Welcome to Grove at Home!
Every weekday, from now until we’re all out of the house again, we’ll be sharing a couple of links — some fresh, some from the vault — to say hi, remind you to keep reading, and let you know what’s on our minds.
Friday, May 14
First of all, Douglas Stuart won two Nibbies yesterday!
In case you haven’t heard, yesterday the amazing Douglas Stuart won not one, but two Nibbies (aka British Book Awards): one for Fiction Début Book of the Year, and one for Book of the Year. If you haven’t watched Douglas winning both of them, you simply must, at once:
Congratulations to the 2021 Fiction: Début Book of the Year winner, @Doug_D_Stuart for Shuggie Bain! Thank you to the inimitable Margaret Busby for presenting, and to @TheTLS for supporting the award!@picadorbooks #BritishBookAwards #Nibbies pic.twitter.com/jpvwW55nGy
— The Bookseller (@thebookseller) May 13, 2021
The Overall Book of the Year for 2021 is @Doug_D_Stuart, who takes a second trophy tonight for his début novel Shuggie Bain, a huge congratulations! And thank you to @DavidLammy for presenting.@picadorbooks @panmacmillan #BritishBookAwards #Nibbies pic.twitter.com/pIKHY222bU
— The Bookseller (@thebookseller) May 13, 2021
Tomorrow will mark the 130th birthday of Mikhail Bulgakov. In all likelihood, nothing will ever top the time we celebrated with fearsome live beasts, but here are some Bulgakovian delights — a few that we’ve shared before, and a couple for the first time.
Patti Smith tells everyone to read The Master and Margarita on CBS Sunday Morning
This is the best.
Patti Smith Sings of Pontius Pilate’s Dog
Here’s the title track off Smith’s 2012 album Banga, named for Pontius Pilate’s beloved dog in the novel.
Max von Sydow stars in Alberto Lattuada’s Cuore di cane
In 1976, an Italian-German film team headed by director Alberto Lattuada released an Italian-language screen adaptation of Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog. Here’s one scene, featuring Max von Sydow as Professor Filipp Filippovich Preobrazenski.
Alex Gendler Explains Why You Should Read The Master and Margarita
If you haven’t had the experience of reading The Master and Margarita, Alex Gendler will explain why you should, in this short, excellent TED-Ed video.
“His Comedy is Universal”: Viv Groskop on The Master and Margarita
“Bulgakov’s novel is tragic and poignant in many ways, but this feeling sneaks up on you only afterwards. Most of all, Bulgakov is about conjuring up a feeling of fun.” So writes Viv Groskop, author of The Anna Karenina Fix, in a wonderful 2018 essay published at Literary Hub. Read it at once!
“If many Russian classics are dark and deep and full of the horrors of the blackness of the human soul (or, indeed, are about the Gulag), then this is the one book to buck the trend. Of all the Russian classics, The Master and Margarita is undoubtedly the most cheering…” Continue reading…
Heart of a Dog… The Opera?
Since the narrator of Heart of a Dog is a mangy mutt who gets taken in by a scientist, receives the pituitary gland and testicles of a street criminal as a transplant, slowly begins turning human himself, and rises through the city’s political bureaucracy as its new master cat-strangler, one might be forgiven for thinking it wouldn’t lend itself to adaptation as a stage drama. But in 2010, Russian composer Alexander Raskatov premiered his opera version of the work. You can see and hear a little of the Dutch National Opera’s production of it here:
Thursday, May 13
Dominating headlines this week has been the growing conflict in Israel and Palestine, as Israel carries out its deadliest bombing raids against Gaza in years, Hamas launches rockets into Israel, and violence spreads to the streets. As many of us struggle to make sense of the devastation, and the years of political unrest underlying it, we’re watching former Guardian Middle East editor, and current fellow at the London School of Economics’ Middle East Institute, Ian Black — co-author of Israel’s Secret Wars and author of Enemies and Neighbors, among other books — appearing on Strait Talk, a news show aired on Turkey’s English-language TV news channel, TRT World. In discussion with Grassroots Al-Quds director Fayrouz Sharqawi and author Azzam Tamimi, Black brings his expertise to bear on the current situation, and helps us understand the events behind the news. “You don’t need me to explain that it’s the most intractable conflict in the world, certainly in the Middle East, and I think that the Biden administration needs to pay more attention to it than it has done so far.”
A fascinating discussion with Dantiel W. Moniz
Back in March, Dantiel W. Moniz, author of the meteoric debut Milk Blood Heat, joined a heavy-hitting circle of colleagues —Jo Ann Beard, Katherine Angel, and Jeannine Ouellette — for an appearance at Red Ink, Michele Filgate’s series focused on women writers, presented by Brooklyn indie bookselling bastion Books are Magic. A transcript of their discussion has just been published by Literary Hub and it is, quite simply, a feast. Give it a read.
“Dantiel W. Moniz: I think what I’m interested in when I write is, what’s the space between our wants versus our needs, and how often do we confuse the two? I’m very interested in the things that we want that we are ashamed to want—things that are stigmatized. I’m interested in the desire to be normal, whatever that means, the desire for the American Dream, which is a dream. I’m interested in, I don’t know, just the endlessness of it, the searching of it, and how that makes a person. I feel like once one is satisfied another one crops up in its place, you know what I mean, it’s like the head of the hydra.” Continue reading…
Bob Dylan sings Tangled Up in Blue
Less than two weeks till Nobel laureate, music legend, and beautifully enigmatic public figure Bob Dylan turns the big eight-zero! We’re already celebrating, with a special reissue of Howard Sounes’s definitive biography, Down the Highway. Here’s a live 1975 performance of his classic Tangled Up in Blue, to keep the party going.
Wednesday, May 12
Today marks the 71st birthday of the singular Gabriel Byrne — already one of the most admired actors of his generation when Walking with Ghosts, the gorgeous and powerful book about his life that we had the privilege of publishing early this year, made him additionally one of the most admired memoirists working today.
We’re wishing him an exceptionally happy birthday, and celebrating his life and work with a couple of profoundly excellent interviews.
To start with, here’s Gabriel back in January, discussing Walking with Ghosts with Zibby Owens on her podcast, Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books. “What unites us, and I think what makes us empathize with a great novel or poem or painting, is that we feel that it’s speaking to us, about us.”
Gabriel talks to Paul Jay on Reality Asserts Itself
From just a few years back, here’s an excellent interview Gabriel gave to Paul Jay for the Real News Network’s Reality Asserts Itself. Charming and candid as ever, Gabriel discusses growing up working class in Ireland, the emotional experience of internalizing Irish history, enrolling in seminary as a young man, and a lot more.
Gabriel Byrne talks to David Letterman in 1993
Finally, let’s take a deep plunge into the icy waters of the past with this bracing clip of Gabriel nearly three decades ago, talking to David Letterman to promote his appearance in John Badham’s then-forthcoming 1993 film Point of No Return, in which he appeared alongside Bridget Fonda and Harvey Keitel. “I came from Dublin, but once I got past Greenland my arms started to get tired.” What a joker!
Tuesday, May 11
Today marks the 88th birthday of Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, and a controversial fixture in American public life for decades. More than twenty years after we first published it, The Farrakhan Factor remains one of the key books to understanding Farrakhan’s life, legacy, and message. With contributions from a number of prominent Black writers — including Gwendolyn Brooks, Stanley Crouch, Michael Eric Dyson, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. — the volume is edited by acclaimed journalist Amy Alexander. We missed Alexander’s birthday a week ago (happy belated, Amy!), so today we’re taking a look at this fascinating conversation she had ten years ago for CUNY TV, with colleague Sheryl McCarthy. They discuss Alexander’s rise as a journalist, the state of Black journalism in America, and much more.
Francisco Goldman’s hitting the road!
Last week, we had the joy of publishing Monkey Boy, the lyrical new novel by Francisco Goldman, revered author of Say Her Name and The Art of Political Murder. Telling the story of a middle-aged writer of both Guatemalan and Ukrainian-Jewish heritage taking stock of his life, family, and career, it’s already proved a critical smash: O, the Oprah Magazine calls it both “a tour de force” and “an enthralling autofiction”; in a starred review, Kirkus writes, “The warmth and humanity of Goldman’s storytelling are impossible to resist.” We’re delighted to share some great news: Francisco’s going on tour! (Virtually, of course.) Check out his schedule below, and click for more info and links to tickets.
Helen Scales on the deep ocean
We can hardly wait to publish Helen Scales’s The Brilliant Abyss this summer. From one of the world’s leading — and, easily, one of its most dynamic and compelling — marine biologists, it’s a riveting look at the rich and fascinating ecosystem of the deep ocean, an area as mysterious to many as the depths of space or the emptiness between molecules. To help pass the long weeks until the book’s June release, here’s Helen’s recent appearance on BBC Radio’s The Life Scientific, discussing the deep ocean with physicist and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili. If you have even the faintest interest in life within the world’s oceans, this is a true must-listen.
Monday, May 10
Yesterday, actor John Corbett turned 60! Corbett is known for many roles, in shows and movies including Northern Exposure and My Big Fat Greek Wedding — but to us, he’ll always be Aidan, from the HBO adaptation of Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City. In this utterly enjoyable video produced by Ms. Mojo, we encounter the age-old question: Aidan, or Big?
Eileen Myles on Moyra Davey and Peter Hujar
Recently, poet Eileen Myles published a stunning essay at the Paris Review, considering artist Moyra Davey’s new book, The Shabbiness of Beauty, in which she places her own work alongside that of the legendary Peter Hujar. Myles, thanks to the pandemic unable to visit the Berlin gallery show from which the book emerged, printed out the images and mounted a sort of shadow version of the exhibition in their New York City apartment, to produce, true to form, an extraordinary record of the encounter.
“Steve died. He was huge. He was fifty and lived in the apartment downstairs right by the front door. His Yankees sticker is still there. He went into the hospital on March 2 and died on March 22. Anna at the laundromat told me. Anna’s quite bent, deep into her eighties. I remember her in her fifties a mean and vivid woman. She got older the place is filthy many of the machines are broken but it’s on the corner and I’m weirdly loyal to it. Steve worked there usually standing outside and I think he delivered bags for Anna. He helped me lug things upstairs too. Years earlier he lived right next door to me with a crowd of people. I remember when he was a little boy and he was thrown butt naked into the hall as a joke. I was coming up the stairs and he was desperately pounding on the door. Your neighbor died Anna told me when I was getting my change. Steve I asked. He’d be standing outside my front door when I came home from wherever. Hey Steve. Was it COVID I asked. We don’t know. His sister comes once a week to get the mail Anna said. She comes on Tuesday. They still send it. I told her the post office doesn’t take you off for a while. They’re worried the landlord won’t give back the security she intimated. What’s it like five hundred dollars. Two. Two hundred and something. Then I turned hoping his sister would come in. And now this place is familiar less. I mean everything perpetually feels more unconnected to a past when I was young and the Tin Palace on East Second Street was a jazz/poetry bar and Stanley Crouch held court at the bar. He died last week. My friends who were bartenders lived in this building and I just went over here one day on my break and I could have it the super said and I moved in. This is like 1977. Time puts its stamp on everything.” Continue reading…
B.B. King sings Sweet Little Angel