Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Kanye West: on Americanah and how to talk about race in America

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I only devoted about fifteen minutes to this research, so I might have missed it, but I could not find any evidence that Barack Obama has ever called Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a jackass.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote a novel about love and romance in Nigeria and America. Doing so, Adichie wrote a sharp, funny and honest depiction of life in Nigeria and race in America. In reading the interviews Adichie has given since Americanah won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, I have found that many interviewers seem befuddled by the fact that Adichie would approach the subject of race through the lens of a love story. I’m a reader, not a critic or an interviewer and I understand, support, appreciate the fact that Adichie tells her story of a Non-American Black who chooses to come to America and then chooses to leave through the lens of romance.

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An American Writer in Paris

indexindexAdam Gopnik recently wrote a piece (sub req’d) in the New Yorker about traveling home to Montreal to learn to bake bread with his mother. That piece led to my personal decree that Adam Gopnik might be my spirit animal, or at the very least, that we might be kindred spirits in the way of Anne Shirley and Diana Barry.

Here is what I knew about Adam Gopnik before reading “Bread and Women” in last year’s food issue:

1) Adam Gopnik is a man who writes for the New Yorker.

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The Strand Bookstore

imagesIf we want to talk about independent bookstores, we should probably start with the North American grande dame of them.

A bookstore with a unionized work force of over 200 people?

A bookstore with an entire floor devoted to the arts?

A bookstore that still utilizes the $1 cart by the front door?

The Strand has you covered. The catch, if you consider it one, is that these are used books. The Strand’s buyers are careful about condition and I don’t mind someone else’s inscription of my frontispiece if it means paying half of the cover price for a recent release. The place is huge and crowded but well organized and staffed by an army so the shopping experience is more Indigo and less used-book charity shop. Continue reading

Type Books

imagesIf you’re the type of person to read a blog about books and bookstores, you’ve probably already heard of Type Books. The Joy of Books, the stop motion film by the fine people at Type, was a book-world viral smash a couple of years ago. What you may not know about Type is that their Queen Street location is the closest book store to my house, making them the most important bookstore in North America.

 

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