Once You Break A Knuckle

The boy’s mother insisted her son be named Winston, because it evoked hints of rubbled London and because she remembered her old man, a gunned-down naval aviator who she eventually discovered had raped her mother.

-D.W. Wilson, Once You Break A Knuckle: Stories


Countercultures and Popular Music & More


“Although many factors played a part in making the ‘60s counterculture so revolutionary, vibrant, and influential, arguably none had a bigger role than the ever-changing world of popular music.” Here‘s Countercultures and Popular Music.

A portrayal of “the forthright, formidable, still-enigmatic sovereign.” Here‘s A.N. Wilson’s Victoria.

Says Diane di Prima (The Poetry Deal): “I remember our house in Brooklyn. I was inside a lot because my Italian father thought girls shouldn’t go out. At 13, that changed. I went to high school in Manhattan. Eight of us wrote poetry together before class. I’ve never forgotten that experience.” Here.

“Do you find it disrespectful to read canonical masterpieces in the bathroom?” Here.


China’s Second Continent

The historic movement of Chinese to Africa is itself largely driven by word of mouth, by news passed back and forth about a continent that many ordinary Chinese people, even those who reside deep in the hinterland of their country, nowadays speak of in near awe as a place of almost unlimited opportunity. Each newcomer to Africa thus has the potential to become a powerful link in a phenomenon of chain migration that draws relatives, acquaintances, girlfriends, ans spouses in their wake.

-Howard W. French, China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa


A Little Lumpen Novelita

Now I’m a mother and a married woman, but not long ago I led a life of crime.

-Roberto Bolano, A Little Lumpen Novelita


The Unsubstantial Air

There is a story to be told about those young men and the air war they fought. It’s not military history; it’s not about generals and their strategies and the movements of armies: rather, it’s a story of the experience of becoming a pilot and then of flying in combat over the Western Front. It’s about the men, and the  planes; the French earth and sky; the flying, and killing, and dying, and surviving.

-Samuel Hynes, The Unsubstantial Air: American Fliers in the First World War


The Wrong Carlos

Carlos DeLuna’s execution is a story of a system that failed from top to bottom–of professionals who failed to do their job well from start to finish. Our investigation did nothing more than the people responsible for Carlos DeLuna’s case could and should have done between 1983 and 1989, when much more of the evidence remained at hand. The most tragic fortuity of all for Carlos Deluna . . . was the failure of even one police officer, prosecutor, defense lawyer, or judge handling the case between 1983 and 1989 to insist on a more conscientious search for Wanda Lopez’s killer, or to give serious consideration to Carlos DeLuna’s consistent claim–which he did his meager best to shout from the rooftops–that he didn’t do it, but he knew who did.

-James S. Liebman and the Columbia DeLuna Project, The Wrong Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution


Scandals of Classic Hollywood & More

scandals“None of us got enough love in our childhood. And that’s showbiz, kid.” Here‘s Scandals of Classic Hollywood.

Literary L.A. Here.

“Now, in 2014, Chicken Soup for the Soul is less a series than an empire, a multimillion-dollar franchise with an auxiliary pet-food line. More than 500 million books have been souled—uh, sold—and the original has been translated into 40 languages.” Here.

“Looking at him or talking with him, you wouldn’t know he was a Rockefeller.” Here‘s Richard Norton Smith’s On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller.

“[Rick] Bragg landed the assignment of writing ‘the story of Jerry Lee Lewis’ when his agent called him in 2011. ‘Part of me said “hell yeah”, and part of me said “God, help me”. The book fell right down in between, and we lived that book right in the middle. If it were food, it’d be sausage gravy. It’s not good for you, but it sure does taste great.” Here.

John Wayne

The man the world would come to know as John Wayne was not born Marion Michael Morrison–as tradition would have it–nor was he born Marion Mitchell Morrison–as revisionist tradition would have it.

-Scott Eyman, John Wayne: The Life and Legend


A Volcano Beneath the Snow

No thoughts of failure troubled John Brown. The Lord, he believed, commanded him to destroy slavery. He also understood the American public’s mood. Even if his plan failed, he expected the uprising to split the Union, igniting civil war. Brown told his son Salmon that the slave states, terrified and blaming Northern plotters for their troubles, would secede. The “North would then whip the South back into the Union without slavery.” He told Franklin Sanborn much the same, saying he was “eager to begin it [civil war], [so] that it might be the sooner over.”

-Albert Marrin, A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery



Every morning. when I open my eyes to the so-called ‘new day,’ I feel like closing them again, staying in bed, and not getting up.

-Paulo Coelho, Adultery: A Novel