Friday, January 30, 2009

Stuff White People Like

Just ran across this longish CNN segment with Christian Lander, author of Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions. I never realized how much he resembles "Bananas"-era Woody Allen, an enviable hipster credential if ever one existed, at least for those of the Caucasian persuasion. Lander will be here next Tuesday for a talk and booksigning, so stop by, say hi, and meet the red-headed, bespectacled young repository of all things honky.

- Brandon

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wage Theft In America

This Super Bowl Eve (Saturday 1/31) we're hosting Kim Bobo, founder and director of Interfaith Worker Justice, who will be speaking about and signing her new book, Wage Theft in America. The book addresses a problem that is disconcertingly widespread and sadly under-discussed. Wage theft occurs when a worker doesn’t receive full compensation for work they perform. It happens when Wal-Mart fails to pay employees for working overtime, when a construction worker contracts to help build a house and then never sees his paycheck, when an undocumented worker is paid at a rate below the minimum wage.

Bobo, a nationally-recognized labor rights activist, founded Interfaith Worker Justice in 1991 as a way to heighten the religious community’s involvement in labor campaigns. The organization now has local chapters in seven cities across the country, including one in Phoenix that opened in September of 2008. Interfaith Worker Justice of Arizona holds weekly meetings on Thursday nights for workers who feel their rights have been violated, and also schedules individual meetings to address work issues on a case-by-case basis. They work primarily with immigrants whose undocumented status makes them vulnerable to exploitation and wage theft. “The low-wage earning immigrants we tend to work with often live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to not be paid,” says Cristina Sanidad of IWJAZ. “Basic needs, like food, clothing, medical care, education, and shelter, are harder to meet, and families often have to decide which of these they can live without.”

To find out more about Kim Bobo and Interfaith Worker Justice, visit To learn more about Interfaith Worker Justice of Arizona:

- Tessa

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rabbit at Rest

JOHN UPDIKE, 1932 - 2009

“Preparing his cup of Sanka over the singing kettle, he wears his usual expression: that of a man beset by an embarrassment of delicious drolleries. The telephone starts ringing. A science magazine wants something pithy on the philosophy of subatomic thermodynamics; a fashion magazine wants 10,000 words on his favorite color. No problem — but can they hang on? Mr. Updike has to go upstairs again and blurt out a novel.”

- Martin Amis on John Updike

UPDATE: The New Yorker magazine has started a memorial thread for Updike on its blog, The Book Bench. As of this writing, Julian Barnes and Antonya Nelson have posted their thoughts. Updike contributed regularly to The New Yorker (his first piece appeared in 1954, his final piece last May), so expect this feature to be star-studded and ongoing.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Best. Commercial. Ever.

Turns out Ray Bradbury was right about wall-to-wall televisions. But 2001 has come and gone, and still no pneumatic people tubes!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The 2009 Tournament of Books

The Morning News today announced the contenders in their fifth annual Tournament of Books, a punishing competition in which the editors “take 16 of the most celebrated and highly touted novels of the year, seed them in a March Madness-type bracket, conscript them into a ‘Battle Royale of Literary Excellence,’ and, in honor of David Sedaris’s brother, present the author of the winning book a live rooster.”

Believe me, you’ll want to bookmark the site and check back regularly, both to vote for your favorites as they advance through the rounds, and to leave snarky comments when they fall to the Rooster’s bloody spur. It’s great fun, and far more sensible than whatever obscure mix of bibliomancy, numerology and entrail-reading is used to determine the National Book Award winners every year.


About Us

Tempe, Arizona, United States