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Activist, Artist, Musician Ani DiFranco to Publish Memoir

Ani DiFranco/Photo © Charles Waldorf

Editor's Note:

Ani DiFranco is finally writing a memoir! This, some unexpected censorship, rising book sales, and hope for ‘The Purge: Election Year’ – all in today’s Daily Blunt.

Good news for those who came of age in the ’90s: Singer, songwriter, poet and activist Ani DiFranco has signed with Viking to write a memoir, comparing the writing process herself to a sculptor chipping away at a “huge slab of timeless stone.” As such, there is no release date — but in the meantime, you can check out some of the books she’s enjoyed over the last couple of years,  which may offer some insights into her headspace as she attempts this massive undertaking.

School administrators in Sarasota, FL, are facing some unwanted attention after news broke that a substitute teacher presented advanced twelfth-grade students with the Junot Diaz story “Alma” — a story she has often taught to freshmen at NYU, and which has been published in The New Yorker — and was subsequently fired without warning, and banned from teaching in the district. “I think you’re doing the students a disservice if you’re assuming they are not mature enough to handle that material,” the teacher in question stated. “The best literature is meant to disturb … Those of us who love literature believe that, and we believe in academic freedom.” You can enjoy the story in question on The New Yorker‘s website.

Forget what you may have heard about the death of print media: Actual paper book sales rose again in 2016, for the third year in a row, reports Publisher’s Weekly, with the largest gains appearing in the adult nonfiction category, in genres such as religion and self-help. Juvenile fiction, on the other hand, only saw the slimmest growth, with just a few titles by J.K. Rowling and Jeff Kinney selling more than a million units. Can we continue to grow in 2017? The celebrity bio genre alone ought to have some legs under it, considering the tragic losses of the past year.

Is there any hope that “The Purge: Election Year” will get some Academy love this winter? The AVClub makes a case for the horror film’s screenplay as a particularly timely and surprisingly well-crafted work of suspense. Such a move would not be without precedent: “The Oscars recognize thriller screenplays more often than you might expect, although the bias is unsurprisingly toward more mainstream and prestige ones like ‘Captain Phillips,’ ‘Argo,’ and ‘The Departed’ … Only ‘The Silence Of The Lambs’ approaches Purge levels of pulpiness, and that has a far greater sheen of respectability.” While “Election Year” doesn’t appear to be on anyone’s shortlist for awards, you can’t fault such a bold attempt to make genre films great again.