Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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March 2013 News & Features

“Calculating the Price Per Pound of an Incarcerated Black Man’s Flesh,” by Ricardo Cortés

In 2000, I was struck by a simple infographic in Wired magazine comparing earnings between several major industries. I was surprised by the low ranking of movies with respect to their command of popular culture. Moreover I was moved by how the bar graphs told a story; I tore out the page and taped it to my studio wall. Five years later, as I was formulating the idea of an illustrated book about coffee and drug prohibition, I read that coffee was the second most-traded commodity after oil. It seemed fantastic that coffee was that popular. I began to research the trails of several interrelated commercial, cultural, and political behemoths, and I imagined ways to compare them . . .

“On Writing a Real Life Murder,” by David McConnell, author of American Honor Killings

Some artists feel a touch of envy for the crystalline truths of science; what they offer in the way of truth can seem as mushy and dubious as wine-speak. I happen to be an admirer of connoisseurship (though a lot of people scorn it as elitist nowadays), but when I decided to try nonfiction after cutting my teeth on fiction, I wanted to be a little more science-like. For one thing, real world murders—the subject of American Honor Killings—shook up my notions of refinement. They shook ME up, frankly….

“One Wolf, Three Sheep,” by Eddie Joyce

Matty stared out the front window of the Emerald Club, muttering curses into his coffee. On the corner opposite the bar, the Africans huddled, laughter spilling out in front of them in long, frigid plumes.

Only three this morning. The little guy was missing. Sleeping in maybe.

A low rumbling startled him. Declan had left his cell phone on the bar when he went upstairs and the goddam thing was vibrating every few minutes, skittering across the bar like a deranged metallic cricket. He glared at the phone, which soon fell silent.

“SHARD” by Arthur Nersesian

One of greatest tests of self-control is the ability to keep your eyes closed even after you wake up. When I came to I knew he was watching and listening to me, checking to see if I had awoken yet. The gag taped in my mouth forced me to breathe through my nose, which I did steadily. When he started making little sounds, I peeked out: My abductor, a geeky kid in his late teens, was wearing a poncho, a shower cap, and surgical gloves, prepped for my kill…

Weekly Roundup 3/1/13

Every Friday, the Akashic team highlights industry news, reviews, and features from around the web (and the office!). This week’s roundup comes to you from Akashic publicist Kate Bogden and editorial assistant Susannah Lawrence.


Featured: Black Interest