other, one that ends in an experience-reading-that is the beginning of a limitless dispersion, metamorphosis, and dissemination of ideas. Making, selling, and buying books has all the elements of the exchange economy that Marx analyzed--from commodification to fetishism--yet each book retains throughout an absolute and unique value, that of its subject. With reading, it gets repeatedly reprinted and rebound. For Nancy, the book thus functions only if it remains at the same time open and shut, like some Moebius strip. Closed, it represents the Idea and takes its place in a canon by means of its monumental form and the title and author's name displayed on its spine. But it also opens itself to us, indeed consents to being shaken to its core, in being read each time anew.
The Woman and the Myth
Based on his own extensive personal interviews with the writer, Santo L. Aricò provides the definitive biography of Oriana Fallaci, a popular and flamboyant Italian journalist, war correspondent, and novelist who, in the public imagination, approaches mythical proportions and who, with every work she produces, creates and re-creates that myth.
A Journalist's Memories of Exile and Apartheid
A child of a Jewish family fleeing Nazi-Germany and settling in apartheid South Africa in the 1930s, Ruth Weissí journalistic career starts in Johannesburg of the 1950s. In 1968 banned from her home country, and then also from Rhodesia for her critical investigative journalism, she starts reporting from Lusaka, London and Cologne on virtually all issues which affect the newly independent African countries. Peasants and national leaders in southern Africa ñ Ruth Weiss met them all, travelling through Africa at a time when it was neither usual for a woman to do so, nor to report for economic media as she did. Her writing gained her the friendship of diverse and interesting people. In this book she offers us glimpses into some of her many long-nurtured friendships, with Kenneth Kaunda or Nadine Gordimer and many others. Her life-long quest for tolerance and understanding of different cultures shines through the many personalized stories which her astute eye and pen reveals in this book. As she put it, one never sheds the cultural vest donned at birth, but this should never stop one learning about and accepting other cultures.
John Forsyth of the Mobile Register