BURN PILE: "Toni Morrison, Labor Day, and Fall Releases" by Jake Bienvenue

Welcome back to Burn Pile, folks! 

We’re gonna be coming at you the rest of the season like a metaphor which describes a column that threads literature and current events with humor, wit, and style each and every Friday. If such an object of comparison exists. 

We should, however, recognize one of the gargantuan occurrences of the summer before we move along: the death of beloved writer Toni Morrison. August 5th was a heavy day for those of us here at CutBank, as it was for the millions of people who were touched by her work. May she rest in power. Go check out an interview over at LitHub with the beloved author. In it, Morrison touches on everything from her family history to meeting Jeff Bezos. The Guardian ran a cool series where authors of color--such as Tracy K Smith--reflect on Morrison’s importance. Speaking of her lasting influence, here is an interesting opinion article by Ross Douthat of The New York Times. In it, he approaches Morrison’s oeuvre from an economic perspective, arguing that she might be thought of as the last “great American novelist.” 

Anyways, Monday was Labor Day, a day in which we all collectively celebrate the fight against economic coercion and oppressive capitalism by watching TV, recovering from Sunday, and thinking about Tuesday. In celebration, here is a landmark article run by The New Yorker in 1999 by the one-and-only Anthony Bourdain. This stunning ode to the food industry helped kickstart the career of the beloved star of Parts Unknown. If you’re interested in other odd jobs, here’s a funny interview from McSweeney’s with former Miss Massachusetts, Alissa Musto. And, after all this, if you want to quit your job and run away, go check out ElectricLit’s list of books about just that. 

If all this book talk gets you in the mood, go check out LitHub’s roundup of the best books coming out this fall. Featuring Salman Rushdie, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Stephen King, and Margaret Atwood, this is a good list of what’s up next in the lit-sphere. 

Speaking of Margaret Atwood, labor frustration, and literature, here is a fascinating article from The New Yorker about the novelist’s upcoming installment in the world of The Handmaid’s Tale and the political complicity of our time which makes this world so terrifying, and so real. And, to bring it all the way back to the briefly-mentioned Jeff Bezos, here is an article from ElectricLit about some of the drama involving Amazon shipping Atwood’s new novel a week early, and that decision’s effect on indie booksellers. 

Happy Reading!