Muse by Craig Ranapia


Start The Week

EXITS AND ENTRANCES. Christine Cole Catley - journalist, publisher and author -  died on Sunday in her Devonport home after a brief battle with lung cancer, aged 88.  Today, Maurice Gee marks his big eight-zero.


HOPELESSLY PANGLOSSIAN. Never let it be said that Muse is a haven of effete sports-phobes (which it is, but never mind)... The Duckworth Lewis Method's 'Mason on The Boundary' is simply delightful, as only two Irish blokes who made a concept album about cricket can be. (hat-tip Stephen Stratford at Quote Unquote)



HARRY POTTER, DEEPAK CHOPRA AND LOVE POETRY.  I probably shouldn't be surprised that all of the above is rather popular in the library at Paremoremo.  I wonder if some Muse reader would like to donate a copy of Avi Steinberg's Running The Books: The Adventures of An Accidental Prison Librarian

My name is Avi Steinberg, but in the joint, they call me Bookie. The nickname was given to me by Jamar "Fat Kat" Richmond. Fat Kat is, or was, a notorious gangster, occasional pimp, and, as it turns out, exceptionally resourceful librarian. At thirty years old and two bullet wounds, Kat is already a veteran inmate. He's too big — five foot nine, three-hundred-plus pounds — for a proper prison outfit. Instead he is given a nonregulation T-shirt, the only inmate in his unit with a blue T-shirt instead of a tan uniform top. But the heaviness bespeaks solidity, substance, gravitas. The fat guy T-shirt, status. He is my right-hand, though it often seems the other way around.

"Talk to Bookie," he tells inmates who've lined up to see him. "He's the main book man."

The main book man. I like that. I can't help it. For an asthmatic Jewish kid, it's got a nice ring to it. Hired to run Boston's prison library — and serve as the resident creative writing teacher — I am living my (quixotic) dream: a book-slinger with a badge and a streetwise attitude, part bookworm, part badass. This identity has helped me tremendously at cocktail parties.

The linked NPR feature interview with Steinberg is worth a listen, though you might not be encouraging your children to go to library school afterwards.


MAYBE I DESERVE TO BE KISSED.  I can feel a sneaking sympathy with R. Crumb - who withdrew from a rare public appearance in Sydney this week after being called a "sex pervert" by a Murdoch tabloid.  (Crumb explains why here; while the Telegraph pulls a Dixie Chicks and keeps things classy and hypocritical.) We can just console ourselves with this jolly tune from R. Crumb and The Cheap Suit Serenaders.

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