The official Independent Bookstore Day is the last day of April each year. Bringing author readings, music and kids events and more, indie bookstores from all over celebrate this special Saturday. Indie bookstores are vital, enthusiastic, and community-building centers of literature, poetry, and creativity. Love them and support them all year long. Find your local bookstore here.
This week, the first three episodes of the cinematic adaptation of the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale landed on the streaming service Hulu. The multiple award-winning book includes themes of totalitarianism, theocracy, and women’s reproductive rights and is set in what Atwood calls the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States of America.
In more exciting fantastic-book-turned-into-equally-fantastic-series news, Amazon has renewed the series, starring Christina Ricci, for a second season. The show is based on the critically-acclaimed and New York Times bestselling book Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. The story takes place in the Jazz Age of the 1920s, focusing on Zelda’s life and her relationship with F. Scott Fitzgerald. From the novel:
“I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we’re ruined, Look closer…and you’ll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.” — from Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
The University of South Carolina will be the new home for the personal archives of 2017 Guggenheim Fellow Ron Rash, author of the novel Serena, the short story collection Chemistry and Other Stories, and other acclaimed works. Announced on Thursday, April 27th, the acquisition was supported by the Easterling-Hallman Foundation. Rash’s works will join other notable papers and collections from Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Pat Conroy, and others.
The author of the well-known counterculture classic died this week at the age of 88. The book has sold more than 5 million copies since it was originally published in 1974. In the book, per this cogent and thoughtful obit in the Los Angeles Times, “he develops what he calls the “Metaphysics of Quality,” a philosophy that attempts to unite and transcend the mysticism of the East and the reason of the West.”
But wait, there’s more!
This week, Maria Popova, the creator of Brain Pickings, hosted The Universe in Verse, in collaboration with astrophysicist and writer Janna Levin and the Academy of American Poets. The event was held live on April 24th and livestreamed with thousands of viewers. Celebrating the convergence of science and poetry, all proceeds benefited the Academy of American Poets and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The event included many wonderful pieces presented by Rosanne Cash, Janna Levin, Elizabeth Alexander, Diane Ackerman, and others. At the end of the evening, Amanda Palmer debuted a poem by Neil Gaiman, a feminist poem about the dawn of science. Mixing it up a bit this week, I’m sharing the Soundcloud version with the electric performance of the poem by Amanda Palmer here:
You can also enjoy the longer video, with an enthusiastic introduction from Maria Popova here. Congratulations to all involved in this incredible celebration of science and poetry!
Laurel Dowswell is the Features Editor at Change Seven. Her short story “I Am the Eggman” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. She was a copy editor for an independent feminist newspaper in Santa Fe, NM, after being raised and educated in Florida. She lives and writes in Georgia, just outside of Atlanta with her son. She is currently working on a novel filled with oil paintings, family drama, a lot of red wine, and the spectrum of sexuality. Follow her on twitter @laurels_idea